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TLC Star to Host Free Discussion on Body Positivity from 2–4 p.m. on Sunday

By Kaitlan Morehouse

ASU’s Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts will hold a discussion led by TLC Network star and App State alumna Whitney Way Thore from 2–4 p.m. on Sunday.

Thore, star of the show “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” will speak about body positivity and why it’s important for everyone to achieve it.

The event is hosted by ASU’s Reich College of Education. The department’s business officer Lynn Church was moved to tears when she saw Thore’s “No Body Shame Campaign” on a November episode of the show and was inspired to bring the campaign to campus.

Church is a part of ASU’s Diversity and Social Justice Working Group.

“This is what I wanted to talk about, and it fit our social justice piece,” she said. “I started working to get her to come.”

Church knows a lot of bullying goes on about weight in today’s society and believes we shouldn’t let what people think about us dictate what we think about ourselves. She loves Thore’s positivity.

“I was at ASU when I began struggling with some of the hardest times in my life. It only makes sense to come back and offer the kind of experience, hope and advice I would have loved to hear at that time,” Thore said.

A Q-and-A and meet-and-greet will follow Thore’s presentation.

“We’re honored that she’s coming, and we’re planning for it to be a super event,” Church said.

The event is free and open to adults 18 and up on a first come, first served basis and is designed specifically for college students, but everyone is welcome. Students younger than 18 need a parent or guardian present.

Church said Thore’s positivity makes everyone else positive, and the College of Education is really happy to host the event for free.

Show production staff reports that Whitney wanted to come back to Boone to spread the word and message to everyone.

“The No Body Shame campaign affects so many people because its message is universal. At some point in our lives, we have all felt shame because of something, and the campaign offers hope and advice to people desperately seeking a way to stop the BS and start living,” Thore said.

There are 1,600 seats to fill at the Schaefer Center, and the doors will open at 12:30 p.m. for the 2 p.m. presentation. Hurry in!

For more information about the event, call the ASU’s Reich College of Education at 828-262-2232.

About Thore

A 2007 alumna of the Theatre Department at Appalachian, Thore is a Greensboro native. She was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a symptom of which is uncontrollable weight gain. Every case of PCOS is different, and not all diagnosed women experience that symptom.

“I began experiencing most of the effects of PCOS as a freshman at App, but it was undiagnosed until my Junior year. PCOS caused me to experience sudden and severe weight gain of 100 pounds during my freshman year, followed by hair loss, hair growth in places women typically don’t get it and continued to prevent me from having a menstrual cycle, which had been a problem ever since my teenage years. My symptoms have progressively worsened, but at least, now, I have a diagnosis and ways to manage it,” Thore said.

Thore and her friend posted a YouTube video called Fat Girl Dancing not long after her ASU graduation. After the video took off, TLC approached her and the rest was history.

Now, she speaks at high schools and colleges around North Carolina and the globe, films the third season of her show and teaches her The Big Girl Dance Class at the Greensboro Theatre. She danced and competed in high school, and her class is for anyone who wants to dance or learn and empower their body and open to any adults in the Greensboro community or surrounding area — no matter your age or size!

Visit her Facebook page Whitney Way Thore No Body Shame Campaign, My Big Fat Fabulous Life’s Pageher website or the TLC  website for more information about her or her show.