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Michelle Buteau may be best known for her appearances on RuPaul's Drag Race, romantic comedies or stand-up special. However, Survival of the Thickest is her latest project and marks an incredible step in her career development. Based on her memoir, Buteau stars as Mavis Beaumont - an enthusiastic stylist who rebuilds her life after an emotional divorce and inspires those around her through body positivity and self-love - an attitude which she calls contagious. The Untold Story of Mavis Beaumont Mavis Beaumont, a fashion stylist, seems to have it all: success in her relationship, an expanding career - until she finds out her partner has been cheating with a model - this wake-up call prompts Mavis to start rebuilding her life from within. Mavis finds comfort in her chosen family of Khalil and Marley who help her through these trying times. Together they begin making necessary changes to their lives so they can both survive and flourish. Mavis even meets someone new Luca who shares her admiration, although there may be occasional bumps along their relationship path; nonetheless, both parties seem content. Once Jacque reemerges, everything changes dramatically for Mavis and her besties. No longer can they ignore his presence, simply because they were once close. Soon enough they learn he is an established photographer using their pictures without permission - as well as making comments which damage Mavis' self-image. Buteau credits her diverse writers room with helping to ensure Mavis was relatable and authentic, while emphasizing the significance of including body-positive messages within the series - something which helps empower women like Mavis while encouraging them to love themselves more fully. Buteau knows that her story about an unapologetic black fat woman filling the entertainment industry gap has filled an important need. Additionally, she hopes that others may be inspired to live their best lives through Survival of the Thickest. Recently she spoke with NPR's Kira Wakeam about how she has implemented these themes into Survival of the Thickest; listen below to hear their full conversation and visit Netflix to watch it premiere July 13th! The Untold Story of Tasha Smith Tasha Smith may not have been familiar to you at first glance, but now she has become a household name. Perhaps you saw her appear as the scene-stealing best friend in your favorite rom-coms or were one of thousands watching Netflix's new satirical crime drama The Jewel Thief? Have you seen or eaten from Barbecue Showdown or watched The Circle and seen her? While you might recognize her from stand-up specials or The Circle, what you may not realize is that the actress is also an accomplished writer and director. Survival of the Thickest is an upcoming Netflix rom-com created, written, and starring Mavis Beaumont as a proudly thick 38-year-old stylist in New York City who finds herself single and looking to mingle. Drawing upon themes related to body positivity and finding one's chosen family. As someone who often plays quirky best friends on stage and screen, being cast as the protagonist in her own show was an impressive feat - although making that transition was far from easy. Smith utilized her fellow cast members and acting teacher for guidance as she prepared for this role, drawing upon both of their experience as hosts/hostesses of The Circle and Barbecue Showdown to shape her approach behind the camera. Smith believes having a strong team around is critical when it comes to directing. She emphasizes the need for supportive individuals that can help maximize every performance. She credits another key to her success is being true to the characters she creates. She notes it's crucial for her to create honest and relatable characters who connect with audiences on a deeper level, creating authentic and believable relationships that bring people in close. Smith admits the challenge of entering the world of directing may be daunting, but she's content where she stands now. She credits her longevity in the industry with giving her freedom to take risks and reach for new heights; in turn she hopes her work inspires others to embrace their individuality and love themselves more fully. The Untold Story of Tone Bell Tone Bell has long been known for her outstanding performances on shows like Saved by the Bell and Isn't It Romantic. Now, she stars as Mavis Beaumont - a plus-sized stylist trying to put herself back together after a tough breakup - in Netflix's Survival of the Thickest comedy series Survival of the Thickest. Co-creating, executive producing and acting in it herself - co-producing executive produced and staring herself! Tone is proud to champion inclusivity -- something she desired as a child herself. The show follows Mavis as she embarks on her journey to find love and her voice - two themes central to comedian Tracy Morgan's comedy act. While not autobiographical in nature, this show does touch upon many of the struggles experienced daily. Morgan hopes that by featuring diverse characters that this will encourage audiences to embrace themselves as individuals while learning how to love themselves more fully. Mavis faces many trials during her journey on this show, such as miscarriage, infertility and relationship difficulties. On top of all this, she must also navigate working in a male-dominated industry despite its challenges; yet Mavis is determined to turn things around despite all odds against her. At Saved by the Bell, one aspect that appeals to viewers is its depiction of women of color in-group dynamics. This was particularly evident during episode titled "Zack Attack," which diverged from its typical plotline to focus on friendship dynamics among members of this particular cast of students. Jealousy, infighting and gossip were just some of the issues addressed on this show. While Mavis is the primary character, Tone's Khalil plays an instrumental role in the show as her best friend and confidant; also providing unique perspective into its rom-com aspects. Tone has made numerous television appearances since joining the show. He can be found on NBC's Whitney and Bad Judge as well as VH1's Single Ladies and E!'s Love You Mean It. Additionally, Tone has performed at several renowned comedy festivals as well as producing his own standup special. The Untold Story of Marouane Zotti Survival of the Thickest is an original script by Michelle Buteau that follows Mavis Beaumont, an aspirational fashion stylist determined to take over her field one fitting at a time. Based on Buteau's bestselling book of the same name, Survival of the Thickest provides an entertaining alternative to Hollywood's problematic depictions of full-figured Black women. As well as Buteau, the cast features Garcelle Beauvais as Mavis' mother; Tasha Smith plays her best friend Marley; Tone Bell stars as Khalil; and Marouane Zotti stars as Luca. Zotti has previously appeared in theatre productions like The Revenger's Tragedy, Disgraced and L' ora di ricevimento; in addition to film and television credits. Another aspect of this series that viewers and critics alike have found moving is how it portrays sexual assault and its aftermath. Many viewers were deeply touched by its depiction, with critics hailing its honest and open approach towards these sensitive topics. One particularly touching scene occurs when Mavis visits her lawyer after being raped to reveal not only verbal but physical abuse as well as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This show is also notable for its portrayal of LGBTQ characters, with Buteau embodying her character's desire to develop an inclusive fashion line for a wide clientele. Mavis and Peppermint work together to organize an unforgettable alternative prom at a drag bar, providing teens of all sizes, shapes, and genders the chance to find dresses they aspire to wear for prom. Buteau recalls her own struggles finding an age-appropriate prom dress when she was in high school, which inspired the show. Homophobia was also addressed, with Mavis noting how gay teens often feel alienated in schools. To address this, the two decided to open their own store as an inclusive space - this has now earned them nomination for a GLBTQ+ Equality award and can be watched streaming on Netflix.