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The Heat: Fun Summer Movie that Won’t Make You Feel Bad for Being a Big Girl


I saw “The Heat”  and loved it! It’s a bawdy, raucous, classic buddy-cop movie with a fresh twist. Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock have great chemistry, and this is just a fun movie to watch. You’ve got to have a stomach for profanity–Melissa McCarthy (to borrow a phrase from the movie “Christmas Story”) weaves a tapestry of profanity that is almost a character in itself. I’m a big fan of Melissa McCarthy, and I truly appreciate that this film (mostly) avoids fat jokes, and paints McCarthy’s character as a strong, confident, sexually desirable woman, living on her own terms. No shame in her game. [Read more →]

June 29, 2013   No Comments

Fans and the media come to Melissa McCarthy’s defense

“Not again,” I thought to myself when I flipped on the TV to ABC News and heard the teaser for a story on actress Melissa McCarthy (Identify Thief, Bridesmaids, Mike & Molly):

Size matters? The red hot controversy tonight. The actress that makes so many of us laugh and the critic making so many of us steaming mad.

I didn’t even want to think about what hateful ugly things were being said about this beautiful and talented actress because of her size. I didn’t even wait for the story to come up–I grabbed my phone and pulled up Google News to see the headline for the USA Today story, “Melissa McCarthy trashed in scathing review.”  I clicked right on it, expecting the typical–happy, successful fat people are bad health role models and should be chastised, or the like–but what I found was a defense of Melissa McCarthy against a vile and vicious attack from reviewer Rex Reed (I won’t dignify his remarks by repeating them. Click on any the USA Today link to get the full details). [Read more →]

February 9, 2013   No Comments

News Anchor Fights Back Against Criticism About Weight

A big curvy shout out to Jennifer Livingston, the Wisconsin news anchor who took to the air to respond to a viewer’s criticism about her weight, claiming, “Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain.”  (Article and video here.) [Read more →]

October 3, 2012   No Comments

The angst of the suit

Credit: ABC Family

I’m at the beach getting ready to spend the day in a swimsuit, so I thought it was appropriate to give a little shout out to Nikki Blonsky, not only for literally being the poster girl for big-bodied girls on the show “Huge,” but for appearing IN the show in a bathing suit. It’s one thing to be in a photo that can (and has been) retouched, but quite another to appear on video.

I found the composition of this poster shot to be fascinating. Nikki’s character is supposed to be very confident in her appearance and have no desire to loose weight. However, this poster image is not the picture of confidence. What’s the message here? I can think of several possibilities:

Is it the positive-body-image-is-fake attitude? There are those who will claim that, even though this girl claims to be confident, at heart, she really isn’t. Or, is it that, no matter how confident a girl may be in her body, putting on a bathing suit is a confidence-shaking experience? Or, is it that the vast majority of women, no matter the size, feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit, and feel “Huge”?

Whatever the message, I think she looks cute in the suit, and I post the image to encourage you to get out there and enjoy the summer, and to not avoid activities that you want to participate in due to swimsuit phobia.

July 4, 2010   4 Comments

The Curviness of “The Golden Girls”

“Well, Blanche was an oversexed, self-involved, man-crazy, vain Southern belle from Atlanta – and I’m not from Atlanta”–Rue McClanahn

The passing of Rue McClanhan this week has me thinking about the “curvy” message of “The Golden Girls.” The show ran from 1985-1992, and is now in reruns on the WE TV network(they’re running a “Golden Girls” marathon today). I watched the show in it’s first incarnation, and I’ve been enjoying it 20+ years later, but for much different reasons.

When the show was first on, it was a popular, Emmy-award winning comedy. I watched it because it was fun and funny, with strong female leads. Returning to the show all these years later, I am struck with how far ahead of its time the show really was, and how powerfully these “older” (they don’t seem nearly as old to me as when I was 19 years old), single women were portrayed.

Here you have four single women over the age of 50 portrayed as vibrant, sexual beings. And while they may express concerns about aging and romantic prospects, they never engage in self-loathing or body hatred. I can only remember one episode in the 7-year run where a main character’s weight was an issue. (Blanche was trying to loose weight to fit in her wedding gown for her wedding anniversary, an annual ritual for her. I also remember a trip to an aerobics studio, but not sure if these were connected.) These women never fretted over finding romantic partners. In fact, even the 80-year-old Sophie had a fairly robust sex life. They had careers, even changing careers later in life, had fabulous 80s wardrobes, fully engaged life. They ate cheesecake and never fretted over the calorie count. They weren’t stick thin, but they never sat around complaining about cellulite, thigh-size, lower-belly pooching, and wrinkles.

