Countess Vaughn knows all too well what it feels like to struggle with body image.
The actress is best known for starring on popular ’90s sitcoms “Moesha” and its spinoff series “The Parkers.” In both shows, Vaughn portrayed Kim Parker. On “Moesha,” her character’s fuller figure was often used as the punchline of jokes. A similar pattern was sometimes used on Vaughn’s spinoff that also starred a much fuller figure comedian Mo’Nique.
But while the jokes were written into the show for laughs, Vaughn says cast members did not limit the laughter when cameras were not rolling. “They used to clown me on the show,” Vaughn said while speaking with “Family Matters” actress Cherie Johnson about her time filming “The Parkers.” The show ran for five seasons from 1999 to 2004.
The supporting cast featured former child actor Jenna von Oÿ, Ken Lawson and Dorien Wilson. “They’d be like, ‘You’re a Black girl and Jenna von Oÿ’s butt is bigger than yours and she’s a white girl.’ And that used to bother the heck out of me. That used to be the joke, all the time,” Vaughn said.
She went on to say that stereotypes about Black womens’ bodies fueled the jokes. “Because I’m a Black girl and I’m supposed to have a big butt, you know, you fall into these stereotypes,” she said. The actress continued by adding, “You feel like, ‘I’m supposed to have this.’ And then you’d see all the attention she would get for having it. They would lose their minds. I’m like ‘a– is everything.’ ”
Looking back, Vaughn says she has a greater appreciation for a younger physique. For one, she realized that she really was not as big as the jokes about her body made her feel. “And I get mad at myself because I was a lot smaller when I was on ‘Moesha’ and they made me the fat kid. The jokes. Even the first episode… the line was, ‘Oh, it’s baby fat,’ and whats-her-name goes, ‘No, it’s fat, baby.’ ”
In 2015, Vaughn opened up about weight loss and having a plastic surgery procedure done to help transform her figure. “I wanted to do a mommy makeover. I had done it after my oldest child. I really needed to just treat myself, and I’m happy about it!” she told PEOPLE.