Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Fat March has lesbian comic in its ranks


Chantal Carrere steps on the scale in a scene from Fat March, a new reality program. Photo: ABC/Mark Brendel
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If you watched ABC's Fat March reality show on Monday night, you may have noticed a familiar face. Chantal Carrere, a lesbian comedian who moved to Brookline, Massachusetts from San Francisco just under a year ago, is one of the 12 participants on the show.

Carrere, 35, grew up in California and started doing stand-up at a gay bar in Walnut Creek when she was 21. Since then, she has enjoyed an active career as a comic, performing as a part of the Lesbians of Laughter and Five Funny Females tours.

Carrere and her co-stars on Fat March , with the help of two trainers, were challenged with walking 570 miles, from Boston to Washington, D.C., across nine states, in just 10 weeks. In addition to attempting to change their lives, the participants were lured with a $1.2 million prize pool. The more people who finished, the more money each could win. Participants are able to "vote off" their counterparts if they feel a person was holding the group back. If they did so, however, $10,000 was subtracted from each participant's potential prize money (each participant, at the beginning of the walk, was eligible for a $100,000 prize).

On Monday's episode, one of the participants quit after only three days, and another was voted off, reducing each remaining participants' potential award by a total of $20,000.

Carrere began the show at 250 pounds. Although she cannot reveal how far she made it, or how much weight she lost, she did say that she feels much better than she did when the walk began. At the end of the first episode, she had walked 65 miles in eight days and lost four pounds.

Although she was scared, she realized that if she didn't lose weight and become more active, her life was in danger. "I've had three back surgeries, I've had open heart surgery. I was like, 'I'm headed for an early grave. Something's got to change.'"

During the walk, participants had to camp outdoors and could compete for rewards such as indoor accommodations or trips to Hawaii.

One of Carrere's major motivations was her partner of four years, Lisa Herbinger.

"Being away from my partner really made me more determined about my relationship and how much she really means to me. I was definitely talking about Lisa a lot. It just overwhelmed my heart with how much love I have for her, for her to support me the way that she does and be so good to me."

Participants were not allowed to contact friends or loved ones during their journey.

Carrere was out on the show, and she thinks that she represented the LGBT community in a positive manner, especially because of the connection with her partner she portrayed on the show.

"I think the show will show how amazing and how normal gays really are. I hope I'm a good representation," she said.

"I loved that I was the only gay person," she added. "Nobody cared. I thought it was awesome that I was, and that I was the only comedian, too. I felt like I got a lottery ticket."

She hopes to appear on television again in the future, performing as a comedian. She also hopes to continue her new habit of walking. "I'm going to keep walking and try to lose the rest of this weight."

"I miss everybody [in San Francisco]," she said. "I have fans there and I miss them." She encouraged the Bay Area LGBT community to watch the show. "They're going to be blown away – it really is that engaging."

Fat March airs at 9 p.m. on Mondays for the next five weeks.

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