Hi. We’re Frank Paiva and James P. Rees. We met doing an Off-Broadway play together in 2014.
The play was 3 hours long. 20 minutes of that time, we stood far upstage of two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon. 2 hours and 40 minutes of that time, we gossiped incessantly.
Despite the fact that Frank is super gay and James is married to a lady, we discovered that we have very similar tastes in reality TV. People say we’re living in a golden age of television, and with shows like Iyanla: Fix My Life and RuPaul’s Drag Race on the air, we’re inclined to agree.
Of course, the holy grail is America’s Next Top Model.
In 2015 the New York Times Magazine asked Top Model creator Tyra Banks if she would ever consider a plus-size male model as a contestant on the show. Her response? “I’ve never seen that in real life.”
This stuck with Frank for a long time. Tyra’s brand is celebrating every individual’s unique beauty, but even she drew the line at casting a plus-size male model.
In 2016 James’s wife Jess casually mentioned that there should be a reality show about plus-size male models. One week later, Frank had written a 10-page treatment.
Diversity Beyond Gender and Race
The film and TV industries are engaged in a dialogue about diversity in front of and behind the camera like never before. It's about time.
We’ve found, however, that these discussions tend to center on gender and race, with disability or LGBTQ issues sometimes thrown in for good measure. They almost never include body size. There is enormous bias against plus-size people. We know because we’ve lived through it. It’s so ingrained that most people don’t even realize they have it.
It feels odd to be left out of the dialogue, especially when there are so few of us onscreen.
But we didn't want to make a show for diversity’s sake with a bunch of staid, weepy speeches about how growing up no one ever told us we were beautiful. That sounds awful. We wanted to make something fun. Something we would actually watch and gossip about backstage.
We’ve been waiting for years for someone to make a show like this. No one ever did, so we’re doing it ourselves.
Things Are Changing
In 2016 IMG Models became the first major modeling agency to create a plus-size men’s division. The division is called Brawn and its first signed model was Zach Miko.
Zach Miko’s signing received extensive press coverage. He has since become an essential male voice in the body positive movement, which is overwhelmingly female centric. Check out his awesome podcast Big Things with Zach Miko.
In 2017 several media outlets published stories asking when the trend of plus-size female models walking at major fashion weeks would expand to include plus-size male models.
In 2018 plus-size male models, including Zach Miko, were featured during a challenge on the 24th cycle of America’s Next Top Model. To say that we were excited would be an understatement.
We believe the time has come for a show that uses incisive comedy and reality TV theatrics as a vehicle to explore the real issues facing plus-size people.