A very belated Happy 2019!
My goodness we are almost 3 months into the new year? I am sorry for being quiet but this post will be an update on what I have been up to since the year begun.
A show I have been following for quite a while on local television has been Ms V, on Vasantham tv. The spin off version Ms V Supreme has definitely caught my attention.
The format of Ms V Supreme has undergone quite the revamp – originally seeming more like a beauty pageant that happened to scout talent for tv, it has now become so much more. In its bid to be more inclusive of diversity in appearance and walks of life, auditions for the 2019 competition were open to all women.
Sure, prior experience is helpful but what they seek in the winner is someone adept with facing the cameras, has good hosting abilities, is able to take on the weekly tasks/challenges with grace and finesse, showing growth as they move up in the competition. You know, No Big Deal, Easy Peasy.
I come in to ask pertinent questions and perhaps provide food for thought on my advocacies, as a plus size body positive intersectional feminist – whoo what a mouthful! It has taken a while for body positivity to be regarded as anything more than a passing fad here in the region. There is an awareness and I wish to find out if the movement has made more progress.
`My take on diet culture and body positivity among other things can be considered pretty radical but I remember how it was when I first learnt of the global plus size and body positive communities, so I always bear that in mind when I speak to people who have just been introduced or are skimming the surface of the movement. Where better to begin than a space like a pageant?
Introductions were made between me and the Ms V Supreme world. I had the pleasure of interviewing some of the contestants, all 3 judges and an important part of the pre-production team.Most of the interviews were conducted in the midst of live recordings so I had to steal the contestants, judges away for a while to have a quick chat. Having never been anywhere near a television production, I was floored with how much work goes into it!
It was DAUNTING.
Theatre has always been my thing and I have experience in major dance performances, hosting, spoken word so I always wondered – How difficult can a television recording be?
Somewhere in the heartlands, in an inconspicuous enough looking set of buildings I remember asking the hubster – is this it? Is this big enough? Do the contestants live here?I quickly was reminded not to judge a book by its dull grey, seemingly small exterior. I walked into a proper stage. Your girl was not prepared!
Also. Having watched Miss Congeniality a ludicrous amount of times I am too embarrassed to admit, relating to Sandra Bullocks’s snorts at becoming Miss Jersey’s Gracie Lou Freebush, I was apprehensive to say the least to meet the contestants. Would there be hostility among them like we’ve seen in other pageants? Sure the show says they want diversity but is diet culture still being practiced anyway in order to stay ‘presentable’ in front of the camera? Would I be welcomed or regarded at a distance due to my unapologetic petite fat glory?
You have to remember that fatphobia is still rampant here, there is little respect for personal space and people will blatantly talk about your body like you’re not even there. This goes for all of us who fall into the ‘undesired aesthetic’ category, but it gets quite brutal for bigger bodies and darker skin tones – thanks Eurocentric standards of beauty, but no thanks!
Before meeting the girls..
The first thing I noticed right off the bat was how unnerving this could be for someone who had no experience in front of tv cameras. I thought about how annoyed I get when doing an outdoor photoshoot for the blog – cursing the skies for unpredictable weather, getting the stylised angles that I had in mind and reshooting until I am satisfied, retouching my makeup and hair, worrying about my back and knee. Knowing that it is just a small portion of the work done, I need to head home after to load the images, brighten them and write with clarity.
I watched these young girls on the stage above with full faces of makeup, immaculate hair and outfits … wearing heels for hours on end, retaking shoots and having to smile the whole time even if they were utterly exhausted or stressed out. I have been following their journey through the competition with each episode. Vying for the title was no mean feat.
Having said that, it was immediately obvious how comfortable the girls felt despite the pressures placed on them. There was a familial feeling between them and everyone else involved in the show. This felt like their domain, their place to shine. It was a pleasant surprise to see how supported they were, regardless of how they fared in the tasks for the show. That space for allowing growth, is so important in any vocation.
I was watching the girls on stage and of course, I had to be a klutz. Right when they started rolling camera, I dropped my heavy phone onto the floor. My official emoji for winning at life should be the facepalm emoji. I hadn’t felt the oddly familiar rush of blood to my ears in a long time, from embarrassment.
……….. to be continued ………….
Part 2 is brewing.
Watch this space tomorrow! 😉