Monday, news broke that ABC Family had canceled groundbreaking series Huge. Tuesday, we started a petition to save Huge. Wednesday, Huge star Nikki Blonsky contacted us, offering her sincere thanks. Last night we asked some questions.
Nikki: I just want to start off by thanking you so much for starting the petition. It just means so much to me. I can't even express in words how much it means. If you were here I would hug you and squeeze you to death.
Dodai: Well I just really love the show. I don't know if the petition will do anything, but I had to try, because I am such a big fan. And I'm sad that it's not going to continue.
Nikki: The entertainment industry thinks they know what we want. But when people — teenagers — stand up and say, 'We're tired of seeing of this on TV, we want this' — hopefully the networks will start paying attention and start saying, 'Well, maybe we should finally give them what they want, instead of what we think they want. '
The fans reaching out — the signatures on the petition — and the fact that it's in the media that people are fighting for this show to come back, I think that's just incredible.
A lot of people really felt personally connected to the show. There were so many different types of stories, and maybe everyone connected differently in the way that they related to the characters. Although there is more frivolous entertainment out there, like Jersey Shore , this show had an actual impact on people.
Absolutely! Let's face it, most of America doesn't look like J-Woww, and we're not fist-pumping at Karma. It's not happening. And that's what makes the world go ‘round — we're all different. And why shouldn't there be a show that caters to those different people? Why is it that we're seeing one type of community? It's not fair and it's not right.
With Huge, I think people maybe got a little scared! Because we were actually covering [so much] territory, and doing it fearlessly.
We covered everything from being gay to questioning your sexuality to cross-dressing to being overweight to body odor. And did it in a really gentle manner. The fact that kids were responding to it so well… I think it almost scared the network. Maybe [they realized] that their other shows are kind of mediocre.
What were your impressions when you first heard about the show, and the concept of it?
When I first heard about Huge… I said to my agent, I HAVE to play Will. And he said well, you've gotta go through a rigorous audition process. And I went back six times. I put myself on tape, and I screen tested. Everybody thinks that because I was Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray that they just gave me the role. That's not how it happened. I had to audition. And their main issue with me was, can you be mean enough to play this role? And I really dug deep. I said, you know what? I was teased so much in high school. And so much in middle school. I'm sure I can find that anger somewhere. And I did. I auditioned for the role six times and I got it. And the feeling when I got it — I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders in a way. Because I was going to finally be able to bring to light a TV show that was so different. It just felt very groundbreaking. I felt really honored to be a part of it.
What about when you read that you'd be doing a striptease?
I was so excited about the striptease! For years I struggled with never wanting to go to the beach or the pool, because I didn't want to wear a bathing suit. I hated bathing suits. And when I read that my character was going to strip down to a bathing suit, I thought, well, it is now or never. Face your fears. And I really wanted to do it in a big, grand way. To show the world: Look. This is what a lot of people in America look like. We're all not skinny tiny little people. This is what we look like, and it's OKAY. It's okay for us to go to the beach, or wear a bathing suit at the pool. We should be able to be comfortable and proud. It broke a boundary within myself; I had to face that fear in order to do that, for the people that I really wanted to do it for — the fans. The kids that I know are suffering with going to the beach in a bathing suit themselves.
I think that's one of the things that's really interesting: With a show about, say, cops — or lawyers – the actors are usually not actually cops or lawyers. In this instance, the cast is who they are playing, to some extent. Maybe you're not dealing with the exact same issues as your character is, but it's an overweight person being played by an overweight person. There's a deeper connection there.
Absolutely. I always said our show was more of a reality show than a reality show. Because everything was so real. These kids that were playing heavyset kids that were picked on were most likely heavyset kids that were picked on. There's no filter there. They didn't have to study anything, they just had to look at their own lives, and finally say, yeah, this is what I've been through and this is what a lot of kids in the world are going through. It was the most real show on TV.
There was an episode in which your character, Will, was cutting up women's magazines. She called them "propaganda." I was wondering if you have any thoughts about them. It's one of the types of media — besides TV — that young women and girls really voraciously consume.
In the previous episode, [Hayley Hasselhoff's character] Amber had cut out [photos] of really thin models, and she called them thinspiration. And Will put up pictures of women from the 16th century and 18th century, when women were bustier and curvier and it was embraced. Will says it's fatspiration. But when she's cutting up the magazines — if I can remember correctly — she says she will not stand for things that destroy girls' minds, and what they think they should look like. I have to agree with her on that.
I buy magazines and they drive me crazy! I have been to the big award shows and I have been on big red carpets and I have worn fantastic dresses. And for some reason, in the magazines the next week, it'll be "who wore blue." And I say to myself, well, I wore blue, why wasn't I in that lineup? It's a bunch of skinny girls in the same blue dress. It's kind of saying, actresses look like this. And if you want to be an actress, you have to look like that. And that's not true. You have to be who you are. It gets to me sometimes. I still struggle with it all the time. I am me. I am out there.
I got VERY frustrated when the show got canceled. Because I put on a really strong front and I tell everybody else, it's okay, everything happens for a reason. But I felt that Huge was really at the forefront — it was a groundbreaking moment for our culture. Every step we take… Now with the network canceling it, it's like we're taking two steps back. I just hope for the future — for the sake of people who are different — I just hope that there are TV shows where people who ARE different can act in them. And that they reach the audience. Those who aren't the typical 90210 or Melrose Place types. I don't watch those shows, but I would gather that I would get pretty tired of looking at the same kind of people over and over and over again. Where do they find these people? Nobody looks like that. At least not in my town! I mean they're beautiful people, I'm not bashing them in any way. But I want people to watch TV and think, my gosh, FINALLY. She's not the typical beauty, she's not the typical person you'd see on TV, but she belongs on TV because she's playing an awesome character that we can all relate to.
I'm sad that the show is canceled, but I am so glad I got a chance to talk to you about this. Any last thoughts?
I've always said: Go huge or go home. And we've gone home now, but we're still huge and we're here to stay. You can't take the love that we have for ourselves and our bodies away from us. You can take away the TV show, but you can't take that love — that we carry for ourselves and each other — away from us.
Sign the petition to save Huge here.
See also: Huge: How Your Weight Affects Your Family Dynamic
Huge: Eating Disorders, Ribs And Recovery
Huge: When Losing Weight Doesn't Feel Like A Victory
Shrooms, Gender-Bending, Dumpster-Diving & Spirit Quests On Huge
Finding Humor In Swimsuits & Love Handles
Telling The Weird Kid He Smells Bad On Huge
Uterus-Control Issues On Huge
Fat-Camp Striptease & Snack Lust On Huge