Jay of L.I.C: State
Jay of L.I.C: Where were you born? Where were you raised?
Conrad: I was born
and raised in Switzerland, the German part. Moved to the United
States on a scholarship in 1977 and became a US citizen in 1986.
Jay of L.I.C: Where are you currently based?
Conrad: In the
Sacramento, California, area. Sacramento was actually founded by
a Swiss, John Sutter, so in addition to truly considering
California the "Golden State," I also feel part of my heritage
here. After all, Sutter called his empire "Little Helvetia"
Jay of L.I.C: When did your company began? when did the website begin?
originally started as the "FA-SIG," the "Fat Admirer Special
Interest Group" of NAAFA, the National Association to Advance
Fat Acceptance. I ran the SIG, published its 24-page photocopied
newsletter, did FA workshops at regional and national NAAFA
conventions and so on. The publication grew and became more
sophisticated, and I renamed it "Dimensions" in the late 1980s.
It split from NAAFA in 1989 or so and I ran it as a business
friendly and financially supportive to NAAFA.
Jay of L.I.C: Are you the founder?
Conrad: I was the
original coordinator of the FA-SIG, and eventually organized
Dimensions as a separate company, so yes, I am the founder.
Jay of L.I.C: Who came up with the name? Why did you name it that?
Conrad: We actually
had a contest among readers. A lot of cool (and
not-so-cool) names were suggested. I liked "Dimensions" because
it implies size, a different way of looking at things, and just
generally captured what I was trying to accomplish.
Jay of L.I.C: Do you consider yourself to be a pioneer? and if so, how
does it feel to be called one?
Conrad: Well, my
idea, from the start, was to create something that would bring
together two disenfranchised groups, men who preferred fat
women, and the women they admired. Both groups suffered. The
women for obvious reasons. Many felt unattractive, unworthy, and
unhappy. Many had gone through horrible experiences, and had
lost their faith in both themselves and other people. The FAs--Fat
Admirers--had grown up to discover within themselves a
perference that was different from that of their peers. Many did
not know what to make of it. They felt weird, perverted even,
and many got a lot of crap from their friends and families if
they came out of the closet.
With the FA-SIG and then Dimensions, I wanted to bring those two
groups together, help them understand each other, open dialog
Both sides had much to learn, and there was a lot of mistrust. I
think Dimensions has been quite successful at putting issues on
the table, foster discussion, and bring many people together.
Am I a pioneer? Perhaps. While NAAFA was always both a political
and a social organization, it was, and is, really dominated by
fat women. Men were generally viewed with some suspicion,
especially FAs. And exploring the fantasy world that we all have
was totally taboo. I opened that up for discussion. We all have
fantasies. They are nothing to be ashamed of or to run away
Jay of L.I.C: Who built your site?
Conrad: We started
very early. Dimensions was probably among the very first
size-related sites on the web, going back to 1995. That's only
ten years, but back then, most people had never even heard of
the web. I built most of it myself. In 1997 I noticed wonderful
site called bbwqt.com. It was shut down several time and so I
offered the woman who ran it sanctuary on my server. Eventually
I hired her and we merged bbwqt and Dimensions.
Dani was my
webmaster for several years and some of her terrific work is
still on the site.
Jay of L.I.C: Why did you choose to target People of Size?
Conrad: I never
"targeted" people of size. As a FA, the size acceptance movement
is my life. It is who I am, and it is my community and my
Jay of L.I.C: Is it true that your mag mainly started for FA's? Why
Conrad: As described
above, Dimensions's start was the FA-SIG within NAAFA. The idea
actually came from two fat NAAFA women, Nancy Summer and Liz
Williams. Both felt FAs within NAAFA needed their own space.
suggested the FA-SIG should be men-only. I always felt it should
be open to both genders, and that is how I always ran it.
Jay of L.I.C: Tell us some of the departments that your site contains?
dimensionsmagazine.com is gigantic. It literally has thousands
of pages. It also grew organically, and so there are parts that
go way back to the beginning and have almost been forgotten, but
they are still online.
