with additional information via Internet
I knew about
Abby Lee Miller Dance Studio long before Dance Mom's appeared on
tv. When I heard the name Abby Lee Miller I had to watch
the show. I have always loved dance and wanted to be a
dancer at one time when I was just a young Raqui, but I
didnt have the resources nor was I really given a chance to
think I could be a dancer, because I was a big girl who turned
into a super big woman. Still I loved to watch dancers and
knew about the famous Dance Company that produced so many
outstanding talented dancers. So I was very interested in
how this reality show would be showcased and to get to see who
Abby Lee Miller was.
When I realized Abby Lee Miller was a Plus Sized Diva with
plenty of attitude to boot, I thought "WELL GO GIRL!"
Yes she is showcased as a hard assed meanie. But, I can
understand the lessons she is trying to teach her students.
Being an entertainer of any kind means you will be harshly
treated and judged. While I don't always agree with
her tactics, I know these student will receive much worse when
working professionally even though they are children and even if
they are an amazing dancer. There is no doubt that Abby
had been producing high quality talented dancers for decades.
Her studio is known world wide and is always on top in
competitions. I also realize that this is
reality TV, if there is no over the top drama, who is going to
watch the show?
a little time to learn about Abby Lee Miller and see how
she never let size stop her success, nor did it ever
Originally from Pittsburgh, Abby got her love for dance
from her mother, Maryen Lorrian Miller, who is a 50-year
member of Dance Masters of America. Maryen owned seven
dance studios in Miami, Florida, prior to marrying
George L. Miller of Pittsburgh and giving birth to Abby.
Maryen taught classes all over the city before opening
her main studio in Penn Hills. Abby took classes at her
mother’s studio throughout her formative years. After
traveling with her mother to several national dance
conventions, she was inspired and captivated by the
newest “dance craze” competitions! At just 14 years old,
she started the Abby Lee Dance Company. In 1980, she
opened her own dance studio and estimates she has taught
3,000 to 4,000 students throughout her career. Now known
for her incredible dedication, discipline and passion,
Abby is one of the most sought-after dance teachers in
Pittsburgh, as she has turned out numerous professional
explains her history with dance:
Obviously, I took classes all my life at my mother’s
studio. Intuitively my mother chose not to push me or
let me hang out at the studio. My dad took me to my
class each week in addition to Girl Scouts (how much fun
can you have for a quarter a week?), clarinet lessons
(really hurt right after your braces were tightened),
roller skating, ice skating, sewing lessons at Sears,
swim team in the summer, ski club in the winter, and
let’s not forget Charm School!!! I was lucky to
accompany my mom and her staff every summer to several
national dance conventions — I learned from some of the
most amazing originals, pioneers in the dance world. I
became interested in this new thing forming called
“DANCE COMPETITIONS!” At the age of 14 I started the
Abby Lee Dance Company, and the rest is history!
I hate to be onstage; never enjoyed performing — that’s
one reason why I am a great teacher … I don’t envy or
compete with my students. My dreams for them are
sometimes greater than their own but never confused with
Highlight performances of Abby’s dance instructor
The first day “Footloose” moved into its home on the
Great White Way and one of my students stepped on a
Broadway stage. Without his knowledge, I snuck into the
theater and was granted permission to watch rehearsals.
My friend AC Ciulla was the choreographer. He sat down
on the steps next to my aisle seat and asked
my opinion of the choreography … that was a
moment. Another would be attending the Tonys! All the
awards and titles my students have won over the years
are very important to me.
Abby’s former students who have gone on to become
Mark Myars — First job: “Carol of the Bells” solo at
Radio City in the Christmas Spectacular. First Broadway
show: Original cast, “Footloose,” and he went on to
become the dance captain for “Wicked.” Now he is the
dance supervisor for the casts of “Wicked” in London,
Tokyo, Amsterdam and Belgium. This year alone he was
called in to swing principal tracks in the Broadway
casts of “Wicked,” “Come Fly with Me” and “West Side
Asmeret Ghebremichael — First job out of high school:
Principal swing for three different tracks for
“Footloose” on Broadway. She went on to perform in
“Spamalot,” “Lion King,” “Aida,” “In the Heights,”
“Legally Blonde” and “Book of Mormon.” I drove her butt
to NYC myself four times for callbacks for “Footloose.”
I have had dancers in the Radio City Christmas
Spectacular for 26 years. I have had 13 dancers
contracted to work in Japan at Tokyo Disneyland. I could
go on and on …
Does she still keep in touch with these former students?
Yes, of course, I still take their butts to dinner! They
don’t send me any percentage of their earnings — I’ve
wised up! I know that I am with them in spirit every
single time they step on a stage or into a class.
What Abby has learned most from having a career as a
professional dance teacher:
It takes 15 years to make an overnight success!
What inspires Abby most about dance:
The entertainment value, the ability to make something
so difficult look so easy and the raw emotional
What she hopes to teach her students about the
Survival skills. Absolutely everything they need to know
to be employable professional dancers.
What skills Abby thinks most of her students will walk
away with after completing her classes:
Proper dance technique, as well as a realistic look at
life, an understanding that everyone is replaceable and
everything is possible! They should be able to stand
taller, speak confidently and be comfortable in front of
a mirror or on a stage.
What Abby loves most about teaching dance:
I love the joy in a child’s face when they achieve a
goal or master a trick for the very first time.
Cover Model of the Month! Brooke Bradshaw Ms Utah Plus America
Want to be a
LargeInCharge Cover Model? Download the Application for 2013 -
COVER MODEL INTERVIEW
LargeInCharge.com: What is your name?
LargeInCharge.com: Where are you from and what is your current
From Las Vegas, Nevada, currently living in good ole Utah
LargeInCharge.com: Can you give us some information about yourself
(Age, Height, Size, Nationality, Marital Status, Children, etc.)?
