Getting Funky and Body Positive With Watch Out for the Big Grrrls

Texas dancer Sydney Bell talks about Lizzo's new reality show

Sydney Bell (front left) and the rest of the cast of Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls (Image Courtesy of Amazon Prime)

At this year’s South by Southwest festival, Keynote speaker, acclaimed flautist and overall pop sensation Lizzo promoted the launch of her new TV show, Watch Out For The Big Grrrls, ahead of its premiere today on Amazon Prime.

Called a “battle of the big grrrls” by executive producer Lizzo herself, the eight-episode series follows 10 dancers as they compete and audition for a spot in Lizzo’s group of touring backup dancers — and a chance to perform on the Grammy stage. It will showcase plus-sized dancers and discuss themes of representation, self love and beauty standards in dance.

Dancers from across the nation traveled to audition for Lizzo’s powerhouse team, including Sydney Bell, a model and body positivity-focused influencer from Houston. “Lizzo is somebody that I have so much gratitude towards," Bell said, "because she was probably the first representation that I saw of somebody that was big, curvy, and brown — somebody that actually looked like me."

Lizzo brought the show’s 10 main dancers to SXSW to perform as part of the Prime Video 2022 event, showcasing the energy and excellence of the women in the series. Bell said performing for Lizzo changed her perspective on performing. “Usually, when you're dancing, it's all about getting the steps and making sure it looks good, making sure you're dancing to please the audience. This dance experience wasn't just about (that). This was a whole journey about digging down into who you are, and showing that in your dance. Lizzo really made it a point to dance for yourself.”

As a young dancer in Texas, participating in both company dance and cheer from a young age, Bell felt ostracized due to a lack of representation. “I grew up in a predominantly white community where I didn't really see any girls that had the hair that I had, or the body that I had with big hips and curves and the dark skin tones. In high school, I was the only African American cheerleader on my varsity team. There were times when I was bullied at basketball and football games and called out in front of the entire student body. What I did was channel that hate that people had towards me and use it as fuel to kind of … show the world that us curvy girls can rock it.”

For Bell, Lizzo, and everyone else involved in Watch Out For The Big Grrrls, the Prime series aims to reclaim negative narratives surrounding plus-sized women and empower audience members at every step of the journey toward self love. “I really hope this documentary shows viewers that big girls have it all," Bell said. "We are beautiful. We are strong. I really hope that younger viewers watching this, even the generations to come that see this, understand that this is normal.”

Watch Out For The Big Grrrls is streaming on Amazon Prime now.

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SXSW 2022, SXSW Film 2022, Lizzo, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, Amazon Prime, Sydney Bell

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