With a title like "Fat Chicken Rule" how can you
not fall in love with the book and the writer. Me and Lara Frater
made company at an event. Which one I am unsure about since I
heard her name from many people. Since both Lara and myself were
East Coasters loving and living in New York.
I was able to get to know her through others in
the bbw community. I believe it was Phat poetry an event in which
certain spoken word and poetic individuals were selected to perform in
downtown Manhattan. I performed that night and it was wonderful.
Maybe we bumped into each other at the Fat Girls Flea Market, or one of
the Goddesses event. Either way we were running around in circles
in the same loop. So when I had the chance to interview Lara it
was a treat.
Now catching up to see all the new things going
on with Lara Frater and her new accomplishments is a real joy. Hope you
enjoy as well and keep updated with Lara at her site
LargeInCharge.com: What is your name?
LargeInCharge.com: Where are you from and
what is your current Location?
Iím a Queens Girl, born, mostly raised and currently living in
Queens, New York.
When did you first appear in
Issue #31 - October 2006
LargeInCharge.com: Please tell us why you
I had a fun and awesome book out called Fat Chicks Rule which was
a fabulous guidebook about being a big girl in a thin-centric world.
LargeInCharge.com:How did you feel when you appeared in LargeInCharge?
I was excited and happy to be featured! I love reaching out to
fans to let them know there is nothing wrong with being fat.
How do you feel now about being
included in our special Decade editions?
Honored, Iím glad I was remembered.
LargeInCharge.com: How has your life and
endeavors changed since your appearance?
first wrote the book, I was still fairly new to size acceptance. I
didnít even have a section in my book on Health at Every Size (HAES).
Now Iím more of an expert. I also feel more comfortable with my body and
my choices than I did in 2006.
LargeInCharge.com:What changes have you made to advance your career/business?
I try to send more stuff out than I did before or self-publish if
I canít. I kept my online presence strong. I make sure the blog posting
goes out every Monday evening.
LargeInCharge.com: How long have you
invested in your venture/career?
The book Fat Chicks Rule and companion blog came out in 2005, so
itís almost 10 years. (I was writing before that but Fat Chicks Rule was
my big breakthrough.)
LargeInCharge.com:Tell us about some of the most exciting events/occasions,
you/your business have held/participated in.
I havenít sold my book directly for a few years, but I had a
great time selling it at Phillybash, The Goddesses party, NAAFA, and the
Fat Girlís Flea Market (Now the Big Fat Flea)
LargeInCharge.com:Have you been featured in any press, on tv, newspapers etc?
been on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC, in the Associated Press, The
Queens Chronicle (My local paper), Xhibit P which explores themes in pop
culture, the blog has been mentioned in the New York Times and my book
was mention in on the floor of the senate
LargeInCharge.com: What changes have you
seen for plus sized people since your first appearance?
Iím seeing more social acceptance for larger bodies. There has
been a massive increase in fat acceptance blogs and social networking.
More clothing manufactures are carrying plus sizes and more people are
saying no to dieting and embracing Health at Every Size (HAES).
LargeInCharge.com: Are there any changes you
had to make for your venture/career flourish?
Iím a shy person and in some places I had to push myself to be
more outgoing. I had to make sure I kept my internet presence up. I
regularly post to twitter and Facebook stories about size acceptance.
LargeInCharge.com: What are some of the most
important things you have learned through the years?
I learned that what studies found out are often translated to the
media incorrectly. I learned all about that correlation does not imply
LargeInCharge.com: How is your standing in
the Plus Sized Community among the people?
Good feedback, negative feedback, learning lessons? I think itís
a mixture of all three, although I havenít reached out to people who
didnít like my book. (Actually people, not trolls), I feel like Iím
always learning. Of course I always love positive feedback!
LargeInCharge.com: What would you say
inspires you most in life?
Positive stories, my good friends and family, fulfilling the need
LargeInCharge.com:Any new ventures/items/products you have planned for the future?
wrote a three series zombie novels called End of the Line.
The third book Full Circle will be coming out in October. Of
course my blog still comes out every Monday.
LargeInCharge.com: What are your future
Iím just going to keep writing, writing and writing. I also be
working on the blog, doing activism when I can.
LargeInCharge.com: What advice would you
give to other people of size who might be interested in doing something
Iíd recommend keeping a fat positive blog, twitter, Facebook
group. Anything to spread the message that itís okay to be fat. Twitter
is the best way for people who donít have time to write long blog posts.
The more of an online presence you have, the better.
LargeInCharge.com: Describe yourself/ your
company/org with one word.
Thank you for
Reading The LargeInCharge Feature
Cover Model of the Month
LargeInCharge.com: What is your name?