I am 30 flirty and fabulous, 5’6, a size 22/24, Caucasian, Single
with no kids, However, I do have a nephew and 3 nieces that I love
to spoil, and then send them back to their parents
LargeInCharge.com: Were you a big child, or did you gain weight
later in life?
I was always a little bigger, but super active and athletic. I
started gaining my weight more in my early 20s.
LargeInCharge.com: (If you were a big child) how did you feel
growing up as a large child?
I was very blessed to have amazing friends in my life that never
made me feel any different or unaccepted. I also kept myself busy
with sports, study and socializing.
LargeInCharge.com: (If you gained weight later in life) what caused
you to gain weight and how did you feel about it?
I was in a very dark place in my life, and was looking for ways to
feel fulfilled. I became very inactive and looked to food as a
comfort.I am so
grateful for this struggle because it taught me that I am a fighter,
and that I want to do whatever I can to never revisit such a dark
LargeInCharge.com: What made you decide to enter the LargeInCharge
I am in such a good and positive place in my life, and have overcome
a lot in life. I want to do everything I can to express and share
that positivity with others who might be having their own struggles.
LargeInCharge.com: Did you find it a hard journey to be accepted for
your size, and do you find acceptance among your family and friends?
It has been a very challenging struggle to go from where I was, to
where I am now. I have learned that we are our own worst critics,
and our harshest enemies in life. However, just like most things in
life, it comes to the point where you must decide if you are going
to give up, or if you are going to move forward, because standing
still is not an option. With the help of amazing friends and family
I have gained an incredible love and acceptance of myself, and while
there is always room for improvement, I am truly happy with who I am
LargeInCharge.com: What would you say inspires you most in life?
My grandmother, she is the most selfless person I have ever met.
She’s an amazing example and inspiration of what a good classy woman
LargeInCharge.com: What is your primary occupation, and how did you
get into this line of work?
I am a Nurse for an ENT and Dermatologist. A couple family members
became very ill and needed a lot of in home medical care. I learned
what I could by reading books, searching on the internet, and asking
questions of the homecare nurses, so that I could help in whatever
way I could. My family quickly recovered, and seeing such a great
outcome from all the hard work, was so rewarding. I have also loved
helping people, and the combination of the two just seemed very
LargeInCharge.com: Do you find acceptance in the work force?
Absolutely, I work with amazing people, and being larger has helped
me when interacting with patients that face insecurities about their
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you believe should take place for
Large People in the work force?
I full heartedly believe in equality. I believe that everyone should
have the opportunity to work, and should be given the tools needed
for them to do their job.
LargeInCharge.com: What do you think about the fashion industry for
big sized clothing?
I think that we have a long ways to go when it comes to plus size
fashion being more available and accepted, but that we are slowly
making advances to make it more main stream.
LargeInCharge.com: What do you wish to see change with the fashion
I would love for the fashion industry to be more realistic, and
realize that the majority of women are plus size, and as such,
should have more lines that cater to women of size.
LargeInCharge.com: Tell us some of the places you buy your clothing
from.Do you have any
Torrid, Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, SWAK, Maurice’s, Old Navy, Cult
of California, Pinup Girl Clothing, we love colors (for cute
pantyhose and leggings), and Big Gals Lingerie
As far as beauty tips, I have two words ladies….FAKEEYELASHES!!!! It is amazing how something so simple can make
you feel so glamorous and feminine.
do you prepare for a Photo shoot?What should aspiring models be prepared for?
It is super important to know about the company that you are
modeling for, and what their expectation is of you as a model. I am
always sure to ask questions about what look they are going for so
that I make sure we are on the same page.
LargeInCharge.com: Look at Size acceptance five years ago... look at
size acceptance now.
What changes do you see?
I see positive changes; mostly from men and women who embrace who
they are and share that with the world. I think that modern
technology has helped spread people’s messages of size acceptance.
LargeInCharge.com: Tell us about your goals as far as modeling and
Right now I believe the sky is the limit and there is nothing that I
can’t do, so I am just choosing to seize every moment that comes my
have you accomplished as a Plus Sized Model?
I did print modeling for years, and have also been involved in a few
fashion shows. I am currently putting my time and effort towards
pageantry and charity work.
you entered or won any Contests, Pageants or Awards?What was the experience like?
Yes, I am the currently Ms. Utah Plus America, and will be competing
for Ms. Plus America in July. It has been an amazingly rewarding
experience, and I am so blessed to be a part of it. Not only do I
get to raise awareness for size acceptance, but I also get to help
local charities, and raise awareness for mine.
LargeInCharge.com: Can you tell us about an inspirational moment in
your life that made you feel good about your size.
During the past year, I have attended quite a few BBW events and
bashes. The first of which was “Well Rounded” put together by Brie
Brown. I fell so in love with the event, and the friends I made at
it, that I have attended several more thrown by Stu Bo.
At these events, I was so
inspired to see how comfortable and happy everyone was with
themselves. The level of confidence is so amazing when people are
free from being judged, and can just be themselves. I was also so
inspired by the time and energy that it must take these two
incredible people to put these events together, that I am forever
grateful for their contribution to the plus size community.
LargeInCharge.com: Is there a person in your life that makes you
More than anyone else, it is me that keeps me going. My love of
life, family, friends, work, and my commitment to helping others
gives me enough motivation that I know I can endure anything that
comes my way.
LargeInCharge.com: What advice would you give to other people of
size who want to model?
The best advice that I can give is to be confident. Modeling is
about selling yourself. It is about connecting to other people, and
making them love who you are, So
LargeInCharge.com: Which plus size figure do you most admire?
Adele. She is gorgeous, talented, and doesn’t let anyone destroy her
confidence in herself.
LargeInCharge.com: Describe yourself with one word.
Thanks for reading about
Cover Model of the Month
Raqui the Owner and Founder of LargeInCharge.com, Raqui's "Tell it like it is" style of
writing has brought thousands to her blogs and millions to
LargeInCharge.com. There is so much behind the woman who has
brought this magazine into existence. Being Internationally
known as a wrestler/squasher lead the way to modeling for companies
and being featured in magazines and documentaries from all over the
world. She has made a career out of her size and personality.
