Whitney Way Thore is the star of My Big Fat Fabulous Life, which will have its season 6 premiere tonight on TLC.
For those new to the show, it chronicles the life of Whitney Way Thore, who weighed 380 pounds at the beginning of the series. Thore’s goal on the show is to lose weight.
What should you know about Thore? Read on to find out.
1. A Viral Video Skyrocketed Her to Fame
In 2014, Thore created a video on Youtube called “A Fat Girl Dancing”. It went viral, garnering more than 2.5 million views.
Thore says she was surprised by the reaction to the video. “My co-worker Jared Pike suggested putting the video online because fat girls are really popular on the internet. It started being shared on Facebook and people weren’t posting it to say ‘haha, lets make fun of this girl’ which is what I would think. They were actually posting it to say ‘yeah, this girls awesome’ and I was just feeling all this love from all over the place.”
The Youtube video’s wild success led to Thore’s appearances on ABC News, NBC’s The Today Show, and The Huffington Post. Within one year, her day-to-day life was chronicled on TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life, where she pursued one goal: to lose weight.
In her interview with the Huffington Post, Thore said, “Six months ago I would never have gone out in public and put my body on show. Becoming body positive has been the most incredible thing that’s ever happened to me. I get messages of support from all over the world from fat people saying thank you. It’s mind blowing to me that loving yourself when you’re fat is seen as so subversive.”
2. She Majored in Theater
Thore was born on April 4, 1984, in Greensboro, North Carolina. She studied at Page High School before going on to Appalachian State University, where she majored in theater.
Last season on the series, Thore suffered a stroke. This season is expected to be no less dramatic– in a preview for the show, Thore tells her mother, “You are a liar from the pit of hell and I finally caught you!” Her mother innocently responds, “What?”
What exactly is this secret? We’ll have to wait and see. Thore recently told NewsWeek, “My mom is doing pretty well. I don’t know if you can really tell this from the trailer or not, but in the beginning of the season I found out a huge secret about her that basically changed everything I thought about her and our family… That’s something interesting. I’ve always known Babs is not an innocent Southern Belle but what I found out is that she’s really not. She’s really not.”
This season’s preview also shows Thore kissing her longtime friend. She tells Newsweek, “There really isn’t a word for it, to be honest. When I kiss Buddy it’s always weird. There’s always weirdness from being friends with him. But I think that sometimes people have a chemistry that’s just there. I’m just gonna have to say, if I pick one word, I’m still gonna say weird.”
3. She Released a Memoir in 2016
In 2016, Thore released her memoir, I Do It with the Lights On: And 10 More Discoveries on the Road to a Blissfully Shame-Free Life..
Speaking about the book, Thore tells People, “In I Do It with the Lights On, readers will get to understand how I became the happy, confident woman they see on My Big Fat Fabulous Life… There is so much more to me than can be edited down into 30-minute episodes and this book will reveal all the challenges and triumphs that made me the person I am today – and everything, and I do mean everything, in between.”
She continued, “Feeling supremely comfortable and proud in your own skin is hardest in the bedroom where we are most vulnerable, and I’ve used it as a litmus test… Once I could enjoy sex with the lights on, I knew I’d made it.”
3. She Has Been Vocal About Battling Eating Disorders
In her 20s, Thore battled bulimia and anorexia. She tells the Huffington Post, “In my first year of college I gained 100lb and basically stopped doing everything I loved. I internalized a lot of shame because of my weight and even forced myself to throw up after meals.”
Later on, Thore was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an incurable condition which can cause weight-gain, excessive hair growth and infertility. She also says she’s battled depression.
Thore tells the Huffington Post, “I’d never heard of PCOS, which is crazy because it affects around 10% of women. By this time I’d internalised a lot of shame about my body so it was really wasn’t a stretch for me to feel bad about myself.”
5. She Has Been Posting About Exercising on Social Media
Thore has started posting about her workout routines on social media, which has garnered a lot of attention.
In a recent interview with People, the reality star said, “People were asking me about my workouts ALL the time… I’ve gotten such a good response from people, whether they be fat people or people with different abilities, or people who just aren’t confident in their fitness levels.”
She goes on to say that she wanted to encourage people to get fit and healthy but wasn’t sure how to do it. “I’ve been thinking about what I could do to help encourage or inspire other people, but personal trainers are really expensive and not everyone has an hour to spend in the gym every day,” she says.
She then partnered with Ryan Andreas, a personal trainer who created a training program that’s just 24 minutes long. Together, the two came up with something called No BS Active, which People describes as “a program with daily online workouts that people can do at home, for $20 a month.”
No BS Active already has 13k followers on social media. Learn more about it here.