Imagine my surprise, as I watch the last episode of my new reality show addiction “Dating in the Dark”, and I hear Maxine (my fave participant so far) say that she has a fashion blog. Google powers combine!!! And behold, I found her, the lovely Maxine, and I *possibly very creepily* told her that I loved her from the moment I saw her and would be so honored to interview her.

Maxine from Dating in the Dark - Fashion Geek

What I really meant is that I love her strength and confidence, her willingness to accept herself as she is and put herself out there on national TV, and more than anything I love what she represents: Maxine may or may not know this, but to me & likely to many other girls who watched her on TV, she became the voice of strong, proud, confident women who are constantly put-down by the social construct of ‘beauty’.

It was Maxine’s sweetness, goodness, and her cheerful attitude while confronting her own self-consciousness and fears that really helped me connect with her. I’ve felt everything she’s felt.

Proud, confident AND funny! Translation from image above:

Proud, confident AND funny! Translation from the image above: “But I love to say that I’m full-figured or a girl with extra topping” (what can I say… it’s funnier in Hebrew!)

She was gracious enough to let me interview her and ask her a few questions that I was very curious about. So join me below in getting to know the ‘other’ side to reality TV with Maxine!

1) I wrote an article on the “Dating in the Dark” show on my blog, and there was an overwhelming response by readers that nothing is ‘real’ in this reality show. As someone who has experienced it, how real is it?

I can’t begin to explain how real and authentic the dating in the dark show was; nothing in the show was staged or acted. The room was completely dark and you seriously couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face. The girls stayed upstairs and the guys were downstairs and so no one saw each other until the final reveal in the light. (Side note: you can actually read about her experience in the show here)

2) Do you feel like you gained confidence from the show?

I have always been confident however the amazing feedback from viewers boosted my confidence even more.

I feel like the whole experience of being on a reality show, sharing my inner thoughts about dating, love, and self-acceptance and then receiving such wonderful feedback has made me feel proud of myself for being brave and taking the opportunity with both hands.

3) What was the response from friends, families, and strangers?

My friends and family were very supportive but did have initial concerns about me being exposed on national TV and possibly being made fun of due to being plus size/overweight.

Once I had made the decision and shared with them my thoughts about the show and how I felt that I really needed to do this, they supported me completely.

After the show, I received hundreds of emails and messages on my blog and Facebook. People wrote me the most beautiful messages thanking me for sharing my inner thoughts and being so honest on the show. People stopped me in the streets, honked their horns when they saw me and many asked to take a photo with me. It was a little overwhelming at first as I had no idea that people would react like this.

It has been nearly a year since the season aired and people still recognize me in public and still are eager to get a picture with me.

4) Do you feel like dating in the dark is a good way to meet new people? (Not a televised version, but for example, some sort of singles event)

I think the show is a great way to meet people, I have a new group of friends that I met from the show, they were also contestants and are now my very good friends. I was also invited to several events after the show such as TV interviews and parties and via these events, I did meet new people.

I haven’t attended any singles invents but I did have single guys find me on the internet after the show and hit on me 🙂 I did have a short relationship after the show but I am now currently single.

5) Do you see yourself taking part in more reality shows like The Voice or A Star is Born? (She is an amazing singer)

I do see myself taking part in more reality shows in the future, as I really enjoyed the whole experience.
I would like to use my talent of singing in the future. Keep your eyes open for me on the big screen 🙂

6) It was clear to me from the get-go that proud as you were, you still felt self-conscious about your weight and your looks, and I think that’s why I connected with you from the beginning. Have you received any comments or responses from other women who felt that as well? Has this response surprised you in any way?

I am a very confident woman and have learned over the last few years to really love myself and accept who I am and the journey I have traveled in my life.

No matter how confident you are there will always be moments when you are insecure or doubt yourself. I had a moment like this before being revealed in the light to Maxim. I was scared of being judged but I pulled myself together and realized that I had nothing to lose by revealing who I am as I know deep down that I’m beautiful in my own way.

I also knew that if he didn’t like the way I looked, there are still many men out there that would think I am beautiful. We are all judged by other people, this is the way society is and yes, I am also sometimes scared of being judged.

I received many messages from other women some plus size and others not expressing how they connected with me on the show. How they feel the same way I do and they asked me where I get the confidence and bravery from. This was very touching and I did take the time to get back to each person individually.

The most touching message I got was a teenager who said that since my episode on dating in the dark she had stopped restricting her food and starving herself and she realized from my example that you can be beautiful at any size. This was so emotional for me and I was left speechless…. Getting that email made me realize what an impact I had on people. I think we all need to focus on accepting one another and learning to love each other as we are and when it comes to love and dating, just go for it!  There is someone out there for everyone.

7) Tell us about your blog – Big is Also Beautiful.

I have had my blog for 3 years and it started as I was interested in fashion and wanted a platform to share my passion. I am very proud of my blog and I have maintained it myself and have received lovely feedback from other bloggers worldwide. There is a big fat fashion world of bloggers and I have connected with many of them.

It’s great to get see outfits that you have seen online being worn by other bloggers and also to know you are not the only big girl who loves fashion!

The title of my blog is Big is also Beautiful because I truly stand behind that statement! There is no size to beauty! We are all beautiful in our own way!

Below is a Maxine gallery linking to her posts – I highly recommend reading them, they can cheer up your day! (Update: her site is currently down. I’ll re-post if it goes back up!)