Who you calling fat? Nicole Eggert strikes back

The "Baywatch" star hits the beach with a satirical video and a few extra pounds. Female empowerment or PR stunt?

Topics: Body Image, Celebrity, Feminism, Broadsheet,

If it’s difficult to look trim standing at the bar in Spanx and heels, imagine how hard it is to pull off a bikini while running in slow motion. Nicole Eggert spent years on “Baywatch” ensuring that both the coastline and the high-cut one-piece were safe.

Since her days as Roberta “Summer” Quinn, Eggert put on some weight, and in the grand tradition of tabloids, was recently criticized for it. But in a new tradition — thanks to celebrities like Tyra Banks, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Love Hewitt — she shot back. Eggert took to the beach armed with a red two-piece and the comedy website FunnyOrDie.com.

The video (below) shows two notably doughy guys attempting to pull off the hot lifeguard-CPR plot that has entertained male psyches from “The Sandlot” onward. Eggert jogs toward the boys as the camera zooms in on every trans fat and neglected ab workout. The result? The boys ditch their plan — see, cause she’s not hot anymore — and the audience gets an eyeful of an actress who isn’t nearly as obese as the closeups try to make her appear.

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“Is this because I’m fat?” she asks the guys as they wave her away. But then, they’re seized by cramps and call her back. Watching as they float face-down, she delivers the punch line: “Call me fat!” and leaves them to their doom.

The video would seem — well, if not terribly witty, then at least a nice dose of female empowerment, a move that simultaneously strikes a blow toward the tyranny of the paparrazi and places Eggert back in the public eye on her own terms. But news that Eggert has signed on for the latest season of VH1′s “Celebrity Fit Club,” in the company of other “celebrities,” their egos and their love handles, makes the video feel a little less awesome and a little more like a publicity stunt. When Eggert was a size 2, she was fading into obscurity. In our weight-obsessed, tabloid-guzzling society, is it possible that the path to a comeback is paved with jelly donuts? Hard to say. But hey, if tabloids are going to make their bones off women who have the temerity to gain a few extra pounds — shouldn’t women profit, too? 

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