Overall, the main
parts these days are the forums, chat, a store, a library, a
dating/matching system, a news section, and the Weight Room. I
am proud that the whole site remains completely non-commercial.
No pop-ups, no obnoxious banners and ads, no dubious links and
Dimensions is an island in and to itself.
Jay of L.I.C: What was your site like when it began vs now?
Initially the site was just a few pages. Mainly playful stuff
and reprints of columns, fashions, stories and features from the
print magazine. Over the years the site grew dramatically. The
bulletin boards accumulated several million posts. Thousands are
registered to the matching system. The Dimensions streaming chat
system is a 24/7 party that is always active. In the beginning
it was just a lot of experimenting and trying out new things and
new software. It was all brand-new then, and the site really
just an adjunct to the print magazine, that had grown to a
glossy 64-page color publication by the mid 1990s.
Jay of L.I.C: Can you give us any history as to when and where did the
BBW Club scene began? the empowerment movement? and which came
acceptance--empowerment--came first. NAAFA was founded in
1969 by William J. Fabrey, a young engineer and lifelong FA. The
term BBW (and Big Beautiful Woman) originated with Carole Shaw,
who started publishing BBW Magazine in 1979.
Jay of L.I.C: Do you attend any of the BBW Bashes? Which ones?
Conrad: I don't
attend any. Over the 25 years that I was part of NAAFA, I
attended many national and regional conventions, and at times
some local events.
Jay of L.I.C: How do you feel about the growth and expansion of BBW
Night Clubs and Bashes? and the growth of the empowerment
Conrad: I always
felt that private enterprise should handle the social aspects of
the size acceptance movement. When NAAFA was founded, there were
no social affairs. There wasn't anything social for fat people
and their admirers. Hence, NAAFA stepped in and performed this
public benefit, and to "prime the pump." Soon, private
individuals and groups began organizing parties, and many have
now grown into well-run businesses. That is the way it was
planned and the way it should be.
Jay of L.I.C: Does / Has your magazine ever produce events? if so do
you have any future events coming up?
has never done events. I just don't have the time. It's often
been suggested, and we often talked about it. I mean, think of
Dimensions bashes! It may happen, or it may not.
Jay of L.I.C: How do you feel about the growth of Big World websites
Conrad: Big World
websites? I suppose you mean size acceptance-related sites. I
feel very good about them. When I was a young FA, there was
NOTHING. I was alone. And many fat people grew up alone. All
these sites are wonderful as they answer questions, offer
information and community, and whatever else people seek.
Jay of L.I.C: If you had to pick the most interesting things about
your site (and this business) that you enjoy…what would it be?
Conrad: The sense of
community that Dimensions fosters. Since dimensionsmagazine.com
has been here for such a long time, and since we have this
history of almost 90 issues of the Dimensions print magazine,
Dimensions has a continuity that almost no one else has. So
people come to Dimensions to hang out, talk, meet, share their
lives and thoughts and ideas. And a surprising number meet at
Dimensions and then in real life, and then get married. Imagine
Jay of L.I.C: Name some of the things that your site has pioneered or
was the first to do in The Big World?
Conrad: Well, being
one of the first sites on the web, we pioneered a lot that is
now taken for granted. We had live webcams ten years ago. We had
forum software when no one else had. Almost all of our sections,
software, ideas were widely copied on other sites. Fine with me.
Jay of L.I.C: Do you consider your site as the Top BBW site in The Big
Conrad: Oh no.
Dimensions is not a commercial enterprise, not anymore.
It's a community. I never advertise Dimensions anywhere, we
don't have cross-links or anything else. At some point
Dimensions was probably the largest size-related site, but now
there are many commercial sites that are much larger. Dimensions
is simply a community, financed largely by myself and some of my
Jay of L.I.C: Tell us about your hard copy experience? and will it
ever come back?
