Young Rapper Chika, Calvin Klein and a gentle reminder that Fat people exist

I'm about to disclose something mind-shattering.
Reader discretion is strongly advised!


In an attempt to reinvent its landmark brand, Calvin Klein added an out of the ordinary element to their new marketing campaign #MYCALVINS. The apparel company historically known for featuring chiseled athletes and thin supermodels ruffled through an underused (if ever used) Rolodex of Plus and Supersized models. Wow, really showing my age with a Rolodex reference. To be fair, my boss has one on the corner of his desk, in 2019. My colleagues will see this as no surprise. I digress.

Situated in the trendy SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan and measuring an overwhelming 4,000 square feet is a billboard installation of a talented 22-year-old rapper named Chika Orianica. Did I forget to mention that she was in her draws? To some, that was a problem. No, not that she was hovering over a city street in her underwear. The problem was that she was fat while doing so.

It should be no surprise, but this billboard advertisement sparked controversy and a lot of attention for the fiscally struggling Calvin Klein brand. And I'm sure that that was the precise intent of the company and its marketers. With a reported 60% of American women falling in the categories of Overweight or Obese, it's seriously a wonder why it would even be a big deal. But it is. Without pause, internet trolls, non-experts, and people looking for the next opportunity to jump in on the obesity epidemic conversation with insults cloaked with concern made center stage.

Let me back up here, I will give the fashion and media industry some credit. Just a decade ago, fat women were reduced to unflattering/matronly pieces and minimal sizing in big box stores. We were often shooed away to order online or through a catalog. I walked into said stores only to leave with accessories, as to not make my trip a total waste. But, my, how times have changed! Companies are singing a different tune and have awakened to the fact that their fluffy consumers' money spends the same exact way. Who would have thunk? Now everyone wants a piece of the pie (no pun), from Target's Ava and Liv line, and even Loft's PLUS.

Like the problematic infrastructure of class in our society, there has to be a lower tier. Well, being fat is the one state of existence where some easily elevate their personal value, simply based on how big someone else appears. As a woman of a certain age, I no longer subscribe to that mindset of feeling less than - just because I may be the biggest in the room. If I never lose another pound, I will still be ENOUGH and more!

Well, amid the series of events and outrage that this billboard provoked, Chika responded to one person in particular, whose negative Tweets went viral. And I'm here for it.

Obesity is the one condition - no - state of existence, that everyone feels the need to present their opinion on, and with little to no compassion. Not alcoholism, drug abuse, or a myriad of other preventable/self-imposed conditions. I do not believe in absolutes, but I can assure you a few things, as a fat woman:

  • No one is asking you to applaud or "celebrate" obese people for doing a darn thing
  • No one is asking you to dole out unsolicited medical advice (especially if you are not a Doctor)

And, yes, I'm on a health journey! I plan to continue transforming my body inside and out. However, until I reach whatever my goals are... I appreciate representation and I still need clothes.

Including underwear. ;)

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