The entertainment world has become one big fit club. In an industry where image is everything—and a size 6 is considered overweight—celebs seem more inclined than ever to drop the calories and pick up the dumbbells in an attempt to achieve the body of their dreams. There’s also an ever-growing list of famous folks who are turning their battle of the bulge into big business, tapping into the <strong><a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/100-million-dieters-20-billion-weight-loss-industry/story?id=16297197#.T7UW_nlYthJ" target="_blank">$20 billion weight loss industry</a> </strong>by signing lucrative deals to plug high profile diets and penning books that chronicle their journey to get in shape. But going from tubby to toned doesn’t always guarantee more success in Hollywood. <strong>Blackenterprise.com</strong> decodes the surprising affect dramatic weight loss has had on the careers of some of the biggest stars in the business. For better or for worse, these seven entertainers prove that in Hollywood, size really does matter. <em>—Shydel James</em>
<strong> </strong>Best known for her record-breaking music career and killer dance moves, the superstar entertainer, who’s worth an estimated <strong><a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/singers/janet-jackson/">$150 million</a></strong>, is also a self-proclaimed emotional eater, who’s endured a three-decade struggle with body image issues. In 2006, the 5’4” multiplatinum singer tipped the scales at 180 pounds and was <strong><a href="http://www.londonnet.co.uk/entertainment/2006/feb/1150_20060214.html">reportedly ordered to lose 20 pounds</a></strong> by her record company or else they wouldn’t release her then-upcoming album. In 2011, Jackson turned her weight loss woes into publishing gold when she penned <em>True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself</em>, a self-help book based on her personal experiences with weight loss, which topped the <strong><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2011-03-06/hardcover-advice/list.html">New York Times bestsellers list</a></strong>. The book, in addition to her decision to team up with the popular food delivery program, <strong>Nutrisystem</strong>, has kept the attention off her <strong><a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/01/13/us-jackson-idUSN1232055720080113">waning album sales</a></strong> and on her newly toned figure.
Star Jones (Image: File)
Long before she became an Oscar winner for her visceral performance in <strong><em>Precious</em></strong>, the Maryland native’s claim to fame was a raunchy standup act, in which she praised her pleasantly plump supporters and blasted “skinny bitches.” In fact, her outspoken, big-is-beautiful campaign spawned a full figure clothing line, a <em>New York Times</em> bestseller, <em>Skinny Women are Evil</em>, a lead role in the film <em>Phat Girlz</em> and a <strong><a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/richest-comedians/monique-net-worth/" target="_blank">$13 million fortune</a></strong>. But these days, the funny girl, whose self-titled talk show was put on indefinite hiatus last July, is singing a different tune. Mo’Nique is currently using her free time to get it in at the gym—even <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/monique-slims-down-shares-workout-motivation-via-twitter_n_1345288.html#s781638&title=MoNique_Worldwide">tweeting motivational words</a></strong> with pictures and videos of her workouts as she fights to reach her 180-pound goal weight.
<strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/radio-personality-big-boy-shares-his-weight-loss-journey/">Kurt “Big Boy” Alexander</a></strong> is one of the biggest names in radio. The popular multi-award winning Los Angeles-based disc jokey gained notoriety in the 90’s for playing up his 500-pound size in <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/big-boy-before-after-the-weight-loss/">ads all over Los Angeles</a></strong>. In 2003, he underwent a gastric reduction surgery, and lost over 250-pounds. Now a former shell of himself (Alexander weighs in at about 195-pounds), he continues to add on to his <strong><a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/big-boy-morning-kurt-alexander/">$12 million net worth</a></strong> with his <strong><a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/big-boy-signs-syndication-deal-with-abc-radio-networks-57879672.html">multi-year syndication deal with ABC radio</a>, </strong>multiple<strong> </strong>film and television roles and a recent <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/radio-personality-big-boy-shares-his-weight-loss-journey/">development deal with VH1</a>.</strong>
In the five years since she became the youngest <em>American Idol</em> winner in history at the age of 17, Sparks has conquered film (she stars opposite <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/whitney-houston-remembered-by-mc-lyte-keisha-knight-pulliam/">Whitney Houston</a></strong> in this summer’s <strong><em><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/sparkle-producer-debra-martin-chase-reflects-on-career-whitney/">Sparkle</a></em></strong>); music (she sang the National Anthem at the <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/money/12-most-expensive-super-bowl-commercials/">Super Bowl</a></strong> in 2008); stage (she starred on Broadway in <em>In the Heights</em>); and even launched a successful clothing line and fragrance. But in 2011, Sparks sent tongues wagging and dominated headlines when she <strong><a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2011/05/jordin-sparks-bikini-picture-weight-loss-twitter.html">tweeted a picture of herself</a></strong> in a two-piece, flaunting her slimmed down body. Thirty pounds lighter, the 22-year-old officially <strong><a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20502766,00.html">debuted her bikini body</a></strong> that same year on the cover of <em>People</em> magazine. Today, the slimmed down songbird’s net worth is estimated at <strong><a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/singers/jordin-sparks-net-worth/" target="_blank">$8.5 million</a></strong>.
Thanks to the sales of her five albums, contributions to <em>The Cheetah Girls</em> soundtracks and her long running family sitcom, <em>That’s</em><em> so Raven</em>—for which she took home $35,000 an episode—the once-voluptuous Disney queen managed to build a <strong><a href="http://www.entrepreneurrookie.com/blog/raven-symone-25-celebrity-young-entrepreneur-and-actress-musician/">$400 million merchandising empire</a></strong>. In 2011, Symoné returned to television 35 pounds thinner in the ABC sitcom, <em>State of Georgia</em>. The show was <strong><a href="http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2011/09/19/ravensymones_state_of_georgia_canceled">cancelled after one season</a></strong> due to poor ratings, but the multi-talented mogul bounced back quickly. Symoné is showing off her newly svelte figure eight nights a week on Broadway in the musical <em>Sister Act</em>.