'Fat Chance': A Plus-Sized Beauty Contest

Contestants gather for the first round of the Los Angeles-area open casting call for 'Fat Chance' i i

Contestants gather for the first round of the Los Angeles-area open casting call for Fat Chance. Teshima Walker, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Teshima Walker, NPR
Contestants gather for the first round of the Los Angeles-area open casting call for 'Fat Chance'

Contestants gather for the first round of the Los Angeles-area open casting call for Fat Chance.

Teshima Walker, NPR

Casting directors recently held auditions for comedian Mo'Nique's reality show Fat Chance in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Teshima Walker, a producer at NPR, figured she'd try to become one of the finalists.

Related NPR Stories

An e-mail sought women size 14 and over to compete. "I'm the winner already," Teshima says confidently. "On the day of the auditions, I wear my size 18 Baby Phat jeans — the dark boot-cut denims extends my frame. I did something exciting with my locks. I take extra care with my make-up and slip into my high-heeled, strolling mules. I am cute..."

When Walker arrives at the hotel where the casting call is being held, she's surprised to see hundreds of women already there.

Plus-sized beauty pageant hopeful Alana Chandler.

Plus-sized beauty pageant hopeful Alana Chandler. Teshima Walker, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Teshima Walker, NPR

Each of them faces a panel of judges — in reality, a circle of other women — and are grilled on their appearance, poise and confidence.

"My connection with the judges was, shall I say, not 'all that,'" Walker confesses. "I think the executive producer rolls his eyes as I go on about my martial arts and dance classes, proud to be a strong, athletic fat woman."

She ultimately doesn't get called back for another round, but there's a lesson learned.

"There'll be no 15 minutes of fame for this fat, fit and fabulous diva," she concedes. "But I know this much about competition: Some days you're the fastest person out of the starting block, and other times you're trailing behind everybody bringing up the rear."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.