My name is Stacie R. Smith
LargeInCharge.com: Where are you from and
what is your current Location?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I have resided in
Charlotte, NC for the past 12 years.
When did you first appear in
LargeInCharge Magazine as a Model?
I was fortunate enough to be chosen to appear as a cover model in
LargeInCharge.com: What made you decide to
apply that first time?
I wanted to apply initially as I felt there was not a good
representation of African American models in the plus size world
that had natural hair. Most models have the ever so popular weaved
hair and they all tend to look like clones. So, I wanted to show a
different look for the plus modeling world.
LargeInCharge.com:How did you feel when you appeared as a LargeInCharge Cover
I felt like I had just won a pageant as so many apply but not all
are chosen. It was a very good feeling to know that I was singled
out to be on the cover and inside of a magazine that catered to men
and women of size.
Has your modeling career
grown since your appearance?
I have not had any bookings yet but I must say my popularity has
increased on social media. I get constant friend request and inboxes
from admirers in and outside of the U.S.
LargeInCharge.com: Have your life and
endeavors changed since your appearance?
Yes, my desire to pursue another career from my own to the media
and entertainment field is now stronger. I feel that it has been a
long time coming for me to not do what I enjoy doing vs doing what I
have been professionally trained to do. I need to utilize my God
given talents and make myself happier in life.
LargeInCharge.com:What changes do you see in Plus Sized Modeling?
I see more curvy girls being recognized and accepted in print,
runway and television. Society is finally coming to terms that
everyone in America is not a size 5.
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you see
for Plus Sized People?
I see plus size people being happy with themselves vs. always
being ashamed and ridiculed. I see plus sized people taking charge
of their lives by not only being happier but becoming more aware of
their health and making the necessary changes to improve their
health whatever size they may be in order to live longer and
stronger which will allow them to have a quality life.
LargeInCharge.com: What would you say
inspires you most in life?
My love of God, and the desire to help the less fortunate, just
as he would do.
LargeInCharge.com:Any new modeling tips and tricks to share?
Individuality speaks volumes.
LargeInCharge.com: What are your future
My future goals will be to have a loving relationship and
eventually marry the man that God placed on this earth for me to be
with. I also want to own a business which will inspire the plus
LargeInCharge.com: What advice would you
give to other people of size who want to model?
Just remember to be yourself and not try to imitate what you see
others do in the media. If God wanted us all to walk around looking
like clones, he would have made up all alike, so when modeling
remember, to just be you and you will shine as bright as the North
LargeInCharge.com: Describe yourself with
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.
In this world we live in, it can be hard at times to see anything
but the horror and insanity around us. News Reports, Crime
Shows, Newspapers, Online Sites and blogs are way more interested in
what is sensational and wrong with this world, without focusing on
what is good in this world.
So this year I dedicate my column to all that is inspirational,
positive and helpful.
Standing up to the Unacceptable
We all know life is not fair, not to anyone of us.
Sometimes we face challenges in dealing with others. Looking
diffrent, thinking diffrent, it can make you a target for those who
like to make fun of and mock you. Bullying is not just
something kids worry about, it is not innocent either. People
young and old are harrassed, hurt, physically and physocloically
intimidated. Why is it that it seems normal to treated others as
less than human?
This month I wanted
to bring to you two videos that make a stand agaisnt Bullying and
Harrassment. Not In Our School's video is a real eye opener.
Showing the behavior that many of us know is happening everyday in
our schools and in our neighborhoods. We excuse it saying kids
will be kids and a little bulling is no big deal. You wont say
that after watching this video. If certain behaviors are not
acceptable for adults, why do we allow it to be normal among our
children? We dont think about these things often but we
should and we should make a stand.
The second video is
by Jonathan Novick, they feature his experiences (as a little
person, drawf) traveling around the city of New York and how he is
treated by the strangers around him. It is a surprising real
look at prejuice and disrespect that many of us deal with on a
These videos are
real and hits a nerve, they make you open your eyes.
Not In Our School - Unacceptable for Adults, Unacceptable for our
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!
Sisterly September Updates with Angie and Sonya
Re-Activating the Tool Equals
Re-Activating Your Mind!
I'm preparing for a book-signing tour this
fall. At each workshop and tour stop I will talk about my first book
"Last Week... I Wanted To Die" while debuting the new book that will
be out later this month. The first book details the third suicide
attempt and tells how my family handled my mental illness. The new
book will reflect on my past three years of weight loss and healing
from Gastric Bypass. I needed the mental healing even before the
physical healing because I realized that if my mind wasn't right,
the weight loss after bypass surgery wouldn't be right either.