Born and Raised in the Bronx NYC. This city girl is taking the world by
For almost a decade Raqui officially moved into Size Acceptance and Empowerment.
With the creation of LargeInCharge she took what she said to
individuals to a higher level and made it public to the internet
world. She is a woman who doesn't let things get to her. Knock her
down for the moment but she will rise up stronger and better.
Being a speaker on behalf of many subjects and counseling Plus Sized
people online her grace and style has made people love her. Raqui continues to set an example of a powerful woman who will bend
the world to fit her, her way.
Raqui's appearances include, Uk Television, German TV, Japan, Europe,
and the Spanish circuit. Her many magazines appearances have
been world wide. She has hit American Television in 2006 with
Good Morning American and since has appeared on The Cristina Show,
The Maury Show and The Tyra Banks Show.
This year LargeInCharge
has begun its 9th year moving toward our 10th. I challenged myself
this year by starting my own little quest
toward learning, giving, and expanding my own mind, by donating to a
new charity every month. I hope that you all will enjoy
learning about these new charities with me.
I began to
understand that most of us only donate to a charity
if we have an emotional connection to the charity itself or someone
who is trying to raise money for a cause. One day when I
happen to dismiss a charity that was asking for donations, I realized
I dont want to be that person. I want to give because the
cause is worthy and I can. Not only because of an emotional
connection. So join me in learning about new causes and
charities this year. I will post a new one to my column every
CHARITY OF THE MONTH: St. Jude Children's
About St. Jude
When late entertainer Danny Thomas opened the doors to St.
Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 1962, he was not just
changing the lives of children who would walk through its
doors—he was changing lives across the world. When St. Jude
completed its $1 billion, five-year expansion in 2005, it
bolstered the hospital's efforts to find cures for the
catastrophic diseases of childhood. The growth more than doubled
the size of the hospital’s original campus. The expansion
included the Children's GMP, LLC—the nation's only pediatric
research center on-site facility for production of highly
specialized treatments and vaccines—an expanded Department of
Immunology and more. Now with the addition of the Chili’s Care
Center, a larger, rejuvenated Kay Kafe cafeteria for employees
and patients, and renovations to the medicine room and
rehabilitation areas, the hospital is more poised than ever to
advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric
catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.
The expansion moves St. Jude much closer to ultimately
realizing the dream of founder Danny Thomas that "no child should
die in the dawn of life."
Quick Facts about
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened on February 4, 1962 and
was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. Its mission is to
find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases
through research and treatment.
St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the
On average, 7,800 active patients visit the hospital each year, most
of whom are treated on an outpatient basis.
St. Jude has 78 inpatient beds and treats upwards of 260 patients
St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be
designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer
St. Jude is the first institution established for the sole purpose
of conducting basic and clinical research and treatment into
catastrophic childhood diseases, mainly cancer.
Research findings at St. Jude are shared freely with doctors and
scientists all over the world.
The medical and scientific staff published more than 680 articles in
academic journals in 2010, more than any other pediatric cancer
research center in the United States. St. Jude’s researchers are
published and cited more often in high impact publications than any
other private pediatric oncology institution in America.
No family ever pays St. Jude for anything.
magazine named St. Jude as one of the top children's cancer care
hospitals in the U.S. for two consecutive surveys.
St. Jude has developed protocols that have helped push overall
survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when
the hospital opened in 1962 to 80 percent today.
In 1962, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL),
the most common form of childhood cancer, was 4 percent. Today, the
survival rate for this once deadly disease is 94 percent, thanks to
research and treatment protocols developed at St. Jude.
The daily operating cost for St. Jude is $1.8 million, which is
primarily covered by public contributions.
During the past five years, 81 cents of every dollar received has
supported the research and treatment at St. Jude.
St. Jude recently completed an extensive expansion program that
bolstered the hospital’s research and treatment efforts, while more
than doubling the size of its original campus. The campus now has
2.5 million square feet of research, clinical and administrative
space dedicated to finding cures and saving children. The expansion
included the Children’s GMP, LLC, currently the nation’s only
pediatric research center on-site facility for the research and
production of highly specialized treatments and vaccines; an
expanded Department of Immunology; and a new Department of Chemical
Biology and Therapeutics for discovery of new drugs.
The Chili’s Care Center, opened in November 2007, integrates patient
care and research where rapidly evolving CT (computerized
tomography) and MR (magnetic resonance) technologies keep St. Jude
at the cutting edge for radiation therapy in a pediatric/adolescent
setting. Additionally, a state-of-the-art cyclotron enables St. Jude
researchers to undertake many important new PET (positron emission
tomography) studies. These imaging techniques facilitate the rapid
evaluation of new therapeutic approaches and help choose those most
likely to be successful.
St. Jude pioneered a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and
surgery to treat childhood cancers.
Peter C. Doherty, PhD, of St. Jude Immunology, won the Nobel Prize
for Physiology or Medicine in 1996. He shares the award with Rolf M.
Zinkernagel, MD, of the University of Zurich. Their findings have
led to breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of viral
infections and cancers, and in the development of organ transplant
procedures and vaccines.
St. Jude patients are referred by a physician, and generally have a
disease currently under study and are eligible for a current
research protocol on clinical research trials.
St. Jude researchers and doctors are treating children with
pediatric AIDS, as well as using new drugs and therapies to fight
St. Jude was the first institution to develop a cure for sickle cell
disease with a bone marrow transplant and has one of the largest
pediatric sickle cell programs in the country.
St. Jude is a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for
Studies on the Ecology of Influenza Viruses in Animals and Birds.
