A depressed mother-of-three who tragically lost her daughter Maribella in labor, says she finally found happiness after ballooning to 616lbs – and becoming an overweight pin-up girl.
For years Christina Paez, from Medford, Oregon, binged on cakes and chips until she was bed-bound through obesity and crippled with anxiety about her size.
But after stumbling upon a group of fat admirers who loved her super sized body, the 39-year-old’s life was transformed.
Now Christina makes money selling glamour shots of herself to willing punters and says she is never going to lose weight.
However, not everyone is pleased at her new lease of life – Christina’s teenager daughter Ruby says her mum is deluding herself.
While these days Christina is only too happy to strip off in front of the camera and gorge on cakes for her fans, ten years ago her life was very different.
In 2003 she turned off Maribella’s life support machine after complications during labor left her brain dead.
For the next few years Christina lived as a virtual recluse with kids Marco,19, and Ruby, 18, and younger son Rigabento, nine.
She said: ‘After I got back from the hospital I was in a fog. I was on medication for depression and I turned to drink. I drank at all times of the day for about six months. My sister had to take care of my kids.’
Thanks to a diet of hamburgers, greasy Mexican food, crisps and ice-cream, Christina’s weight gradually climbed.
And when she did venture of out of the house, scathing comments from strangers on the street chipped away at her self-esteem.
‘I’ve had total strangers hurl abuse at me all my life. People call me fat and tell me to take myself off the streets because I’m so gross. It kills you inside to hear these things,’ she said.
Christina says her self esteem issues go as far back as her childhood where she was teased for being big for her age, weighing 196lbs.
She said: ‘Growing up I was picked on for my size. I developed early, by the time I was 13 I had the body of a 20-year-old. Even though I tried to stay active by running and lifting weights, I was still called pig and Shamu the whale.
‘I thought of myself as a fat blob — nobody can love me. I had no self esteem.’
Over the years she tried diet pills and exercise to lose weight but nothing worked. ‘In the end I thought it was easier to hide away from the world.’
As her weight steadily grew she became less and less able to be the mum she wanted to be. Her weight gain continued even after youngest son Rigabento was born in 2004, and eventually, five years ago her second husband Frego left her.
Soon she wasn’t able to cook and even go to the toilet without help.
She said: ‘I used to be active and make sure I took my kids out on trips regularly. But after losing Maribella I became so depressed I stopped wanting to do anything. I became dependent on my kids to look after me.’
However, Christina’s lifeline in the form of the internet and online communities made her look at herself in a new light. It was after being contacted by DJ and video producer ‘Dr’ Scott Winter, she was introduced to the world of Big Beautiful Women (BBW) modelling.
‘The first time I turned on a computer I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even know what Facebook was. But after I learned and uploaded some pics of myself I started getting comments from guys telling me I was beautiful and perfect. I had never had that before.
‘I never would have guessed there was a community of people who liked big girls. It felt like a new awakening.’
Yet despite Christina’s joy at her transformation into an obese glamour model, not everyone in her family agrees with what she’s doing.
Her daughter, Ruby, thinks Christina is happy just to please others. The student said: ‘I love my mum but she is not happy with her weight. She’s trying to make other people happy when she’s not even happy in her own skin.
‘She used to take us to the beach all the time, she used to cook healthy salads and vegetables and she was so happy. Now she waits for everyone else to do things for her, where she used to do it for herself.
‘If she doesn’t try and help herself she is going to get sick and she is going to die.’
Christina, who is on disability benefits due to her size, now spends her days planning her pay-per-view website with Scott. She is currently building up a library of 500 images to begin offering to her adoring fans.
She said: ‘Meeting Scott has really changed my life. Before my first shoot I was nervous but excited – I’d never done anything like this before. When I look at my pictures that I put up online I have a hard time even believing myself that it’s me in the pictures. It’s excitement. It’s fun.
‘I feel like that princess that’s walking around in her ball gown and pretty tiara that’s prancing around showing the world how sexy she is. I’m fat but I’m happy naked,’ she insisted.
‘Despite all the stuff people have done to me I’m willing to step out and say, “Yeah I’m fat, I’m beautiful, I’m sexy. So what?” I’m not going to hide away from the world because I’m fat.’