“Love Handles” is the new web series from creators Crystle “Clear” Roberson (Echo At 11 Oak Drive) and Carlton Jordan (“Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce”), and it’s mix of humor and honesty is getting a lot of attention. The series stars Erica Nicole Robinson as Leeza, a woman coming to grips with body issues in the wake of being dumped because of weight gain. She’s supported by her two best friends, Jade and Charlie, played by Skye Marshall and Leilani Smith, respectively. The series is directed by Roberson, who explains that she wanted to explore a part of relationships that everyone deals with — getting comfortable.
“I think both women and men can relate to what Leeza is going through because people get comfortable in relationships,” the writer-director explains. “It’s very common to ‘let yourself go’ when your guard comes down, everything else seems to come down with it. We present our best selves to our new companion, and then when the reality sets in, we lose track of the facade and show them who we really are, in hopes that they love us just the same.”
Leeza leans on her girlfriends as she grapples with these struggles, and that sisterhood is a core theme of the series. “The sisterhood portrayed in ‘Love Handles’ is amazing to me,” says Roberson. “It takes true friends to come pull you out of your slump and tell you the truth about your weight and your health. Too many friends are enablers, who can see their friend slipping down a dark path, but do nothing to stop it. I would love to have friends like Jade and Charlie.”
“Sisterhood and having friends that will be brutally honest out of love is very important,” Robinson adds. “It’s rare nowadays, but it’s important to bring that sense of genuine female companionship to the forefront especially for the younger generation. I want women to take a good, non-superficial look at themselves in the mirror daily and know that they can be sexy, classy, flirty, worthy, and desirable at any size. The men can hopefully take away a clearer understanding about how important direct communication can be in your relationship. Make sure you let her know she’s sexy to you.”
“I related to the story. I am Leeza, I am Jade and I am Charlie in so many ways,” shares Smith. “I’ve experienced aspects of each of these characters and to see the ideas of body image, love, sisterhood, dating, mental and physical well-being all up for discussion and exploration was exciting. ‘Love Handles’ crosses the medium because it’s human issues with black characters.”
“Many women look at themselves and say ‘look at what he/my job/etc. did to me,’ as opposed to ‘look what I did to myself’ and really examining why,” says Marshall. “We start telling our ‘victim’ story to everyone to justify our behavior rather then telling the story with any sense of our own responsibility to ourselves.”
“I can’t speak for everyone but I myself know that I have been in relationships where I got so comfortable I ate with less regard and working out was a non-factor,” Nicole says. “I have found a much better balance now — especially if you work out with your man! That’s hot!”
“Body image is a huge part of relationships,” Roberson says. “Your mate is the person you bare your soul and your body to. If you aren’t comfortable with your own body, your mate can sense it. It bleeds through and puts a serious damper on your self-esteem and sex appeal. I was excited to explore this on screen because we’re all affected by it, one way or another.”