St. Jude was the first facility outside the National Institutes of
Health to receive federal approval for research involving human gene
The St. Jude faculty includes three National Academy of Sciences
members: Peter C. Doherty, PhD, of Immunology; Charles Sherr, MD,
PhD, of Tumor Cell Biology; and Robert Webster, PhD, of Infectious
Diseases. Sherr and Brenda Schulman, PhD, Structural Biology, hold
the coveted title of Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators.
The St. Jude faculty also includes five members of the Institute of
Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences: William E. Evans, St.
Jude director and chief executive officer; Arthur Nienhuis, MD, of
Hematology and former director and CEO; Charles Sherr, MD, PhD, of
Tumor Cell Biology; Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty, PhD, of
Immunology; and Mary Relling, PharmD, Pharmaceutical Sciences chair.
St. Jude is the national coordinating center for the National Cancer
Institute-funded Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium. St. Jude is the
coordinating center for the nationwide Children’s Cancer Survivor
Study, funded by the National Cancer Institute. St. Jude is the
national coordinating center for the National Cancer
Institute-sponsored Pediatric Drug Discovery Consortium. St. Jude is
the coordinating center for a national study of sickle cell disease
treatment funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of
the National Cancer Institute.
Angie BEE grew-up a standard-sized young woman, educated in
communications, promotions and planning.She became a wife, mother and ministry support member while
building businesses and her faith.
Through stress, age and a poor diet and while suffering from major
depression and attempted suicide, Angie BEE's weight climbed from
180 pounds to 360 pounds.She was diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes,
obstructive sleep apnea, an overactive bladder and poor leg
circulation.At the age
of 40 an anxiety attack and the decline in her mental health forced
her to stop work and look at improving her declining health.It was during this time that Angie BEE became inspired by her
younger sister Sonya Bennett during her process towards Gastric
launched this column and will return occasionally to contribute to
it, but now that she is three years-post surgery... her life is
focused on something new!
Now, celebrating her first year of a new life since having the
procedure herself, Angie BEE is healthier than she has been in over
a decade.Losing the
first 100 pounds was just the bonus!She is now diabetes-free.She has normal blood pressure.The circulation in her legs is normal.She sleeps without a c-pap machine and more!The joy that she feels is documented each day in her
syndicated radio show, a brand new weeklyTV show documentary and each month in this article.The Big GB stands for The BIG Gastric Bypass and it also
stands for "Getting (my life) Back".This article reflects how Angie BEE's life has improved... by
the grace of God and as the result of having Gastric Bypass surgery
on Feb 28, 2011.This
is now her life!
Five Years Later, 200 pounds Down!
Sonya Bennett - Angie's
I'd like to thank the named author Angie Bee and Raqui for allowing
me to share this byline for May! Don't worry, she'll return next
It's amazing how time flies; it's been five years since I had my
gastric bypass; the Roux-en-Y at Barix Clinics in Ypsilanti,
Michigan. Before the initial cleanse that is recommended to
all Weight Loss Surgery patients, I was 385 pounds and now at 42
years old and the mother of a one-year old daughter, I stepped on
the scale and weighed in at 185 pounds! Some may feel that's
not an accomplishment; however, I didn't achieve this size based on
what 'some' think. How many women can look back and say they
were in a tight size 32 dress and are now in a comfortable size 12
even after having a baby? I can! I'm not limited to the
Plus Size sections of the clothing aisles/stores and even though it
was not an easy trek, I don't regret it.
Weight Loss Surgery is not for everyone. People who feel
it is a 'magic pill' will find themselves going back for revisions
or, worse yet, not being successful in the first place. Whenever I'm
asked, I proclaim it is the best medical decision I've ever made for
myself; I had carried that weight for almost all of my adult life
along with high cholesterol, sleep apnea and, just prior to my April
13, 2008 "new birth-day" had just been diagnosed with Type II
Diabetes which resulted in a Diabetic Neuropathy of my left foot.
Though I am in remission from my Diabetes and my foot has
strengthened, certain seasons bring about an excruciating pain that
reminds me that I'm not 'healed'.
I would encourage anyone
considering Medical Weight Loss Surgery to research the options.
If you are 100 pounds overweight, or more, the Lap Band won't help
you in my opinion. If you are planning to have children, I
suggest you have them before a significant weight loss and if you
aren't planning to have children, please know that when your body is
in a healthy state, the probabilities of becoming pregnant are
I'm constantly trying to incorporate protein into my
baby's life; protein burns fat. I'm not neurotic; starving my
growing child; however, I am glad that I've learned that food is
fuel and I hope to incorporate good eating habits into my daughter.
I embrace my size: I'm nowhere near where I was, but far from what
society deems 'fit'. I hope, as we're almost approaching June -- the
middle of the year -- that if your health is affected by your
weight, that you will consider some changes. Should you be in
the Midwest/Detroit, Michigan area this July, come experience a
size-acceptance weekend that is being hailed a
Big, Beautiful Weekend that will explore vendors/sponsors
and parties celebrating our curves!
Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit
civil rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life
for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on
body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment
through public education, advocacy, and member support.
This Column is dedicated to the tremendous
work NAAFA has been doing for over four decades. LargeInCharge
wishes to support NAAFA in spreading the word of its work, and give
the public more information into issues we as plus sized people
should be aware of. The fight for equality for people of all
sizes is one we support.
This Column will include News Releases and
Calls to Action from NAAFA Directors.
This Column has been Approved by NAAFA.org
CVS Wellness Program: a Prescription for Discrimination!
from: NAAFA.org by
Last month NAAFA issued a press release calling on the leadership of
CVS Caremark to re-evaluate their new so-called “voluntary” wellness
requires employees to release private medical information to their
employer’s wellness program or pay an additional $50 per month for
How can a program be called voluntary when non-compliance results in
Our objection is not with employers offering wellness programs; it
is simply with those whose wellness programs include punitive
measures or differential rewards based on health status factors,
including a person's cholesterol, blood pressure, weight or body
mass index. Body size or weight is not a proxy for health or
wellness. These programs are discriminatory practices.
