An audacious new reality TV show that will hit the airwaves this fall will feature an exuberant band of plus-size women partying, talking sex and trying on skimpy ensembles from their favorite lingerie shop.
But there’s one thing viewers won’t see or hear when Plus Life debuts: curvy women moaning about their size, shape or yo-yo diets.
“There will be no diet talk, no talk about how much you hate your body,” co-producer Chrystal Bougon, the founder of the Curvy Girl Lingerie boutique in San Jose, CA, told Lingerie Talk.
“These are what I call the Fierce Fatties. They don’t give a fuck. These ladies are very far along in their journey. They are empowered and living and loving.”
Plus Life is a reality show unlike anything before it — an uninhibited, body-positive, sex-positive and highly purposeful attempt to show a side of plus-size women that is rarely acknowledged in public.
The independently produced 10-episode series is expected to air in November on an as-yet-unnamed cable channel. It’ll likely be broadcast post-midnight because, well, it’s going to get naughty.
Based on a day in the life of Curvy Girl Lingerie, the famed store that has become a platform for Bougon’s activism on behalf of curvy women, Plus Life will feature the shop’s zaftig customers socializing, shopping, attending parties, visiting (and getting on stage at) strip clubs, pole dancing, checking out sex toys and generally having a ball.
“We’re fat, sassy, sexy and proud to show it,” states the promo copy on the show’s crowdfunding campaign, which so far has raised more than $32,000. “It’s OUR time to share with the world that we love our bodacious bodies and that, yes, fat people people are sexy too.”
“I just wanted to show fat girls living, loving, doing things that everybody does but you never see on television,” Bougon told us. “TV never shows fat girls in a real light.
“Being fat is one of the last few bastions where it’s okay to hate,” she added. “We want to show that maybe fat people have the right to be sexy too.”
Bougon and executive producer Adryenn Ashley, a veteran documentary and reality TV producer, have completed Plus Life‘s first 7 episodes. Another three are in development, and the team is still hoping to raise another $25,000 through crowdfunding to support the venture.
“One way or another, it’s going to air this fall,” Bougon promises.
Episodes in the series show guests attending a lingerie fashion show, a pole dance class, game nights and a boudoir photo shoot and lots of talk about sex. One future episode will see Plus Life’s gang sitting down to dinner with ‘fat activists’ like Jess Baker of The Militant Baker.
“The groundbreaking series … does something rarely seen on TV: portray plus-size women in a positive light as beautiful, unapologetic, empowered, sexual beings who love themselves now – not 50 less pounds from now,” Plus Life said in a press release this week.
Although there have been other fat-themed reality shows on television before — such as TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life and Curvy Brides — Plus Life promises to be especially timely given Bougon’s activist profile.
Though she opened Curvy Girl only three years ago, Bougon has emerged as one of America’s most vocal, fearless and familiar combatants in the social-media-driven battle over fat-shaming and body acceptance. She is often sought after by mainstream media on topics related to body-size or beauty standards, and famously took on ‘Fit Mom’ Maria Kang, the California anti-fat evangelist.
Bougon (right) also ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to photograph ‘real’ plus-size women in Curvy Girl lingerie, and more recently posted a widely seen rebuttal to comedian Nicole Arbour‘s “Dear Fat People” video (which has rung up more than 6 million views on YouTube).
A former engineering project manager, Bougon lost her tech job in the dot-com bust in 2002 and turned a personal interest in “pleasure accessories” into a lucrative business, “hustling sex toys all over Silicon Valley.”
“I probably held 1,000 ‘pleasure parties’ in 10 years” under the brand name Bliss Connection, she said. “I got to meet a lot of people who got to trust me. When I sent out a newsletter saying I was going to open a boutique, they couldn’t wait to come down here and support me.”
Curvy Girl opened in October 2012 and bills itself as America’s first lingerie store for plus-size women, carrying items in sizes 14 to 6X. It’s motto is “Sexy Isn’t A Size” and it boasts an astonishing 190,000 followers on Facebook alone.
“Chrystal is extraordinarily social,” Plus Life producer Ashley said. “Curvy Girl has the most messages on Facebook of any brand I’ve seen in my life.
“She has this fan base that’s very engaged in the topic. The first thing I said to her was ‘You need your own show’.”
But Bougon says Plus Life won’t focus on her, but on the community of avid followers who have made Curvy Girl their second home.
“When I started Curvy Girl, two things blew my mind,” she said. “First, how all these women want to get together with each other socially and do stuff. And second, that they’re doing it in other communities and states too.”
Plus Life, she says, will fill a huge gap in television programming that has left the personal lives of curvy women largely invisible and ignored. In doing so, it has the potential to become a snapshot of a social-movement-in-progress: plus-sized women who are tired of being overlooked and underserviced.
“There is no place in Plus Life for depressed characters who hate their bodies or their lives, are dieting, cleansing or try to squeeze themselves into Spanx,” the company’s press release states. “Rather, Plus Life is an unapologetic salute to people of size who are body confident and happy in their own skin.”
“It’s not about me,” Bougon insists. “It’s about all the women in the orbit around my store. I have so many customers and employees who are so much more interesting than me.
“I’m like everyone’s favorite auntie … who you go to for sex advice.”