When was the first time you saw yourself on screen?
Not in the blankly aspirational hero-with-a-thousand-faces sort of way, but in the oh shit did these writers observe my entire life as a field study way, that marrow-deep connection to a celluloid hero that makes you sit back in your seat and shudder with recognition. Ask most people and their answer is some third banana on a sitcom who wore glasses and loved geometry, or a matinee idol who exploded their entire reality in one Saturday afternoon, but for me, the answer to this question was more elusive.
I was 23 and new to Los Angeles when my brethren of fat girls on Tumblr started incessantly posting about My Mad Fat Diary, a series adapted from Rae Earl’s memoir of the same name. In Rae, portrayed with incredible, specific nuance by eventual BAFTA winner Sharon Rooney, I saw myself in a character for the first time: a terminally horny, fat teenager obsessed with the more nuanced talking points of Oasis vs. Blur and the not-so-bad boys at school, all while juggling the tumult that comes with being the fat best friend to a certified knockout, and the massive amounts of emotional, physical, and psychic baggage that come with Growing Up Fat™.