Today while watching the "HLN Now" TV show, a 22 year old
young man named Tevante Clark was interviewed on how he lost 222
pounds. He participated in a Duke University program in an effort to
lose his doctor-mandated 40 pounds in order to become a candidate
for gastric bypass surgery. Once he began eliminating sugary drinks
and working out in the gym for three hours a day, he not only lost
the weight that he needed to lose to qualify for surgery, but he
became encouraged enough to continue on with the program and was
able to lose the weight without having the surgery! Now, 222 pounds
smaller he states, "The change in lifestyle helped but I had to
change my way of thinking in order to see my progress". This 22 year
old young man continued to say, "If you make up in your mind that
you can do something, you can do anything that you want to do".
Out of the mouths of babes (Psalms 8:2) we are gaining
revelation and strength to know that our way of thinking controls
our eating, weight loss and healthy living. Yes, the mind controls
everything and this young man confirms that we aren't too young to
think about living at a healthy weight. This young man talked about
how terribly he was teased while growing up because he was obese and
his before pictures showed a sad-looking young man with apparent low
self-esteem. He talked about the physical limitations he grew up
with by carrying around that excess weight, too. Just watching his
live interview via Skype was so encouraging! He looked vibrant and
alive and pleased with his accomplishment. WOW!
Let's take time to focus on this young man's testimony
and choose to make up in our minds to be healthy. Even when we have
a setback of weight gain or illness, our minds can help us
regenerate the healthy eating and exercise. Even after surgery when
the medication causes side effects and mental despair, let's
encourage one another to concentrate on healing and keep it moving!
As I continue to prepare for my first book signing this month in
Debary, Florida, my sister Sonya continues to heal from surgery and
I am honored to have her contribute to these thoughts. Hope to see
you on the tour route!
Now... a word from my sister Sonya!
Truer words have never been spoken as they have been from
my sister, Angie Bee above! I am six weeks out from my
stomach-muscle tightening and apron removal surgery. Recently, my
sister and I were discussing whether there are "times of
refreshing"; i.e., times when your appetite is minimal like it was
directly after the gastric bypass. I was sharing with her that yes,
there have been times over the past five years where I just don't
have an appetite and have to remind myself to eat and nothing
brought it on: I wasn't dieting or fasting or even doing a liquid
diet; regular issues of life may be the cause. I believe we all have
times that our appetites are affected: stressful situations, times
of depression (such as losing a loved one), etc. and it really
depends on your mindset as to which way your eating habits will go.
I admit that before the gastric bypass, when
these times would arise, I would head straight for the chips, the
ice cream, the candy and anything else that would self-medicate me
and, unfortunately, add on the pounds. I now find other avenues to
handle these emotional roller coasters and sometimes not eating is
at the top of the list and, as your body does when you starve it, my
body starts retaining the nourishment it received (like a camel)
and, coincidentally, the tool is reactivated. It starts in the mind,
though like all things do.
A friend, who had her surgery 10 years ago, was
contemplating a revision surgery to try to reactivate her "tool" and
while contemplating this option, she realized that if her mind
wasn't ready to follow the instructions that she did not follow 10
years ago, then what's the point in doing it again? She stated that
she knows what to do to lose the weight and admitted she'd gained
back the majority of her weight in this 10 year time frame and
wasn't sure if she was prepared to go down the lifelong road of
weight loss that she did not travel correctly the first time.
My muscle-tightening surgery has reduced my
intake substantially and since I was already familiar with protein
shakes ( I love Designer Whey products; they mix smoothly without
grit and taste great with either water or juice) my mind immediately
reverted back to the lessons that were taught and learned after the
gastric bypass. My friend, and others who have been in my social
circle over the years, have pushed the envelope in regards to their
weight: drinking excessively, eating sooner and more than they
should and just generally not taking this intense treatment
Revitalizing your mind can revitalize every aspect of
your life. In this time of healing from this last surgery, I have
had the energy mentally and physically to work on any things to move
my life forward including working on my entrepreneurial mindset!
Later this month, I will launch my trademarked and patented product
creation "Safe Sac " and I'm so excited! A long-time coming, I have
purchase orders from boutiques and will pitch my product to larger
companies with the desire to have Safe Sac in nationwide retail
stores; and now you may find us on Facebook! New energy can bring
new desires and the desires of my heart have always surrounded
around being financially stable and being my own boss.
As always, I hope I continue to see you on the other
The Big GB - Getting My
Life back after Gastric Bypass
with Angie Bee
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
NAAFA Concludes Successful 2014 Conference
On August 10th, NAAFA concluded
another successful annual event held this year at the Crowne Plaza
Dulles Airport in the Washington, DC area and hosted by
Although this conference was overshadowed by the loss of NAAFAís
Chairman of the Board Jason Docherty, who passed away on July 28,
2014, NAAFA members rose above their sorrow and worked to continue
the fight for Equality at Every Size.