Conrad: I really
miss the hard copy magazine. We did a total of 88 print issues
of Dimensions and had a high of over 5,000 paid subscribers,
which is a lot. But doing print is hugely expensive, and we
never very actively pursued newsstand distribution. I look at
our back issues, and I must sy they were terrific and totally
unique (we still have copies of almost all of them, and they are
available through the Dimensions store). However, the print pub
is not dead. I consider it in hiatus. If I win the lottery (or
hit it big some other way), the print mag will definitely be
Jay of L.I.C: What other Big World Businesses do you have or is your
site your main and only focus?
is it. It is such a huge site that I could spend all my time on
it, but I do have to do some real work that actually pays my
Jay of L.I.C: Who are some of your idles in the Big World? Idols?
politically we owe it all, everything, to William Jackson Fabrey.
Without him, we may not have any of this. Size acceptance may
still have a long way to go, and discrimination against fat
people is alive and well. But it would be much worse without
some of those pioneers.
So people like Bill Fabrey and his co-founders are my heroes.
Jay of L.I.C: Are you the first to begin posting international links?
Conrad: Links? Hehe...
We gave up on links a long time ago. There was an area where
Dimensions' LinkMania, a list of the 500 top large-size sites,
was the ultimate authority. Remember, it was not that long a ago
that the web had just two site lists. One, the better and large
one, was run by a guy named John December, a student at my alma
mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The other was some
yahoo outfit named, well, yahoo.com. Yes, we began linking to
size acceptance groups, both political and social, across the
globe early. It is not an active project today.
Jay of L.I.C: What hasn't your site done that you would someday like
has unlimited potential. As is, it is completely
bandwidth-limited and non-commercial. It could be scaled
massively of I'd have the time or resources. I think Dimensions'
special mix between social responsibility and full appreciation
of large beauty is unique.
Jay of L.I.C: In my personal opinion, your site has been the most
resourceful. You always have had the best "BBW Events
Section" online. Your bash info was a little behind most of this
year but now I notice it has been revamped.
Question: Is it very
hard to keep up with so much being that Dimensions covers so
many areas? if so, why?
Conrad: At some
point we had a very good Events section, run by a very talented
fat woman who also was a Dimensions model (and cover girl) not
once, but twice. She then got sidetracked, but we're now
resurrecting the events/communities section in our new forum
system that has been very well received. And yes, it's
hard to keep up with so much, and with such a large site.
Keep in mind, though, that more traffic is really not a current
goal as we're totally bandwidth limited. Our servers are located
in my publishing offices, in the same building as an ISP. They
told me that Dimensions alone takes up as much bandwidth as 400
other sites they host. One time they decided to see how much
bandwidth Dimensions would consume if they removed the limits.
The answer: all of what they have.
Jay of L.I.C: In my personal opinion, your site is the only site that
(both) the biggest Empowerment following and the biggest "BBW
Photo Chicks" following, is this true?
has always had both a male and a female following. When we
did the print magazine, subscribers were always about 50/50. I
think that is terrific and hope it will always stay that way.
Jay of L.I.C: and if so, being that most sites are either one or the
other...how did this come about?
Conrad: It came
because I felt from the beginning that the two groups, fat
admirers and the people they admire, needed to come together.
And that is how I structured both the magazine and the site.
Jay of L.I.C: If its true that your company started in 1983 (22 years
ago), what other companies or sites were around at that time?
stated above, the FA-SIG started in 1983, Dimensions about five
years later. There was almost nothing else around. Alice
Ansfield started her Radiance for fat women the same time I
began publishing the FA-SIG, and Dimensions and Radiance grew
and developed at about the same pace. I also admired her, and
was a donor and supporter of Radiance. Carole Shaw, of course,
did BBW Magazine, which I eventually bought, including the
trademarks, in 1998 (we published BBW Magazine from 1999 to
Jay of L.I.C: My most favorite 3 sections of your mag is the events
section, the links section and the message boards. If you had to
pick your most favorite 3 departments, which 3 would you choose?
Conrad: The forums,
chat, and the stories section. Those are by far the largest.
There are thousands of posts every week, chat is a 24/7 party,
and we have almost 1,500 stories in our library.
