Aidy Bryant is the fat BFF I never knew I always wanted. She’s already one of my all-time favorite cast members on Saturday Night Live, and my infatuation reached peak fandom status last year when I watched her kick ass and take names in the Hulu series Shrill. Since Season 2 of this groundbreaking show premieres this Thursday, I’ll be singing all of its self-lovin’ praises from every single rooftop I can find.
Shrill is a series that follows Bryant as Annie, a fat woman in need of a major life overhaul. She’s juggling a budding writing career alongside a string of bad boyfriends and lacks the inner confidence to advocate for what she really wants. While she vulnerably seeks out multiple paths to self-improvement, there’s one area she bravely decides to stop obsessing over – her weight.
With the help of her equally plus-sized and awesome best friend Fran, our beloved protagonist learns how to let go of ridiculous societal standards and embrace a louder, messier way of existence. And in the process, she finally finds her voice.
I cannot wait to see what this next season will hold for Annie. From the looks of the trailer, it seems like the body-lovin’ heroine will be speaking up a whole lot more. And I’ll be rooting for her the whole goddamn way.
After spending decades battling an eating disorder in an unbearably thin body, it has been especially powerful as a newly plus-sized woman to watch Bryant shine. As I witness Annie let go of the overwhelming cultural pressure to lose weight and discover self-acceptance for the first time, I feel emboldened to give my own belly rolls and big ass the love they so deserve. While Bryant didn’t initially intend to become a fat acceptance icon, she now realizes what a righteous act of rebellion it is to live proudly and openly in a larger bod. With Shrill, she is hoping to let her curvy flag fly higher.
I assure you, Aidy Bryant, I will be flying mine right alongside you.
In one particularly touching first season episode, Annie goes to a body-positive pool party and leaves her wallflower shyness at the door as she wildly dances with abandon around a bunch of other fat babes. Coupled with the present moments are some heartbreaking flashbacks of a younger Annie painfully avoiding the pool, for fear that she’d be ridiculed. While I never experienced the sting of being bullied in a fat body as a youth, I was constantly torn down by middle school boys when I gained weight during puberty and spent years being criticized for my appearance by loved ones. But despite cruel words being flung my way and media-laden imagery wreaking havoc on my self-esteem, the biggest bully in my life was me. I never once felt at home in my body, and no matter how dangerously I tried to keep shedding pounds, the desire to lose weight was never satisfied.
All that changed when I gained a shit ton of weight in new motherhood and unexpectedly got my life back. For the first time ever, I felt an unbridled freedom to totally break up with diet culture and heal my relationship with the body that was desperately aching for my acceptance. I never expected to find lasting self-love in a fat bod, but that is exactly what happened. I’m never going back to living with restriction, self-hate, and bodily shame again.
I want to make it super clear that the thin privilege I unconsciously enjoyed for decades is not lost on me. I fully understand the difference between being torn down for the body I physically existed in and the massive social oppression fat individuals face on a daily basis. If anything, living in extremely different sizes has opened my eyes to just how far we need to go in the realm of inclusion and visibility. And thanks to Aidy Bryant’s brilliant work in Shrill, I get to continue my self-acceptance education.
If you struggle with your body image and have yet to watch this hilarious game-changer of a show, I highly recommend tuning in. The world needs more women like Annie living unapologetically in it.
Season Two of Shrill premieres Thursday, January 24 on Hulu.