Or does she review us? How about we just both sit down to chat?
Lana Hazou, the Founder of Fat Girl Reviews has big dreams for the fat community. And, she wants your approval… well, not of her dreams. But, of the businesses on her site. Fat Girl Reviews is a fairly new site that we reviewed a few weeks ago, which helps the fat/plus/curvy community understand which businesses are “fat friendly.” Restaurants? Airlines? Hotels? Check! Hey, maybe we should check in with Lana and her team before we book our next event? Hmmmm… The wheels are turning. In the meantime, we’ve asked Lana to share her content with Bold so you’ll be seeing many more Fat Girl Reviews on Bold!
So, hey, we finally sat down with Hazou and we totally dig what she’s doing for the plus community. We’re not going to get in the way much further. Check out her thoughts below on her site, her ambitions, and what’s been going on in communities around her. In our quest to paint the world purple, we’re so glad to find partners and friends like Lana. She’s BOLD! Are you bold enough to review some businesses on her site?
Bold Magazine: Okay, it’s clear what “Fat Girl Reviews” is all about. But, in your own words…. what are you hoping to accomplish?
Lana: To foster a safe community that’s an empowering resource for girls who hesitate to try something as well as businesses that want to broaden their customer base. If we can get contributors on our site to help embolden a few other fat girls to give something a try, how amazing would that be? How awesome would it be to see a business change their chairs because FGR told them they could increase recurring profits by 20%? FGR will work with businesses that are underserving us to drive a fundamental change in how they think of their customers.
Bold Magazine: This is great! More business owners should take note! How did it all start?
Lana: By wanting to jump out of a plane. Seriously! I had been wanting to go skydiving and after many years of being rained out or having scheduling conflicts, I finally went and had one of the most embarrassing experiences of my (adult) life. But also, something a bit more mundane…my constant discomfort with chairs. Everywhere I went, I would always worry about the seating. Am I going to fit in or on the chair, will I be able to move while on the chair, how uncomfortable will it be, or please don’t let it be a bench! The idea of FGR had been brewing in my brain for years and after a few false starts, I decided to finally do something serious about it after I had my baby.
Bold Magazine: Don’t jump! We love the changes you’re making! What has the response been?
Lana: Surprisingly positive. I hardly have to explain what we do or what we want to accomplish. It seems like before I even half way explain it, people are nodding their heads and agreeing. And not just Fat Girls! I was on the phone with my domain provider and he asked me what the site was going to be about and so I told him. His response always comes to mind: “Oh, so all the things people don’t talk about, but should?” I was like, YES! Thank you older sounding dude over the phone!
Bold Magazine: Hah! Love it! So, what goes into putting a review together?
Lana: You know, I learned that it was a lot more than I expected. When I finally sat down and wrote a review for the first version of FGR (a simple blog site), I wasn’t prepared. I thought of all the things I wanted to answer with my review and I realized I hadn’t taken nearly enough pictures or ones that had the wrong angles. I also had to learn to undo some of the typical things I do when I’m out. Like taking my physical discomfort for granted. I had to put more thought into why I was uncomfortable and if it could reasonably be fixed by the business. Was I angling my body to fit down the aisle or could I walk full on? Was there enough room to move around in the restroom? Things like that. Learning how to naturally smile and pose is still something I’m working on….
Bold Magazine: It’s always more than we expect, isn’t it? Cue positive “businessy owner” music. Do you have a day job? What is it? If you could quit them and do this, full time, would you?
Lana: Yes, and a brand new baby! I work for Office Depot Headquarters as a Web Analytics Manager, I help figure out how people use the website and how it can be improved. I do enjoy my job as I learn something new everyday and heck, it deals with understanding human behavior so it does keep me mentally engaged; but my passion is Fat Girl Reviews and driving change. So yes, if I could work on FGR full-time, I (and my son) would be eternally grateful.
Bold Magazine: Totally! Us too! What do you think it says about the plus size community that nothing like Fat Girl Reviews existed before you? How can we do better?
Lana: I’d say that the fact I feel comfortable launching a website called “Fat Girl Reviews” speaks to the progress the plus size community has made. There are varying views and many that are still underserved/underrepresented, but I think we are moving ever forward.
Bold Magazine: You’ve shared a bit of your vision, before, offline. What’s next for FGR?
Lana: We grow our contributor base so that we can further build our community, get started on changing some businesses, and develop FGR connections and events. I can’t wait!
Bold Magazine: What are some other passions of yours? What do you do in your spare time?
Lana: Hmm…let’s see…I’m going to show my super dorky side, but I love history. I love figuring out why things happened the way they happened, why people do what they do, how social change happened. And then teaching others. FGR gets all of my spare time at the moment, which usually means lunchtime and after my baby goes to bed.
Bold Magazine: Same with us and Bold, trust me! Where do you see the plus/fat world going? What are the positives and negatives?
Lana: I see us continuing to stretch our wings, to grow and develop more perspectives, empathy, and inclusion. I think we need to do better when it comes to including and considering POC and other marginalized groups. We are diverse, we should know better and do better. I also see us developing more power as consumers, moving away from the historical “shame” of being fat.
Bold Magazine: Lastly, Lana, what makes you BOLD?
Lana: Bold is being yourself, unapologetically. And that is what I strive to be.