Ever since Susan Boyle first opened her mouth and made angels weep, reality-competition shows have caught on to the fact that what we really want is to be surprised. Casting directors have been trying to replicate Boyle's magic with contestants that seem practically genetically engineered to defy preconceived notions. Recently, a groovy nun named Sister Cristina made it to the finals of the Italian version of The Voice. This week, Britain's Got Talent tried to up the ante with pole dancer Emma Haslam. Watch the video above for some good ol' reality TV gold.
When Haslam first comes onstage, it's almost like a replay of that fateful Susan Boyle moment; from the audience members' facial expressions to sly condescension from Simon Cowell and Co., her even being a part of the competition was played as a fat joke. The fact that Haslam was all but dismissed off the bat (before even starting the performance that would win her an advancing spot on the show) speaks volumes about how little progress we've made toward body acceptance.
Of course, the second the music starts and Haslam hits the pole, jaws drop. With a confidence that comes across in every body motion, she shows off some pretty amazing acrobatics, winning the crowd over with a series of precisely executed poses. By the end, it's quite clear that this woman was born to do something like this.
What stands out most about the video — beyond Haslam's knockout dance — is the inspiring grace with which she handled her moment in the somewhat-unkind spotlight. The Internet (and TV) mean girls among us could learn a thing or two from her, and we can all take note of yet more proof that "fit" comes in infinite shapes and sizes.