Kelly Jad'on recently spoke with Mandisa, author of IDOLeyes and the powerful voice of her soon-to-be-released debut album, True Beauty. Rising to fame during her appearances on American Idol, she is an example of what it is to be a true American beauty.
Mandisa, what is your passion in life?
My passion in life is to have a life on purpose, to make a difference. I’d like to be an example to those living with no reason.
What do you want the world to know most about you?
I serve a God who has saved me, redeemed me, and given my life purpose. I want to show people the joy that comes from living a life serving Jesus.
Your book, IDOLeyes, and your upcoming album, True Beauty, both send the world two messages. The first is that your struggle with weight has been the biggest struggle of your life. And the second — your faith as a Christian has taken you out of a comfort zone and put you into the ring of light. In what way do you wish to impact the world of overweight women?
My message is twofold: Our bodies are temples, and we have to take care of them. This is a day to day struggle for me, and I overcome it meal by meal. It took me 30 years to get to this point. My weight will not disappear overnight. Whenever I face temptation, and overcome it, this allows me to overcome further temptation.
Second, we will not allow society to dictate who is beautiful. My beauty comes from within, and I will not put my life on hold until I’m a size 5. I live my life full force every day.
As a Christian artist in the 21st century, what lions are you facing?
There have been many who have come before me that have represented the Lord and who have condemned others. I have a relationship with Jesus, I don’t judge or condemn. We’ll all face a judge at the end of life. His name will not be Mandisa. He has given me joy, and it’s been amazing. I want them to know what I know — God is good all the time.
How does your faith help you overcome your weight issues?
When I face temptation, I rely on strength not my own. I quote Scripture when driving by Krispy Kreme. God provides a way out when tempted, through His word and prayer. He gives me the ability to get through this struggle.
Do you have a trainer?
No, but I have an exercise room in my house.
What do you eat?
I’ve been on many diets; I know what to do, fruits and veggies, no white flour or sugar. During some situations I choose poorly. I’m an emotional eater — it absolutely is an addiction. My substance is food. For others it’s drugs or alcohol. My automatic propensity is to turn to food. Now, I turn to the Comforter instead.
Where do you wish to be in five years?
I love where I am right now. My life has purpose, I love my friends and family. In five years I’d like to be the picture of health. I’m thirty years old, I’d like this to be reflected on the outside as well.
Do you have a special man?
No, I’m Super Single — I’m busy. There’s so much going on, that I don’t know how he would fit in. He’s out there somewhere though.
If you could change today’s world, what one problem would you fix?
Hmm… hate. If we would eliminate that, we would eliminate many problems. The answer to hate is tolerance. I believe we can still love each other, but still be able to disagree.
How did the rape you endured hurt you emotionally?
I think so many women have been violated or forced to do something that they didn’t want to do. I’m a stronger person today because of what happened. I have mercy on the guy who did this. I want people to know that you can move past this. At a point, you must forgive, it’s not for the other person, it’s for yourself. It freed me, and released the bitterness and rage from my heart.