by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.
I met Kira Nerusskaya over a year ago, at a Fashion Week march advocating bigger models on the catwalk. She herself was larger than life, gorgeous and spirited. She told me that she was working on a documentary about plus sized women all over the world, and asked if I wanted to be interviewed. I said yes, and she interviewed me right away, asking me some of the most interesting, prescient questions about life as a fat woman that I had never been asked before.
Now Kira’s documentary, entitled Fat Girls Float, is even closer to becoming a reality. She’s logged hours and hours of footage, has trailers on youtube, and has teamed up with Kickstarter.com to further fund the project. Kira must raise $5,000 by 7PM on December 13th in order to keep the money she’s raised at Kickstarter. People who want to support the project can donate any amount starting at $1, with investors of $500 or more receive a producer credit. After spending thousands of dollars of her own money to fund the project, receiving the support of donors all over the world means a lot to her. “I’m very very grateful to everyone who gave, whether it was a $1 or $500,” she told me. I’m very very touched.”
Her passion for the project is evident in more than her words. Kira has traveled to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris and a few cities in Russia to interview subjects for her documentary. Overall, she found that the experience of being fat was very similar for her interviewees. “The one thing that is so interesting about all of these stories from fat women all over the globe is the fact that regardless of who tells their story, it’s really the collective story of our collective plight.” She found herself feeling a profound connection to her subjects because of this shared experience. “It was a wonderful experience to meet up with all my fat sisters,” she said. After finishing this movie, she hopes to make a second documentary of interviewees from countries in Africa and Asia.
At the same time, she found that many interviews were deeply emotional and often cathartic. “There is a lot of emotion that we’ve been carrying around inside our bodies about our bodies and this provides an opportunity for some people to let go of that.” Kira wants fat women to let go of internalized fat shame. “People are programmed to think that their body is bad and fat and terrible and ugly.” Instead, she wants fat women to love their bodies and stand up for themselves as much as possible. She advises, “we need to live with greater perseverance…and regardless of whatever anyone else might think, we need to be proactive in defending ourselves against unneccessary discrimination.”
To her, Fat Girls Float is more than a documentary about fat women, it is a call to end size discrimination as a whole. She compares this fight to the fight to end discrimination by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harvey Milk. “I want people to take the negative component out of everything and see people as people.” She sees the audience for Fat Girls Float as going beyond just fat women. “I hope its embraced by the fat acceptance movement, I hope its embraced by America, and I hope its embraced by women who don’t know [about the movement].”
Expect to see the full movie of Fat Girls Float by the Fall of 2010.
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