The NAAFA Board of Directors met prior to
the conference in order to make some of the tough decisions that
needed to be made in order to move forward.We are proud to announce that Phyllis Warr will assume the
responsibilities of Interim Chairperson of the Board, Peggy Howell
has been named Vice Chair along with her Public Relations
responsibilities, Donna Frey will serve as Membership Director and
Darliene Howell has joined the Executive Board as NAAFA Secretary
and Research Specialist.NAAFA Treasurer and NAAFA-Capital
Chapter President Tony Harrell secured our comfortable and
convenient venue and was instrumental in the 2014 Conference and its
Board members appealed to the NAAFA
membership to consider volunteering their talents to serve on the
NAAFA Board of Directors or to suggest and help manage projects that
might increase membership and fundraising so that NAAFA will not
only survive but thrive as we move forward.
First time attendees and longtime members alike walked away from our
time together feeling appreciated, accepted and hopeful for the
future of the size acceptance movement.
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. WellÖ
Iíve move on to another one of my favoriteís pastime which is
cooking. To get you all up to date on whatís going on. Iím 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 growÖ 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
Summertime, and the
livin' is easy Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high Oh, your
daddy's rich and your ma is good-lookin' so hush little baby,
donít you cry.
(Porgy and Bess 1935)
Yes! Summer is in full swing and for some
just about over. You survived the 4th of July, summer
camp, screaming kids, etcÖ.. However,
you still have time to enjoy the summer without all the chaos
that summer has to offer.Stop! Take a moment if youíre single, dating, and or
married have a me, us, we moment.
How you may ask? Simple a romantic picnic at
home, on the beach, even at the park you need a moment just for
you and your love one and for the single parents you need that
moment as well.Treat yourself to a glass of champagne or wine and for
you nondrinkers Welchís White Grape Sparkling Juice. What more
perfect a light easy not to heavy dish.If youíre health conscious or not this
Orange Beef Lettuce Wrap has a yummy factor of 10.
Orange Beef Lettuce Wrap
1 pound beef top
round steak, cut lengthwise in half then crosswise into 1/8-inch
frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon rice
2 tablespoons soy
crushed red pepper
1 cup shredded
1/2 cup thinly
sliced scallions (green onions)
1 head iceberg
In a large bowl, combine beef
strips and 2 teaspoons cornstarch, toss until evenly coated.
In a small bowl, combine orange
juice, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and remaining
2 teaspoons cornstarch; mix well. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil over
medium-high heat until hot. Add beef strips and cook 1 to 2
minutes, just until beef is no longer pink. Do not overcook.
Add orange juice mixture, carrots, scallions, and crushed
red pepper. Cook and stir until sauce is thickened, about 1
minute. Spoon beef mixture into lettuce leaves and serve.
Simply remove the outer leaves from a head of iceberg lettuce,
rinse the head under cold running water, core it, then soak it
in a large bowl of ice water for a couple hours in the fridge to
crisp up enough to hold the beef mixture.
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 I present you with an
illustration that mimics the very familiar image we see every
day in the media, featuring the triumphant plus size woman who
found a miraculous method to lose weight. The ďbefore and afterĒ
photograph. My illustration puts a fresh spin on the scenario.
The big girl is the hero in my rendition, on the side showing
improvement. Now please donít get me wrong, I am not against
safe, healthy weight loss by any stretch of the imagination. My
artwork featured in this article promotes a positive outlook on
the body you are in and most importantly at the size you
currently are. I donít like the way weight loss pill pushers
place their advertisements in every area that pertains to people
of size. Yes, I understand its business. There is something
about it that feels more like an intrusion. They even create
Facebook accounts posing as regular people so that their sales
people can friend you just to post ads on your wall. This is a
gesture I donít appreciate, resulting in me blocking them. I
refuse to have my artwork be used as a lure to pressure people
into purchasing weight loss products. That would be a gross
misrepresentation of what my artwork stands for.
Many plus sized people have gone under the
knife in order to have fat removed from their bodies. It is the
individualís right to choose this path. The size acceptance
community has been in existence for quite some time. A lot of
benchmarks have been accomplished in the areas concerning
discrimination against people because of their size. There is
still a lot of work to be done. Itís interesting watching how
surgery can instantly change membership status in this
community. Whatís even more interesting is what people do once
they are no longer plus size. There is a woman I know on
Facebook who used to be a very active leader in Yahoo bbw
groups. She is no longer a woman of size. I recently read
comments she made making fun of plus size celebrities. Itís
funny how we can firmly believe in a thing and moments later
forget where we came from and what it felt like to be mistreated
and disrespected because of oneís appearance.
