A woman who’s famous on YouTube is on the verge of a mainstream music career thanks to a body empowerment anthem she recorded called “Fat Chicks.” Since being posted on May 7, it already has almost 775,000 views.
Trisha Paytas has been using YouTube for eight years and has garnered 1.6 million followers in that time.
Despite her enviably massive fanbase, though, she says comments on her videos usually skew negative.
“I could do a video doing my makeup or vlogging my day with friends, and I know half of my comments section will be about my weight,” she said.
“She’s gross,” “She’s obese,” “She’s not healthy,” “What a whale,” and “Barbie gained weight” are just some of the nasty comments she sees under every new post.
“I’m like, that’s the main take from my videos?” she said. “So I figured why not do a video taking the negative connotation in ‘fat’ away. If I call myself fat, they can’t use that against me.”
In the video, she playfully says that f-a-t stands for “fabulous and tasty.”
Paytas started playing around on YouTube “out of boredom, putting out random videos that didn’t have much substance,” she said.”I just wanted to share my thoughts and feelings with the world.”
“Then I thought ‘trolling’ videos were what my channel was all about,” she said. During this time, Paytas would say outlandish things — “dogs don’t have brains” and “I’m voting for Mitt Romney” are examples she gave BI — to get clicks.
She thought “dumbing [her]self down” would get attention and views, “not really understanding more people would watch if I was just real and true to who I was.”
When she began to notice that her audience was primarily young women, she realised she could “help them find confidence in who they are,” she said, “something I struggled with for most of my life.”
“I grew up thinking ‘The Hills’ was real life and it made me feel terrible about my own,” she said. “Like, why wasn’t I perfect and pretty like them? Well, because I didn’t have a 20-person crew lighting me at all times. I just like to be real and just express real emotions and talk about real life.”
Now, her main focus is lifestyle vlogging and empowering viewers to embrace their own beauty — and it appears to be working. Here’s a video she recorded describing what she wore on a recent trip to Las Vegas. It’s got 276,000 views and counting.
“I’ve met so many people in person who watch my videos, and the best thing I hear is when they say, ‘I love you just for being you,'” Paytas said. “That’s the message I want to put out, you are good enough just as you are!”
Paytas wrote “Fat Chicks” because she noticed that even though songs like Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” are about body positivity, “no one comes right out and says it: fat,” she said. “It’s like this taboo word that people do take offence to, including me at one point, but why?”
Confronting the word might help it lose its power, she said.
“It’s really just me taking a word that so many people describe me as and throwing it away,” she said. “Like, I’m fat fat fat fat, is that good now? Can we stop talking about that in every video I post and every picture I take?”
In general, she’s thrilled to see thicker women gaining recognition in pop music recently.
“The great thing about these songs is that they are crushing stereotypes,” she said. “There’s a role model for all little girls of any size to look up to and say, ‘Oh, she looks like me.'”
Paytas is recording an EP right now and “Fat Chicks” is the first single. The video was directed by Andrew Vallentine. They worked together previously on a cover of “Santa Baby.”
“He knows what I’m all about and he can take a small budget and make it look like a feature film,” she said. “He’s extremely talented.”
The clothes in the video are all from Paytas’s own wardrobe, aside from the waitress uniform. Paytas places an emphasis on wearing what makes her feel sexy — “tight and revealing clothing,” she said. “That was the inspiration for the video. Feel sexy and look sexy.”
Paytas is also happy to be playing the lead role in all of her videos. She used to be an actress, she said, and most of her roles were “best friend” or “chubby awkward girl.”
“But I always wanted to play the sex kitten,” she said. “So in this video, I got to do that and so did my fellow fat chicks who were so fun and so positive to be around. We just talked about how we all had such great legs and how good real pizza and fries would have been on the set.”
Paytas hopes everyone — not just fellow “Fat Chicks” — will feel empowered by the video.
“It’s literally taking the labels that people want to put on this, owning them and taking away the power of otherwise negative words,” she said. “It’s ok to want to change and better yourself, health-wise or aesthetically, but change takes time, you have to love yourself in the now. Whatever you look like, you’re hot, you’re worthy, and you’re perfect as you are.”
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