Whitney Way Thore, the star of TLC's "My Big Fat Fabulous Life," wrapped up filming the show's seventh season Monday. She plans to travel to Owensboro to speak Thursday evening.
Her presentation is free to the public.
Kentucky Wesleyan College will host Thore at 7 p.m. Thursday in Tapscott Chapel, which is in the Barnard-Jones Administration Building. Thore, who founded a campaign in 2014 called No Body Shame, will share her personal story along with a message about "fat acceptance and how to live a shame-free life."
"I would like someone listening to my talk to leave feeling a little more confident and a lot more hopeful," she said.
Her presentation will last about 45 minutes to an hour. Afterward, Thore will answer questions. Before she leaves, she will stay "until they kick me out" to speak individually with audience members.
"I often find students want to come up and share with me," Thore said.
"My Big Fat Fabulous Life" is a reality show that follows Thore, who weighed 380 pounds when the series started.
In 2005, Thore, who loves to dance, was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormonal disorder. After that diagnosis, she gained a substantial amount of weight.
Thore abandoned dancing for about a decade. Later, a radio station in her hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina, posted her "Fat Girl Dancing" videos on YouTube. They got more than 8 million views and provided a springboard for her TV series.
It takes six to eight months to film a season of "My Big Fat Fabulous Life," Thore said, so she accepts speaking engagements during the show's off periods only.
Her No Body Shame campaign encourages people who feel different from the norm to rise above the negativity and live life to the fullest. Her movement's motto is: Love yourself. Live fully. No excuses. No shame.
Thore grew up in North Carolina and still lives there. The KWC gig will be her first visit to Kentucky.
Tapscott Chapel seats about 200 people.
Anyone who wants to attend Thore's presentation Thursday night must reserve a ticket by calling 270-852-3285 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael McComas, KWC's director of student involvement, said tickets remained available Tuesday morning.
"As long as there's space available, someone could show up and ask to be seated and they could still get in," McComas said.
During the summer, KWC officials started working on hosting Thore on campus. Several staff members watch her TV show and follow her on Instagram, McComas said.
Thore's message is important, he said.
"She's someone who faces adversity every day because of her size and health issues," McComas said. "But she takes every comment with a grain of salt. ... No matter what you look like or who you are, we are all human beings."
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, email@example.com