But there’s so much more to this story.
CVS joins the ranks of cost cutting corporations such as Whole
Foods, Safeway and Boyd Gaming who are disguising an attempt to
squeeze more out of employees as benefits packages and wellness
Boyd Gaming introduced a similar “voluntary” wellness program three
years ago. At the beginning of year two, the program became
mandatory with non-compliance costing employees more than an
additional $600 per year for health insurance. Non-compliance
also made employees ineligible for the company’s premium coverage.
Additionally, their program requires those employees with a BMI
above 25 to see a Boyd employed health coach three times a year.
Boyd's annual health assessment can be provided by your personal
physician or you can go to one of their assessment clinics and they
will take your blood, weigh and measure you. They will
assist with the 100 question health assessment form which asks for
information such as height, weight, waist measurement, how often you
exercise, how many hours per night you sleep, do you wear your seat
belt, alcohol consumption, how often do you floss, etc.
As representatives of some of the major stakeholders involved,
members and the Board of NAAFA are requesting the re-evaluation of
the intent and execution of CVS Caremark’s Wellness Program.
NAAFA offers its assistance in referring experts that may be of
service to you in finding health-based wellness programs.To voice your objection to CVS, sign the petition at:
Since the announcement from CVS/Caremark, Michelin North America,
Inc. has announced their version of madness labeled as a wellness
at the tire maker who have high blood pressure or certain size
waistlines may have to pay as much as $1,000 more for health-care
coverage starting next year.The company will reward only those workers who meet healthy
standards for blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides
and waist size — under 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
Speak out against Michelin’s policy at:
Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit human rights organization
dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA
works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat
people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education,
advocacy, and member support.
Some of you make know me as web girl/Lulu from Fashion Find. Well…
I’ve move on to another one of my favorite’s pastime which is
cooking. To get you all up to date on what’s going on. I’m currently
pursuing a graduate degree at Ashford University I have a B.A.
degree in Organizational Communication from Southeastern Louisiana
I am most passionate about cooking. I believe with cooking you can
always grow… I fried my first egg when I was 2 and baked my first
cake at 5. Cooking is an easy and dynamic experience if you have a
passion for a good tasting meal.
Motto: Cook with your heart not with your head.
If you have a favorite dish you would like to share please forward
with recipe and photo to
with Lucia Roth
Midweek Meal - How quickly the weeks are flying. I wish time
would slow down a bit.Anyone found the formula for squeezing extra hours into
the day yet? Well… on those days that you just don’t have enough
time in your day and you need a quick easy meal to prepare.
I have a wonderful
recipe for those days you just don’t know what to cook and time
is not on your side.Try Shrimp Risotto! This dish proves to be an easy quick
and sophisticated meal.
5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups arborio rice* or medium-grain white rice
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
*Arborio, Italian short-grain rice, is available at
Italian markets and many supermarkets
Bring broth and 1/4 cup wine to simmer in medium
saucepan. Reduce heat; keep hot.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over
medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon garlic and crushed red
pepper, then shrimp. Sauté until shrimp begin to
turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup
wine. Simmer until shrimp are just cooked through,
about 2 minutes. Drain shrimp, reserving cooking
Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large
saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and remaining 1
teaspoon garlic; sauté until onion is pale golden,
about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2
minutes. Add 2 cups broth mixture. Simmer until
liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding
broth mixture 1 cup at a time, stirring often and
simmering until liquid is absorbed before adding
more, about 20 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp
cooking liquid. Cook until rice is just tender and
mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Remove
Stir shrimp and 2 tablespoons parsley into risotto.
Salt and Pepper risotto to taste. Transfer to bowls.
Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons parsley.
A fruity, spicy Sauvignon Blanc would be perfect
with this meal.
Ms Suga is a plus size woman hailing from Sunny South Florida. She
is a 24 year old recent recipient of a Bachelor in Arts degree in
Communication Studies. Being plus size for the majority of her life
she has overcome many obstacles to finally come to the point where
she is fully content with herself and her life. This self love has
also allowed Ms Suga the privilege of sharing her love with those
around her. She is very passionate about life and loves to help
Ms Suga likes to see herself as the one everyone can go
to for positive, inspirational and truthful words of advice and/or
support. She is the Beautiful Inspirational Girl that is blessed,
intellectual, trustworthy, caring and hardworking.
Ms Suga has had a passion for writing since she was a
little girl when she used to think of short stories about what her
life would be like as she got older. This is Ms Suga’s first
opportunity for her thoughts to be public for the world to see.
Excited about this column Ms Suga is also very optimistic of her
future in writing and promoting self love and acceptance in the plus
I Cried and its Alright
with Ms Suga
This morning I cried (yes I'm a girl it's what we do). Anyway,
this morning I cried, I have a lot of personal things going on
and I had to let it all out. So I cried and afterwards I had the
calming feeling that everything would be alright. Now don't get
it twisted I don't cry just because; it takes a strong person to
release their feelings physically. There once was a time when I
wouldn't cry, I'd just be a bitch to any and everyone around me
and party till I couldn't party anymore. For the longest time,
that was how I masked my feelings. I was ruthless, cold hearted
and selfish and it all came from built up emotions. When someone
hurt my feelings I would fight back the tears and lash out at
the closest person to me. It got so bad that at times I didn't
want to be around myself.
