I just love her message of no body shame and the fact that she's not afraid to be the spokesperson and cop the flak for all overweight women.
Whitney's first brush with the public eye came last year when she released her "Fat Girl Dancing" video on YouTube. But the exposure has been growing in leaps and bounds since her new TLC series hit the air. "I think it is groundbreaking and wonderful the way they are portraying a fat woman on television," she said in praise of the network.
Whitney is grateful to have the opportunity to give a voice to people who don't normally have one on TV. "I'm not a modest person and I'm not a private person, so I've found that exposing all that and kind of being balls to the wall is really empowering. Because there are a lot of women who are too embarrassed and ashamed to do it, so someone has to be the person out there putting it all on the table and I'm perfectly happy for that to be me."
Whitney is also happy that the show allows her to get out the message she wants to give to all women, no matter what shape or size: "[Anyone is] capable of pursuing health and happiness, whatever that means for us, in the bodies that we're in today."
It's a message that Whitney wishes she had subscribed to herself earlier. Like many women, she used to put off doing things that made her happy until she lost a few pounds. "I wasted my life with that line of thinking and it's not something I'm going to subscribe to anymore. I will wear a bathing suit now. I will go to the beach now. I will date now. I will be happy now."
Why is it so important to Whitney to encourage others to live the life they want, no matter what size they are? The answer is simple. "Our bodies are vehicles for our spirits and it's our spirits that do everything good in this world, so we can't think that we're undeserving because someone else doesn't think we look the right way," she said.
On the show, fans have seen Whitney struggle with all the challenges that come with being overweight. But they've also seen what it's like for a young woman to be back living at home with her parents. Contrary to popular opinion, Whitney hasn't been home her entire life — she did go off to college and even lived abroad for a while.
"Coming back has been really interesting because my parents and I have kind of gone on this journey together," Whitney said.
In the beginning, it wasn't easy for Whitney to get support from her parents, especially her father. "He was like, 'Whitney, you are setting yourself up for people to make fun of you, you're setting yourself up for people to be cruel to you,'" she said.
Luckily, her dad has had a change of heart now that he's seen the positive effect she's had on the world. In fact, it has changed his entire outlook on life. "He used to tell me that I couldn't change the world. He had a very prevailing attitude of the world and [said] I had to subscribe to that or otherwise I would just be disappointed. He's changed his tune now. He told me last week that he's retracting that and he thinks that I can change the world."
Whitney calls being able to go on this journey with her parents "incredible" and is excited by how much they have learned and grown together. "Even though they drive me crazy, I love them so much. Of course I want to be on my own, but I am completely aware that I am treated like a queen in my house."
Throughout our conversation, Whitney was effusive and bubbly, just like she is on the show. But when one particular subject came up, Whitney admitted it was tough to talk about: her relationship with Buddy.
Buddy and Whitney have had an on-again, off-again relationship for years and the show's season finale will see them looking at apartments together. I wondered if living together would ruin the friendship they share now.
"Buddy and I have a very interesting relationship. It's just complicated. I think that's the best word [for it]. I mean, my love for Buddy is very uncomplicated, it's very straightforward and genuine and forthright. I think he feels the same way for me."
She admitted to being asked a lot if the two of them would get back together, another question that wasn't easy for her to answer. "It's not as easy as two people who really like each other so they're going to be together. There's a lot of... I don't know, it's hard to talk about. I can talk about just about anything until we get to this topic."
One thing Whitney would say about Buddy is that the two of them have some interesting plans for the future. "So stay tuned for that," she said.
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