Leveling playing fields requires more than just throwing in
a plus sized reality dating show on a broadcast station during primetime hours.
Real acceptance and understanding requires honest communication and a
willingness to let go of preconceived stereotypes. Mandy Menzer entered
American households via a show called More to Love in which she vied for
the affections of a plus sized man along with other curvy ladies. Luckily, we
get an opportunity to see just how much more there is to love about this beautiful,
open, intelligent, compassionate, artistic young woman. From battling a serious
eating disorder to trying to make the world a better place through her
humanitarian work, Mandy is proof that real understanding and beauty transcends
labels and empowers others.
Suzette: How did you hear about Love Your
Body Day and the PLUS Model Magazine contest?
Mandy: One of the other women from More
to Love told me about it. I thought it sounded like a wonderful
event! I knew I would have the opportunity to meet other empowering women
who are doing great things to promote healthy body image. The discussion forum
on the last day was inspiring. When I came across the table dedicated to the
modeling contest I thought, "WHY NOT! You never know!"
Suzette: What appealed to you to be cast
on More to Love? Are you a fan of The Bachelor series on TV?
Mandy: No, I don't watch The
Bachelor, but I have caught bits and pieces of a few episodes here and there.
I'm an actor and the producers found me on LA Casting. FOX pitched the show to
me over the phone, they said, "This show will be exactly like the Bachelor
but we are trying to cast more average sized women to promote more positive
body image in the media." The idea of promoting positive body image is what
caught my attention.
Suzette: Did you feel that is what the
Mandy: No, not really. I
feel they perpetuated most of the stereotypes by showing so many clips of women
crying about their weight and did not focus on all of the empowering things that
many of the women said in their testimonials. The women were courageous,
good-hearted and were very encouraging to each other while in the house. This
was especially true when we were filmed in our bathing suits but instead
they focused on the insecurities some of the girls had. I'm a fan of displaying
authenticity, but the way it was edited and the choices they made about themes
and assuming that most of us hadn't been treated right because of our weight
just sent the message to America to continue being insecure about dating if you
Suzette: Did you feel good about the way
Luke treated you and the other ladies?
Mandy: Well, Luke is a good
person, but for most of the show, I felt like he was just saying the right
things. I know that the producers coached him to give us many compliments,
but it came to the point where I felt like the show was taking pity on us,
babying us. I'm all for compliments and encouragement and I commend Luke
for treating each of us well, but when you tell more than a few of the ladies
"You have all the qualities I want in a wife" it starts to feel a little
disingenuous. It was a confusing time; I didn't know what to believe. I
kept giving the process and Luke the benefit of the doubt. I figure it
was better to trust than to leave wondering if I gave enough of myself to the
Suzette: That response leads
me to believe you were looking for love, not just looking for exposure.
Mandy: Well, to be honest, I
really doubted I would find love. If I wasn't an actor/model and someone
trying to promote healthy body image I would have never agreed to go on the
show. The possibility of finding love on a reality show seemed unrealistic
to me. How could you possibly agree to go on a show and really think you will
fall in love or even like the person at all when you don't even know whom the
bachelor is? Love wasn't the number one reason I went on the show, definitely
not. Nevertheless, I was open to the possibility.
PLUS Model Magazine inspires the style-savvy, fashion-forward, full-figured woman to embrace her curves.
PMM has become a thought-leader shaping the plus size industry and providing a barometer for the season’s latest style trends for curvy women. With a monthly magazine featuring stunning editorials showcasing plus models, as well as ‘How-to-wear’ columns and shopping guides at all price-points, PMM reports on style, beauty and topical news, all while engaging our reader in lively and meaningful conversation on our daily blog and social media.
Developed, designed and written by plus women, for plus women, PMM understands and speaks directly to the heart of our reader, because we are our reader.
Online since 2006, PMM is the #1 plus size fashion & beauty magazine, blog and social media outlet.