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Raven-Symoné Says She Was Body Shamed on Set as a Child Star

The actor claims she was told she was "getting fat" by Cosby Show colleagues.

Body shaming is something that many people have experienced in one way or another, and something that many performers, in particular, have spoken out about due to the pressures of the entertainment industry. Even with all of these stories made public, you still might be surprised to hear just how early body shaming began for one young star. Former child actor Raven-Symoné became a household name thanks to her role on The Cosby Show when she was only about four years old, and she has shared that she was body shamed on set at only seven by someone who worked on the series.

Read on to see what Raven-Symoné had to say about having her body scrutinized at such a young age and about the other instances in which the now-36-year-old has faced body shaming throughout her career.

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Someone on The Cosby Show told her she was "getting fat."

Raven-Symoné at the 1990 Starlight Children's Foundation Gala
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Raven-Symoné joined The Cosby Show during its sixth season, which premiered in 1989. She played Olivia Kendall, the stepdaughter of Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet).

During an episode of The View in 2015, Raven-Symoné explained that she was shamed for how her body looked and because of what she was eating on The Cosby Show set when she was seven years old.

"It was definitely hard," the View co-host said (via People). "I remember not being able to have the bagel or anything at—we would call it crafty, where it's just a table of food, ready for you to eat whatever you want. And I remember people would be like, 'You can't eat that. You're getting fat!' I'm like, 'I'm seven! I'm hungry!'"

She was told she couldn't tour because of her body size.

Raven-Symoné at the 2003 Teen Choice Awards
DFree / Shutterstock

Raven-Symoné went on to star on the Disney Channel series That's So Raven during her teens and early 20s. She's also a singer, who has released four albums, and she's performed with The Cheetah Girls, in movies, in recordings, and on stage.

In an 2017 interview with People, the star shared that she was also shamed when it came to her music career.

"[They said] I was too big to be doing an hour and a half concert. 'I don't know how she can dance being that big.' And I was like, 'I still did it!'" she said."I was on tour forever because it's not about your size, it's about what you have to say, if you can sing or dance, and performing. It's not about your size."

Being compared to others didn't help.

Raven-Symoné at the 1993 Kids' Choice Awards
Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage via Getty Images

Raven-Symoné shared on The View that seeing women that she'd "never aspire to" didn't help.

"I'm not going to put them on blast, but that's what I was told at that young of an age," she continued of the people who told her she was "getting fat" on The Cosby Show set.

She continued, "Even up until I got up to 180 lbs. on That's So Raven, you put nasty stuff in front of me, or you put images of these women that I'll never aspire to, of course I'm going to get depressed."

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She's seen a positive change when it comes to body acceptance.

Raven-Symoné at the premiere of "Space Jam: A New Legacy" in 2021
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

In her People interview, Raven-Symoné said, "I wish I was living now as a younger person. I probably wouldn't have so many mental issues," because she feels that things are moving in the right direction when it comes to accepting different types of bodies.

"I love embracing your body," she said. "In this day and age you have all kinds, and it's funny, it's serious, it's every color, it's every head shape, it's every hair. And there's androgyny, and there's LGBT coming in, and it feels good. We didn't have it enough last time and I guess that's what the past is for—to make sure the present is what it needs to be."

The star continued, "The world is too big to have one sort of view to show beauty, because then you are literally destroying society … And then you want to talk about how we are judgmental to each other and this and this. But it's being created in the industry that we're in. So why not break the mold?"

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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