Where on TV today do we see women over 50 (or any women, for that matter) portrayed in this way?

So, farewell Blanche Devereaux. Thank you (and Dorothy, Rose, and Sophie) for embracing the curviness of lie and leaving a great model for female empowerment at any age.

June 4, 2010   No Comments

SYTYCD: Big Girl Dancing Beautifully? What?

SYTYCD Judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman

SYTYCD Judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman

So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), a show that has traditionally treated big dancers only as a joke, finally gave some praise to a big-bodied dancer and admitted to its own prejudice in a Susan-Boyle-esque moment. SYTYCD’s new season premiered this evening with the requisite audition rounds. A very brave Megan Carter, 18 years old and a dance major in college, danced a beautiful audition before a stunned and moved panel of judges.

In her pre-dance interview, Megan shares that she has been dancing for 15 years, and describes herself as “obviously thicker than other dancers.” She credits the curvy Mia Michaels, an Emmy-winning show choreographer and new SYTYCD judge, as her inspiration for finding the courage to audition for the show.

As she begins to dance with grace and skill, the camera cuts to the judges for that Susan-Boyle-shock moment. Judge Adam Shankman, choreograper, producer, director (the re-make of Hairspray being among his most popular), exclaims incredulously, “What? What is going on?” grabbing Mia Michaels by the arm. [Read more →]

May 27, 2010   6 Comments

“Drop Dead Diva” — Brooke Elliott Breaking the Mold

Does my obvious affection for this sign give you a hint at how excited I was to attend  an exclusive sneak peek screening of the second season premiere of DROP DEAD DIVA?  Following a screening of the episode, we were treated to a panel discussion and Q&A with cast and crew. The episode was fantastic–if you do nothing else, make sure you watch the opening sequence with a spectacular dance number with a hot big-girl outfit and choreography by Tyce Diorio (you SYTYCD fans will understand that reference).

I am actually a reluctant fan of the show. When I first heard about the concept for Drop Dead Diva, I was concerned. Here’s the pitch:

Drop Dead Diva follows a beautiful-but-vapid model wannabe, Deb, who finds herself relegated to the body of a plus-size attorney, Jane (Brooke Elliott), following their deaths. While the placement was accidental, it just might be divine intervention if it can help self-centered Deb learn to use her brain, rather than her looks to get by in life – with a little help from her loyal assistant Teri Lee (Margaret Cho).

When I saw the first trailer for the show, I was livid. It sounded to me like the story of a skinny, vapid, girl who is “punished” for her shallowness by being “trapped” in the body of a fat girl so that she could learn to be a better person. Way to kill two stereotypes with one stone! However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the show, and I find it’s treatment of the main, curvy character to be far more balanced than I had feared. No one is being punished, and you root for Deb/Jane to find acceptance, rather than for her to lose weight.

So, I was thrilled on Sunday to get to ask Brooke Elliott about the show and her experience as a curvy actor in a weight-obsessed industry. Brooke has been acting for 10 years, primarily on Broadway, prior to Drop Dead Diva. She describes her experience:

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May 26, 2010   13 Comments

What “The Biggest Loser” gets wrong … and right

Tonight marked the Season 9 finale of  “The Biggest Loser.” Anyone who reads this blog probably realizes that I am not a big fan of the show. This is not because I am opposed to weight loss, but rather I am opposed to the way this show encourages weight loss: extreme exercise and severe caloric restriction, rather than healthy sustainable diet and exercise. The New York Times published a great article in November 2009 about the dangerous nature of “The Biggest Loser” approach:

Rapid weight loss can cause many medical problems, including a weakening of the heart muscle, irregular heartbeat and dangerous reductions in potassium and electrolytes.

In pursuit of the big money prizes, former contestants have admitted to using dangerous weight loss techniques, including self-induced dehydration. And anyone who has ever used an extreme diet or exercise program knows how easy it is to gain it all back: almost all participants report some weight gain (on average 20%) after the show, and two season winners, Ryan Benson and Eric Chopin, regained all the weight they had lost.

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May 25, 2010   No Comments

Lane Bryant Lingerie Ads Too Hot for TV

This article from The Week made me squeal:

Fox and ABC have refused to air Lane Bryant’s new lingerie commercial, claiming that plus-size cleavage is too prominent. This girl is very hot, but Victoria’s Secret Ads run all the time, so what’s wrong with this?