Jay of L.I.C: Personal Question: I notice you were one of the first to
give a voice to many controversial topics. In your opinion, What
do you feel is the most misunderstood thing about Feedees and
Conrad: Yes, this
really ticks me off. Dimensions has, among other things, stood
for what I call "Freedom of Fantasy" from the very start. As far
as I am concerned, everyone has sexual fantasies, and as long as
they are safe, sane and consensual, they are absolutely no one's
business except that of the people involved. Weight gain
fantasies so happen to be a core fantasy of many FA’s and,
amazingly, also of a number of fat people. I always offered
Dimensions as an open forum for any such discussion, BOTH PRO
AND CON. Yet, some people are under the mistaken impression that
whatever is discussed in Dimensions is my personal opinion. Not
so. Yet I have been labeled, libeled and slandered in numerous
ways because of it.
There are some awfully prejudiced chicken littles out there.
Jay of L.I.C: How do you feel about the ever growing (very serious)
Bypass Surgery topic?
Conrad: It is most
unfortunate, and I am very much against WLS. It is simply too
experimental and too unsafe. Yet, I am equally disturbed that no
one has yet come up with an alternate answer to the very real
plight of very fat people who have run out of options. Not AAFA,
Jay of L.I.C: How do you feel about Airlines over charging for tickets
unacceptable, mercenary, and un-American.
Jay of L.I.C: How do you feel about People of Size being discriminated
in the work place issue?
Conrad: Everyone has
an equal right to pursue his or her dreams. Workplace
discrimination is thus unacceptable. It is a sensitive social
issue of course, but really no different from other sensitive
social issue where rational, implemental solutions have to be
Jay of L.I.C: How do you feel about the complaints that most hospitals
are not size friendly?
Conrad: I've found
that a lot of hospitals are actually fairly well equipped, and
more so as time goes on. It's really a matter of how large a
patient is. If someone is four standard deviations removed from
the mean, some equipment may simply be unavailable. In think by
and large, doctors and hospitals are becoming more sympathetic.
Jay of L.I.C: What are some of the best things that the empowerment
movement has done for People of Size?
Conrad: Hard to say.
As a 35-year-old movement, organized size acceptance has
preciously little to show for its efforts. That is likely
because so few fat people identify with it. If all fat people
voted as a block, size discrimination would be wiped out in
As is, size acceptance has brought awareness to a number of fat
people, and that is good. It also fostered many social groups
and numerous websites. So organized size acceptance probably
succeeded as a catalyst, but failed as a movement.
Jay of L.I.C: Who invented these (Big World) Definitions (BBW,
FA,SSBBW,BHM, FFA, SSBHM)? give us some history?
Conrad: "BBW" and
"Big Beautiful Woman" started with Carol Shaw in 1979, and are
actually trademarked terms which my company owns. They have
entered the mainstream, and that is fine with me. I deeply
resent that the porn industry has stolen the terms and dragged
them down to nothing more than another fetish category.
Fortunately, a large number of positive fat women are also using
the term, counteracting the bad guys.
The other terms all
sort of developed, most from within NAAFA. None are particularly
good, and "FA" especially is a weak term that no one likes.
But it's been with us and no one has come up with a good
Jay of L.I.C: How do you feel about the negative press coverage that
has been given to the Big Conrad: World in the past vs the media
coverage of today (for Better of Worse)? do you think were
heading in the direction of becoming mainstream, are we already
mainstream? Or should we even care?
Conrad: As for the
press, well, they do what they do. All we can do is being
careful who we talk to. When talk shows were at their peak, I
appeared on almost all of them, and the experience was largely
But that was because I had a message and agenda. They really
just want ratings. So if you take the lead instead of letting
them exploit you, it's your game.
Jay of L.I.C: Advice: Can you give any advice for People of Size
who have low self esteem?
Conrad: Keep in mind
that almost everyone at times suffers from low self esteem;
you're not alone. And keep in mind that in order to have low
self esteem, you're probably allowing others to make you feel
that way. Once you realize that you are under no obligation to
please someone else or look the way someone else feels you
should look, you're halfway there to accepting yourself the way
you are. If social approval is important to you, get involved in
some of the many large size communities where YOU are admired
and pursued, and not the skinny model types.
Jay of L.I.C: Can you give any advice for women who are constantly
stalked (on and off line) and don't know what to do?