Eventually, I would take a long hot shower, wash my hair (that
way I could blame my red eyes on the shampoo ;-)) and cry my
heart out. When I was finished I knew that everything is
alright. I knew I had to get my feelings in check and that I
could no longer bottle up my emotions but I was still Leary
about seeming vulnerable to others. As I got older I started to
realize that I can't handle everything on my own. Some things we
have to let go of while other things we can handle it just takes
How do you let go? Does my wacked out method sound familiar? Or
are you constantly bottling up life's trials? Do you feel like
everything will be alright? Now I'm no expert so I cannot tell
anyone how to live their lives but what I can tell you is that
masking your feelings or bottling them up won't do anything but
make things worse. If you don't release it, it'll never be
I know sometimes it seems like letting go is the worst thing you
can do but let me tell you this... it's alright. You might be
going through tough times and it seems like there's no end in
sight; remember this...it's alright. This month I'm challenging
you all to do something different. Let it all out; release the
anger, stress, hatred, heartache, bitterness, judgmental
behaviors, resentment, debt and all the other worries of the
world. Let it all out. Crying may not be sufficient; some of you
may need a stress ball or even a punching bag. The ultimate goal
is to release your frustration without causing more
Sex, booze and drugs are some people's "go to" stress reliever
but that is only a temporary fix. You may get doped up to forget
your problems but when u come down from that high the shit is
still on the fan. Like I said I cannot tell you how to live your
life but what I can tell you is you can't put a Band-Aid on a
bullet wound. Physical wounds are very similar to our mental
wounds. First the actual problem needs to be discovered and a
treatment is described. Then the medicine needs to be applied
consistently in order to heal. Once healed, there may be a scar
but that scar is there to show that you had a problem but
everything turned out alright.
I encourage you to treat your problems instead of ignoring them.
It might seem damn near impossible now but in the long run it'll
be alright. :-)
Until next time!
Encourage and be encouraging to others.
Kathy is originally from a small town in Michigan but has lived in
San Diego County since she's been 18 years old. Kathy
graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors in
Finance in 1999.
She has a real estate broker’s license and works as a mortgage
Kathy also owns BBW Club Catalina in San Diego which has monthly
night club parties and other fun events on a frequent basis.Kathy has been an avid supporter of NAAFA, Vegas BBW Bash and
San Diego BBW Bash and believes in size acceptance and health at
Kathy is a firm believer that people need to have a full life by
going to the movies, dinner, bowling, dancing and anything that will
make them a happier person and not wait till they are at the perfect
size to start living their life to the fullest.
Kathy is in her mid-40's and her children are grown and living
productively on their own.In her spare time she likes trying new restaurants, dancing,
modeling, bowling and spending time with family and friends.
Dating Sites do they Really Work?
There are all kinds of dating sites out
there for someone who wants to meet someone else.There is the popular E Harmony, Christian Singles, BBW
Cupid and Singles 50+ Our Time.There are more relationships and marriages started on a
dating web site or a social media web site today than if you
meet someone just by bumping into them on the street.
There are a lot of pros and cons to on line
dating because let's face it people aren't totally honest on
their profile and about everything they put on there.You have to decipher what is real and what isn't when you
look at their on line dating profiles.Dating web sites can definitely have their pros because
you can browse a profile and get a feel for someone.I think looking at someone's pictures can tell a lot
about someone too.
For example if a guy has a lot of pictures of him partying and
basically no other pictures than you can tell that he isn't
going to be the guy sitting on the couch every night watching
You should definitely pick a dating web site
that fits your interests and what you are looking for in a
Setting goals on what you are looking for in a relationship so
you don't spend your time going out on date after date with men
that don't have the same relationship goals in mind.Even though you know that not everyone is going to write
their profile as truthful as you would like you should try to
make sure your profile is as truthful and accurate as possible
so you have a better chance of meeting someone who will be a
You should also be prepared for the people
you turn down for a date being mean and rude because it happens
all the time.
I've had men talk to me on line and tell me how beautiful and
sweet I was but... the moment I said I wasn't interested in
going out on a date with them the tables turned pretty fast.The next thing I am reading is this same man who said I
was beautiful, gorgeous and sweet is now saying that I'm stupid,
fat and ugly.
Yes there will be married men on here posing
as single men so you also need to look out for the signs that a
guy is married also.Those signs can be that he texts you and hardly ever
calls, when you call him he doesn't answer and then texts you
back, the time of the day he can go out on a date with you are
limited and he has to cancel dates unexpectedly.
We also have to look out for men who live
out of the country who say they live here and tell you
everything you want to hear romantically to get you to fall for
them than they have some kind of emergency that they need you to
send them money via Western Union.
Spend some time on line getting to know
someone before giving out your phone number and test the waters
to see what kind of a person this man is but if you don't see
any red flags don't want too long to meet in person because you
need to get to know someone in person to really see what they
Also remember to be safe when meeting
someone for the first time and make sure to meet them in a
public place until you feel comfortable with them.A friend of mine a long time ago had rules for meeting
men in person that she had first met on line to be as safe as
possible when meeting someone who really is a stranger.She would always meet the man in a public place and
before she left for the date she would e mail her friends the
name, screen name, phone number and where she was meeting the
always let the guy know she was e mailing her friends his
information before meeting him and she would e mail her friend
when she returned home safe from her date.Dating web sites can help you find the person who is just
right for you and as long as you are being safe than you are
going to have a good time dating and finding a great person.
Celebrating almost two decades as a Graphic Designer/Published
Illustrator, Jean Nerestant Jr (Jness) got his start as a graphic
artist in 1994, Still working as a graphic designer by day/ Jness
devotes time to his hip hop Culture, comic book art and Plus
This month rather than share a piece of art that has been
previously released to the public by me I am revealing a project
that I have shied away from releasing to the public.Follow along as I explain why I have artwork that I have
felt restricted from releasing.
About 13 years ago, I decided to make plus size art my signature
thread of art. I started off illustrating full figured women in
the nude, primarily because I appreciated exploring anatomy
through my art, and I felt the platform made an impact on the
viewer. I saw the plus size woman as art, and I knew this was a
way to make that statement heard. The reaction was mixed.
Eventually there was an increase in volume from the voice of
public acceptance. But there were many who insisted that
anything displaying nudity was considered a form of
pornographic. I never clearly understood why the general
consensus leaned towards the conclusion that nudity in a modern
illustration is morally questionable. However, nude figures
featured in Renaissance art have been considered as acceptable
and truly artistic.
