DIRECTOR NOTES: MEME ROTH

The other day, I had the opportunity to talk to one of the most vigilant and out spoken personalities on the obesity front, MeMe Roth. MeMe, who is a regular on Fox News, and is the creator and president of NAAO (National Action Against Obesity), is the face of the campaign against obesity.

Needless to say, I was quite nervous about talking to her. I sat, staring at the email she wrote responding to my several attempts to get a hold of her. This was it. I had waited for months to reach her and put off writing that dreaded email fearing what her inevitable response would be. But what was this? Not only did she write me back, she gave me her direct phone number. My heart sunk deep into my stomach. I have years of experience producing that have prepared me for these situations, yet I felt frozen.

Barry Roskin Blake & Alex Levine in production

There was a lot to be nervous about, in calling MeMe Roth. Through everything I have heard and seen from her, everything people have told me about her, and everything she has done in her career, it has led me to believe she is the enemy. People directly on my production company have been previously quoted as saying, “She represents everything we are making this movie to fight against.” I did not know how she would treat me. Having been as heavy as 450lbs and being as heavy as I am now, I figured she would hate me. I would be the image that she has spent her entire career fighting against. I figured once she found out about my weight issues, she would somehow look at me as an inferior human being. Discouraged by all this, I still called her.

After only a couple of seconds talking to her, I could tell all my opinions about her were unsubstantiated. In our forty-minute phone conversation, I realized she is actually an extremely intelligent and strong woman. I cannot remember a more enjoyable conversation with anyone in recent memory. We talked about everything from my weight issues, her aspirations in the industry, and our mutual feelings on the issues surrounding obesity.

When our conversation had ended, I realized one thing, MeMe has been very misunderstood. All this ime I had the belief she hated fat people and she was trying to say we are bad people for being big. In fact she is doing just the opposite. She is fighting for the same thing everyone else is, just in a different way. While I felt she was targeting obese people, she is actually trying to help. She is targeting obesity as a disease, not obese people. Here I am attacking her because she targets people like me and I realized she is on my side.

Barry Roskin Blake & Alex Levine on Brooklyn Bridge

One question has always circled my head when it came to MeMe, “Why is she doing this?” She is thin and healthy looking, what has obesity ever done to her to make her the leading activist against obesity. Through talking to her I realized she ahs to work as hard as anyone else with weight and healthy choices. I realized she is only human as well as every human has to fight temptation. We all fight a lifelong battle internally about how we live and eat. Whether or not you agree with MeMe, she only has good intentions for everyone.

I was very fortunate to be able to speak with her and I look forward to meeting her in person. I have no doubt in my mind it will be one of the most interesting and active interviews we film. With this in mind, I am, and I hope you will do the same, going back through MeMe’s videos and watching them again in a new light.

–Barry Roskin Blake

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