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Too Fat to be a Role Model?

When I first read this story and saw the video, I thought, “Well, of COURSE!” People can be so cruel. Nothing new here.  I was responding to my own experience in television.  Here’s a little history about me…

Five years ago, I was co-host of AM Buffalo with my dear friend Linda Pellegrino and loved every aspect of my job except one…and that was the occasional snarky remarks about my appearance from a “well-meaning” listener who would stop me in the grocery store or on the street and offer up some “advice” on my dress, hair, etc.  One memorable example was when I got hair extensions on the air to show the process to viewers. I ended up with long, straight hair beyond my shoulders…fun, right?  Well, one well-wisher stopped me and went on a five-minute tirade about how ridiculous I looked and asked, “Are you trying to look younger because you look ridiculous.”  I smiled at her and said, “I’m sorry you feel that way…I think it’s fun,” and walked away.  That’s pretty much what we media people do — try to be polite and get on with our day.

Well, what this poor anchor had to endure is disgusting.

As a woman and a mother it OUTRAGES me to hear this type of personal criticism, and the fact that the “offender” stands by his statement is just ignorant. This “man” — if you want to call him that — has NO IDEA what being a role model is…and obviously no idea what compassion is either.  What are we teaching our children?

Now I, of ALL people, understand what it is to live as a plus-sized woman.  I am what they call the “average-sized” woman in the United States…a size 14.  I’m an actress and had to lose 30 pounds for a role, so I WAS a size 18, and it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I don’t have to tell other women “of a certain age” (I’ll be 50 in a few weeks) what it’s like trying to lose the weight and being confronted with hormone issues, taking care of your family and working full-time to boot.

What I would like to say to this man who thought that this beautiful woman was “not being a good role model” for young women is this…

Is she a good news anchor?  Does she present the news in a professional manner?  Is she respectful of her coworkers and her public?  Then WHAT IS THE PROBLEM????  You have NO IDEA why she is heavy. Could she be on medication?  The dreaded hormones?  And even IF she is overweight, is she healthy?  Being overweight does not mean that you’re unhealthy…THIN people can develop diabetes, high cholesterol…everyone is different, and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is my point.

She is an AMAZING role model because she didn’t hide from your ignorance…she dealt with it HEAD ON.  If you don’t like the way she looks…CHANGE THE CHANNEL.  Easy as that.  And pray to god that you don’t have people in YOUR life who are as judgemental as you…although by the sound of it you probably do and it has obviously damaged you.  I only hope you don’t have children to pass the ignorance onto.  I think we all pray for that.

One of the nicest things a viewer ever said to me was “I like that you’re MY size…you’re a real person and I can relate to you.”

Real people…all different…THAT is the world I want my son to grow up in.

And YOU, sir, are a tool.

Wow, I feel better already!

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