Am I the only one not surprised that Mo’Nique ended up losing weight?
Not that I was banking or placing odds about her personal appearance either way but rather acknowledging the delicious irony of “The lady doth protest too much…” And there was no bigger proponent of the fat girl fabulous gospel than Big Mo. It’s a sentiment that Mo’Nique has written extensively about in her New York Times Bestseller Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes from a Big Girl in a Small-minded World as well as her equally successful, high-calorie cookbook, entitled Skinny Cooks Can’t Be Trusted, which featured “foods with flavor, from chocolate and cream to sugar and butter and everything in between.”
In fact, a huge part of her schtick as a comedienne and an entertainer was her appeal to a niche but rather large (I swear to God, on second reading, this is not a pun) market: the big girls. Whether you were a big girl or happened to be an admirer of the big girl body, She was pretty, sassy, funny and mostly importantly comfortable and confident in her skin. Behind the joke was an inspiration message. She could talk humorously about big girl love, relationships, sex appeal and even sex without being self-deprecating.
Remember the film Phat Girlz? Or the television show “Fat Chance”? What about the all plus size version of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”? Mo’Nique even had a brand slogan called F.A.T., which was an acronym for Fabulous And Thick. Heck, I remember that the only reason folks were still tuning in to the later episodes of “It’s Showtime At the Apollo” was to see what fabulous big girl getup Mo’Nique was rocking. Her overall brand as a comedienne was about daringly standing in the face of the single narrative of what was beautiful and healthy. And in some ways, she was a militant, fat acceptance fighter, as suggested in this 2006 article in Salon, where the breakout star of the show “The Parkers” even had offered up some less than supportive advice to former “The View” co-host Star Jones, who had rumored to undergone weight-loss surgery: “What I say to those beautiful women is, come on back! Be healthy, but come on home! Don’t be afraid of that big juicy steak with that baked potato and sour cream, baby, on top of it! That is heaven!”
But now the comedienne turned actress and television personality has lost an impressive 82 pounds. Instead of big juicy steaks and bake potatoes with all the fixings, Mo’Nique now only pigs out on a mostly vegan diet (with occasional fish) and she has also started a regular exercise regiment too. Not to mention that she looks great. In most circumstances a healthier Mo’Nique would be commended however you do have to wonder what she’ll joke about now that she is no longer F.A.T?
Last night on a humbug, I watched the last one-hour comedy special she did called Mo’nique: I Coulda Been Your Cellmate! I haven’t seen Mo’Nique’s standup routine in a long time, so I needed a refresher about her overall comedy style outside of the F.A.T. Brand. I have to say, outside of the constant screaming of “yasss!” there really wasn’t much that makes Mo’Nique stand apart material-wise. In fact, without the big girl brand, it would be hard to distinguish her from a number of funny yet non-household named black female comedians like Leslie Jones, Big Roz or even her two Queens of Comedy cast mates Sommore and Sheryl Underwood. This lack of comedic individuality is something I also noticed during her brief stint as late night talk show host on the BET network where without the defiant, big girl attitude her monologues were pretty dry and lackluster.
Generally speaking any type of extreme weight change can have an effect on one’s career. It was true of Kirstie Alley, who very public battle with weight held more of our public attention than her actual acting career. And it held true for Jennifer Hudson, who despite not ever declaring an alliance to Team Chunk, drew the ire of folks, who saw her weight loss as some sort of betrayal to the body acceptance movement. During her rise Mo’Nique’s jokes about skinny women were hilarious, not because they were necessarily bust-a-gut funny but because it spit in the face of what is considered normal in society. Many of us, who struggled with not only weight issues but other body acceptance issues applauded her success. Clearly this is not the message anymore. Instead Big Mo is championing women to get healthy. Nothing wrong with that. People evolve on personal choices and philosophies every day. However, branding is another thing. it will be interesting to see where Mo’Nique’s career goes now that she is just an average, skinny evil woman.