The truth of the matter is that we should
all be true to the words we speak. Just because your situation
has changed doesnít mean your perspective has to completely
change. If anything your insight should be richer and help form
a more informed perspective. Love yourself as you are and donít
allow others to make you feel like less than you are. You
deserve more than that. If your desire is to lose weight, do it
safely, and do it for yourself. Make sure itís not for others,
because after you lose the weight they will just find something
else to be critical of.
you like this monthís illustration. Share your thoughts with me
by sending your e-mails to
Iím looking forward to hearing from you.
Jean JNESS Nerestant Large In Charge
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 masterís 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.
Fun, Fall, Fashion Picks!
with Amy Lucas
This fall is all about having fun with
fashion by picking pieces with interesting features such as zippers,
leather, quilted details, lace, bold prints, mesh, and asymmetric cuts. As
for colors, you canít go wrong with black, white, and grey as they make
you look sophisticated and are always in style. You can turn up the notch
on your fall wardrobe by adding a few of these pieces to give you a
super-chic look. Here are just a few of the great options available to
rock this season.
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 Bachelorís 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.
Big Group, Big Challenges
with Jay Hansen
There seems to be a lot of validity in the old thought that no one
having a good time at a party ever bothers to make sure the person or
people hosting it are having fun too. Speaking from first hand
experience owning and operating a BBW activities group, this can be
unfortunately true. It's certainly not that Heidi and I don't enjoy our
own parties, but it does seem all too common that others don't
understand the amount of work, time, and energy it takes to host them,
so we wanted to take the opportunity to explain in detail what we both
do to make Oklahoma BBW, BHM, and Admirers happen. I apologize for the
length of this article, but there was just too much that goes into
planning a party that I couldn't leave out.
The long process starts at the very end and very beginning of a new
year. Each year we sign a contract with a hosting venue that meets our
group's needs as well as establishes the dates and times of each party.
First is finding a location, because most places we've contacted either
don't meet our group's needs or fall way outside of our price range. The
venue must be a hotel or immediately near an affiliated hotel so that we
can negotiate a special, reduced price for members booking a room, to
further encourage people to come to the party even if they live a great
distance away. In such a sparsely populated state and region, this is a
very important detail. It also enables people to drink responsibly and
not have to worry about securing a ride home; they can just return to
their room as soon as the party is over and sober up by the next morning
to return home. After that, we pick dates for the parties based on the
availability of our staff and how many we're going to have. Parties are
always on Saturdays from 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM, and we have anywhere from
three to six "night club" themed parties depending on the group finances
and the climate control capabilities of the party room. That may sound
minor, but when you have a room filled with 75-100 people, most of whom
are fat, it can be impossible to cool down in the summer months, which
is why in the past few years we've had to give up hosting parties from
June through August. Similarly, we do not have parties November through
January because people are always busy over the holidays and travel can
be dangerous during the winter.
Among other things, when looking for a venue we try to find places that
allow us to play music after midnight and bring in our own food and
alcohol. These two details alone disqualify a surprising number of
hotels because of their strict policies on music or insistence that we
use their in-house bar or licensed caterer. As a private party hosted by
a private group, we are legally allowed to provide our own alcohol and
food, and doing so enables us to keep membership dues down. It must be a
centrally located establishment somewhere in the Oklahoma City area, it
must be handicapped and plus-sized friendly both in its personal rooms
and the room we book for the party, and, of course, it must be
reasonably priced. Oklahoma BBW has never paid more than $500 per
reservation for the party room itself and likely never will. Once the
contract is signed, the dates and location cannot change. All of this
must happen by the end of January.
Not long after there is some sort of meeting with the group staff to
discuss possible party themes if not already discussed. Our most popular
theme by far is the Halloween party in late October and will always be
done every year, while our Pajama Party is second both in popularity and
timing usually around late March or April. The other party themes are
subject to change so we can try new things each year such as the
"Mustache Masquerade" or the "Nerds ~n~ Jocks Mixer," but the Luau is
often a popular one we try to do at the very beginning of summer before
it gets too hot. 2014 was actually the first year were we did not do the
Luau. Once the themes are established, Heidi makes the first graphic of
the year advertising the event themes and dates, and posts it all across
our social media network. Primarily, this includes Facebook, our Yahoo!
