Nicole Byer: ‘It’s so dumb that people call fat women brave for wearing bikinis’

I know Nicole Byer from her standup specials and the show Nailed It on Netflix, where truly terrible bakers compete to make the least disgusting desserts. It’s one of those shows that’s good to have on when you’re doing something else around the house because it’s entertaining when you pay attention and you don’t miss much when you don’t. (Sidenote: Nexflix should add this category.) The show is good-natured, Nicole is so funny and I like how she plays off the co-host, Jacques Torres. She was on Conan O’Brien’s show to promote her new coffee table book, #VeryFat #VeryBrave, The Fat Girl’s Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini. It has pictures of her modeling bikinis in cool settings and she told Conan O’Brien it’s a quick and inspiring read. I also really liked what she had to say about the whole narrative around bigger women wearing bikinis. I’m including some quotes she gave Kelly Clarkson on her show too.

On the protest movement and if things will go back to ‘normal’
It makes me feel hopeful because the protests haven’t stopped since May. It’s just really depressing to wake up, open Twitter and go ‘oh ok, somebody else is dead’. I don’t know if things will go back to normal, at least not for Black people. We talk about it ad nauseam. If you’re not radicalized, you’re part of the problem. I encourage white people to read White Fragility. It’s a wonderful book that breaks down why white people don’t want to talk about race and why their discomfort seems to take precedent over learning.

How she came up with the idea of her her book
My friend Kim Newmoney took the pictures and my friend Alison Rich was like ‘you should do a coffee table book.’ As I was writing it I was like ‘it’s so dumb that people call fat women brave for wearing bikinis. Why don’t I just make fun of that whole weird phenomenon?’ I hope people read the book and then go ‘why did I ever give a sh-t about what people think about me?’ If someone stares at me that means my body disrupted their life enough that they needed to stop what they were doing to look at me and that’s powerful. Every body is beautiful in its own way and everybody is different. The world is already really hard, so why would you spend it hating what you see in the mirror?

Somebody who [wore] a bathing suit to go swimming is brave? No they’re just wearing the correct articles of clothing to do an activity. It’s totally insulting. [My book] is very tongue in cheek. I don’t think I’m brave.

[From Conan O’Brien and Kelly Clarkson on YouTube]

What’s that saying, “every body is a bikini body?” I hope this helps reframe the conversation around how people talk about women in bikinis, as Nicole mentioned. Nicole also told Kelly Clarkson that she’s been learning how to rollerskate and that she’s taking pole dancing classes. I’ve tried taking pole classes and they are so hard! I only did the beginner classes and then gave up. She said she likes it because you can really tell when you’re making progress because you can do moves you couldn’t before.

Very Fat, Very Brave is the #1 new release on Amazon in the Internet & Social Media Humor category and you can get the Kindle edition for $9.99. Nicole is doing a live book launch event on Zoom tonight at 7pm EST and you can get tickets here. It’s co-hosted by her best friend, Sasheer Zamata from SNL.

Here’s her interview with Conan. (The part about how she came up with the book is at minute 12. The other quotes, including the end sentences, are from her interview with Kelly Clarkson.)

Read the caption to this, it’s for white parents talking to their kids about Black Lives Matter.

View this post on Instagram

Hi hello I’m Nicole. I host a tv show called @nailedit a lot of kids watch the show. In an Instagram comment someone said they would “keep their head down and just let their kids watch nailed it.” (I turned off the comments so ya can’t find it and attack that person also dunno their ethnicity or anything about them) That made me boo hoo hoo. That you will allow your kid to watch me but not stand up for me. So I’ll do the work I’ll write you a conversation to have with your white child A good way to explain to kids #blacklivesmatter : “you like this black lady right? She’s silly? She makes you tee hee hee?You would be sad if a police officer hurt her right? Well this is the current country we live in where someone you like can be hurt by the color of their skin and people in charge aren’t doing a fucking (you can replace that with dang if ya kids are soft) thing about it. So they are protesting, and the looters… well some of it is staged as a distraction some are opportunistic and some are people who’ve been oppressed for so long it bursts. And nice cops? There are no nice cops because if a cop was nice they wouldn’t watch and participate in violence against black and brown people. If cops were really nice they would have spoken out about police brutality years ago and maybe walked out on their precincts to send a message that they are against this. Instead they dress up like your GI Joe doll and are very mean. The curfews the helicopters the police in riot gear is all because black people have asked to not be killed… that’s it. There’s literally nothing else to it. Now once a week let’s read about shit (stuff for the soft kids) that happens to black people that doesn’t get covered in schools like Juneteenth, black Wall Street, how black people have influenced most of pop culture today and aren’t credited or it’s just co-oped… and if you do this post about. Post about the black history you teach your white kid to maybe inspire another white parent to do the same thing. There I did it you can read it verbatim to your kids. Also I’m open to any additions. Raise kids who give a fuck and you gotta give a fuck #blacklivesmatter

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photos credit: Netflix press

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37 Responses to “Nicole Byer: ‘It’s so dumb that people call fat women brave for wearing bikinis’”

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  1. Nlopez says:

    She sounds like a fun person. I’ll have to check out her show. Life’s too short TGAF about what you or anyone else is wearing. Do you.

