Mary Beth Patterson has been compared to a punk version of Melissa Etheridge, a character from a John Waters’ flick, Pink meets Divine, and a whole host of other characters since she blew up the scene with Gossip (same band as The Gossip) in 2006. While whatever people say she is she isn’t, Beth Ditto is for sure the kind of girl who blows stereotypes out of the water and could soothe a savage beast with her voice.
Hailing from Searcy, Arkansas, this 30 year old performer with more energy than an atomic bomb went from a wannabe singer who thought her weight would keep her stuck belting out songs in the Bible Belt to a bonafide star after toiling for years with her bandmates, Nathan “Brace Pain” Howdeshell and first Kathy Mendonca then Hannah Billie. Since forming in 1999, working the underground club circuit in the Pacific Northwest, changing drummers, and dropping the “the” from their name, Gossip has won several awards, released four albums and experienced the kind of mainstream success that VMA’s are made of.
When it comes to style, this self professed “fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas” has broken every rule that attempts to confine plus-sized beauties to dark, structured pieces pushing them into the background. If there is one thing Beth Ditto is not, it’s a background type of girl. This one woman revolution dons spandex dresses in bold patterns including the taboo horizontal stripe, shows as much skin than her svelte counterparts, and has been known to love Miu Miu’s (not muumuus) flowy frocks. Whether she’s changing up her hair color, piling on the eyeliner, or proclaiming that she doesn’t shave her arm pits, how punk of her, this girl from the backwoods doesn’t have killer style in spite of her roots she has it because of them. While she’s come a long way from shoplifting from Marshall’s and Goodwill, the style she developed out of necessity has carried her from Arkansas to Paris Fashion Week where she opened John Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2011 runway show.
Although this punk rock, plus-sized charmer may have landed on the cover of Love magazine’s first issue, stark naked might I add, and had her own collection of clothes sold by UK retailer Evans, she has empowered countless girls to be who they are no matter what size they are. In fact, her unique ability to embrace every inch and ounce of her body, something most women struggle do regardless of their size, lead to her contributing an advice column on body mage for The Gaurdian.
Whether you love her for the way she growls and gets down on stage or for her sincerely in your face style, Beth Ditto is for sure the real deal and worthy of our adoration.
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