Read One To Watch Online

Authors: Kate Stayman-London

One To Watch (10 page)

“Our ratings are going to be enormous.” Lauren gave Bea a sly smile. “But I don’t want you to get too in your head about what people are going to say about you—let them talk. You can laugh all the way to the bank.”

“Totally,” Bea agreed with more conviction than she actually felt. “Besides, it’s not like they’ll be saying anything I haven’t heard a thousand times before.”

Lauren gave Bea a sympathetic nod. “Listen, I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure this rollout goes as well for you as it possibly can. We’re going to give
People
the exclusive—you’ll be on the cover—so that will be a great outlet for you, they’ll post the story online first thing Wednesday. You’ll go straight to
Good Morning, USA!
for your first live interview, and then we’ll have you booked back-to-back for three days solid before we go to ground to prep for the premiere. It’s going to be grueling, but then, so will our two months of filming. You can handle it, right?”

“Of course.” Bea met Lauren’s eye. “That’s what you’re paying me for.”

The shoot for
People
went off without a hitch. They photographed Bea in a gorgeous Marina Rinaldi gown, black with a deep sweetheart neckline and long sleeves made of sheer mesh embroidered with oversized black polka dots. With Bea’s hair in a sky-high beehive (and fake lashes almost as long), the whole look was very Jackie O meets Andy Warhol. After the photo shoot came the interview, and the reporter they’d chosen, an energetic twentysomething named Sheena, lapped up Bea’s commitment to body positivity for herself and her legions of fans.

“I just think you are
so
freaking brave.”

“Thank you, Sheena, I appreciate that. But I don’t think we should overstate what I’m doing here—I’m going on a reality dating show, not going off to war.”

“Ugh, and humble too?? I swear, Bea, you’re just
perfect.
Real talk, though”—she leaned in conspiratorially—“are you nervous? I would be
so
nervous if I were you—dating twenty-five men at once is so much pressure!”

“Honestly? Yeah, of course I’m nervous—who wouldn’t be?”

“Can you tell me more specifically about what makes you most anxious?”

That every man would remind her of Ray? That none of them would? That everyone would see through her feigned flirtations and call her a liar and a self-serving hypocrite? That whatever had kept her from having a serious relationship for her thirty years on Earth would be laid bare for all of America to see?

“I guess it’s two sides of the same coin, really,” Bea said carefully. “A show like this presents such an amazing opportunity to make a connection, but you also have to face the possibility that you won’t meet that special person. I think everyone at
Main Squeeze
is going into this with the best intentions, but at the end of the day, it’s just twenty-five men in a whole world of people, you know? I want to keep my mind and heart open to the possibility I could end up marrying one of them, and I am. But I also want to be realistic—we’re all just people, and people are messy and complex. Life isn’t often a fairy tale, even on a show that aims to create one.”

“Was there a particular fairy tale you loved growing up? Any princess you identify with?”

“Is there a fat princess I don’t know about?” Bea laughed. “No, even as a kid, all that princess stuff felt like it really wasn’t for me. My stepdad and I always used to read ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’; that was my favorite.”

“So you prefer adventure to romance.”

“I developed my romantic side when I got a little older—I read
Gone with the Wind
so many times the pages started falling out.”

“And now you’re looking for your real-life Rhett!”

“Hopefully he won’t be a war profiteer, but I did always love how Scarlett and Rhett were each other’s equals. Their fire, their tenacity, their intellect—I hope to find all that in a partner.”

“Well, Bea”—Sheena lifted her glass of sparkling water in a toast—“here’s hoping you meet your Rhett on
Main Squeeze
—and that you realize you love him instead of spending all your time mooning over some guy who’s with another woman!”

Bea choked on her iced tea. “Excuse me?”

“You know, how Scarlett was obsessed with Ashley Wilkes even though he was married?” Sheena affected an atrocious Southern accent. “Oh, Ashley! Ashley!”

Bea did her best to laugh naturally, but she didn’t come anywhere close to pulling it off.

Three days later, before dawn on the morning of the big announcement, Bea was in a posh hotel room in midtown Manhattan, pacing back and forth and repeating her talking points for what felt like the millionth time.

“I’m just so grateful for this opportunity. I’ve always put my career first and it’s thrilling to have a chance to focus on love. It’s thrilling, thrilling, I’m so thrilled, just thrilled.” She took a deep breath to make herself slow down, but these nerves were like nothing she’d ever experienced.

