This plus-size Instagram star is paving the way for body positivity in Japan

Even Beyoncé can't get enough of her.

Feb 28, 2020, 5:29 pm*

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Samantha Grasso 

Samantha Grasso

Photo via watanabenaomi703/Instagram

Japanese comedian and Instagram star Naomi Watanabe is hilarious, iconic, and celebrated. Known for donning bright colors and her impeccable, entertaining Beyoncé impressions, Watanabe is one of Vogue Japan‘s women of the year for 2016. 

But beyond her career, Watanabe is leading the charge for body positivity in Japan.

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Since her first memorable Beyoncé performance in 2008, Watanabe’s influence has become more prominent in Japan, with more girl groups featuring plus-sized members taking the stage during the past five years. Watanabe has even performed for the Queen Bey herself, who told her she wanted to work with the Japanese comic when she returns to the country. 

“In Japan, a pretty skinny country in general, if there’s a 200-pound girl dancing, there’s a wow factor,” Watanabe told Fusion. “Everyone is surprised.”

Read Fusion’s full feature on Watanabe here.

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*First Published: Jan 14, 2017, 5:48 pm