TV producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes says a panic attack on a plane convinced her to lose weight. Over the past year Rhimes has spent thousands of dollars on weight loss products and skin bleaching treatments in her pursuit of perfection.
In an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Monday, Rhimes, 45, explained why she went on a crash diet.
"It was about the fact that I have a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old and a 13-year-old, and I realized that I wanted to be around for them, like be healthy," she said.
She said she realized her weight was a problem when she was on a plane and she couldn't buckle her seatbelt.
She recalled being embarrassed and hesitated to ask the flight attendant for a seatbelt extender.
"I could ask the airline attendant to get me a seatbelt extender," she recalled. "Or I could die and not have a seatbelt extender -- maybe the plane will crash, or I'll fly out of the seat when we take off. And I decided that I would risk it, and just fly out of my seat, because I wasn't going to say anything."
Rhimes avoided explaining why she is bleaching her skin to achieve a more Anglo appearance -- a trap that many successful Hollywood blacks fall into.
What message is she sending to her adopted black daughters about her standard of beauty?