Miss Heavyweight Champion of the World

by Moa Herngren

Annie Ek weighs 200 kilograms and spends her days eating and dreaming herself away, using Facebook and Instagram as windows through which she watches others. She imagines that the photos were of her, envisions another life where she would be slim, happy and not alone.

Then Annie is contacted by Camilla Willdow, an ambitious editor at a TV-production company set to produce a new diet show, called You Are What You Weigh. Camilla is set on casting Annie, and uses every trick to convince her into saying yes.

The show is hosted by Johanna Broman, in many respects Annie’s opposite. Johanna desperately chases the big break and does anything to uphold the image of success, despite being deeply indebted and caught in a negative spiral of self-starvation. She needs the show to work, badly.

The show becomes an immediate success. As Annie sheds her weight she becomes “Miss Heavyweight” with the whole nation. And Johanna annoyingly finds herself overshadowed by the gentle and charismatic Annie.

But regardless of the weight loss, Annie still feels fat on the inside, and she still expects others to look at her in disgust. Everyone wants to be Annie’s “friend”, but the loneliness is still there. And once she finally realizes that her new, slim, life is built on a lie, she turns her back on the phony television people to go find real life, and real love. Because there is someone out there that really likes her, no matter what the size of her clothes.

Miss Heavyweight Champion of the World is a black comedy with high recognition and a lot of heart, dealing with how to feel good about your body in an age where a flawless ideal has become norm. It’s about the ever-current pursuits of happiness, status and love – and about the cynical world of reality television, into which Moa Herngren offers us real, unadulterated insight. Herngren’s novel lands right in the now, where we rarely display anything but our best side to gain approval from others.

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