We Love You Taylor Townsend | Plus Size Fitness


Growing up, dance was my sport. Tap and Jazz were my favorite things in the world!

As a kid, I can remember having one of my first major dance troupe auditions. I was young enough that I hadn’t yet learned what self doubt felt like, so I walked into the room, learned the choreography and nailed it. They gave optional more advanced moves/turns and I did them when other girls played it save with the more beginner moves.

I was devastated when I didn’t get accepted.

A few weeks later, one of the judges from the audition ran into my family at a restaurant. She pulled my Mom to the side with sorrowful eyes and said:

“I just want you to know that there was a huge argument over whether CeCe should be accepted into the dance troupe. She auditioned flawlessly and I wanted her in, but… unfortunately some of the judges felt that she didn’t have the body of a dancer, so her ability didn’t matter. I just don’t want CeCe to think she’s not talented, because she is. I’m sorry.”

Last week I read about Taylor Townsend, the youngest U.S. woman to advance to the third round at the French Open since 2003. You can imagine my delight when I saw that she was a curvy girl! You can also imagine my surprise when I read a HuffPo article saying “just two years ago, the U.S. Tennis Association attempted to keep her out of competition at the U.S. Open. It was suggested they would not restore their support until the teen, then the top-ranked junior player in the world, lost weight.”

Taylor Townsend Plus Size Fitness PlusSizePrincess.com

Patrick McEnroe, general manager of the USTA’s player development program said he was just looking out for her health.

Even though I love dancing, taking fitness classes and playing sports I still struggle to identify as “athletic” because of my size, so thank you Tara, for dominating at any size and inspiring girls of all sizes to be fierce competitors.

Also, kudos to Tara’s mom who payed out of pocket for her to compete when the USTA refused to support her child (They’ve has since reimbursed Townsend’s mother for their travel costs to the 2012 U.S. Open) that was a huge sacrifice, I’m sure.

Kudos to my parents who kept me in dance/music/theater classes and supported my talents even when others couldn’t see past my size.

If you’re plus size or have a plus size kid who excels in something that is supposed to be just for skinny folks… don’t give up, don’t let your kid give up. As we redefine what health looks like I truly hope that diverse body types will be allowed to move and play to the best of their ability without shame.

Did any of you play sports growing up?

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  • http://lessofless.blog.com/ Less

    I thought this post was going to be about why you loved the character from The OC. This is the first I have heard about this Taylor Townsend, but that’s great that she didn’t take no for an answer.

    • CeCe Olisa

      LOL @ “The OC” when I looked for images of her I got confused hahaha

  • nlmbrown

    Thanks, Cece, for this post. I had the same experience, as a salsa dancer. I lived in a very weight-conscious city. It was one of those cities where people I heard a reminder every day about the importance of losing weight – how much better I would feel, men would like me more, and people would take me more seriously, etc. So I took a salsa dance class, because dance makes me feel good about myself. I loved it, and my partners were great. But the teacher didn’t respect me because of my size. It all came out during the salsa dance night at a local club. We tried to put our difference aside, and we started with a simple song. But he stopped dancing with me in mid-song, and took up with a smaller, thinner dancer. I left the studio and the classes the next day. And I haven’t danced since. Maybe, your story will jump start me to try again.

    • CeCe Olisa

      I want to reach through this computer screen and hug you… its funny, to this day partner dancing makes me very body consious too. But reading your comment one thing stuck out to me. You said ” I took a salsa dance class, because dance makes me feel good about myself” If dance makes you feel good about yourself, then please keep looking for a space that affirms that part of you… it sounds like you need to dance!! xo

  • Annamarie

    When are people gonna start “looking out for the health” of super skinny people! Geez! #doublestandards

    • CeCe Olisa

      Basically… #augh

  • Annamarie
  • Tikeetha Thomas

    I was saddened about reading this story and I wish the world would focus on talent and not shape. Give us a break. Heck, my doctor said, “You’re numbers are better than mine.” Size doesn’t matter, talent does. Yep, I danced with a modern dance group. I was the biggest. Thankfully, my teacher saw my talent and not my size. I appreciated that. I loved tennis too. Not too much to sweat out my perm (LOL), but I had a good back hand.

    • CeCe Olisa

      I’ve had so many doctors and nurses say they were “jealous” of my numbers too… I love that you danced… that makes me so happy!! LOL @ sweating out your perm!!! xo

  • Florence

    “Kudos to my parents…” You made me cry..

  • Taini

    I could write a lengthy novel here about my experience growing up dancing ballet and how i struggled with the skewed body aesthetic and developed serious body image issues as a result. I havent danced in about a year, but am still pursuing a career in arts management.Dance is my life’s passion and no one can take that away. I wanted to share a piece I danced on the topic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS24jXU3ZZM. I am working on a non profit project to promote that talent has no size, i have to do my part to prove that to the world.

  • Dmonique Holl

    4-5th grade i was on a school dance team. I was the biggest girl in the group when christmas rolled around we were gonna dance to rudolph the red nose reindeer by the temptations and my teacher dressed everbody up as reindeer except me she said i was to big and she wanted me to be santa clause. My mother said he!! no if i couldnt be a reindeer i wasnt gonna be in it at all lol. After the program a lady said to my “how come your daughter wasnt in it she was the best one” and my mother told her what happened. I didnt realize then how mean that was and totally forgot about it until reading this story. But it makes me love my mother even more because she stood up for me.