Bold words in a crowded document stand out from all of the other words because they’re thicker than the rest. You notice them right away.
That’s how I’m starting to look at what I bring to the table as an actor. Being bigger than most actors in my age range and the roles that I go for, I aim to make characters bolder.
What if the head cheerleader on a CW show was a size 12? What if the character that got to fall in love was curvy? What if a bold character brought more to the show than comic relief and a storyline about weight? What if?
I don’t see much size diversity in the women being portrayed on television. Like gender, representation of size is presented on a binary in entertainment, starting from the character breakdown (or description). I have always been too big for “normal” roles and too skinny for “fat” roles. It seems like shows are being made with size 2 characters with a size 22 thrown in every now and again. For example, when I mention size diversity people bring up Gabby Sidibe and Melissa McCarthy, two amazing women, but compared to how many size 0 actors? Additionally, I don’t see curvy characters under the perceived age of 30, which implies to me that it is only acceptable to gain weight after aging and a bigger actor can only expect to book after the perceived age of 30. I want to help break down these stereotypes.
That is why I decided to do this photoshoot. That, and to face my own terrible self-consciousness about my size. My wonderful photographer (and force of nature) Alice Tsui photographed me in what we deemed as stereotypes we haven’t seen portrayed by bigger actors in entertainment. Even when we were taking these photos and Alice would show me a sneak peek, my brain automatically gaged that something looked “wrong” with the photos because I subconsciously wasn’t used to viewing such stereotypes portrayed in my size, even though it was myself. It got so bad, I began to put myself down out loud, which Alice handled like a champ and was a great source of support during this process.
I hope this brings about a more critical television-watching eye within you. Start to wonder why the majority of the characters on your favorite television show are thin, while the average size of the American woman is between a 12 and 16. Question why men, no matter their size, are able to be represented in leading roles, fall in love on screen, win, and sell food and drinks, while women are not.