April 26, 2010   5 Comments

A Curvy Girl Always Has Shoes

Just wanted to share some pictures from the last Hello, Stiletto Shoe Club outing in Atlanta, hosted by the wonderful folks at Emily Blenhem Shoes. I got a chance to model some fabulous patent-leopard Jimmy Choo’s (thanks, James!), which, next time I have an extra $1200 lying around, I might pick up.

One thing I admire about the curvy girls of the world: we may be neglected, abused, and ignored by the clothing industry, but we always have shoes.

In their full glory

In their full glory


In my full glory


I gaze admiringly at more shoes I can't afford

September 24, 2009   1 Comment

Margaret Cho and “Drop Dead Diva”

I saw a great interview Monday on Atlanta&Company with Margaret Cho talking about Drop Dead Diva and her new Showtime special, Beautiful, her take on beauty and what it takes for everyone to feel beautiful about themselves. The clip from the show is well worth a look.

I especially loved the thought from Margaret that beauty is ours to claim, and if we declare our beauty to the world, the world will recognize that beauty.

Love it!

August 5, 2009   2 Comments

Jennifer Weiner — Engaging, Empowering, Entertaining

Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is currently on a 10-city book tour promoting her latest novel, Best Friends Forever. We had a chance to see her at her Atlanta signing, and it was an absolute treat. She was gregarious, entertaining, engaging, and hilarious. The signing was held in the middle of a Borders, and as she spoke, a crowd gathered around the perimeter of the seating area, many unaware of who she was, just to enjoy the show.

There was a gentleman in line behind us with a couple of books in hand, and someone asked if he was a fan. He replied, “Never heard of her. But listening to her now, I’ve decided to get books for my wife and daughter.” No doubt he was influenced by her positive energy and wanted to share that with the women in his life.

If you are in any of the following cities, I highly recommend that you check her out.

Saturday, July 18th: St. Louis, The Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road 8 PM

Sunday, July 19: Framingham, MA: Barnes & Noble, 1 Worcester Road, 3 p.m.

Monday, July 20: Lincolnshire, IL, Stevenson High School, 1 Stevenson Drive, 7 p.m. (The event is free, but you have to register for tickets ahead of time, which you can do by clicking here).

Tuesday, July 21: El Cerrito, Barnes and Noble El Cerrito, (El Cerrito Plaza), 7:00 pm

Wednesday, July 22: San Francisco, Book Passage Bookstore in the San Francisco Ferry Building (1 Ferry Building, #42), 8:00 pm

July 18, 2009   4 Comments

“More to Love” Casting Schedule–Raleigh, Houston, Dallas

I had a chance to meet with the casting agents for “More to Love,” the reality relationship show featuring curvy women, when they were in Atlanta this weekend. I was very impressed with them and the premise of the show.

If you are a confident curvy girl age 21-35 in Raleigh, Houston, or Dallas, you can meet the team or attend an open call for the show on the following dates:

Raleigh, NC: April 6-9

Open Call: April 8, 4-6pm, Lane Bryant, Renaissance Village Mall

Houston, TX: April 11-14

Open Call: April 11, 2-6pm, Lane Bryant, Woodland Mall

Dallas, TX, April 16-19

Open Call: April 18, 2-6pm, Lane Bryant, Park Lane Mall

To apply for the show submit the following to


April 7, 2009   No Comments

Oprah’s Weight as National News?

Anyone who watches the Oprah show with any regularity knows that Oprah has been gaining weight; however, when I saw that the Associated Press had a story on Oprah’s weight and that it appeared above the fold on Google News, I was surprised.  Isn’t the weight gain/loss stories of celebrities more the domain of The Enquirer and US Magazine? Clearly, not any more.

Of course, the weight trials of Oprah exist in a sphere beyond normal celebrity, and this may have contributed to the national coverage of this story; however, I had to ask: Should Oprah’s weight be a national headline? I was surprised that I found myself to be of two minds on this. I was going to simply say: Let’s just leave Oprah alone, until I saw the above magazine cover. I’ve had to give the issue some consideration before commenting, so here’s my reasoning on both sides of the issue.

No, Oprah’s Weight Is Not National News

1. Demonizing weight gain as failure fuels the current obsession with the thin ideal.

Oprah says she has failed. Others report on this as a failure. Being super-rich and super-powerful isn’t enough–it is only worthwhile if you look a certain way.
2. Oprah’s weight is her own, personal affair.

