(Daily Record) Steven Mckell enjoyed a trip of a lifetime in the Bahamas on ITV’s new reality offering The Resort.
So when 23-year-old Steven Mckell got the chance to spend a week in the Bahamas at a luxury plus-size only holiday village called The Resort, he was on the plane before you could say rum punch
But this trip of a lifetime came with a caveat. The Fifer would be going with seven other people ranging from overweight to morbidly obese.
An ITV camera crew would be there too, to record them facing up to their body issues and beachwear challenges.
The resulting show, The 18-30 Stone Holiday, is on next week. It’s not a weight loss competition. There is no judgment, sarky voiceovers or cheap jokes.
At a point where there are 15million obese people in the UK, it’s a moving look at how society treats people who are severely overweight.
Despite being the largest man on the show, Steven is one of the most confident. He found out about the show on a casting website and sent the producer a film of him dancing to Beyonce’s All the Single Ladies.
Steven said: “They were looking for people who were big and large and in charge.”
Within 24 hours of making contact with the producers, he was signed up. They made it clear that, in exchange for a five-star experience, he would be exposing his body and facing up to his most personal issues in front of the TV cameras. It didn’t put him off.
Steven said: “I knew it was going to be raw and be real. I knew being on the show would involve baring my soul to everyone. I’ve wanted to do something like that all my life.”
Before his trip, Steven had never been on a plane. Holidays had been family affairs in the UK. And when the lads were planning their wild week in Magaluf, he counted himself out.
Steven added: “ Holidays are very much limited, little hotel breaks with mum and dad. I’ve never been on a lads’ holiday or a holiday with friends to another country.
“I’d deliberately not get myself invited, or say I didn’t want to go.
“When you’re my size, you know there will be second glances.”
When Steven pulled up at The Resort, he was stunned.
He added: “It was absolutely outstanding. I went to my room and it was amazing, like something from a movie. The view was amazing. I just lapped it all up. I never thought I’d be able to stay in a place like that.”
The Resort has thought of everything to make plus-sized guests comfortable. The furniture and fittings are designed to take people who weigh up to 40st.
The beds have steel bars for extra support. They are designed for two super-sized visitors “moving around”.
Even the toilets are reinforced. The doorways are extra-wide and the chairs are broad enough to accommodate the largest guest comfortably.
When you are used to being pinched by furniture that threatens to fall to bits at any moment, it’s a liberating experience.
Steven said: “It’s something I always think about in a restaurant. Are these chairs sturdy enough? Will they seat me? In a hotel, are the beds going to be comfortable? Are they going to break?
“When I got to The Resort, I jumped on the bed. I knew it would hold me. Not being worried about anything like that makes the holiday more enjoyable.”
Steven and the seven others faced up to the body issues that had been holding them back. Some struggled to try watersports or even take off their sarong.
But Steven soon found the courage to take off his T-shirt and leap into the swimming pool.
The party formed a tight-knit support group and decided they were as entitled to enjoy themselves as thinner people.
One of the highlights of the show is a night out at a local fish fry. People who had barely left the house for years were busting a move on the dance floor without a care in the world.
Steven said: “Everyone was up dancing. No one cared. I go out clubbing but some of the others have never done anything like that.
“Now, we’re not going to stop ourselves going out and having fun because someone might not like what they’re seeing. We have as much right to have a good time as anybody else.”
The show was made in April and has had a lasting impact on Steven’s life.
Since returning home to Dalgety Bay , he has got himself on the books of an extras agency and is hoping to pick up film work soon. He is giving up his call centre job next month and plans to use social media to spread the word on body positivity.
Steven said: “Before I went to The Resort, I was a bit reluctant to be 100 per cent myself on social media, or to post something with my whole body in it.
“Now, I want to show people that you’ve got to be yourself 100 per cent. If someone doesn’t like it, that’s their problem.
“This show has given me a new lease of life where I can be more confident with myself and other people.
“If they see it and they don’t like it, they don’t have to watch.
“I’m not glorifying being plus-size – I’m glorifying being myself.”
● The 18-30 Stone Holiday will be shown on Tuesday at 9pm on STV.
This article was posted in its entirety as received by www.onecaribbeannetwork.com. One Caribbean Network does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed are not necessarily those of One Caribbean Network, its sponsors or advertisers.