Amy Royale is a slim, artsy 26-year-old senior at the University of South Florida. When she wears cutoffs you can see the lissome lines of her most recent tattoo billowing over her right calf and shin.
"I look like I have a normal, thin body," she said. "You can't tell with my clothes on."
So to tell her story she bares all. A double major in psychology and studio art for photography, this week Amy has her first solo show revealing the truth as she knows it: from the perspective of a formerly morbidly obese young woman who felt like she never fit into this world.
"I used to be so heavy, I couldn't ride roller coasters or fit in booths at restaurants."
Nearly 300 pounds before weight loss surgery, now all that remains from her heavier days is the skin that used to hold all of her in.
Not only did people look at her differently when she was obese, but Amy said they now look at her differently when they find out she was formerly obese.
"I felt bad about making myself better," she said, explaining that her art stemmed out of wanting to confront those who would judge her. "This is my body, and it may not be ideal."
She described the project as very therapeutic. "My confidence has changed," Amy said, "but mostly because of the work."
She's also changing her eating habits, though she says it's difficult because she has always been a picky eater. But she wants to travel and be open to trying all kinds of ethnic foods, so her real work continues.
Her show, however, is up for one week only. Visit USF's Centre Gallery (MSC 2700) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday - Friday.
And meet the artist at the closing reception Friday, May 6 from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.