In a TikTok video over the weekend, Ella Halikas and Alexa Jay detailed their experience of being denied entry by a bouncer at a Los Angeles club because they are curvy. 24-Year-Old Alexa explained she had been invited to The Highlight Room for her friend’s birthday and was waiting in line with about 15 other guests when she ran into Halikas.
Jay recalled: “The promoter starts letting in the whole group of girls and right when it gets to me, the bouncer puts the rope in front, looks me up and down and say, ‘Yeah, not tonight.”
The Plus-size model claimed she thought the bouncer was confused & pointed out she was a part of the group he was letting in, but he looked her up and down a second time and repeated, ‘Yeah, not tonight.” 25-Year-Old Halikas revealed she had to switch spots with Jay and calmly asked the bouncer what was going on and was also told ‘not tonight.’
“At that point, it was extremely apparent what was going on and that I was being discriminated against because of the size of my body,” Jay alleged.
@ellahalikas sharing our story to be the voice of so many others that experience this. we’re here to make a change. @flexylexxxy ♬ original sound – ella
Halikas added: “I was like, ‘What do you mean not tonight? I’m so confused. Like I was just here for dinner before. Wait, what are you talking about? He wouldn’t give us an answer. We didn’t know why. To be honest with you, we’re tired of playing safe and we’re tired of just letting this happen and not speaking up about it. This has personally happened to me three other times. I know this happened to [Jay] and a lot of our curve friends as well. And it’s not okay.
Jay insisted that the whole experience was so dehumanizing.
She then said in the video: “It was like we were literally getting looked through. People were watching and seeing what was going on and no one was helping. These people were looking at us like we were scum of the earth. Nobody cared. Again, we have so much privilege and we need to come on here and make it known that this s**t is not okay anymore at all.”
Halikas stressed they don’t care they couldn’t get into The Highlight Room but want to raise awareness for size discrimination for those who don’t have the platform.
“Just because you might be a little bit thicker you can’t enjoy a night out with friends? Like, give me a f**king break.” Halikas said, urging viewers to stand up for what’s right and speak up when something is wrong.” Jay also advised: “If you’ve experienced any type of discrimination like this, you know exactly how horrible and disgusting it feels, and we are no longer letting this fly anymore. We’re holding these people accountable.”
The influencers concluded: “So Highlight Room and any other club or place that discriminates people and fat shames them, please do better.”
The video garnered over 8K comments and most viewers were inspired to share their stories with one writing: “I am the lead singer of a band and one time the bouncer of the venue I performed at TRIED TO TURN ME AWAY AT THE DOOR OF MY OWN SHOW.” Another said: “I am that girl who doesn’t have a voice and I thank you both for this! It’s happened to me and I just walked away and cried in private.”
In an interview with NBC News, Halikas insisted that their story isn’t really about her or the Highlight Room but about all the girls who don’t have a voice.
She told the news outlet: “Like, yes, I want an apology, but it’s so much bigger than that. This is about the girls who don’t have a voice. Even as a Sports Illustrated model myself, I could not get let into a club because I’m a size 14. That shook me to my core.” Halikas explained they want a policy change/training to ensure no other plus-size person will ever have to go through what they did that night.
The influencers also encouraged others who have experienced size discrimination to share their stories using the hashtag #NotTonight.
A spokesperson for the Tao Group Hospitality, the company that manages The Highlight Room told DailyMail it’s aware of Ella and Alexa’s experience and said: “The doorman on this particular evening worked for a third-party promotion company and we’ve removed this individual from the door effective immediately.” The spokesperson insisted the company doesn’t tolerate discrimination and is always appreciative of feedback on operations to improve the guest experience.
It’s alleged that Highlight Room made several attempts to resolve the issue directly with Ella and Alexa and even scheduled a meeting but they unfortunately canceled.