Perfectly timed after we’ve all been gorging ourselves silly on Christmas pudding, this new series about obese kids in the US makes its UAE debut at the start of January. Huge introduces a group of overweight teens who fill our TV screens with their giant personalities. Along the way, the show aims to dispel hostility towards overweight kids through likeable characters and heart-wrenching storylines as it runs through the trials and tribulations of being overweight.
With the highest percentage of obese teens in the world, America is sure to be a captive audience, but how will the show fare here in the UAE? Shockingly, more than half the children in our nation are obese; maybe Huge will help to draw attention to this sensitive issue. We asked Nikki Blonsky, who plays Willamina, to give us her thoughts.
Obesity is becoming a major problem among kids worldwide. Do you ever advocate losing weight, or is it more about being happy with who you are?
I totally advocate being who you are, loving who you are and living and letting live. Just love what God gave you, because he gave it to you for a reason. If you were meant to be a tall, skinny blonde model, then you would have been. But I’m meant to be a short plus-size actress and I am perfectly happy with that.
What kinds of barriers do you hope Huge breaks, compared with teen-geared shows such as 90210 or Gossip Girl?
I hope it paves the way for more plus-size characters as love interests, and as all different roles. I hope Huge breaks all the boundaries in Hollywood. I think this is the first time there’s ever been a plus-size cast in a TV show, so I’m honoured to be part of this.
How did you stay motivated to make it in Hollywood, knowing the industry is full of skinny actresses?
I think at the end of the day, talent will always prevail. I think most people will be remembered for what roles they played and how they played them and what personalities they had, not what they looked like. I really think that’s the mark you leave on Hollywood.
How did you find out about Huge?
I found out about the part of Willamina through my agent. Once I read the character description and read who she was and everything about her, I said, ‘I have to play this girl because she has so many things going on that I just adore her.’
How much of yourself do you bring to the character?
Ironically, I think I bring a lot of myself to Will. When I was in Hairspray I was 17, I was young and bubbly, the world was new to me and everything was just so fresh. I wanted to make the world a better place. I still do.
How was it being photographed in a bathing suit for Huge’s promotional campaign?
It was the most freeing experience of my life, to be out there with just a bathing suit; you don’t get barer than that. Growing up, you always have those little things like, ‘I’m in a bathing suit and I really want to go to the pool, or I want to go to the beach, but I don’t want people to see me.’ A lot of kids and adults still deal with that.
Glee has a similar attitude towards teenagers that are different. Could you ever see yourself on the show?
Absolutely. That’s something I would love to do.
Huge premieres in the UAE on January 6 at 9pm on America Plus.