Michelle Buteau is creating the empowering TV series she wanted to see growing up
Who is she? Michelle Buteau is a seasoned actress, comedian, author, podcaster and host of a reality show.
What's the big deal? For Buteau, centering a story about an unapologetically fat and outspoken woman fulfills a gap she's noticed in the industry for years.
What's she saying? Buteau sat down with NPR's Kira Wakeam to talk about the messages she wanted to send in her series, and how telling her own story empowered her to love herself and others.
On creating the inclusion she never saw in her life:
Growing up, I did love television and film, and I always wish that I could see more representation. But I was like, well, it's just not there. It's sort of just like people who didn't even know they had celiac disease. You're just like, well, I guess I'm just going to be in pain.
I always really loved fashion, but I never really was given a vocabulary of what to do and how to do it because nothing was ever available. And so that's why it was Mavis' mission statement to say, "OK, we're going to make everybody feel special and look good and walk different because you deserve that s***.
Want more about the screens? Listen to Consider This on if we're witnessing the death of movie stars.
On her long career and path to create the show:
Once you have gotten very comfortable with rejection, yet you still love what you do and your craft, and it's only getting better, and you're evolving as a person, and you've gone to therapy, and you've done the work, and you're touching your toes, and drinking that water – honey, by the time it does happen, you're like, "Oh, OK. I am a fully realized human being, and I can make these decisions without trying to make everybody happy."
Because that happens, too, when you're trying to do a show, right? So I am really thankful that I'm at a place in my life where I'm just like: This is just what it is. This is what I see. I want to make sure that it is as authentic to me and my world as it's going to be.
On her hopes with the series:
I mean, obviously, I hope people are entertained and laugh a lot, but I also hope they fall in love. Not necessarily with a character, but perhaps themselves. I hope that person in that stale relationship listens to the little inner voice saying that they could do better.
I hope the person hustling, being like, "I don't know if I jump off the cliff and do this job full time" does it.
I hope that parents that are wondering and struggling how to understand their non-binary child or trans teenager, whatever it is, that they feel OK and better and that they also feel seen and that, okay, culture is changing. You know, my child is wonderful. You know, I hope that big bitches feel sexy as f*** and they want to go and have sex with the lights on.
So, now what?
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.