Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
We’ve all fallen in love with actress Countess Vaughn’s witty charm in classic sitcoms like Moesha and The Parkersbut the TV star is shedding light on what it was really like for her to portray Kim Parker’s character on the small screen.
In a recent interview with fellow actress Cherie Johnson, known for Family matters as good as The ParkersVaughn opened up about his experience of having his body compared to white co-star Jenna von Oÿ, who played Stevie on The Parkersand how it ultimately affected her self-esteem and led to her having silicone buttocks injected.
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“They used to clown me on the show. They would say, ‘you’re a black girl and Jenna von Oÿ’s butt is bigger than yours and she’s a white girl,’ she recalled. “And that bothered me a lot. That was the joke everything time.”
Johnson and Vaughn then reflected on the fact that the castmates nicknamed von Oÿ “white chocolate” because of her silhouette. Vaughn’s self-confidence took a hit the moment she saw the attention von Oÿ’s physique would draw on set.
“Because I’m a black girl and I’m supposed to have a big ass,” she said. “You know, you fall into those stereotypes. You feel like, ‘I’m supposed to have this.’ And then you would see all the attention she would get for having it. They would lose their minds. I’m like, ‘a– that’s it.’ »
The two continued their conversation, discussing the pressures of being a young black actress in Hollywood who didn’t fit the industry’s typical body standards. Vaughn recalled being “absolutely” self-aware due to the writing on Moesha and fatphobic jokes aimed at his character.
“And I get mad at myself because I was a lot smaller when I was on Moesha, and they made me the fat kid,” she says. “The jokes. Even the first episode…the line was, ‘oh, that’s baby fat,’ and what’s it called, ‘no, that’s fat, baby.’
These jokes have since been exposed. In 2020, news from Moesha Netflix’s acquisition sparked both excitement and some disappointment after fans began noticing the number of fat-shaming one-liners during the show’s first season.
While there have been some shifts in how full character stories are portrayed on screen and in the body types we see (thanks to the body positivity movement), Vaughn’s experience shows the lasting effects of how things were closed (and still can be).
She deserved better.