Whitney Thore, 31, Queen of Confidence
Whitney Way Thore’s plus-sized, inhibition-free dance moves propelled her into an internet sensation.
That spurred her top-rated TLC reality TV show – and a platform that this Greensboro 31-year-old has used to spread the message that people should love themselves at any size.
“Self love is unconditional. It means that you don’t chose to love yourself when dot, dot, dot,” Whitney says. “You choose to love yourself every single moment as you are. It’s a huge waste of your own resources to say your self love depends on something else.”
Whitney grew up as a dancer, but gave up her passion in college after becoming discouraged and depressed due to rapid weight gain as a result of polycystic ovary syndrome, an endocrine system disorder.
After years of being unhappy, she decided to make a change.
“I decided to experiment, which was just to try and be happy regardless of my body. I had to stop letting my body define what I wanted to do…I needed to not make my happiness conditional on what other people think.”
While working at 107.5 KZL, a local radio station, she decided to start dancing again. A coworker suggested that they make videos and call them “A Fat Girl Dancing.” In January 2014, her hip-hop routine to Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty,” went viral.
Within a few days of her first viral video, national media outlets including the Today Show and Good Morning America wanted this Greensboro woman as a guest. Whitney soon realized she had a platform to spread her No Body Shame Campaign. It’s a message she shares on her TLC reality show, “My Big Fat Fabulous Life.”
“I think it’s finding the balance of – it’s not only about our appearance, but also about our self-worth, ” she says.
Although she believes society is making strides in the right direction when it comes to body image – already in 2016 with plus-sized Barbies and Ashley Graham’s Sports Illustrated cover – she says there is still a ways to go.
And Whitney’s in a position to help make that change. Her No Body Shame empire has expanded with a newsletter and a cruise to the Caribbean with Whitney. Her memoir, “I Do it With the Lights On,” will be released this summer.
And – hot news for reality TV fans – she’s already filming season three of “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” right here in Greensboro, and it’s scheduled to premiere this summer.
Whitney says she gets a lot of love from her hometown.
“I have found Greensboro to be very supportive,” she says. “One of my favorite things is when I’m in Harris Teeter or something, and someone comes up to me and gets really excited.”