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Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace

By Catherine Weingarten--I recently was lucky enough to interview Theo Nicole Lorenz about her work.  Theo is an artist who dabbles in many mediums, but caught Proud2Bme's attention with her body positive coloring book "Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace."

The book is so whimsical, fun and feminist friendly!  Read our conversation below to learn more about this awesome artist!

Catherine Weingarten: So first, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Theo Nicole Lorenz: I'm a writer, artist, and coloring book tycoon living in St. Paul, Minnesota. I'm also short, fat, queer, and geeky, and I have a soft spot for terrible gray animals (currently a cat named Moby who steals tortillas from the pantry.)

CW: What was your inspiration behind Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace?

TNL: Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace was a product of love and peer pressure. I was attending a body positivity panel at WisCon (a feminist science fiction convention) where a panelist friend asked, "Where are all the fat butches in space?" Good question! I took out my sketchbook and drew a fat butch astronaut. When I showed the drawing to my friend after the panel, she said, "You should draw more of those. I need a coloring book." 

Having grown up on sci-fi TV and movies, I knew how rare it was to find bodies that looked like my own in the media I loved. So I thought, yeah, why not make a coloring book about it? 

CW: What kind of responses have you gotten after putting out this body-positive coloring book?

TNL: Oh my god, the responses I've gotten about this book. Women have told me they cried reading my coloring book because they'd never before seen bodies like theirs depicted in a positive way. I've gotten the most heartfelt emails from folks saying that this coloring book helped them through difficult times in their lives, both because of the anxiety management properties of coloring and because they drew strength from seeing bodies like theirs on sci-fi heroines. 

This book really proved to me that representation in media - any media - matters to people. I make very silly books, but I take the representation in them very seriously, because I want people to be able to look at my art and be reminded that they deserve to be seen. 

CW: What got you interested in the body positivity movement?

TNL: Body positivity was something I desperately needed at the time I stumbled across it online. I'm naturally built short and round, and in my mid-twenties I realized that I would never be happy with myself if I didn't accept my body as-is. Reading body positivity blogs helped me unlearn a lot of the toxic body image ideas I'd grown up with and begin to see my body as something worth loving at any size. 

CW: What got you interested in pursuing art as a career?

TNL: Oh, I've wanted to be an artist since I first picked up a crayon. Unlike my other childhood dreams of becoming a mermaid or joining the circus, it just never faded.

CW: What artists do you look up to?

TNL: So many! The most obvious influences for me are probably Bill Watterson, because I was raised on Calvin and Hobbes; Colleen Doran, whose A Distant Soil series showed me that queer characters could exist in sci-fi; and EK Weaver, whose comic The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal is visually stunning and full of heart. I'm also lucky to be surrounded by incredible artists I get to call friends! I currently have serious art crushes on Britt Sabo's gorgeously colored comics and Rhea Ewing's emotionally charged multimedia pieces.

CW: What is your fave dessert?

TNL: In the middle of small town Wisconsin, there's a Norwegian restaurant called Norske Nook. In Norske Nook, there is a glass display case filled with blue ribbon winning pie. Pick any pie from that display case. That pie is my favorite dessert.

CW:  What advice do you have for aspiring activists?

TNL: Keep an open ear and an open heart. Activism in any form is hard. At some point you'll screw up, and you need to be able to listen when people call you on it. But also listen to the people who tell you your work has helped them. Use both as motivation to do more and do better.

CW:  What makes you proud2be you?

TNL: I'm proud of my kindness and tenacity, and of my flat chest and strong legs!

About this blogger: Catherine is an MFA student in playwriting at Ohio University. She was a previous NEDA helpline volunteer and is also the playwright in residence for Realize Your Beauty, an AWESOME org which uses theater arts to promote body positive for kids. Her fave dessert is high class coconut cake. She has written lots of trashy short plays with equally trashy titles like “Hot Santa” or “You Looked Hot when You Stole that Dress from Walmart.”

Also by Catherine:

Paper Cuts: EDs on Screen

Stepping Off the Treadmill: How I Discovered What Health Exercise Really Feels Like

Victory! Fat Is Not A Feeling! 

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