In regard to my art, there is a stigma that follows the full
figured woman throughout creative and social mediums. For
example, Mae West, and Marilynn Monroe played rolls that
presented them in a sensual way (for a lack of better terms).
Curvy women seem to be more acceptable in the media playing a
sexy roll rather than head strong, and intelligent roll. With
that being said, I think curvy art receives the same reception.
It’s instantly considered sexual. Don’t get me wrong; we have
come a long way since the examples I mentioned. Does anyone
remember Camryn Manheim, playing the roll of a powerful attorney
in the television series “The Practice”?
As I mentioned, I exclusively did illustrations of the full
figured woman in the natural. Until I received an email from a
twelve year old girl, who said, that before discovering my
artwork she never thought that someone who looks like her could
be perceived as beautiful.The experience lead me to changing my creative strategy.
This started the direction that eventually became the type of
art I produce now.
remember when the term BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) was associated
with something positive and uplifting to the plus size
community, now when placed into a search engine all you see are
pornographic search results. My website is called
www.bbwartbyjness.com, spread the word the name of my
website reflects early days when the term was fresh and
There was a collection I sketched out called “Curves”, it would
feature close ups of plus size women. A series of panel squares
featuring close observations of curves. I was not anxious to
revisit the discussion of art versus porn so I put the project
on the shelf. On this page you can see a sketch of what the
concept would look like.
I have decided to exercise my creative freedom and make this
idea I came up with from years ago a reality. I will reveal the
collection here very soon. Thank you for reading.
Hello there all my fashion loving friends. My name is Amy Lucas and
in this column I hope to bring you some new outfits that will make
you feel great and be Large and In Charge.
My whole life has not been devoted to fashion as my background is in
teaching Spanish, Math, and Science. I also have a master’s degree
in Central Office Administration.
With that said, I have been wearing
plus sizes for as long as I can remember so I do know the struggles we all
face to find cute clothes. I come from a smaller town in Michigan, which
means I have an even harder time finding plus size clothing in my area
since the choices are so limited; as well as, the sizes and styles each
Out of necessity, I started looking
online instead of just settling for the places here and have found that
other women could use the help too. I run a fashion group on Facebook
called BBW Fashion where I post something fabulous each day hoping to help
all those to find what they want in their size.
In my career, I've helped plus size
students and their parents to find fashion in their sizes that would help
them with their self-esteem and make them feel good about themselves. I
have also dabbled in fashion before this modeling for three different
stores, winning a cover model spot in July of 2012 in Large in Charge
magazine, and I was Ms. LBC 2008 for Linda's Big Connections in Chicago. I
look forward to showing you what is available in plus size fashion and
help you to look even more beautiful and chic.
25 Dresses for Summer
with Amy Lucas
Fun, feminine, and flirty dresses are the way to go this summer. They not
only look great for any occasion but they also keep you cool when the
temperatures soar. Whether it’s a maxi or a short strapless dress you will
look great. It’s also the perfect time to try out bold colors, color
blocking, pretty pastels, and interesting patterns. Here are some great
options for spicing up your summer wardrobe.
Jay Hansen and Heidi Davis are size-acceptance advocates from Oklahoma and
co-own Oklahoma's only social size-acceptance group,
Oklahoma BBW, BHM, and their
Admirers. Heidi was born in 1969 and has been a large woman her whole
life, just as Jay has been an admirer of such plus-sized women all of his.
Heidi graduated High School in 1987, which is the same year Jay was born.
The two met online in 2005 and quickly developed a friendship. In 2009,
Jay graduated the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor’s in
English Education, and the following year he and Heidi started dating and
quickly fell deeply in love.
Heidi is experienced, blunt, pragmatic, down-to-earth, and strong in every
sense of the word, while Jay is intellectual, articulate, ideological,
contemplative, and gentle. Heidi is eighteen years Jay's senior and nearly
three times his weight, while Jay is 140 pounds soaking wet with a brick
in his pocket. He's a king amongst nerds and all things geeky; she's a
tattooed, rough-and-tumble, hard rocker to her core. Together, they are a
beautiful personification of the old adage
"The Skinny on Big Love with Jay Hansen" was started in 2013 with Jay as
the primary writer and Heidi as his muse and endless source of ideas and
inspiration. Together, the two hope to provide people with a new frame of
mind on love and relationships, promote open-mindedness and acceptance,
ask intriguing questions, foster conversations, and prove to the world
that titles such as weight and age, amongst countless others, should never
stand in the way of one's pursuit of happiness.
Light Hearted Chest Pains
with Jay Hansen
After Heidi and I moved, we had terrible luck finding a regular physician
for her. The first two she visited left town shortly after seeing Heidi
for the first time; something I keep telling myself wasn't personal, but
still funny. Eventually when we did find a dedicated doctor Heidi got an
appointment for a regular physical exam, and I got to attend. I aim to
attend as many doctor's visits with Heidi as possible to collect as much
information as I can on taking care of her. Usually, there isn't anything
too important or ground-breaking in such regular checkups, but this exam
in particular had a surprise for us.
Heidi's doctor, who is thankfully size-friendly, was reading over all the
results and information she had collected from her routine testing in a
very casual, matter-of-fact way, until she uttered seven words that
brought the conversation to a screeching halt.
"... then, of course, there's your heart murmur." She paused, blankly
staring at us, "But, you already knew about that... right?"
Needless to say, we did not. In all her life Heidi had no idea that she
had a heart murmur. The everyday nature of the exam quickly came to an
awkward collapse as the doctor continued to tell us about it. Because it
was newly detected, several tests were going to have to be done to make
sure it wasn't dangerous. The first was a simple EKG that they could do
that day since all the equipment they needed was in the same building, but
for Heidi there's nothing "simple" about any tests that involve her chest.
