Gabourey Sidibe and Amy Schumer attend the Ms. Foundation Women Of Vision Gala 2014 on May 1, 2014 in New York City.
Astrid Stawiarz—Getty Images
By Charlotte Alter
May 4, 2014

Gabourey Sidibe and Amy Schumer both made deeply personal speeches about confidence Thursday night at the Gloria Awards and Gala, an awards ceremony to honor “women of vision” hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women. The actress and comedian each described the exact moments they decided to take control of their own narratives.

Sidibe, who was nominated for an Academy Award for playing the lead character in Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire and recently appeared in American Horror Story: Coven, described a lonely childhood, where she was chided by her parents for being overweight and ignored by her classmate for being a self-described “bossy a**hole.”

Sidibe told the audience about the time she laboriously baked gingerbread cookies for a class party in fifth grade, only to get to the party and find that her classmates refused to eat the cookies she’d made. But she didn’t let it cramp her style.

Even though Amy Schumer now has her own show on Comedy Central, she spoke about the moment where she had to become her “own fairy godmother.” She had thought that her popularity in high school would translate into her college life, but when she got to campus she found she was at the lowest rung of the social ladder, eclipsed by “thinner, blonder, dumber girls.” This low self-esteem drove her to have a one-night stand with a drunk older guy who “smelled like skunk microwaved with cheeseburgers,” while a Sam Cooke CD was playing in the background.

But Schumer also talked about how, even though she’s found her confidence, it can be stripped away in a second with a mean comment or a backhanded gesture.

BOOM! That’s two confidence boosters for the price of one.

Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com.

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