Conrad: That depends
on the situation. By and large, totally ignore stalkers. Don't
read their emails, don't respond to anything. They'll get bored.
Jay of L.I.C: In my personal opinion, being that LargeInCharge.com
tours to several BBW Events and Night Clubs, we feel we cover a
lot of ground. We find that some Big World Party Promoters tend
to not like one another. We understand that business is
competitive but strongly stress that as reporters "We Remain
Neutral" in this game! Even though... negative feedback
tends to rub off on some party goers and it gets ugly sometimes.
Can you give any positive advice to Big World Party People and
Promoters who sometimes don't see "The Big (Unity) Picture"?
Conrad: Well, I can
see the business angle, and I've heard many sad stories of
business owners who claim they were taken advantage of. Me, I
believe in a policy of friendly competition. There is still
plenty of room in the large size events planning field, it's not
overcrowded. So I'd much rather see groups cooperate and work
with one another. After all, we're all in this together. The
real enemy is out there. It's the diet hucksters, the
thin-obsessed media, fat-phobic employers and biased medical
caretakers. So let's work together!
Jay of L.I.C: Can you give any advice to people you've inspired and
are thinking about to entering the (People of Size) business?
Conrad: It's a
business like any other. You need to believe in what you're
doing and you need to create and sell a good product.
Jay of L.I.C: Can you give any advice to Newbies who have never been
to a BBW Bash but get the wrong impression about Bashes and are
afraid to attend due to negative false rumors about what they
have heard (from the grapevine)?
Conrad: The advice
is simply to go out there and check things out for yourself.
Most people are afraid of new things or taking a first step.
Once you get over it and give it a chance, you may find a whole
new world opening up to you. Be cautious the first time, but
don't totally clam up. Give people the benefit of the
doubt. You just may have lots of fun and make great new friends.
Jay of L.I.C: I assume that you travel to several Big World events,
what are some regional similarities and differences?
Conrad: I don't
travel to such events. But I know many of the organizers.
It is wonderful to see how so many are doing a great job and
really helping people.
Jay of L.I.C: Were you the first to showcase BBW Artist, and if so,
who were some of the first pioneer artist in the game?
among the first. Dimensions featured Ned Sonntag's art almost
from the start. Over the years we also featured the work of some
other great FA artists, such as Paul Delacroix and Les Toil.
Jay of L.I.C: Name a few new comers (artist) that you like?
Conrad: The above
three are the titans of BBW art, no doubt about it.
Jay of L.I.C: Name a few of the pioneer "Fat Photo Chicks" that
started in Dimensions?
Conrad: A good
number of the leading fat beauties got their start in
Dimensions. Their names are so well known by now that I don't
need to list them all. :-)
Jay of L.I.C: Looking back on when I first came on the party scene
(Goddesses, LargeEncounters first events...New York City) I see
the changes in the crowds...the younger generation comes in and
a lot of older faces come every once in awhile.What general
changes have you seen that you would like to comment on?
Conrad: In the
beginning, everything was very amateurish. The venues were often
crummy and low rent, as if even the organizers did not believe
fat people deserved any better. While we often had great fun in
some of those modest places, it is great to see some of the
truly classy events of today. I think NAAFA deserves kudos for
that. NAAFA always felt that its conventions should be held in
nice hotels with great facilities, because at least once a year
its members deserved to be in a special place and be treated to
the very best.
Jay of L.I.C: Personal "Jay's Spot" Question: I've come across many
women who specialize in Plus Size Clothing. Has there ever been
any other FA Tailors...or men fashion designers (who sew) that
you know of? If so, who?
asking the wrong person. I know nothing of fashion and always
left that to my good friend Sandie Sabo-Russo who was
responsible for the Dimensions fashion section for many years
and also helped me with BBW Magazine.
Jay of L.I.C: In your column...http://www.dimensionsmagazine.com/Editors_Corner/…
you wrote...."I am a car guy and subscribe to many car
magazines"... Name your Top 3 most favorite cars (and colors)?