Heidi is an extremely top-heavy woman. I won't divulge too many personal
details, but just know her actual bra size is not sold at any store,
including most online ones (save of course for the high-end, custom-design
companies). Any medical exam that involves a woman's chest, be it cardiac,
respiratory, or a mammogram always has an added layer of complexity when
administered to a particularly large woman. Heidi's often regaled me with
stories of exams that take unfortunate turns because of her size,
particularly the size of her breasts. Her very first mammogram, for
example, was administered by what she could have sworn was the tiniest
little woman she'd ever seen with the hands of a four year old. She
struggled to administer the test, audibly grunting and straining
throughout, which actually made it kind of funny. I'm a 6 foot adult male,
and not even I can properly hold one of her breasts out of the way without
both hands; I can only imagine what must have gone through both of their
minds. For Heidi, it involved nightmares of the poor little thing just
getting consumed and lost forever, but I digress.
What troubles her more than an unfortunately, albeit humorously, sized
technician is the same concern that haunts all too many people of size and
is only amplified by a hospital setting; the fear that they are being
judged for their weight. Often, when Heidi gets assigned some younger,
conventionally good-looking guy, she can't help but assume the worst; that
she's going to end up "the story" he tells at the end of the day to all of
his equally young, conventionally good-looking guy friends. This was the
case for the second of Heidi's heart-murmur related tests, her
echocardiogram, which I could unfortunately not attend. It didn't exactly
get any easier when one of Heidi's breasts completely pinned his arm down
just as easily as it did the previously mentioned, ill-fated mammogram
This fear of judgment is one that I am constantly trying to alleviate as
the partner to a large woman, and no where is it as potent as in a
hospital setting. The hospital requires us to be in our most vulnerable
position possible and demands complete honesty and openness. That's why
the importance of finding a size-friendly doctor can never be overstated,
but more importantly it's also why I try to be involved in doctor's visits
whenever possible. Being there to help her dress and undress, move around
the small exam rooms, climb up and down the tables, or even physically
maneuver parts of her body to help the doctors and technicians is of vital
importance. They are not as familiar with her or her body as I am and know
little of where she is sensitive or thin-skinned, physically and
emotionally. Sometimes, you just need to be there just to be there. As
always, the comfort of your plus-sized partner ultimately falls to you,
and under the often unflattering scrutiny of a doctor's office is when it
is most needed.
The final test Heidi needed to check her heart-murmur was referred to as a
"bubble test," but it would require going all the way to Oklahoma City to
see a much more specialized doctor. It may go without saying that this
hospital visit was an adventure in and of itself, and one that'll have to
wait for another time.
(But don't worry - the heart murmur turned out to be nothing!)
I was born in San Diego,
California on August 30, 1972.
Grew up in
San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego California.
I Graduated from San Diego State University in
1996 with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism
(Radio-TV News) and a Bachelors Degree in
I interned with U.S.
Senator Dianne Feinstein from 1995-1996.
interned with CBS News during the 1996 Republican
Currently I'm a
Licensed Sales Representative with Pacific Shores
Real Estate, Inc. in Solana Beach, California
I'm Co-Owner of Club Catalina BBW Night Club
in San Diego, CA.
And a newlywed, married
to Kathy Edmondson as of December 31, 2012.
I am the father of one daughter - Safiyah
Edmondson (8) and stepfather to two young men,
Alexander Hernandez (22) and John Rhakman Macklin
I enjoy bowling, basketball, tennis,
football. I play 12 musical instruments. I also
design a web page for a real estate company.
When Tolerance is no longer Acceptable
with David Edmondson
It doesn’t matter what context this word is
used, but when the term
used in conversation, it is sure to raise eyebrows. When
it is mentioned on topics such as race, sexual
preferences or religion; people seem to have a wide
range of opinions. Yet, I’ve noticed that when it comes
to being big, people have to be reminded, to check their
egos and their attitudes at the door.
How many times
have you been starred at when at a movie theater,
restaurant or an amusement park? When you are traveling
on an airplane, do you feel the stares as you get to
your seat? Are you the odd one at a stadium or arena,
when someone else has to get past you and your seat, to
get to the concession stand? It makes you feel as though
you have to apologize for being big.
Let’s look at the term
Tolerance for a moment. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary;
we are shown that it means:
to endure pain.
2. Sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices
differing from or conflicting with one's own. B. The act
of allowing something
3. The allowable deviation from a standard;especially: the
range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified
dimension in machining a piece.
It is with 2B and 3 that I have a huge problem with.
The very definition or meaning clarified in 2B and 3;
seem to indicate that there is a standard for how you
have to be in order to fit in. Slim, skinny, fit. You’ve
seen it portrayed in movies, television and film on a
daily basis. People of every race, color and creed,
breaking their collective necks and backs in order to
gain the approval of those whom worship every unwritten
law that Madison Avenue subscribes to. My question is,
in a land where we are supposed to celebrate what makes
people unique, why does this have to be another barrier.
It is one thing when you have to feel challenged by
society as a whole, but to endure this among family and
friends is a completely different story.
These are the so called people we live our lives
through, whom we count on for their unwavering support.
Yet, at least one person has had to endure that
relative, whom makes you the top target of every joke or
perhaps they want to give you advice as to how you can
fix your problem. As if you were the one who chose this
It has for some people led to overall depression another
battle that people of size have had to endure. Now men,
we tend to get a little more leeway because of sports,
where being big is accepted. However, it is not so easy
for all men. How many times have you wanted to date that
woman whom makes your heart melt, only to be told
directly or indirectly that she would never date you,
because you are too big?
There is a solution to all of this and that is…….wait
for it……Intolerance. No one should have to tolerate
being treated unfairly or criticized for being a certain
size. No one should have to be tolerated for choosing to
be who they are. In fact the word tolerance has a
negative connotation when you think about it. We should
be using words like, acceptance, celebrated or diverse,
because that’s who we all are as a people, no matter
your size. One day, we will hopefully reach that point.