Meet Joy And Chris From 'Hot And Heavy' On TLC — Plus Why They Loathe The Show Title

Who Are Joy And Chris From 'Hot And Heavy' On TLC? And Why The Show Title Doesn't Sit Right With Them
Entertainment And News

Are you watching Hot and Heavy yet on TLC? If you're not, you’re probably heard about it. Why? Even before the show premiered, controversy was sparked by everything from the premise of the show to its spicy title.

The show follows three "mixed-weight couples" — meaning overweight women with "normal" weight men–and all the struggles they face. Complaints scorched the internet in the week before the show aired, with people up in arms about about judging, exploiting, or fetishizing plus-sized women, as well as making it look like the men are somehow lowering themselves by dating them. 

The three couples are Joy and Chris, Kristin and Rusty, and Adrianna and Ricardo, and Chris and Joy tied the knot in last week’s episode! Here’s everything you need to know about them now that they've walked down the aisle, specifically: Who are Joy And Chris From Hot And Heavy On TLC — and why they can't stand the show's title.

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1. Who are Joy and Chris from TLC's Hot and Heavy? They were together long before the show started.

On the show, we meet Joy Ortega, 28, and Chris Hill, 25, weren’t put together by the network — they met three years ago on a dating app, when she was still living in Lincoln, Nebraska. After six months of talking on the phone and lots of texting, he went to visit her, and soon the two fell in love. Eventually she moved to Sacramento, California, so they could be together.

She wasn’t liking her job anyway, so she was happy to move closer to Mike, an industrial electrical foreman, and the two lovebirds have been together ever since. The first episode showed his proposal, but of course that was filmed a long time ago; the couple got engaged in November of 2018.

And yes, their wedding was just as romantic as they hoped, although the whole thing was filmed quite a while ago; it may have just aired, but their wedding was last June.

2. Neither one of them is too thrilled with the show title.

Critics on Twitter aren’t the only ones who have issues with the show title. Joy and Chris started filming back when it was called an "untitled TLC reality show" and in an intimate Instagram story, Joy was clear on the fact that she didn’t pick the title, even though she (reluctantly) called it "intriguing." She admitted that the trailer was "designed to get attention," and did the job well.

In an interview, the couple told hosts Mario Lopez and Kit Hoover that the show name is really "open to interpretation." Joy said it can be seen as describing the women, who are all hot and heavy, but then Chris pointed out that some viewers assume that he’s the hot one (along with the other men) and she’s the heavy one (with the other women), which neither one of them likes. Don’t blame ‘em!

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3. Her family loves him … his, not so much

Joy’s family adores Chris! Even though they don’t all want to be on camera, they’re 100% behind the relationship. But it doesn’t go both ways in Chris’ camp.  As anyone who’s been watching knows, his mom had her own struggles with weight, even finally having bariatric surgery, and has made her opinions on Joy known.  Chris even gave up some of his favorite hobbies, like hiking and rock climbing, to be with Joy and then stopped being the healthy "normal" weight guy he is. She even brought up some of her concerns to Joy’s friend Tifani while Joy was trying on bridal gowns a few feet away! Not cool.

She gave the same grief to Chris’ previous girlfriend, too, but this time, Chris wasn't listening.

Chris' buddy Mike (who works for him, by the way) is also not a fan of Joy — he’s made it pretty clear that he thinks Chris shouldn’t be with Joy when "there are all these other girls that like him," and even pulled the old bait & switch at Chris’ bachelor party. After Chris specifically requested no strippers, he booked a plus-sized burlesque dancer to get Chris to relax, and then sprang the strippers on ‘em.  (Kudos to Chris on how he handled the situation, especially the way he treated the strippers, who expected a much warmer welcome.)

Chris has already made it clear: he loves Joy, and if he has to choose between her and Mike, it’s bye-bye Mike. 

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4. Joy had a tough childhood

Joy’s not the type to holds back, and she’s been honest about some of the difficulties she’s faced. In the sneak preview that came out before Hot & Heavy premiered (and has since disappeared), she called herself a "survivor" and she talked about some of her struggles.

"Me personally, and a lot of the other larger people that I know are really survivors," she said on the show. "People who have been through some of the worst things they can imagine, and they found solace In food, you know what I mean?"

She adds, "I feel like there’s a lot worse things you can find solace in, like some people find drugs… Other people find a hamburger."

Joy was raised by a strict Presbyterian family in the deep south, where even things like dressing up for Halloween were "akin to devil worship." In fact, the 28-year-old has only ever dressed up for Halloween twice in her life! She dressed as a cat last year, and said on her Instagram post, "Don’t mind that noise, it’s just my ancestors rolling in their graves."

5. Joy’s a fashion maven who already had fans before the show

Speaking of Joy’s Instagram feed, she’s got over 30,000 followers and many of them have been there for a long time. She’s been #goals for a lot of larger women. She’s been posting pictures of herself for a long time in great outfits to help promote clothing manufacturers who cater to her size, and just generally show off when she’s feeling good about herself. Her favorite places to shop? Torrid and Universal Standard, judging by how often she tags them. 

6. Joy has an agenda—but it’s a good one (and Chris is on board)

There’s a reason this couple agreed to be on Hot & Heavy, and it’s not just whatever compensation they’re getting; these two have a message. On the show we learn that Chris is tired of hearing criticism about who he loves and even who he’s attracted to, since he’s always “been into bigger women.” 

Joy’s motivation comes from her belief that the show can help reach young girls who’ve never seen what a good relationship looks like for a plus-sized woman. Even more important, she wants girls to know that they all deserve love, regardless of their shape or size. She said in the same interview as above that "there’s this general idea that you almost have to earn love by looking a certain way," and she wants to change that. And she’s been talking about this stuff since long before the show. A few choice phrases from her Instagram feed:

"Speaking up for yourself and refusing to cower in the face of almost universal condemnation is pretty taxing, y’all."

"Posting pictures of yourself when you’re bigger than a size 12 feels a lot like giving society the bird. Which is to say, I really like dispensing birds."

It’s good to know that Joy can stand up for herself, and that she’ll always have Chris in her corner. After their wedding, she gives the most Joy-like of Joy quotes: "Maybe it’s not the conventional Barbie & Ken story that we all expect, but it’s real and it happens all the time." 

Preach.

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Laurie Ulster is a writer, a TV producer, and a Star Trek nerd.

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