By Pablo Jaime Sáinz
Kathy Hernandez wanted big beautiful women (BBW) to feel comfortable when going out to a club to dance and have fun.
That’s the reason why in November she opened Club Catalina, the only BBW hip-hop, size-acceptance night club in San Diego.
“I think for the most part BBW’s can feel uncomfortable in other clubs where women are much smaller than they are, they feel like they can’t dress as sexy as they would in a BBW Night Club where they are surrounded by other plus sized women,” said 40-year-old Hernandez. “I think having Club Catalina helps them have more confidence in themselves and know that we are quality individuals, we are beautiful, educated, intelligent, and have great personalities.”
Hernandez said that something that BBW (and men) find at Catalina that they won’t find at “regular” clubs is respect and the freedom to be themselves without feeling criticized.
“BBWs will find a friendly and welcoming atmosphere and know that the men who come to Club Catalina are men who prefer BBW’s which is why they are coming to dance and mingle at Club Catalina,” said Hernandez, who, in addition to owning Club Catalina, is also an accountant with the San Marcos Unified School District.
“Club Catalina is a friendly group because we have all known each other so long and the BBW Community is a tight knit group in San Diego. We welcome all new people and make sure they get to know everyone, dance, play pool and join our other outside activities. We meet for bon fires, barbecues, movie nights, road trips to other BBW Night Clubs, Plus Size Clothing exchanges and other fun events,” she said.
Club Catalina plays hip hop, R & B, Reggaeton, some salsa and old school. DJ Undaground is the resident DJ, and he plays all requests and is very interactive with the group.
“I enjoy attending Club Catalina events because the people are friendly,” said regular Natasha Rioja. “It’s the type of place I can let go and truly enjoy myself. Even when I don’t have a dance partner I can get up and dance alone without being ridiculed or laughed at.”
Shay Guy, another BBW that regularly parties at Catalina, said she can just be herself there.
“At Catalina you aren’t afraid to dress sexy, for fear of someone thinking ‘Oh, she shouldn’t wear that,’ or ‘She’s too fat to wear that!’” she said. “Everyone knows that it’s a size acceptance club, so we all expect to see some extra skin! Whether you wanna cover it all up or show a lil’ classy something, it’s all good at Catalina!”
Men like Dave Carter also love the atmosphere at the club.
“There’s a general acceptance of who everyone is and no ‘clique,’ just people having fun,” he said.
Club Catalina is part of a growing trend of clubs that are meeting the party needs of BBW. Hernandez said that there are several BBW night clubs in southern California, but just one in San Diego.
“The BBW night clubs are a growing industry in the United States and especially in southern California. The BBW Night Clubs such as Club Catalina give people who aren’t the perfect size a place to go dance, mingle in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere,” Hernandez said.
Club Catalina has a lot of different theme nights such as: Black and white theme, goth night, corset night, military appreciation, 80’s night, Christmas Party, and Mardi Gras.
This Saturday, February 16, will be its Valentine’s Day/Single Mingle with speed dating before the club opens. They will be having a $50 sexy legs contest at midnight. The club also has early bird drawings where people can win free passes to the club, Starbucks gift cards, gas gift cards or clothing gift cards if they are there for the drawing at 10 p.m.
Club Catalina is open on Saturday from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. It is located at the Padre Gold Lounge, 7245 Linda Vista Rd, in San Diego. The cover charge is $5 all night long for a limited time, then the cover charge will be $5 from 9 p.m. until 10 p.m. and $10 after 10 p.m.
For more information on Club Catalina visit www.myspace.com/bbwclubcatalina.