Did you know that Lizzo has a brand new show coming out this week?! Friday, March 25 is the premiere of Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls on Prime Video. This eight-episode unscripted series follows Lizzo and her quest to find talented, confident dancers to join her on tour as Big Grrrls. Throughout the series, the women live in the Big Grrrls House to earn their place on stage next to Lizzo. I’m so excited today to share with you today more about the show and an interview with the Big Grrrl’s cast themselves.
Check out the trailer for Lizzo's Watch Out For The Big Grrrls:
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Austin, TX speaking at SXSW. When they announced Lizzo as a keynote speaker, I was ridiculously excited. Showing up to new and unfamiliar space in a larger body can be uncomfortable, and a huge event/conference like this – especially after 2 years of limited social contact – had my anxiety ramped up. Hearing that Lizzo and her voice and message would be there in a big way helped me exhale a little bit. She was there in support of this new Prime Video show, and you truly couldn't avoid Lizzo or the Big Grrrls wherever you went. The shuttle busses had their faces on them, there was a whole activation around the show (peep it on my Instagram or TikTok) and the dancers even took to the streets of Austin to share their Big Grrrl moves. I reached out to Prime Video and to my surprise and delight, they asked if I'd like to interview the Big Grrrls. I jumped at the chance and truly enjoyed every minute of speaking to them. You could tell they 100% supported each other and the bond goes beyond a show. They were so open and vulnerable in answering these questions, and I appreciated their time so much.
Interview With Lizzo's Big Grrrls:
Emily: What has this experience been like so far? You've been out dancing in the streets, on stage, doing all these interviews – you tired, excited…?
(All: laughs, ALL OF IT!)
Kiara Mooring: It's been a lot since we got here, but it's been amazing. The energy has been really nice. Like everybody's so loving and welcoming – and they're excited. So it makes us even more excited about the show coming out so now we're just ready for it to start!
Moesha Perez: The feeling of being with the crowd, the audience, the energy that they give, it's still surreal. And I feel blessed. I feel happy to be here, it feels like I know this is what I'm going to do – it's just confirmation. And I'm just like, ‘damn, I'm that bitch. Okay? Period!' It's definitely an out-of-body experience. This is literally what I would dream of, and it's coming true. You know, we're literally living our dreams.
Sydney Bell: I think as well, being able to perform here and seeing the energy from the crowd, it at least made me feel like we were appreciated – people come up to us and say, ‘you look beautiful. Y'all killed it!' Whereas usually, or at least again in my experience, people expect us to be lazy, people expect us not to have the energy that we have. So I think the most rewarding thing about performing here at South by Southwest is just feeling like we're appreciated and seen and acknowledged for doing things that we genuinely love to do.
On fitting in…
E: As someone in an extended plus body, I don't fit the typical mold. I know that when I went to a Lizzo concert, I had kind of an out-of-body experience because it felt like this was the first time my body fits in a space without judgment. Entering into this show, did you have that same kind of feeling?
Arianna Davis: Being with these women, I feel the most comfortable when I'm with them. They're like my sisters. And I don't think that without them, I would have fully been able to accept my body because they created a safe space for me. And I think we created a safe space for each other.
Jayla Sullivan: Out in the world, we often hear that our bodies aren't valid – they're not beautiful that, we need to lose weight, or we need to tone up or whatever the case is. But this experience for me, same as all of [the other dancers] is the fact that we all push each other. We all love and respect each other. And I think that that kind of spearheaded us feeling that we are valid, that we should be seeing them, you should be respected and loved. And we should love ourselves just as much as we expect other people to love us.
Ashley Williams: Entering into the house I was very nervous. Especially being in environments where we don't feel our most comfortable, we don't feel accepted. We don't feel like girls that look like me get chosen by the best guys, the best girls, you know – we get overlooked in so many places. When I came into the house, I definitely felt a sense of sisterhood, a sense of, ‘oh, we're all alike!' And also just speaking to them, and knowing what they've been through and what they haven't been through. They were just so loving and so accepting, and it just felt good.
Jasmine Morrison: My exhale moment, especially here was definitely when I put on my leotard for the performance. And the bottom of my stomach was hanging out, I've had two children. So there's just like, a lot of excess skin that just kind of just does its own thing. And back at home and in different company, I would have never felt comfortable doing that. So when I put it on, I even checked myself in the mirror and I said, ‘you're gonna look good, don't worry about it.' And I saw Kiki in hers. Then I saw Ash in hers and I was like, okay, so we all got this, then I was like, ‘I'm good. I'm a bad bitch!'
Moesha: It's funny for me because when I put on my leotard, I had the same moment I had years ago, because I actually put on the same leotard in a small, small little performance, right? And that was a moment where I was comfortable with my body, but I was scared to show my body in front of everyone in the audience. It was uncomfortable. I was trying to dance and you know [hide things], you know all the rest of the stuff. So when I put it on – it was the same gold leotard that we had worn! So it was uncomfortable but now I'm wearing an outfit that I literally put on years ago and now I'm just fucking killing shit and I didn't even care about if you don't see some dark circles [on inner thighs], I don't care if my if you see my thighs, jiggling when I move to the left, move to the right – I didn't care you know, so I was like, man, it just felt so good. It was so good.
