If you haven’t given TLC‘s newest reality hit 1,000-Lb Best Friends a shot it seems like now is the time.
The show follows four besties battling morbid obesity together, through diets, hard work, and yes — therapy. In next Monday’s all-new episode, Vannessa Cross drops a bombshell during a session with bariatric psychologist Dr. Connie Stapleton. While discussing her background, sitting beside BFF Meghan Crumpler, she reveals for the first time that she used to be a sex worker. She admits in a People exclusive preview:
“There are things I’ve done in my past. Things I’ve just — physically and emotionally had to do. When it comes to the sex trade, and like, hustling. I feel so shameful at times for the face that I’ve had to sell my body in order just to have food to provide for myself to provide for my children.”
It’s a point of extreme shame for the 44-year-old. Though we strongly believe sex work shouldn’t be shameful, we’re talking about people who choose it as a lifestyle, going in with eyes wide open.
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What she’s talking about is desperation causing her to do things she was not comfortable with. She continues:
“That was an extremely dark time in my life. I would not have done it in any way shape or form except for the fact it was either do that or go hungry, go without clothing, go without diapers, go without rent. And while I’m thankful my circumstances have changed a lot since then, the pain really has never left me.”
This was something she hadn’t done for about eight years, she told producers in a confessional interview. And she had tried hard not to think about it since then.
In fact, it was so painful to face, Vannessa created an alternate identity that she could slip into when she did her sex work. She called her “Sunshine”.
“Men said that I brought a ray of sunshine with the things that I did. But Sunshine — she don’t give a crap about you. She’d rob you blind, she’d screw your man, she’d do whatever. And I loved her. I loved her many times because I could be her and not be Vannessa. So when I would go to do these things and go to work, I would bring that bitch out.”
It’s truly awful that she was made to feel this way. She only ever told her sister and Meghan. And it’s clearly something she didn’t plan on revealing to the world:
“Talking about my sex stuff is extremely hard. By talking about it you have to live it and you see it for the ugly that is inside that I keep hidden from the world all the time.”
She also links the shame to her eating issues:
“You feel some of those same feelings that cause you the pain and the hurt to overeat and it’s going to be something that’s going to take time to work through, but there’s parts of me that nobody will ever, ever, but me know about.”
Wow, this is so much darker and more serious than we expected this show to get so soon in Season 1. 1,000-Lb Best Friends airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on TLC.