Marietta Sangai Sirleaf, popularly known as Retta, is an American actress and stand-up comedian who is best known for her role as Donna Meagle in the hit American sitcom Parks and Recreation. While her hilarious jokes, colorful dresses, and sunny personality make it seem like she’s not worried about the world, the actress has revealed that she used to be insecure about her weight.

In her honest and humorous memoir, 'So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know,' which was released in 2018, Retta opens up about her struggles with weight loss and overcoming them.

Retta Is Okay With Being Plus-Sized Despite Her Proven Ability To Lose Weight

In Hollywood, where external appearances are scrutinized to great lengths, concern over self-image seems inevitable. In an interview with The Curvy Fashionista, the comedian-turned-actress had stated that life in Hollywood as a plus-sized actress could be discomforting. She indicated that weight loss was a struggle for her but also acknowledged that people were overcoming greater adversities than she was.

“Life as a plus-size actress CAN be a shameful one. But as far as I’m concerned, everyone’s got their struggles. There are people overcoming greater adversities than I. It’s my job to find my happiness in whatever situation I find myself. If I get bogged down in 'poor me,' I’d never get shit done. I’m already a slacker as it is,” she said.

In her memoir, Retta writes about dieting and working out. She recollects a time when she had become obsessed with fitness. During that time, she had even managed to lose 50 pounds and had dropped from a size 28 to a size 18. However, she indicates that she felt miserable. Her weight loss made her realize that she just wanted to live like a normal person more than becoming skinny.

"...You have to be happy in your regular life or you're not going to survive the journey toward a goal. It's the same with weight-loss; you still have to be content...Once you do that, the good stuff happens. You present as more confident to the world."

In 2013, Retta had tweeted that she had lost weight. And in typical Retta fashion, she managed a joke on it too. (Source: Liverampup

As of 2020, the 50-year-old actress maintains a size 22, and she’s comfortable with that. As she pointed out in another blog, she balances making smart food choices with eating what she wants.

“I’m lactose intolerant but if you told me I couldn’t have cheese ever again, I would slap you in your face.”

Retta Felt Empowered Through Fashion

In her memoir, Retta also wrote that fashion empowered her to feel comfortable with her size. She realized that it wasn’t necessary to be skinny to look fabulous. The actress said that she only wore uniforms of slacks and button-downs in her early days because she felt dresses, skirts, or jeans wouldn’t look good on her figure. Her perception ultimately changed when she began attending more red carpet events.    

It was an emotional moment looking at myself in the mirror. Loving the way my body looked in a dress I chose because I liked it and not because it hid me...I finally got a taste of what many women experience when shopping. That adrenaline rush that comes with getting something perfect and new and I wanted more, more, MORE.

Retta has since become a fashionista, and fans love her Instagram account, where she often posts photos of her wearing stunning dresses, such as the one below where she is posing in a floral dress.

In November 2020, Retta posted pictures on Instagram of her looking gorgeous in her white “dream holiday” outfit.