Queen Raqui, pronounced “Rah-kee”, was one of the earliest size activists and a super plus size model who was active from the years 2002 to around 2014.
In this time, as the mainstream body positivity movement was largely still in its infancy, she showed she wasn’t afraid to be different as she worked hard to promote herself, and her fat positive outlook, paving the way for many others after her.
why she’s revered ✨
- An early pioneer in the campaign for size acceptance
- Numerous mainstream TV appearances
- Proud of her height and size
- Empowered women of all shapes, sizes and races
- Argued fiercely against those who looked down on the “BBW”
the ”many dimensions“ of raqui
Adept at building websites and writing, Raqui advertised herself on her old website using the phrase “The many dimensions of one woman.” This was a wonderful play on the image of “dimensions”, given her remarkable size, but also concisely summed up how many different qualities she had and how many different verticals she was involved in. Below we touch on these “many dimensions.”
tragedy is turned into profit; and rise to fame
The beginning of Raqui’s journey started sadly, as a result of tragedy. Her husband passed, leaving her a single mom with a family to raise and no job. She had to start earning extra cash to survive and after a short search, figured out how she could do that.
Standing 6 foot 4 and weighing 580lbs, Raqui knew she possessed rare size. Raqui has gone on record as saying she grew up admiring Queen Kong and watching her and the other ladies of G.L.O.W wrestling. She looked at the wrestling/squashing scene online and was unimpressed with a lot of the aspects of it, notably those that showed women in a derogatory and overly sexual light. Her goal was to offer a streamlined experience for people willing to pay to experience her rare size, power, and pressure without any form of intimacy in a strictly professional setting.
Raqui began offering “sessions” around New York City in squashing and wrestling, ranging from light beginner style sessions to full on, intense ones. She used her skills as a web developer to set up a basic website in 2002, and the persona Queen Raqui was born. It was only a matter of time before she was a hit.
early media appearances
Word of the super-sized Amazon spread quickly, and media publications seemed fascinated by her career choice.
Raqui began appearing in a number of UK-based magazines then went on to travel globally.
From 2004-2007 Raqui had no fewer than 10 media features, and not as a bit-part role, each article/documentary focused entirely on her as the star:
- Yorkshire (UK) TV Documentary Chubby Chasers – aired November 2004
- Closer Magazine (UK) double-page spread – November 2004
- Rem.fm Radio Europe interview – December 2004
- Maxim (UK & Germany) double-page spread in “Truth” section – May 2005
- Interview on BBW Radio – August 2005
- Session feature for Watching the World (Japan) – aired December 2005
- Model for contemporary art video by Mika Rottenberg – New York, January 2006
- Loaded Magazine (UK) double-page spread – June 2006
- Model for Dough art exhibition by Mika Rottenberg; this opens at the Guggenheim, NYC – April 2007
- Interview with Mundo Hip Hop (Argentina) – July 2007
That is an absolutely incredible and diverse list of accolades, showing the reach Raqui had and just how many people were fascinated with her career choice.
raqui becomes an early “size activist” and founds large in charge
You may have a strong opinion either way on Raqui doing paid “sessions” but what she did with her money as a result of offering these is undeniably remarkable. Raqui founded the magazine Large in Charge, labeling herself a “size activist” and using the magazine to empower super-sized women like herself.
The naming of the magazine Large in Charge pays homage to Raqui’s wrestler persona, but also gives an insight into who the woman was herself. She never believed she had to take a backward step as a super-sized woman, and used her considerable online fame as a vessel to encourage and feature other women to adopt the same positive outlook.
In a society where The Biggest Loser had fast become one of America’s most-watched TV shows, and around the time MTV would put out a series charmingly entitled I Used to be Fat, here you had a woman who was sending a message that she was the farthest thing from what mainstream media said plus size women should be: not only was she not ashamed to be her size and fretting about losing weight, she openly embraced her size by signaling she was “in charge” of her life, challenging accepted norms and encouraging others to do the same.
Raqui chose to focus on profiling women who were confident. Raqui also featured and interviewed primarily black and Hispanic women in her magazine, giving a voice to these minorities and proving that Large in Charge was in many ways, well before its time. Velvet D’Amour was one of the few other advocates for plus size activism at this time, and her magazine Volup2, founded several years later, would continue this trend of showcasing diversity in beauty both in terms of race and body type.
raqui’s mainstream tv appearances
Raqui segwayed her ever-expanding popularity into a number of appearances on mainstream daytime TV shows. The first of these was Maury Povich. Though the actual recording of the show can’t be found anywhere and we don’t know exactly what was discussed, Raqui did share pictures of her at the taping.
shouting down the haters on the tyra show: a must-watch
Without a doubt, Raqui’s most famous TV appearance was on the Tyra Banks show. The video is embedded below and is, quite simply, a must-watch for anyone in the size/fat acceptance community. The TV show deliberately sets up a tiny (unhealthy looking) 88lb woman to brandish Raqui as “not sexy.” Whether the woman does so naturally or because it’s scripted, you can’t tell for sure, but what comes next is incredible: she receives an absolute volley of a comeback from Raqui on the subject.
Raqui is quick to point out that being big or small has no bearing on whether someone is “sexy” or not. She then goes a step further by saying she believes she is “five times as sexy” as the 88lb twig, receiving a rousing applause from her co-guests and the audience. Here, we get a feel for who Raqui really is. She has a loud, bordering on dominating way of discussing, not afraid to shout to get her point across, yet her points are made eloquently and simply. It’s clear that Raqui had fully transcended to a top level campaigner at this stage, and she had become an icon for not only the other women she appeared with on the show, but the plus size community as a whole.
For us, this is one of the earliest examples of a public display of fat positivity on mainstream TV, and Raqui will be remembered and applauded for this for years to come.
death and legacy
Raqui’s media appearances declined sharply after this. Perhaps, she thought, she had already done enough and paved the way for the next generation of size acceptance campaigners. Whatever the case, there is very little by way of public appearances for her after the Tyra show.
As of 2012 she announced she was in “semi-retirement”, still offering sessions but stepping down from all other aspects of her career. Shortly after, she was gone for good. Her sudden disappearance has led some to speculate on Queen Raqui’s death, however there is no evidence to support this and they appear to simply be vicious online rumors.
Update: One of Raqui’s friends commented on this post recently to inform us that Raqui sadly passed away in November 2022.
Raqui was a woman of enormous stature. Yet it is her legacy she left that dwarfs anything else she did in her career. As a super-sized tall BBW, she was one of the first recognizable campaigners for size acceptance. Her magazine and work in the community empowered women of all shapes, sizes and races, and she will be remembered as a true pioneer of the movement.
queen raqui faqs
Here are some commonly asked questions about Raqui.
how tall was raqui?
She stood impressive 6 foot 4 inches tall.
how much did raqui weigh?
Queen Raqui stated she weighed 580lbs.