Conrad: I like
modified cars and far prefer them to anything that comes out of
a showroom. Earlier in my life I had my share of the usual
automotive toys (BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Lincoln, etc.),
but I am past that. Today I love the very cars I have: a
supercharged black Acura RSX Type-S and a modified dark
plum-pearl turbo Chrysler PT Cruiser. If money were no object, I
would love to import and own one of the Japanese supercars, like
a Nissan Skyline.
Jay of L.I.C: and your Top 3 Car Magazines?
Conrad: Road &
Track, Automobile Magazine, and Sport Compact Car.
Jay of L.I.C: You also wrote..."The original mission of NAAFA remains
as valid as it was back in 1969 when a man to whom I still look
up to founded it in New York".....Who was this man? Tell us
Conrad: That was
William Jackson Fabrey whom I mentioned above, a truly
extraordinary man and individual.
Jay of L.I.C: Does Dimensions sell any products?
Conrad: At some
point Dimensions was a profitable publishing business with
revenue from subscriptions, distribution, back issues, and
Today, we still sell
back issues, videos, and some related items. We also accept
donations on a voluntary basis (the entire Dimensions site is
Jay of L.I.C: Where do you see Dimensions going in the near future?
Conrad: I value
continuity, and so Dimensions will be around for a long time. In
the near term, I'll do what I've always done, continually
improve and update the site.
Jay of L.I.C: Long Term?
Conrad: It would be
nice to publish the print magazine again. And it would be nice
to have enough time and resources to scale the Dimensions site
into a much larger community.
Jay of L.I.C: How do you define success?
able to combine your work with your passions. I have been
fortunate in that respect.
Jay of L.I.C: How do you like our LargeInCharge Magazine?
Unfortunately, I am not as familiar with it as I should be.
Jay of L.I.C: What can our readers do to help support your magazine?
by and get to know Dimensions at
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: What can you say your websites
contributes most to the Big People movement?
say Dimensions' unique angle is that it's a social site with a
conscience. Dimensions celebrates the large figure but also
offers plenty of opportunity to discuss all angles and aspects.
It's a large and very deep site, so there's something for
everyone. The biggest contribution probably is that it helps fat
people and their admirers understand each other better.
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: Have you always been an advocate for
the large ladies?
Conrad: I have
always been attracted to large women, and I have always been
outraged at size discrimination.
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: What inspired you start Dimensions
Conrad: Though my
formal training is in architecture, I always had an interest in
publishing. I also began pursuing computers early, before
computer science was an actual science. So when Apple released
the initial Macintosh and Laserwriter and Aldus made "desktop
publishing" possible with Pagemaker, I was off and running. It
simply made no sense to do a 24-page photocopied newsletter when
those new tools made the production of a commercial magazine
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: How much time do you spend keeping
your magazine site updated?
Conrad: I work on it
pretty much every day. It soaks up whatever time I have.
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: Do you consider yourself an FA?
definitely. And I told the world about it on many TV shows.
That was a bit scary at first.
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: What is your definition of a FA vs a
Conrad: I'd say a
true FA treats his lady with love, dignitiy and respect in real
life and not just in his fantasies.
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: When did you first realize you had a
thing for Big Women?
Conrad: When I was
perhaps six years old. I didn't understand it then, but it was
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: How do you pick the topics that will
run on your site?
Conrad: I don't
usually plan ahead much. Things just pop into my head, and then
I do them.
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: Would you consider your desire for
the large lady a fetish?
Conrad: Not at all.
It is simply a taste and preference.
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: When did you notice there was a
market for People of Size and what business steps did you take
Conrad: I didn't see
it as a market. Volunteering to do the FA-SIG newsletter gave me
pleasure and I felt I could help others understand themselves
and the people they admired. Much later I hoped that there was
indeed a market for continuing BBW Magazine. We tried for four
years, but the advertising support simply wasn't there.
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: How often do you update your site
with new pictures, stories and support issues?
Conrad: Almost every
day. In addition, the forums have several hundred new posts
every day. There is always something new to see and read at
Jay of L.I.C: Readers Questions: How does an artist get featured on
Conrad: By sending
me a portfolio of artwork.