TV sensation tells SA: I am happy to be fat

Reality star Whitney Thore
Reality star Whitney Thore

REALITY star Whitney Thore is changing stereotypes around fat, shaming one sashay at a time – and it is her South African fans who are inspiring her.

Weighing just under 180kg, the 31-year-old US television personality from the show My Big Fat Fabulous Life gave South African fans a dance class filled with sweat, tears, laughter and award-winning moves yesterday. But while she was twerking with local fans, back home she was still being fat-shamed as the season finale of the show aired.

One comment on her social media page read: “What is this s**t? Some fat bitch [is] on TV because she’s fat?”

But Thore seemed unfazed, saying instead that sentiments like this were the norm because people felt she was promoting obesity.

Thore, a dancer, was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome at the age of 23.

She became a sensation when a YouTube video of her rocking her visible belly fat in spandex and doing moves previously reserved for slender people went viral.

She said: “Being fat is the last socially acceptable prejudice. There’s the assumption that fat people are fair game . . . It’s very frustrating.”

On the role of sex, Thore said it was “ridiculous” to believe that fat people did not want sex . “With guys they either write you off immediately or only like you because you’re fat and you feel objectified,” she said.

But this was not her experience yesterday as she brought fans to tears.

Thore said: “My South African fans are the most vocal . . . it’s amazing to get that kind of support from outside of your own country in a place I’d never thought I’d be and in a culture I don’t know that much about.”

Of the future, she said: “I have no desire ever to be thin . . . we’re so often taught . . . that happiness is conditional to losing weight and I don’t live that way anymore.

“I’m happy,” she said, but added that she did not want to develop diabetes.

“Do I want to lose a significant amount of weight? No.

“In fact, I would prefer to be fat, fit and healthy,” she said.

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