Woman hopes Internet fame translates to TV
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) A 380-pound North Carolina woman whose dancing video was seen by more than six million people online last year is trying to be the next reality TV star.
The TLC network will premiere "My Big Fat Fabulous Life" on Jan. 13. It's about Whitney Thore, a 30-year-old woman from Greensboro, North Carolina, who wants Americans to see people behind the pounds.
"Fat prejudice is one of the last socially acceptable prejudices we have in America," Thore said at a television conference on Thursday.
Thore was a normal-sized prom queen in high school but began gaining weight rapidly in college. At age 23 she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a hormonal issue that can result in weight gain and difficulty in taking it off.
It was a challenging time emotionally, she said. Thore gave up dancing, one of her favorite activities, because she was concerned about how she looked and what people would say about her.
She heard plenty of remarks, and still does. But Thore decided not to let others rule her life and posted video online of her dancing to Jason DeRulo's "Talk Dirty to Me" last January. It made her an Internet sensation and she got an email from TLC wondering if she'd be interested in a television series.
"My Big Fat Fabulous Life" features her parents and her friend, Tal Fish.
She's not only dancing again, but is teaching a class in dancing. In one scene from the show, she talks tearfully to her students about how she overcame a reluctance to put herself out there in that way.
"People are either inspired by the fact that I'm dancing or they're very put off," she said.
Thore said she hopes the series encourages people to speak more candidly about obesity.