She’d gotten the photo of her cover of
People
the night before—she thought she looked great, and the headline was bold and punchy: “‘Is there a fat princess I don’t know about?’ The next Main Squeeze redefines real-life fairy tales!” She was meant to post the photo along with a link to her interview as soon as it went live on all of her social channels while
People
and ABS cross-promoted on theirs. All of this had been preapproved and coordinated by all the corporate players involved, including the social-media team at ABS who were, Bea was horrified to admit, now in possession of all her passwords.

They’d spent hours going over a calendar of preapproved content for the team to put out at regular intervals while Bea was filming the show and on complete Internet blackout. But this first post, the announcement post, sure to be the most widely seen post of Bea’s life, she insisted on sending with her own two thumbs. It felt like something she needed to do—to have some kind of agency over this tectonic shift in her existence, in some small way, to break the news herself.

So at exactly 5
A.M
. Eastern on Wednesday, February 26, once the
People
interview was up, Bea sat at her laptop—which would so soon be contraband—closed her eyes, and clicked.

@OMBea
Overjoyed to share I’ll be starring in the next season of @MainSqueezeABS! Read all about it in this week’s @People. Can’t wait to start this incredible journey.

@CounselorKaruna
ahhhhhhh THIS IS AMAZING CONGRATS BEA!!!!

@DearJohn01209
I don’t understand. Is literally every other woman married?

@Bucky909
does this mean I’m actually going to have to watch #MainSqueeze this year?? So many conflicting emotions!

@weaver77
if I were single and looked like that I would save us all some time and just kill myself

@HetToToe
@weaver77 she doesn’t need to kill herself shes gonna have a heart attack soon as she has sex

@weaver77
@HetToToe in that case I think she’s actually safe

@LondonReb
Bea, you are such an amazing role model! Good for you!

@Delaney333
Wow Bea way to sell out everything you stand for and join the people who make women feel incomplete without a man!! Hope it’s fun!!!

@SSSSSScooter
is this bitch stupid or just blind, no one’s falling in love with her

@halpmeout772
@SSSSSScooter idk id tie her down and rape her then at least you wouldn’t have to hear her talk

@SSSSSScooter
@halpmeout772 you don’t even need to rape her bc she’d never say no

@halpmeout772
@SSSSSScooter that’s the best part about fat bitches, always grateful

MAIN SQUEEZE
CAST ITS FIRST PLUS-SIZE LEAD,
AND WE ARE HERE FOR IT!
by Sonia Sarsour,
teenvogue.com

The next leading lady of
Main Squeeze
is plus-size blogger Bea Schumacher, and the Internet is losing its mind. After more than a decade of trotting out size-zero girls who seem like they lose another eight pounds to be on the show (Are they shaving down their cartilage? Where is the weight even COMING from?!), we’re finally getting a woman who looks like someone people outside Hollywood can actually relate to—and some of the biggest stars in Hollywood are all about it:

@TheEllenShow
Love is love—any gender, any size. Rooting for you, @ombea!

@JameelaJamil
Oh for fuck’s sake, they’ve NEVER had a plus lead before??? ABOUT TIME, @MAINSQUEEZEABS! Cheers to @ombea for breaking a boundary that never should have existed!

@ChrisEvans81
wait that Bea girl is single? DON’T GO ON THE SHOW CALL ME BEA

The hashtag #CallChris trended nationally, so if things don’t work out for Bea on
Main Squeeze,
she might just have a backup plan! That said, we wish Bea nothing but the best on her journey—her season premieres with a live special on Monday night, and we think it’s
definitely
one worth watching. Congrats, Bea, and keep shining!

IS BEA SCHUMACHER
A TERRIBLE ROLE MODEL FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS?
by Kiki Zaretsky,
healthywomen.com

Plus-size blogger Bea Schumacher is the new star of
Main Squeeze,
and while a lot of people are celebrating, this mom is concerned. Childhood obesity affects more than one-fifth of American teenagers—it’s a health crisis that has been a cause célèbre for notable figures from Beyoncé to Michelle Obama. While it’s never okay to bully anyone because of the way they look, we do need to have a serious conversation about whether so-called “body positivity” is actually promoting unhealthy behavior among our children.

Let’s look at the facts: Bea Schumacher is obese, and obesity is scientifically linked to more than 60 diseases. At a time when our healthcare system is already overburdened, we should be encouraging Americans to eat
healthier
and exercise
more
. When we tell fat people that they’re beautiful exactly the way they are, we’re essentially giving up on their health—and while they might be okay with that, I’m certainly not!

It’s one thing for ABS to cast a more diverse group of people on its shows (I was all for the first Latino Main Squeeze last year!), but it’s quite another for a television show with millions of viewers to tell its audience that it’s okay to put your physical health in danger. ABS should immediately reconsider casting Bea Schumacher as the next Main Squeeze and recommit itself to promoting a healthy future for our children.

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