My 600-Lb Life exclusive: Stepping into the light with Wess Schulze

A close up photo of Wess Schulze from My 600-Lb Life
Wess Schulze gets candid about living large after My 600-Lb Life. Pic credit: Wess Schulze

My 600-Lb Life is in its eleventh season of patients desperately seeking help from famed Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Nowzaradan, and few patients have been as articulate and honest as Wess Schulze.

The 37-year-old Texan was featured in Episode 3 of Season 11 and quickly became a fan favorite for his realness and vulnerability.

In an exclusive interview with Monsters and Critics, Wess opens up about his life, what it was like to be on the show, and what the future holds.

Wess is a self-proclaimed open book, and you feel like you’re already fast friends with the soft-spoken Texas native. It wasn’t hard to find yourself discussing topics from the trivial to the tragic.

Growing up in a small community, folks seemed to have more to say about his sexual identity than his weight. He knew from an early age he was gay, and he wasn’t going to be able to hide it from his Baptist and Lutheran family because, as he explained it, “I never had the luxury of being in the closet because every time I opened my mouth, a purse fell out.”

Like most small-town kids, birds of a feather flock together. Wess found safety with other kids like himself and even became a nurturing and protective figure in their lives when others, including their parents, didn’t quite understand them.

“Once, someone spray painted the word ‘f****t’ on the street outside my friend’s house. I hurried to find paint thinner, and we scrubbed it off before their parents got home and saw it.” Wess explained, “They didn’t want their parents to find out they were gay.”

Wess Schulze sheds light on the hidden parts of My 600-Lb Life

It’s hard to fathom a man that showed the world the joys of eating breakfast burritos in the buff would have anything to hide.

But Wess said he spent a long time in the dark, hiding parts of himself that were too uncomfortable for others. The decision to do My 600-Lb Life was spectacularly coming out of that darkness. He vowed to be as transparent as possible. No doubt he succeeded and left a beacon for viewers.

Although his family was uncomfortable even talking about it, and maybe even afraid for Wess, he was adamant about discussing his sexual orientation and the complex journey of a man that survived sexual abuse as a child.

His is also a story of teaching people that don’t understand the core parts of you how to love you. What if you haven’t been taught to respect or love yourself the way you need?

“I had to watch what I said, or it would trigger my family, and I’m 37 years old…when will I start living my life? You don’t have a problem with people; you have a problem with reality… gay people have always been here for all eternity… I deserve the same life, a good life like everyone else.”

For him, it started with accepting and acknowledging his identity. As Dr. Paradise said, hiding it hasn’t served Wess. When he learns to love himself, he can teach others if they’re willing to listen. For Wess and his father, it’s a work in progress. People have to be willing to try. It’s a constant evolution with his dad, but he knows he’s loved.

The other tricky part of his journey is living as a sexual assault survivor in a society that refuses to acknowledge it happens.

“The biggest problem with being a male sexual assault survivor is not only are you not allowed to talk about it, but you also can’t acknowledge it ever happened to you. The stigma doesn’t help anyone heal; it makes it fester. That pain, shame, guilt, and anger controlled my life for too long, and other male survivors of sexual assault may not look like me, but they will feel like me on the inside.”

Wess Schulze commits to living a full life after My 600-Lb Life

When Wess had a slow start and showed up at Dr. Now’s office without reaching the goal he set, he had a decision to make about his commitment. He said he needed to admit his lack of commitment or continue deluding himself. He politely decided to get real. It takes a lot of self-awareness to own up to your failures and put the blame on yourself. It doesn’t happen that often on the show.

“I am a full-commit kind of person, I either give you zero percent or 100 percent I don’t do anything half-way.”

Wess Schulze

Wess admitted he had setbacks and even gained back some weight after the show, but he found that investment in himself again and has now lost 220 pounds since filming the show, and the weight is still coming off.

What does the future hold for Wess Schulze?

On My 600-Lb Life, Wess expressed his love for theater and acting. It was something he enjoyed as a young man. He was too heavy to pursue his dream of being onstage, but he still had the hope to get back into acting.

He resonates with the merits of being a public figure and honing the craft, whether entertaining people as a social media influencer or playing a character onstage. Wess is a lovable character on and off stage.

He was concerned that his episode lacked the drama other episodes have on My 600-Lb Life, but the best part of his story was his personality and how he resonated with people. His story had a sort of dignity others might lack in their portrayal. His realness and politeness showed through the drama the show creates. Dr. Now believed in Wess, and so do many others.

Wess said he wanted people to know this is the life you have; you have to enjoy your life, you have to live your life, and it took him a very long time to understand that and learn that. His life is worth living, and he was tired of living two separate lives to please others. He hopes that if even one person can learn from his experience, it will be worth the effort.

A great attitude and a commitment to loving himself and knowing how he wants and needs to be loved is the recipe for a happy life. We wish Wess the best of luck in all of his endeavors!

My 600-Lb Life airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on TLC and streams on Discovery+.

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