Hype Chat: Fat Girls Dance Founder Cathleen Meredith Talks Movement Against Fat-Shaming & Learning To Love Your Self

Cathleen Meredith X Fat Girls Dance

Photo Credit: Courtesy

HH: What has become your one must-have beauty product since starting?
For all the dancing that I do – Dove Clinical Strength Deodorant. I sweat like a mama jama, so that clinical strength is actually the only product that works all day — and I’ve been through a couple of different products. I like my deodorant to work. It’s always in my bag. Always!

HH: You also mentioned sweaty hair earlier. How has that affected your hair regimen?
CM: It has been a sweaty mess since I started Fat Girls Dance! During this journey I have had two states of hair. I have had natural hair for the majority of it and then I had braids. The braids are actually a bigger problem than the natural hair. The natural hair, you can wash it, you can clean it, you can twist it, you can wet and go. The natural hair works. The braids, you don’t want to wash too much because they get fuzzy. So, I feel braids are a lot tougher. I probably don’t wear my braids as long as I would if I wasn’t exercising. And, I’m exercising more now than I have in my entire life!

HH: What has been the biggest takeaway from this year-long experience? 
CM: What I found within Cathleen is probably the biggest takeaway from Fat Girls Dance. I didn’t learn what a lot of plus size or big women learned. I didn’t learn how to hate myself. That wasn’t my testimony. I wasn’t given that as a child. I was given a lot of love and support. So, I always liked myself. I always thought I was dope. I always felt that I was an amazing person. However, I didn’t know that my body and head were disconnected. I didn’t know that until I started Fat Girls Dance and then after I found that out, me and my body started talking. At first, there was a lot of anger and shame and disgust between me and my body. And then, after a while, we started to understand each other and listen to each other and support each other and then we fell in love. Now, me and Cathleen are like besties and we are in love and it’s amazing!

That, I wish could give that to every girl. Not just the plus-sized girl, but every girl because we are conditioned to hate ourselves. None of us our happy with our bodies. If it’s not working for big girls, if it’s not working for size 2 girls and we’re all conditioned to hate our bodies [then] something’s wrong. Something’s definitely wrong. we have to look inside and say I don’t really care, I’m going to love you. That was my biggest takeaway. More so than the fearlessness and the power, I would say the love.

HH: What happens after 52 weeks? What happens next on this journey?
CM: Our last dance is August 27. Then, I am going to write the book. That’s the entire point of the project. And, we are going to keep going, we are going to take Fat Girls Dance global.

To get tickets or for more information on this weekend’s Fat Girls Dance Finale festivities in New York, visit fatgirlsdancethefinale.splashthat.com.

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About The Author

Stephenetta (isis) Harmon

isis is digital media director for Hype Hair and founder/Black beauty director for Sadiaa Black Beauty guide, the top hair and beauty directory for women of color.