Group, and our main website,
individual party will also have a specialized graphic promoting it,
which Heidi tries to have made and shared across this same network a
month in advance of the party. Here are some examples:
Around the same time the advertising graphics need to go up, Heidi and I
have a discussion of what colors and decorations we want for the party,
and Heidi places an online order for the decorative supplies we will
need like tablecloths, candy, wall decorations and centerpieces. This
must be done as early as possible as to give ample time for them to
arrive in the mail. All online orders should be in our house no later
than the Monday or Tuesday preceding the party, which is also when both
Heidi and I have to run inventory of all party supplies. We keep the
boxes of these supplies in our garage, and must go through them for each
party and take note of what needs to be purchased like plates, utensils,
batteries, tape, etc. Here's "the party wall:"
It's also important the week of the party to call the hotel and ask when
we can come decorate. Preferably, we decorate the Friday night before
the party, enabling me and Heidi to stay up late that night and sleep
late the next day since the party on Saturday goes until 2:00 AM (and
Heidi and I usually go to sleep by 10:00 PM). If the room is unavailable
that night, though, which has been an increasingly common occurrence in
recent years, we have no choice but to decorate the morning of the party
at 11:00 AM. We encourage everyone in our group to come help volunteer,
and thankfully we usually get quite the turn out.
In this same time as running inventory, placing orders, making graphics,
and so much more Heidi and I must somehow find time to figure out our
outfits or costumes for each party. Preferably this is done months in
advance to make things a little easier on us, but sometimes we just get
so busy that it just doesn't get done, which is unfortunate because the
outfits are possibly the most enjoyable aspect of the parties.
Thirty minutes before we leave to decorate (10:00 AM for morning
decorations, 6:00 PM for evening ones, giving thirty minutes for
travel), I have to pack the truck with all the boxes you saw in our
garage. This is usually the work dichotomy for me and Heidi; I do most
of the physical work, while she does a lot of the financial and
negotiating work, much like I've written before about how we divide up
the house work based on our capabilities and limitations. This is also
why, upon getting access to the room, Heidi sits at the front desk and
gets it set up while coordinating the entire decorating effort and I get
started on wheeling out tables and chairs, along with the rest of the
volunteers. Generally, decorating starts with specifically placing each
of the twelve tables, placing eight chairs at each table, putting out
tablecloths and centerpieces, setting up the food and DJ tables, hanging
wall decorations, hanging information signs like "Staff Only" or "No
Drinks Beyond This Point," distributing fans, checking the nearest
bathrooms to make sure they're clean and well stocked, and making sure
the air is cranked down to at least 68 degrees if not lower, so that way
we can ensure the room is sufficiently cool by time the party starts.
Heidi's work at the front desk usually involves getting signs ready to
be hung, setting out proper paperwork like sign-in sheets, wristbands,
and badges, organizing the raffle prizes and products for sale like
group calendars or bumper stickers, and generally preparing for any
contingency with ample supplies of safety pins, duct tape, tags,
push-pins, and other handy tools. On average, we're done in about two
hours, but sometimes it's taken as long as three or as short as one and
Once we're done decorating, it's a thirty minute drive back home. If we
decorate on a Friday we sometimes go out to dinner along with our fellow
volunteers,but once we get home I immediately start baking, if I
hadn't already. Some of my recipes like my
Better Than Sex Cake or
Boom Booms can be made the day
before and refrigerated, but my sweet and sour cocktail wieners that
accompany me to each party must be made the day of. Each of my baked
goods that I bring usually take at least an hour if nor two to bake, so
that keeps me busy most of the day of and before the party. I also try
to find time to nap somewhere in there but that rarely happens for me.
Heidi is much more diligent about getting rest in before a party, but
that's also because the stress of hosting always makes her sick the day
of the party, albeit to varying degrees each time. It all depends on how
much goes wrong, which something inevitably always will. Air conditioner
breaking, outfit shrinking, broken tables, baking disasters, camera
malfunctions, or just the constant stress of time limitations; Murphy's
Law has never been more applicable than to the hours immediately prior
to an Oklahoma BBW Party.
Then it finally comes time for the party. Usually, I'm an absolute
panicky mess and Heidi's about to throw up. Generally as soon as I'm
done baking I load the more sensitive materials into the car like DJ
equipment, beverages, the group lockbox, the camera, and my baked goods,
and we try to be out of the house no later than 6:30 PM. This gets us to
the hotel around 7:00, giving us an hour to fix any fallen or messed up
decorations while Heidi fixes up the front desk more and puts on her
makeup. I set up the stereo equipment and make an run to the nearest gas
station sometime around 7:30 for bags of ice. If we're lucky, we may
even get a few minutes to sit before guests start showing up around
Once the party starts, we're on our feet all night. I'm busy taking
pictures, which is remarkably stressful for someone as introverted as
me, and only compounded when I have to spend half the night apologizing
for a wonky camera and re-re-re-taking people's pictures. Heidi greets
new members, manages the raffle and other contests or announcements, and
generally puts out fires all night. Whenever there's a security problem,
it's reported to her and she handles it like a boss.
