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Women's Health

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Q&A With Octavia Spencer

'The Help' star dishes about health, weight, her new book, and the fabulous 40s.


I do believe that we should be paying more attention to health instead of body types. I know that women who are way too thin don't get the same type of treatment compared to women who are overweight. I know that I'm heavy and I know that I'm working toward changing it, but not because of an ideal that people think I should be meeting, but because I want to be healthier.

You have several film projects in the works as well as your new book. With so much going on at once, what do you do to stay relaxed and grounded?

I meditate as much as I can in the morning. You always have to be centered in this industry. I realize that I start focusing on things that I don't have any control over. You lose sight of the things you need to be grateful for. So I don't ever want to lose sight of any of that. One thing that playing the character Minny [in The Help] taught me is she had so much less than I did and I needed to be grateful. I learned that it wasn't about your glass being half empty or half full. It was really and truly about the fact that you have a glass.

Celebrities get both positive and negative attention from the media. How do you handle the criticism?

I realize that you can't believe everything that people say about you or the perception of yourself in the media. Because if you believe the good things that people say, then you have to believe the bad things. And I know I beat myself up more than I would allow anybody else to. So I'm at peace with that. I'm at peace with being my own worst critic and not allowing anyone else that luxury.

What do you do for exercise?

For the past 3 months I've been learning Pilates. I want to try yoga. And if that doesn't work I'm going to try [indoor cycling]. But I want to at least try many things and see which one fits better. But walking is the thing that has been my saving grace.

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