Jennifer Hudson believes she was "discriminated against" in Hollywood when she was heavier.

The singer-and-actress was always happy with her body when she was larger, but since dropping four dress sizes by following the WeightWatchers diet plan she has realised her fuller figure was hindering her career.

Jennifer - who shed the pounds to play politician Winnie Mandela, the ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, in upcoming film 'Winnie' - said: "Last week I saw some footage of myself as I was five years ago and I was surprised. It was like I recognised myself but I didn't. It seemed another world away. But in this slim world I do now realise I was being discriminated against. I'm offered more parts. There is much more excitement about me now."

Rather than be worried about her own weight when she started her career, the 29-year-old star - who competed on 'American Idol' -thought her peers were too slim.

Jennifer - who is marrying WWE wrestler David Otunga, with whom she has a 20-month-old son David, later this year - always felt she was a normal size woman.

In an interview with Britain's Grazia magazine, she said: "I never thought I was overweight. I thought my old look was pretty normal. That was how all the girls looked growing up in Chicago. I didn't have any problem with it. It makes me smile to think back to myself when I did 'Dreamgirls' with Beyonce (Knowles). I did see all these women in Hollywood, all very slim and I thought, 'Wow, these ladies are very into themselves.' I loved that I stood out in a room. You knew when you saw this woman it was Jennifer Hudson."

Jennifer is pleased with her new figure and admits she felt great when her famous friends praised her for looking so great.

She added: "There have been times when it's a huge high, like when I walked the red carpet at The Oscars and people were screaming at me. Then I also had dinner with Beyonce (Knowles) and Alicia Keys and they just kept going on and on about how great I looked."