With ‘One To Watch,’ Author Kate Stayman-London Corrects A Reality TV Blind Spot

Her new novel places a plus-size woman as the star of a ‘Bachelorette’-style reality TV show. Could it happen in real life?

‘One To Watch’ is author Kate Stayman-London’s debut novel.
'One To Watch' is Kate Stayman-London's debut novel. Cover art courtesy of the publisher
‘One To Watch’ is author Kate Stayman-London’s debut novel.
'One To Watch' is Kate Stayman-London's debut novel. Cover art courtesy of the publisher

With ‘One To Watch,’ Author Kate Stayman-London Corrects A Reality TV Blind Spot

Her new novel places a plus-size woman as the star of a ‘Bachelorette’-style reality TV show. Could it happen in real life?

Author Kate Stayman-London loves reality TV.

But even though shows like The Bachelorette and Love Island bring her joy, “we should also hold those things accountable to our values,” she said.

Stayman-London’s debut novel, One To Watch, puts a plus-size woman as the star of a Bachelorette-style reality TV show. It’s both a lovely summer read and also a critical assessment of reality TV tropes.

“I think it’s great to love these shows,” Stayman-London said on this week’s episode of Nerdette. “But also we can say: Hey, the way you handle diversity is absolutely atrocious. The way you support and don’t show contestants of color is absolutely atrocious. And the total lack of women or men who don’t conform to one incredibly specific, totally harmful beauty standard is atrocious. Let’s hold all those shows accountable to our values and ask them to do better.”

Stayman-London talked with Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen about the impetus for the novel, what it means to see stories about large women and whether or not any reality TV shows might follow in her book’s footsteps.