What about in other dance spaces – have you had the opposite kind of experience where you felt like you had to shrink or minimize? I think a lot of people would want to know – how do you get over that?
Isabel Jones: I've been on a lot of K-pop dance teams, and a lot of these teams have Asian girls that tend to be on the skinnier side, which is no problem at all – they're my best friends, so they wouldn't treat me any different! But when we post those covers online, other people start comparing, like, ‘oh, why are [these dancers] a size zero and she's like, 16, what is happening? Why do they look so different?' And ‘man, they should really have kicked that member out of the group so they could fit in more.' Even though I love my friends and my team, with outsiders viewing in, it was it felt like I was being outcasted in a way, which is completely different from here where I'm like, ‘Oh, wow, I don't have to have to suck in!' I don't have to minimize the way I dance because I felt like a lot of the time, as dancers were told to spread out and dance big. But when you're next to these smaller, skinnier girls, if we dance big with our bigger bodies, we're automatically seen like, we're dancing “wrong” in a way. So I like dancing with similar bodies like mine. It pushes me forward as a dancer, which is what I really needed this whole time.
Kiara: I think personally for me because I take a lot of classes – when I go to these classes, you don't typically see my body there, you see a lot of smaller people, and they're usually doing like really big, active dance movements. Because I'm thicker, I feel like people get this stigma that I can't move the same way. So for me, it's a push. I get out there and I'm like, I want to prove that I can do this – not even just to prove to y'all, but to prove to myself that I'm capable of doing it because I'm a thicker woman. And we got to represent for our thicker women out here. I can do it just as well as y'all. I can move just like y'all.
On collaboration over competition…
In Lizzo's keynote here at SXSW, she mentioned that this show isn't your typical reality competition show. There's a lot of talk right now about collaboration over competition – do you feel you were able to foster a collaborative and friendly environment or were there still some elements of competition?
Jayla: I personally feel like the biggest competition was with ourselves. We walked into this experience already having this self-doubt and not feeling like we're good enough. And whether there was an elimination every week, or whatever the case was, we didn't know what we were going to walk into. So we needed to push ourselves, and I think that that really helped us foster these relationships with each other because at the end of the day, we all have 10 different walks of life, but we all have one goal. And we all have like the same passion and the same love. And I think that that just pushed everybody to get very close.
Ari: I think that Lizzo definitely stressed that it's not a competition it's an audition and that there's space for all of us. We just have to claim our space – we have to earn our space with her. So our biggest competition was ourselves. And we really, really fought to be good enough to get to where we had to go. So yeah, it was more of an audition aspect to it.
Lizzo definitely stressed that it's not a competition, it's an audition.Arianna Davis
Charity Holloway: I feel like we really didn't know what to expect when we came into the house, but I feel that we very quickly became closer and closer each day. And for me, it got to the point where I didn't feel like I needed to compete with them. I just wanted to elevate with them – I wanted to grow, learn from them, become a better dancer, become a better person, because I learned so much from them. So it never felt like ‘oh my God, I got to take her down, because I want to dance for Lizzo' but it felt more like, you know what, this is my sister. Look at how bomb she is – I can learn from her. Everybody has that special thing that she can learn from and pick up on. Of course, it takes a little time because you're entering into a house with nine different women. But literally, it didn't take much time – especially when you're around each other 24/7. You have no choice but to start growing with each other. We just all elevated together as dancers, as people, as humans.
Jasmine: When I got there, I was in competition mode. What I heard about the show was, there's a certain number y'all and X, Y, and Z, right? And so the X, Y, and Z stuck to me and so I was like, I'm gonna be a part of that X, Y, and Z. So when I got in with the group, and we started mingling and everything, I was like, you know, this bitch is actually kind of cool! I can let my guard down now. And that's exactly what happened.
Advice to your younger self
E: Taking a look at where you are now, with this show about to launch and the world seeing your talent – what would you tell your 10-year-old self? What advice would you give her? Because you know, I think the messages we'd tell our 10-year-old selves are some that we might need to remind ourselves of at all ages…
Asia Banks: Well, this is my motto all the time – 10-year-olds until you're old honestly – anytime we feel like you are about to quit, always remember why you started. You have a reason to be here – be resilient and keep pushing because you're going to get there. We don't just have dreams – we catch dreams, we don't chase them. Keep doin' you, Asia!
Kiara: I would definitely tell myself, just be patient. Take your time, take the steps, be willing to learn, be willing to step outside your comfort zone, and enjoy the moment that you're in because you can't get it back. So once you're there, enjoy it. That's why I really love the song “Coconut Oil” by Lizzo. She says, “I thought I needed to run and find somebody to love but all I needed was some coconut oil. I thought I needed to rush, but all he needed was some coconut oil.” Just relax. Take your time. You're going to get there, Kiki!
