Interview with Tanisha Malone: Winner of Mo’Niques F.A.T Chance 2006

Interview with Tanisha Malone: Winner of Mo’Niques F.A.T Chance 2006

On Saturday July 15, 2006 over a million viewers tuned it to watch the second season of Mo’Nique’s F.A.T. Chance. Mo’Nique, in collaboration with the Oxygen Network, has been making great strides in breaking down the stereotypes that go hand in hand with being a plus size woman in today’s society by bringing to the small screen a Plus Size Beauty Pageant.

We watched as ten beautiful ladies competed for the crown and in the end, it was 27 year old Tanisha Malone from Newark, NJ that walked away with the crown. “CSI Girl” as she is affectionately called by her friends, works as an Assistant for a Medical Examiner. Tanisha also works as a freelance stylist and plans to open up her own boutique. Read on to see how she became this amazingly empowered woman.

[Maddy] As a child did you meet any challenges, were you a plus size child?

[Tanisha] I was not a plus size child but the biggest challenge was being burned by hot boiling water when I was 4 years old. The scar made me withdraw at first but having family around me to show me self esteem made me a better person and I grew to love myself.

[Maddy] What made you want to be part of Mo’Niques Fat Chance?

[Tanisha] I watched Mo’Niques Fat Chance last year and loved that it was a positive show and it promoted change. I felt that Mo’Nique was telling women of all shapes, sizes and colors that you do not have to be ashamed of who you are and instead embrace yourself. I believe before someone can love you – you have to love yourself…

[Maddy] What was your experience at the F.A.T. house, what were your days like?

[Tanisha] Some days were long and intense and other days were fun and relaxing. We worked really hard to put on a good show for America. We were taught walking techniques and exercises… we did a lot of things to promote self-esteem and empowerment. Every night we had a round table discussion before we went to bed. All the girls would attend as well as our Den Mother Sharon Quinn.

[Maddy] The question everybody wants to know is where did you get the fabulous lingerie outfit?

[Tanisha] Many of the pieces we wore were designed by Harvey Star Washington. The lingerie outfit was part of his collection.

[Maddy] How has your life changed since being crowned Miss F.A.T.?

[Tanisha] It has not changed drastically… just slightly and it’s a good and positive change. I get stopped by young girls, teens as well as older women. They speak very positively about the show and how their self-esteem has been boosted by the celebration of real women of size being shown on a beauty pageant.

I have also done a few TV circuits and radio spots… Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition went back to the Newark YMCA with me when I had the opportunity to talk to the kids/teens about self-esteem issues and peer pressure. Power 105 with “Big Tiger” did an hour-long interview with me and we took calls from the audience. I also did an interview with the Star Ledger.

[Maddy] During your reign as Miss F.A.T. 2006 what will your platform be?

[Tanisha] My platform is to empower the plus size woman. To encourage them and to let them know people need to feel good. What I want to do is to actually build up pride, confidence and self-esteem. I want to break down all the stereotypes and change the way America looks at beauty — just because we are plus size does not mean we are lazy or unhealthy. I want to encourage every one of us to work out at least one hour a day. As women, we find an hour to go shopping, run errands and get our nails done so an hour a day of some type of exercise should be in our schedule.

[Maddy] Do you have any upcoming projects you are able to discuss at this time?

[Tanisha] I would like to take one girl from Newark NJ and help mold and shape her so that she can go on to enter Mo’Niques F.A.T. Chance next year. I also have a curvy boutique that will be opened to the public Fall of 2006 or Winter of 2007.

[Maddy] Lastly, complete the following two sentences. When I entered the competition I felt like__________.

[Tanisha] When I entered the competition I felt like, ‘Wow here is my chance — let me not blow it…’

[Maddy] When I left the competition I __________.

[Tanisha] When I left the competition I said, ‘Ohhh I did not blow it… let me continue on to do what God wants me to do.’