Each party is a potluck with fantastic food, but if we don't get to eat
before 9:00 odds are we're not getting to. We sometimes get a second
window near the end of the evening around midnight, but by then most of
the good food is gone. It's also in this window where I finally get a
chance to actually socialize with my friends. If I'm lucky, I get a
whole half an hour to forty-five minutes before it's time to start
cleaning up and shutting down. When that time comes we pick up any
leftover group candy and centerpieces, making sure to inventory the
centerpieces to make sure none were stolen, which has been an increasing
problem in the past couple of years. Once that's done we start dumping
all liquid waste into a bucket for dumping, wrap all the trash on the
table up into the disposable tablecloth, and just toss the whole thing
away. All the wall decorations need to be taken down and re-packed, as
well as the food table supplies like plates, bowls, etc. As with
decorating, Heidi stays at the front desk at this time to break it down
and manage it so that the rest of the staff can either clean or go home.
The last thing that is broken down is the DJ booth, so that party goers
can still listen to music, dance, and generally enjoy themselves even
while clean up is going on.
Then it's time to re-load everything back into the truck, which can
sometimes be a challenge since it's two trips worth of equipment and
supplies that are being loaded. It's usually in this time I go through
the inevitable phase at the end of each party where part of me wishes we
could attend the various "after parties" our group members hold in their
private hotel rooms. It's an odd desire really, given how much
socializing I've just had to do, but I guess part of me just wants to
feel a more connected sense of belonging in attending the more exclusive
after parties. Besides, since it's someone else's after party, there
wouldn't be any responsibilities for me or Heidi, which would be nice,
but the problem we always face is our undeniable desire to sleep. By
this point, we'd have likely been up for nineteen hours or more and are
about to collapse. Plus, neither of us feel comfortable leaving all the
group property, especially the expensive stereo and computer equipment,
just sitting in a vacant parking lot while we go elsewhere; getting the
truck home and unloaded is a top security priority.
We usually get home no later than 3:00 AM and pass out immediately after
unpacking the truck... again.
Once home and unpacked, a party is officially over. We do this anywhere
from three to six times a year, and that's not even counting the lesser
events like group BBQs, dinners, movie nights, picnics, etc., all of
which we usually have to plan and execute ourselves too. Then there are
also the invitations from other group members we regularly receive to
the point where there are many months where every single weekend is
filled with activities somehow related to the group, and even then many
of such invitations must be turned down for this same reason; there's
just no time left in our schedule.
On top of all that there's the annual Oklahoma BBW calendar. We pick
twelve models from the active members of our group, one for each month
of the year, and they each get a photo shoot of at least three hours, as
well as shoots for the staff that take about half an hour each. These
shoots are often scheduled on weekends eating up more of our time, and
taking over a month just to complete each of the shoots. It's then
another month or two of work before the photos can be edited and the
calendar designed and published.
For the sake of brevity, all of this isn't even including the issues
we've been having with our online group activity. Each day we get a
dozen new members asking to join, yet so few of these newcomers are
willing to obey the rules, or even read them. When the rules are
enforced, they get angry and rail against the group, its staff, and
online administrators, but in many cases they also won't leave the
group; they'd rather stay and stir up trouble. Negativity and drama
containment online has in and of itself become a full-time job on top of
the full-time job of planning and managing group events, not to mention
our actual full-time jobs.
I didn't write this long column to complain or to be self-serving; Heidi
and I love what we do and know it's all for a good reason. It always
seems right when Heidi is feeling at her most exhausted and fed up with
group-related drama we get a heartfelt and sincere thank you from a
group member that was in desperate need of finding a place where they
felt safe and where it was okay to love themselves as they were without
having to hide behind the veneer of ridiculous societal expectations.
Heidi, as a very plus-sized woman, and me, as someone of alternative
gender identity, know first hand how important this can be, so being the
ones to provide such a haven for others is a dream come true.
Still, that doesn't change the fact that it is extremely exhausting and
demanding physically, emotionally, financially, and psychologically, and
many people don't seem to understand how much work it is. Many times
group members will come up with great ideas for events, party themes, or
new locations for us to scout out for our parties, but aren't willing to
implement or even help implement them; they just expect us to do it.
Many times others will suggest locations like casino hotels that would
cost thousands of dollars per party and still not meet our needs as a
group or our member's needs as plus-sized people. People will sometimes
"volunteer" to take on new responsibilities, yet never actually do
anything. So please remember when out at a party to keep the host in the
back of your mind. Volunteer to help out if you can, and don't ask more
of the hosts if you yourself aren't willing to put forth effort in
implementing a new idea. Speaking from experience, I know any host would
be grateful for any help you could provide
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.