And even though she has chosen to shine the spotlight on her weight gain in her magazine and on her show, this still is not really “news we need to know.”

3. What important story has gone unreported as a result of all the ink on Oprah?

Aren’t there other things going on in the country and in the world that we need to know about?

Yes, Oprah’s Weight Is National News

1. Long-term weight loss is difficult to maintain.

No one wants it more than Oprah, yet she has repeatedly been unable to maintain her dream weight. As I type, The Biggest Loser finale is on, where people will have lost over 100lbs in a short time. We all know that a good number will gain some if not most of the weight back, yet we still encourage this kind of weight loss. Maybe we will finally grasp that there are aspects of weight that we have yet to understand.

2. Even Oprah, who has Oprah-money and Oprah-resources, can’t keep weight off.

For years I’ve heard (and admittedly said a time or two): If I had Oprah’s money, trainer, chef, resources, etc., I could lose weight, too. Well, when Oprah can’t keep weight off, then the whole advanced-dieting-resources argument becomes moot.

3. At 200lbs, Oprah looks great.

I think that Oprah looks fantastic, even at 200lbs. There are some gorgeous red carpet photos of Oprah circulating and she looks chic and fabulous. Maybe, we, the consumers of media will look at Oprah and say, You weigh 200lbs? So what? You still look Oprah-rific.

4. Maybe Oprah will finally make peace with her weight and make the world safer for fat people everywhere.

If plus-size designers make the O-list, the fashion industry would be revolutionized. And if she can teach the world to love our bodies, no matter the size, our culture could be revolutionized as well.
Ultimately, I really feel for Oprah. She is clearly tormented by the issue of weight, and as a person who understands the emotional pain of feeling like my body is a failure, I have nothing but sympathy. I would hope that Oprah finds peace–and it is her right to figure out what that means for her, be that perpetual dieting or self-acceptance.

Here are links to a couple of articles that I really enjoyed on the issue. I’d love to hear your take on this.

We Share Your Loss, and Your Gain, Washington Post

Oprah Regains Weight … Again, The

December 16, 2008   10 Comments

“America the Beautiful” Documentary in Atlanta 10/22-23

The documentary that uncovers America’s unhealthy obsession with beauty.

931 Monroe Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
(678) 495-1424

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 7 p.m.

Both screenings to be followed by a Question/Answer session with Producer/Director Darryl Roberts.


In 2004, America spent $12.4 billion on cosmetic surgery, but the true cost of America’s obsession with youth, beauty and a slender physique is tallied in an epidemic of eating disorders, complications and death from unnecessary surgeries, exposure to dangerous toxins in cosmetics, and most disturbingly, the equally toxic effects on generation after generation of young people.

How did we get this way? Who is harmed by our quest for perfection? And who is profiting from encouraging the insecurities that fuel that quest?

In Darryl Roberts’ candid and heartfelt documentary, we hear from the fashion industry, advertising executives, plastic surgeons and ordinary men, women and teens. The answers they give are astounding, with consequences far more than skin deep.


Landmark Midtown Art Cinema

931 Monroe Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
(678) 495-1424

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 7 p.m.

Both screenings to be followed by a Question/Answer session with Producer/Director Darryl Roberts.

Click on links to see interviews!

The Today Show

Good Morning America Now

CNN News



– Roger Ebert

– Variety


– The Daily Campus


– AFI Dallas

A Personal Message
from the Director

“Considering that we’re challenging an industry
that has been assaulting our self-esteem for a long time, this isn’t just a movie opening, it’s a movement. It’s how each and every one of us can say ENOUGH!

The reason I believe a movie about our unhealthy obsession with beauty is important is because it really affects young girls. The average girl, 8 to 18 years of age, doesn’t like her body, doesn’t feel she’s attractive and is contemplating dieting or even worse, plastic surgery.

This is very unhealthy because as we all know, a healthy self-esteem is the engine that makes you assertive, confident and ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, this has been taken away from a lot of us, so that some beauty companies can sell more products and the CEO’s of these companies can drive Bentley’s.”


All of us with “America the Beautiful” appreciate
your support! We hope you will come out with friends and family, pass this letter on, and spread the word about “America the Beautiful.” We want everyone to share it’s important message!


Trailer for “America the Beautiful”


Click here to see the trailer

or copy and paste URL in your web browser

October 20, 2008   No Comments