Isabel: I would just say keep doing what you love. Because honestly, that's what makes you happy. And if that's the only thing that makes you happy, who cares what other people think? Stop looking from side to side, and comparing yourself to others because I think probably around 10 years old is when you really start looking at everybody else. And you think, ‘maybe I should lose some weight. Maybe I should stand a little taller.' But really, live your life the way that you want to live it because at the end of the day, we're changing and growing every single day. Keep doing what you love and maintain your mental health. Be happy and good and positive and affirmative. It's really what's going to help you grow and be a better person.
Stop looking from side to side and comparing yourself to others.Isabel Jones
Ari: Ooh this makes me emotional. I would tell my 10-year-old self that it's okay to be different. It's okay if you're the only one that looks different or doing something different. It's okay to be not like other people Be unapologetically yourself.
Jayla: Whew, this makes me emotional! I would tell my 10-year-old self that people aren't going to understand you. You're not going to understand yourself. But it's okay. The dark times that you go through there's going to be light at the end of that road. You're going to get to a point where you stop simply surviving and begin to thrive and know yourself inside and out and be able to flourish into who you truly are and not what you were born into.
Charity: I would say, don't let the world's perception of what is beautiful, what is acceptable, hold you back. For me, I've always been this big chocolate girl and I felt so limited in what I can do. I didn't see anyone who looked like me. So I'm like, I can't go to LA be a dancer, who's out there doing that!? I limited myself and my potential because I was looking at what the world accepted. Don't wait. Just be yourself. Go for it. And if there's no path there, make your own path. Just go forward. God has your back. Believe in yourself. So don't wait ladies get out there your dreams can come true. I am a 35-year-old marketing professional, who never thought that I would be on a show trying to dance for Lizzo. I went to college and got a degree because I didn't think I could dance, and look at where I am now. So you know, the sky's limitless, for real!
Don't let the world's perception of what is beautiful, what is acceptable, hold you back.Charity Holloway
Jasmine: The perfect example I can give is my daughter's – I talk to them about this all the time. My five-year-old, she's the one that really gets it – my three-year-old, is like “ok, I'm going to go do something else!” *laughs* But I tell her all the time, you can be anything that you want to be. Don't let anyone take you off course – not even yourself. Try hard. Listen. Follow your dreams and believe in yourself. It's so powerful, you can literally manifest your dreams just from believing in yourself. So that's the advice I would give any little girl or the little me. Because I needed that when I doubted myself.
Sydney: I would tell my younger self, you only have one life, you only have one body. You need to live it fully and you need to embrace it fully. There are so many times where I feel like my younger self hid away from the world, hid my body from the world. I was consistently missing out on memories and special moments because I was insecure with myself. Now I look back and regret all of those moments and memories that I missed out on. Fully embrace yourself, embrace your body, learn to love your body. Self-love is a process, it's a journey. There's no endpoint. I am a full time body positive social media influencer and a signed plus-size model and I still have my off days when it comes to my body. So it's a journey. It's not a destination. Always be the main character.
Fully embrace yourself, embrace your body, learn to love your body. Self-love is a process, it's a journey. There's no endpoint.Sydney Bell
Ashley: I would tell my younger self a lot of things because I went through a lot mentally. I would tell my younger self, one moment does not define your character. One mistake does not define you completely. Love yourself, accept yourself for everything that you are. Don't try to be like anyone else. You are who God created you to be – as is – you don't have to change. Who's gonna be for you, will be for you. And that's friends-wise, relationships-wise is, it's gonna work because it's for you. If it's not working, they're not for you. You don't have to be nobody else but yourself in order to make friends. If you only make one or two friends, you're gonna have one or two bad besties for the rest of your life.
Don't be afraid to be alone. Sometime in loneliness, you figure out who you truly are, what you truly want, what you like and what you don't like. Protect your energy. You don't have to give it to everybody – not everybody deserves your energy. You don't have to overexert yourself. Say no to protect your peace. God is good. All the time. Keep your faith girl just keep walking in faith be optimistic, you can do anything, you have a plan A, you don't need a plan B, just focus on plan A.
Moesha: Keep pushing, you got this. No matter what, everything works out in your favor, you just got to believe yourself. Take care of yourself, ask for help – it's ok to ask for help! You don't need to do everything on your own. I like to do things on my own – I'm very independent. Asking for help is something that's hard for me to do. But it teaches you how to receive it as well, and receive your blessings.
Don't let my mind take over me and believe the negativity that may come out – just hit it right back. Hit it fast. Don't sink in it. You can feel it, but don't let it get you. Don't let it control you. You're in control of your life, you can show up and do everything that you want to do. You're capable, you're beautiful, you're not alone. Those things that you may feel like no one can understand? People understand, you just got to talk to somebody. My younger self wasn't as vulnerable as I am now, because I felt like I wasn't able to share my inside self with nobody. I always felt like no one understood me. Wherever you are in life, people are gonna have a bad day – including you – but that doesn't mean that you have to treat people bad. Put a smile on people's face, whether it's giving them a flower, whether it's telling them the beautiful, whether it's giving them a hug. Just greet people and make sure that they're okay.
Thank you to Prime Video for offering this interview and putting on a hell of an activation. Catch Lizzo's Watch Out For The Big Grrrls March 25th on Prime Video. (It's really good!)