    • Kumquat says:

      It’s such a cute, fun show. My 9yr old twin girls love it and it’s basically G-rated. One really only needs to look up at the screen at the end of each of the 3 rounds to see the hilarious results. I wish Nicole were my IRL friend!

    • Erinn says:

      I’ve laughed so hard I’ve cried watching that show. Some of the results are SO bad, it’s just fantastic. It’s one of those shows you can walk away from just feeling GOOD.

      And Nicole makes it. She’s hilarious, and more than once I’ve wanted her outfit.

      • Mara says:

        What strong recommendations, I’ll have to check it out.

      • lise says:

        the episode with adam scott and the root beer cake is SO FUNNY, i was crying-laughing for most of the episode

  2. Sarah says:

    Good for her on all counts. I have been angry about the ‘bikini body’ concept for as long as I can remember. If I put a bikini on my body I have a bikini body. Now take your stupid magazines designed to make me feel bad about myself and get lost. We women are sold so much nonsense it’s infuriating.

    • Nikki* says:

      The ageism against women is also infuriating. All the better to get us to spend $ to fix our “flaws”!!

    • Geeena says:

      it’s one of those phrases I’m sure we’ve all seen 10000x liek problem areas. My body has problem areas? What are the problems my areas are having? Do they need therapy???

    • KK says:

      Me TOO! In fact, now, as a mom of 2 who is not fat but not as skinny as she used to be (and not in the socially acceptable way of just having “curves in the right places”- my a** is flat and my belly is poochy), I still make a point to wear a bikini and with no shame. Because I refuse to accept that men can walk down the beach with their beer bellies hanging out while women are supposed to “cover up” anything that doesn’t look like a 20 yo swimsuit model. F*** that. I do it for my kids and me teenage nieces and for my husband’s family who come from a more “conservative” culture (my husband has never seen his mother in a bathing suit at all, despite many beach trips). There is nothing wrong with a normal all natural unphotoshopped female body and I refuse to act like I should be ashamed of it.

      • SomeChick says:

        HEAR, HEAR!!! They are often much more comfortable, and you can buythe two parts individually so you get better fit. I love that this is more of a thing now. If people don’t like it they can go ogle someone else.

  3. Melissai says:

    I love Nicole! She has sooo many podcasts and they’re all so funny. Celebitchy: please include more coverage of BIPOC. Let’s get to know the diverse celebrity ecosystem.

    • LidiaJara says:

      Yes thank you!! I’ve seen soooo many articles about white people I’ve never heard of and yet if I made a list of my top 30 celebrities on Instagram and TikTok who are BIPOC almost none of them have ever been on here. And I mean real celebrities, like models and musicians, not just TikTok-famous folx.

    • SarSte says:

      I listen to “too many podcasts” but I will always and forever listen to anything Nicole does. If there’s any RPDR fans out there, Drag Her is the only RuPaul recap podcast ever.

    • Mara says:

      Totally agree, I feel like I have a very narrow view of celebrities, it would be great to hear about a wider variety of people on this site

  4. Miumiiiu says:

    Exactly Lana. And it’s mainly a problem done to women We don’t insist every successful male is handsome and gorgeous.

  5. Miumiiiu says:

    Oh, and women’s appearances, even when simply pleasant or average, get harshly criticized the moment they do anything mean/wrong.

  6. June-o says:

    Saying “everybody is beautiful” is a rejection of the boring notion– your notion– that beauty lies in symmetry and “proper” proportion; in a supposedly collective agreement about what/ what is or isn’t worthy of love and appreciation. We’ve been sold an insidious lie for years and years and years: that black bodies, that non-muscular bodies, that fat bodies are unwanted and unworthy and undesirable and unlovable. It’s been sold to us on magazine covers and clothing racks and screens and in books and in the workplace and in doctor’s offices, sadly even in maternity wards. If you think that this woman, with her radiance and confidence and hella cool house and her intelligence is not “beautiful” because she doesn’t conform, then just keep it moving and go look at the same old narrowly “beautiful” shit we’ve been taught to appreciate exclusively for too long.

    And speaking of healthy, can you do the f@king splits?? Cuz I sure as hell can’t, and yet I have what you would call a healthy body. Yet, we have this supposedly unhealthy woman looking fit as hell up there. Challenge your biases.

    Edit: I am replying to a comment that has disappeared (I think). It said something to the effect of “saying that everybody in beautiful is ridiculous, because it’s obviously not true” and something about there being objective standards of beauty that everyone acknowledges.

    • LidiaJara says:

      June-O glad they ran and hid! You are so right, and who is hanging out on this site who doesn’t think our “standard” of beauty was crafted to support white supremacy?