10 years is not too late
with David Edmondson
congratulations to Large & In Charge Magazine for making
a positive impact on the lives of people for over a
decade. 10 years is indeed a cause for celebration. Many
of us use a decade as a measuring stick for success in a
timely fashion. High school reunions for example take
place every decade. Wedding anniversaries, while special
every year (HINT fellas) are made more special with the
passing of each decade. However, you donít have to use a
10 year mark to make improvements on your everyday life.
You can start today.
that grudge you have against a family member or former
friend. You may have said to yourself, ďIt will be a
cold day in hell before I talk to them again.ĒSome things cannot be forgiven, but there are
things within our power to forgive or at least
investigate, what caused this tension in the first
place. More times often than not, it was simply a
misunderstanding that caused the rift. Yes, guys are
also victims of the he said she said syndrome. More
often than not, our pride gets in the way of us
rectifying the situation. Start today by taking a
straightforward approach. Donít wait until the next
family reunion or the next funeral, to put issues to
bed, because by then it may be too late.
me if you have heard or said the beginning of this
sentence; ďIn ten years, I see myselfÖÖÖ.Ē There is
absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals for yourself
as that is one of the things that separates men from
boys. However, if you take a little longer than a decade
to accomplish your goals, it will not be the end of the
world. There are some whom are so consumed with reaching
their goals in a certain amount of time, that when itís
not accomplished, they turn to alcohol, drugs or go into
severe depression. You have to learn to take it easy on
yourself and not worry about what others think. Learn to
of us look back at our pictures from decades past and
realize we may have been much happier or smaller back
then. Of course, things happen in our lives, which can
be out of our control, which may explain why we are in
the current state, we find ourselves in today. Asking
where the time went is counterproductive as is trying to
shift blame on someone or something else. What is
important is to take responsibility for your actions and
analyze what you did, what you could have done
differently and how you plan to attack the situation.
This will help you get back on the path you were
were made to be measuring points in our lifetimes and
GOD willing, we will get a few of them to look back on
our lives and adjust. Yet, the mistake we make is we
allow fear, pride and sometimes laziness to get in the
way of what we are trying to accomplish. Now is the time
to take ownership of your issues and tackle them head
on. Why wait another decade to say I couldíve, wouldíve
Shouldíve; when instead you could be celebrating your
next decade in peace?
Freakie has been a member of the BBW community for
over 20 years. She lives in Washington State with
her two cats Boo Boo & Maxie, and has also resided
in California and New York. Besides advocating for
Big Beautiful Women she is a lifelong child
advocate and is a strong believer in Size
Acceptance (ALL sizes). She dreams of travelling
the world and being an ambassador for the fat
community. Her personal motto is, ďFAT CHICKS
Intentions Are Everything
I want to bring up the subject of BBWís and EXPECTING
MORE. We BBWs constantly settle for less and sell
ourselves short. We like to think that we are out
there rocking the sisterhood and representing, and we
may be individually, but as a communityÖ not so much.
Rather than define and promote ourselves we let people
come into our community and tell us who and what we are
and oftentimes the picture isnít very flattering.
But we canít blame the outsiders because we accept it.
We buy into the stereotypes. That guy you are
trying to get at, along with 15 other women you know, is
not all that. YOU ARE. I donít care WHO you
are. He is not holding the cards! You wonít
find self-esteem anywhere near your Kristi Yamacootchie
and the person who wants you to think it is has no plans
to be around for your next crisis of confidence.
YOU SET THE PATH
The people around you who think you are less than, in any
way, because you are fat are just trying to pin their low self-esteem on
YOU SET THE PATH
We need to be more protective of our community and learn
difference between someone who truly supports the BBW
community and someone who just promotes BBWís as
sex-objects so they can make money. There is
nothing wrong with making money but people need to be
real about what they are doing. BBW strip clubs?
LOVE IT. They arenít pretending to be something
they arenít. Anyone throwing hate & negativity
around gets the boot no matter what they are trying to
do. Nothing good comes from hate.
YOU SET THE PATH
That fat chick next to you, across the room from you,
chatting in the same group as you is not your
competitionÖunless you make it so. We arenít
getting anywhere together because we arenít working
together. I have a LOT of wonderful fat women in
my life and when we work together we can do anything we
set our minds to. Itís time to take back the reins
and control our ďbrandĒ because right now ďBBWĒ means a
desperate slutty fat chick with no self-esteem. I
donít know about you, but I would rather the BBW brand
be a confident sexy fat chick with a mind of her own.
I know a LOT of women like that, donít you?