The Fat Debate – Interview with Erica Faye Watson

The Fat Debate – Interview with Erica Faye Watson

by Nikeya Young

Back in April, Plus Size Comedienne, Erica Faye Watson participated in a “Fat Debate” discussion on the Dr. Phil Show. Erica was joined on-stage by The Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels, and Meme Roth among others. The studio audience got a chance to weigh in too, and as you saw (if you didn’t see go youtube it!) things got a little heated. Well, it’s pretty hard to have any kind of discussion with Meme Roth present without things getting heated, but Miss Meme met her match in this debate! Erica was having none of her shenanigans!

However, to the shock of the Dr. Phil studio audience, Erica admitted that she’d like to lose weight and she’d be willing to do the work needed to make that happen. The result? Jillian Michaels agreed to help her out! I recently spoke with Erica to get an update on how things have been going for her since embarking on this new weight loss journey with Jillian Michaels. Here’s what she had to say:

Nikeya: How did the Dr. Phil Show come about? Did the show’s producers approach you about it?

Erica: The producer’s of the show heard about my 1 woman show “Fat Bitch!” and contacted me to see if I would like to come and speak on the panel about size acceptance. I explained to them that my stance is that all women, regardless of their size, should feel empowered to love their bodies. The war of Skinny vs. Fat is so silly, especially when ALL OF US are exposed to the same media images that encourage us all to hate our bodies. So, I am not so much about Fat Acceptance. I am about Size Acceptance, and everyone loving who they are, right where they are today.

Nikeya: How did it feel to tell Meme Roth what EVERY fat/curvy/full-figured/overweight person has always wanted to say (that she simply has a problem with fat people)?

Erica: It felt amazing! I was not trying to hurt her feelings, I just wanted her to know that she is creating an agenda that is not about health, it’s about HATE. There is a difference. Honestly, there are some things that she says that I totally agree with. But it’s not the message, it’s the delivery that she uses that angers me most. I can respect a person who is honest about how they really feel, and she will not be honest about her having a prejudice against larger people.

Nikeya: It always angers me how the Plus community can turn on you with the quickness for daring to ‘Lose weight’! Did you receive any negative feedback from anyone for saying that you would like to lose weight at the end of the Dr. Phil show?

Erica: LOL! Yes, a couple of “big girls” did write me to tell me that I was “selling out” and I just ignored it because if those women were really truly happy with who they are they would care less about what I want to do with my body! There is a lot of self-hate or what I call “Fat on Fat Crime” in the Plus Community! LOL! I don’t know about you, but thighs rubbing together in the summer time is not cute! Not being able to walk up 1 flight of stairs without busting a sweat is not cute either. So, just because I want to get in shape does not mean I hate my body! I love my body enough to start to treat it well, and exercise and healthy eating can only make my curves love me back! lol

Nikeya: ROTFLMBO @ “Fat on Fat Crime!” You are HILARIOUS! I am SO using that! How has it been to work with Jillian Michaels?

Erica: Working with Jillian has been amazing. She takes time out of her busy schedule to email and call me all of the time, and I feel so blessed by that. She sent me all of her Work-out DVD’s, Supplements, her book and she bought me a “body bug” by Body Media! WOW!!! She also gave me a free year membership to Jillian really cares about people and it shows. She has stressed to me that it is not about the number on the scale but about getting to the root of why your relationship with food is what it is. She always says “Erica, it is about decisions and choices. You have to fight for this and you have to make choices that will help you win!”

Nikeya: What would you say has been your biggest challenge since making the decision to work on a healthier you w/ Jillian Michaels?

Erica: My biggest challenge has been eating, believe it or not. I never eat breakfast and I hardly ever eat lunch. Most of the time my first meal isn’t until 6pm. You cannot be healthy if you do not have a healthy relationship with food, and that includes not only what you eat but also how you eat and when you eat. But I’m getting better and I am thrilled to see where this ride will take me. Jillian has given me a lot of useful tools and advice that are making me stronger everyday.

Nikeya: Ok, final question: What would you say to the person reading this right now who really wants to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle (even though they love who they are), but is frustrated because they just don’t know how to lose the weight and KEEP it off?

Erica: Well, I am just starting this journey, so I do not know all the answers, but what I do know is that it starts with loving yourself. When you truly love yourself, you make smart choices that impact every facet of your life in a healthy way. You make smarter choices in friends, intimate relationships, food, etc. I am making a conscious decision to put myself first, and that includes creating a plan that will make my overall lifestyle more healthy. Every woman should start with loving themselves and making themselves the top priority. Everything else will fall into place.

Nikeya: I wish you much success on your journey to a healthier you! I am embarking on that same journey this summer! You’ve inspired me, my fellow Chi-town diva:-)! Thanks for talking with PLUS Model Magazine!

Erica: Oh you’re welcome! Thanks a bunch!!!

Here are my closing thoughts: We’ve GOT to stop “fat on fat crime” my curvy sistas! Case in point, my celebrity twin, Jennifer Hudson, has gone from a size 16 to a size 6 using Weight Watchers and healthier eating habits! And while many people are happy for her, there has been some backlash about how Jennifer has “sold out” to Weight Watchers and other foolishness! Why do we do this to each other?

Just recently, I began my all-or-nothing, die-hard weight loss plan. My husband and I decided to do it together. We’ve started working out, took “before” pictures, and created a “weigh-in” chart and posted it on our fridge. Then I thought “What happens once all of the weight is gone?” What happens to my modeling career? If I reach my ultimate goal of 150 pounds, I’ll be back to the size 10 that I was 10 years ago when I was curvy, yet at my healthiest (six pack and all). But then, I may lost all of my plus size connections and support because I won’t be “Plus size” anymore to them, and then the regular modeling industry won’t want me because I won’t be skinny enough!” I shared this with my husband and though he understood my concerns he still thought that was the most RIDICULOUS thing he’s ever heard! He asked me, “Why do people act like that? There needs to be some balance between being fat and not caring about your body/health, and accepting your body type while striving to make healthier choices!” Absolutely dear:-).

We DO need Size Acceptance, which is basically the notion that you don’t get to just mistreat someone because their FAT, no matter how much you disagree with the choices they’ve made and what they look like. However, we also need to stop using “Size Acceptance” as an excuse to be stagnant and not take better care of ourselves. How can we live long, prosperous lives and be all that God has created us to be if we continue to “eat” ourselves to death? And if a beautiful, curvy “sista” decides to make a decision for HER best interests because she wants to be healthy, DON’T HATE! APPRECIATE! That is all.

For more on Erica visit

Photographer: Ezequiel de la Rosa
Make-up: D’angelo Thompson
Hair: Hadiiya Barbel