      I loooove Nicole so much and all her stuff, her Instagram has all her pole dancing videos which are so joyful. I love Nailed It and one of my favorite parts is Jaques telling Nicole how beautiful she is over and over and over. I know she knows that already, but some of the kids who watch it will be hearing that for the first time.

  7. ME says:

    I recommend her podcast Why Won’t You Date Me, also! It’s super funny and raunchy as hell. The only caveat is that she can get a little shouty, so it could be a bit much as a morning podcast or when you want something peaceful. It’s basically just an hour of her and a guest sharing sex stories.

    • Mtec says:

      I love that podcast too, but it’s not just sharing sex stories. She has had some wonderful guests there where they discuss the hardships of dating while Black and also the unspoken sexism she has to endure dating because she is not only successful and doesn’t need a man for many of the traditional things men and women are taught should be something men have to provide, how it’s hard because she has a loud and pretty confident personality and that can intimidate many men, and how she deals with being a “semi-famous” Comedian trying to date (another space that’s rife with sexism, but also opportunists).

      She has wonderful and deep conversations about relationships with some of her guests as well, discusses how he approach to dating a self-esteem has been changing since she went into therapy, she discusses issues LGBTQ+ people face as well. The fun sex stories told on the podcast are wonderful, but it’s not all it is.

      I would also recommend her “Best Friends” podcast with Sasheer Zamata, and “Drag Her” with Mano Agapion about RuPaul’s Drag Race. She has other great ones too about 90 Day Fiance (but it’s on Patreon—not free) and a “Star Wars” one with Lauren Lapkus, which was also funny but I couldn’t keep up with it since I don’t really care about that franchise enough to even follow it for fun 😂

      • lucy2 says:

        I love her podcasts, and just started the Star Wars one. I’m only a few into it, but it already made me want to rewatch the movies!

        Best Friends is my favorite of hers, she and Sasheer are so funny together, and I love their friendship.

      • Mtec says:

        Haha! I love their friendship too. New episode today! 🙌🏽

  8. Levans says:

    I understand both sides of the coin because simply existing and rejecting the notion that fat bodies can’t be in bikinis can be brave for those that put one on. I also understand Nicole’s point of changing the framework.

  9. Hikaru says:

    We always have beauty forced down our throats. As a woman with no interest in men I still had to grow up with straight women forcing me to be “lady like” and “feminine” and telling me my natural body parts need fixing to be acceptable to society (but they really meant men!).
    God forbid girls were allowed to grow up without having to self-monitor what our bodies look like to men, not waste our money on useless shit and strive for things other than beauty in our life.
    An entire multi billion dollar industry built to profit off female body dysphoria would collapse, we can’t have that.

  10. ChellyPie says:

    Societal standards as far as what a bikini body should look like does IMO make any person, big or really skinny brave to step outside of that & not gaf. Embracing & loving yourself is a beautiful thing, but the world is a cruel place & not everyone is so willing to embrace & love you

    • Geeena says:

      that’s a good point, the public is still mean af to fat women for just living, so in a way opening yourself to that possible response could be called brave

      but i side more with what she’s saying

  11. Marty says:

    Nicole is great, incredibly funny and has some great podcasts you should check out, too!

  12. FHMom says:

    I think it takes confidence not bravery to wear a bikini in public. To me, bravery is saying you don’t like how you look but are doing it anyway. Confidence is knowing you look great.

  13. LunaSF says:

    I’ve never seen her show but have heard good things. And totally agree that women with bodies don’t need to be called brave for wearing a bikini, they are just existing! It kind of reminds me of those stupid Dove ads from the early 2000s where non model women wore their underwear and the media lost their damn minds and Dove was suddenly oh so progressive because they allowed people with body fat to be pictured. I was in high school At that time And remember talk shows and magazineS constantly doing similar things where women were paraded out and called brave for wearing a bikini in front of an audience. Maybe their intentions were good but it aged poorly IMO. Women (and everyone) should wear what they want when they want.

  14. J ferber says:

    I absolutely LOVE her show Nailed It. She is hilariously funny, sweet, kind and adorable. Whatever she does in future, I’m following her. Funniest woman on a series, in my opinion. Underutilized. Should be a lot more known and getting movie offers, etc. A treasure.

  15. laura-j says:

    Love it! I’m so sick of all of us being told we shouldn’t be out in public living our best lives because we have a few extra. I’m almost 50 and am glad I finally made it to the F-it years. Yeah I got some extra chunk I didn’t have, but if I’m at the beach I’m wearing a bikini. If you don’t like it. Don’t look.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      That’s right! Life is too effing short to worry about what someone thinks of my ass.

  16. Truthiness says:

    I didn’t know who Nicole Beyer was before this but now I love her.

  17. ChillyWilly says:

    This woman is cool AF. Smart, funny, kind and beautiful. Nailed It is really entertaining.