Sheryl Lee Ralph Says Her “Heavy, Heavy” Golden Globes 2023 Dress Reminds Her of Her ‘Dreamgirls’ Days

InStyle caught up with the nominated Abbott Elementary actress ahead of the show to get all the details on her look (which yes, was styled by her daughter).

We don’t often think of red carpet events as mini workouts, but when it comes to Sheryl Lee Ralph’s 2023 Golden Globes gown, we might have to reconsider. Speaking to InStyle while getting ready, the Abbott Elementary actress noted that her custom Aliétte gown was “heavy, heavy” (but in the best way), thanks to all those embellishments.

“I just think it’s quite spectacular — I love it,” she tells us over the phone about the design, which took Jason Rembert 960 hours to make. “It really, in some ways, puts me back to the strength that I had to have to carry a 20-pound gown back in the day of [the Broadway musical] Dream girls.”

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Ralph says she didn’t go through a lot of options when it came to picking the perfect look.

“I wanted to be able to collaborate with a designer that I knew absolutely understood my figure, my shape, and my spirit as a person,” she says of partnering with Rembert. She also wholeheartedly trusts her stylist — AKA Ivy-Victoria Maurice, who is Ralph’s own daughter.

“I am so happy that I chose her as my stylist because she has just been so right on it,” says Ralph. “I have made every best-dressed list, right up to this weekend. And when I tried on my gown for the final fitting, I said, ‘Thank God for every birthing pain it took to bring her to life for this moment.’ “

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Still, with such a heavy gown comes some things to consider. The actress points out that she’s eating and drinking very little before the show because, honestly, she doesn’t feel like taking trips to the bathroom.

“Sometimes you eat food and it’s not the best, and then you don’t feel your best. And it’s the worst thing to have an upset stomach in these events,” she tells us. “A friend of mine said, ‘Well, you need room if you start to bloat.’ And I said, ‘I won’t bloat because I won’t eat.’ No, that’s not happening. Water is my friend, but a limited amount of water because with these gowns and such, you can’t be lifting up 10 to 15 pounds to get to the bathroom. That’s when you need help going to the bathroom . Literal help going to the bathroom. You’ve got to think about stuff like that because it happens.”

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One thing Ralph won’t be struggling with, however, is walking in her heels. She says that dream girls gave her the best training for “how to walk with that string that extends from your sternum, chest up, shoulders back, glide, glide, glide.” So, she’s going with sky-high platforms for the night.

“I’ve always, always wanted to be six feet or taller. I’m the shortest person in my family. So, Gucci was very gratifying in giving me an additional six inches. Thank you very much, Gucci,” says Ralph, adding that the boost in height was also a plus when it came to LA’s rainy weather. “Because the weather is so bad, it had to be stylish and it had to be reasonable for what we might step into, step over, step on. So it’s a wonderfully stylish, perfect shoe.”

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In terms of accessories, she’s keeping it simple, although a purse was a must for holding all the essentials. “I’m stuck to my phone. I’m stuck to my lipstick. It has everything I might possibly need.”

While Ralph definitely considered what she’ll keep in her bag, she says she hasn’t given much thought to winning the Golden Globe. The actress was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical-Comedy or Drama Television Series for her role as Barbara Howard in Abbott Elementary.

“I cannot go into these moments thinking about winning or thinking about losing,” she tells InStyle. “I go into these moments at this point in my life and my career by just being grateful for being seen as one of the best in the business. When I look at the fact that I was nominated and won the Emmy, I’m nominated for the Golden Globe, I’m nominated for the Independent Spirit Award — I’m nominated for the Grown Ass Woman Award from AARP! is icing on the cake if I win.”

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