Skip to Content

Two plus-size models say they were denied entry to a Los Angeles lounge and ‘no one wants to stand up for you’

<i>Ella Halikas/Alexa Jay</i><br/>Ella Halikas and Alexa Jay said they were denied entry to a popular lounge in Los Angeles last week.
Ella Halikas/Alexa Jay
Ella Halikas and Alexa Jay said they were denied entry to a popular lounge in Los Angeles last week.

By Jalen Brown and Justin Gamble, CNN

Two models in Los Angeles are urging other curvy women to speak out on size discrimination after saying they were denied entry to a popular lounge because of their bodies.

Alexa Jay and Ella Halikas, who first shared their story on TikTok, said they went to The Highlight Room last week to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Jay said she first spotted Halikas, a friend and fellow plus-size model, while standing in line with others who were also invited to the party and as their group got closer to the entrance, the women say everyone was allowed in—except them.

The bouncer looked them up and down and told them, “not tonight,” Jay said, adding that she felt embarrassed and humiliated that she went home.

“To get ready and get dressed up and feel so vulnerable that a man is now objectifying you at the door to see if you’re worth of coming in and having a drink or not, is the worst feeling ever,” Halikas said.

Tao Group Hospitality, the parent company of The Highlight Room, said in a statement it was aware of the incident and are in contact with Jay and Halikas about their experience.

“We are always appreciative of feedback on our operations and continue to work on how to improve our guest experience. Our company does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” the company said.

The women said they have received a message from The Highlight Room with the general manager’s number attached, and the manager offering to talk with them in person about the incident. But the women said that’s not enough.

Halikas said no one stood up for them after the incident, which she described as “blatant discrimination against our size.”

“In that moment it hurt because we have such a great following online,” said Halikas. “I have almost 600,000 followers on TikTok but the second this happens in real life, everyone is silent. No one wants to stand up for you.”

The models said they decided to share their experience online because this isn’t the first time they have faced prejudice as plus size women.

Shortly after they posted a video on TikTok about the incident, the models’ followers started using the hashtag #NotTonight as a way to “reclaim the phrase” used by the bouncer and spread awareness about size discrimination.

“It doesn’t matter your race, your size, your sexual orientation, if you have acne, if you are pretty, if you are ugly, it does not matter,” Jay said.

Some of their followers shared messages of support and shared their own stories.

“People started commenting on their own and we just ran with it,” Jay said. “It’s not just our story anymore.”

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - National

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content