SNL may have been what initially put Aidy Bryant on your radar, but now thanks to Hulu's new comedy series, Shrill, she's becoming even more of a household name. The series serves as an adaptation of Lindy West's 2016 essay collection Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, with Bryant playing the role of Annie Easton, who is based on West herself. Given how much this show is seeped in reality, those who have watched Season 1 may be wondering if the "Hello, I'm Fat" article in Shrill actually exists as well. And the answer to that question is a resounding "yes!" and it's something that is definitely worth your time and attention, whether you're a fan of the series or not.
But first, let's back up for a second and dive into how this fantastic article came about in the first place. In the series, Bryant's Annie goes on a journey of self love and becomes much more confident in her own body. That is until she gets fat-shamed at work by her boss, Gabe, who makes unflattering remarks about her weight. This encounter quickly ignites a fire in Annie, prompting her to write a blog post about what happened. She decides to title the article "Hello, I'm Fat," which goes on to garner a lot of traction from readers, to Gabe's utter shock and horror.
It's terrible to think that Annie had to deal with being treated in such a way by anyone, let alone her boss, yet the situation parallels a real-life experience West went through as well. While writing for the Seattle alt-weekly newspaper The Stranger, West found herself in the center of a very public debate with her then-boss, Dan Savage, who, according to Vogue, helped to perpetuate the culture of fat-shaming in several of his articles. This inspired West to write her real-life essay "Hello, I'm Fat" on the newspaper's blog and ultimately led to Savage responding with an essay of his own, entitled "Hello, I'm Not the Enemy."
But while the article itself is very, very real, that doesn't mean the show is an exact mirror of the author's life. In fact, West revealed to Page Six over the show's premiere weekend that, despite how similar the stories may seem, the character of Gabe is not based on Savage in any way. According to West, she and Savage remain on excellent terms and hold no grudges, telling the outlet:
"Dan and I patched it up immediately and so there's no conflict, but it's funny that I'm answering questions about it. I was feeling really nervous because I hadn't talked to him about the show when I knew people were going to be asking about it and assuming that the character is him ... We actually had this really lovely talk and he was really supportive and really excited about the show and he laughed about how we’re supposed to be in a fight. We almost took a selfie to prove to the world that we're not, but then we both looked like garbage so we decided not to."
Either way, kudos to West for having the courage and determination to turn something so negative into a lesson about the importance of body positivity. It just goes to show how a single person has the power to change the world and make it a better, more accepting place.