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Plus size, mouthy, and full of talent

Katharine Scarborough ’05 is making big waves with Big Girl—a show she created and stars in. Recently picked up on Seeka TV, a streaming platform for independent filmmakers, Big Girl is a dark comedy web series following “Katie” through the ups and downs of living as a plus-size woman in New York City. But it’s not your average fat-friendly show. Frustrated with how fat women are often portrayed as insecure, lonely, and boring, Scarborough created Big Girl to give the world a character that more closely represents who she is and believes women of all sizes to be. “I wanted to create a character who is striving to succeed, no matter what the world throws at her, and I wanted her to win!” she explains on her website. “Plus-size women are full, beautiful, flawed human beings with interesting, funny, sexy, and smart stories to tell.”

Katharine Scarborough ’05

Scarborough started honing her performance art skills in earnest while studying at UMass Amherst as an undergraduate. “My time at UMass prepared me for my career in that I was encouraged to explore my weirdness, to take risks as an artist, and to develop my own point of view and voice.” She recalls. “Julie Nelson continues to be a mentor to me. Studying with her was paramount to my development, as well as studying [the late] Julian Olf and working with Melissa Sivvy.” She goes on, “I never felt singled out or marginalized by my size in the UMass theater department in the way that I have in other training programs. At the time, I don’t think I fully appreciated how amazing that was. UMass was an incredible incubator for my artistic voice.” 

Big Girl has already received accolades, winning Best Sketch Comedy, Best Director, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Script, and Best Episode at the British Web Awards. It also won Best Director and Best Web Series at the 2020 Two Roads International Film Festival. Scarborough was nominated for Best Actress at the British Web Awards and won Best Actress at the Last Shot Film Festival. She was also nominated for Best Writing and Best Actress at the Two Roads International Film Festival.

Big Girl is available to stream on Seeka TV and is just her latest of many projects. Find out more about her other work on

Bringing the Fat Perspective to the Young Adult Literary Scene

Crystal Maldonado

How often are fat characters in TV, movies, and books depicted as complex, three-dimensional human beings? Tired of the underrepresentation and lack of nuance in the portrayal of plus-size characters, UMass Associate News Editor, Digital Content, Crystal Maldonado decided to write a young adult novel to help fill that void. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega takes us through a year in the life of Charlie Vega, a half Puerto Rican teenager growing up in white suburban Connecticut, as she struggles with body acceptance, racial identity, boys, friendships, and parental friction. This coming-of-age story based on Maldonado’s own experiences as a fat teenager has already gotten a lot of attention—it was named a Cosmopolitan Best New Book of Winter 2020.