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Kat Sanchez—fat, Puerto Rican and White, 17—has complicated relationships but finds an emotional outlet in photography. However, her Instagram account sees little engagement, even from people who know and supposedly care about her. Kat’s place of creative escape is just another venue for feeling disconnected and rejected—until she creates a fake account using photos she took of a co-worker who has sworn off social media. Blond, beautiful Max, Kat’s alter ego, quickly gets lots of likes and even connects with a fellow creator, pale, blue-eyed, “fat femme” Elena, who also calls Southern California home. Kat knows her burgeoning relationship needs to be built on an honest foundation, but the allure of getting likes and the risk of losing face make it difficult. As her online lie inevitably crumbles, Kat is forced to become more open, honest, and real in her IRL relationships. Kat’s struggle for authenticity with her family and friends, not to mention her own sense of self, sparks important questions about what is valued and what is truly valuable. Maldonado’s willingness to let Kat be unlikable at times and to embrace a bittersweet and complicated ending highlights the need for nuance and grace in the stories we tell about ourselves and others.


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