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Opinion The Last of Us Part 2: Who Plays Abby? - Gaming doesn’t know how to deal with muscular women

IbizaPocholo

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Abby, a new character introduced in The Last of Us Part 2, does not fit the mold. Her face is anchored by a square jaw, which gives her visage a wider look — at least, compared to the heart-shaped face that defines most women in games. Perhaps most notably, Abby is buff. Your eyes are drawn to her chest and muscular arms, which, according to The Last of Us Part 2, she worked very hard across multiple years to beef up.

As someone who regularly boxes and plays sports, Abby’s appearance isn’t just familiar to me — it’s aspirational. It’s been baffling to see some of the popular dissenting opinion on the game, which often directed against Abby.

Part of the dislike seems unavoidable: The Last of Us Part 2 asks you to play as a character who is fundamentally opposed to the heroes we’ve spent hours learning to love and protect. Abby is a hard sell, and that would be true no matter what she looked like.

But much of the hate visible on social media isn’t just about the story and Abby’s likability compared to Ellie and Joel, it’s fixated on Abby’s jacked-up body.

“If you think the ‘normal’ for women is having that kind of musculature and stature, just go outside, man,” one misguided viral Twitter post reads. Posts that feature Abby at all often break down into arguments as to whether or not she’s realistic, and whether or not a woman could actually look like that.

The funny thing is, like many characters in The Last of Us Part 2, Abby is partially based on a real person.


This, of course, doesn’t satisfy some detractors — it just changes the debate. Is there enough food for someone in the post-apocalypse to mass up like this? (Yes, the WLF is canonically depicted to have plenty of resources.) Can we really say this is a realistic body type if theoretically you have to train for ages to achieve it? (Realism has no bearing on how common something is, just whether or not it can be true.)

Perhaps the grossest result of all of this is the insistence that Abby could only look like this if her character was trans, as if only folks who are assigned male at birth could possibly have big muscles. That conspiracy theory has been debunked by the folks behind the game, but the fact the idea could exist at all reveals something uncomfortable about what limited types of bodies we are used to seeing in the medium.


Abby doesn’t look like most women in games; It’s true. But Abby’s appearance is only potentially jarring because video games lack range when it comes to body diversity, not because women can’t actually look like that.

We can, and we do. I’m glad Abby is here to prove it.
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https://screenrant.com/last-us-2-abby-voice-actor-body-model/

Despite playing a big role in The Last of Us 2's story, Abby wasn't featured in much of the game's pre-release marketing. Her only appearance was in The Last of Us 2's infamously brutal trailer at Paris Games Week 2017, criticized for its use of violence to advertise the game. The teaser showed Abby, then an unnamed character, surviving a hanging and near-disembowelment in a dark forest, with the aid of two children, one of which had her arm smashed by a man with a hammer.

The trailer's focus on Abby with little context - and no appearances from series protagonists Joel or Ellie - was a hint that she'd play a major role in the game. It turns out she's one of The Last of Us 2's playable characters, so players see much of the game's story through her perspective. Here are the people behind Abby's appearance and voice.

Abby (full name Abigail Anderson) is portrayed by prominent voice actor Laura Bailey. Bailey is known for her work as Vex on Dungeons & Dragons web series Critical Role and as Nadine Ross in Naughty Dog's own Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, among many other video game and television credits. Bailey also provided the performance work for Abby, including facial and motion capture in Naughty Dog's studio. Abby's face itself came from a different person at Naughty Dog: Jocelyn Mettler, a Support Visual Effects Artist on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, served as Abby's face model while she was at the company (though she now works for VFX studio Beyond-FX). Following Abby's first appearance in the 2017 teaser trailer, The Last of Us 2 Director Neil Druckmann reportedly posted the following image on Instagram, citing CrossFit athlete Colleen Fotsch as Abby's body double.

While Abby's muscular build definitely appears to be based on a professional athlete like Fotsch, Druckmann has since removed the post from Instagram, so Fotsch's role in The Last Of Us 2's production may not be officially confirmed.
 
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trapanesenyc

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Much of the criticisms thrown her way is she isn't attractive so yea I think "muscular woman" is deff a turn off for a segment of gamers even tho they exist and a trained killer like Abby being muscular makes sense. I loved they made her muscular tho because of how it made you feel like what she was, a trained solider who was capable of surviving alone physically. It was more believable her mowing down dozens of enemies vs when Ellie did.
 
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Revolutionary

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But Abby’s appearance is only potentially jarring because video games lack range when it comes to body diversity, not because women can’t actually look like that.

We can, and we do. I’m glad Abby is here to prove it.
It's hilarious how willfully ignorant defenders are about this character.

The issue is that this woman apparently had years' worth of HGH and testosterone to bulk up with in the post-apocalypse. That is NOT a woman's natural body. Laura Bailey's biceps in that picture are literally half the mass of Abby's.

Edit: Also, wasn't it only 4 years between TLoU1 and 2? So she had constant access to a gym, HGH and testosterone during that 4 year stretch while ALSO hunting for Joel (keep in mind she wasn't always with the WLF, so she didn't always have access to their gym)... it's just not very believable in a series where they went to great lengths to make everything seem grounded.

Edit2: Also, on the subject of "gaming doesn't know how to deal with muscular woman"

Get fucked, whoever wrote this article.

Edit3 (Last one I promise):
Looks like this article was posted yesterday and they were appropriately reamed in their Twitter thread for it:

Glad other people stepped up to their bullshit.
 
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BluRayHiDef

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Why doesn't the OP mention that women can look like Abby only if they take steroids or male hormones? The OP is disingenuous. By the way, I'm not being biased, because I actually like the game and like Abby; however, in my head-canon, Abby has taken steroids and/ or male hormones, which isn't hard to believe considering how organized and resourceful the WLF are.
 
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sn0man

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I’m only part of the way through playing as her character and I find the visual distracting and unrealistic. If that is how female gamers find the typical Barbi look in games then maybe that was the goal. To expose how fucked games have made it for men to view women and their bodies.

My wife and I are both fans of TLOU and playing her character has definitely provided for a lot of discussion for the story.

I just keep thinking the look is quite unrealistic and saying it out loud. My wife pointed it out. She also said ok well now and then the veins look a little ridiculous.

in general: if ND had a goal of created a believable goal for women to look up to that wanted to lift. I would say they maybe achieved it. Certain scenes, her arms and shoulders look just like a normal badass. A few throw me. As I consider it more, that’s my problem to work through.

if ND had a goal of creating a female that trigger the player and forced them to see a controversial female form I think they succeeded. Abby has 4 years, a world class gym, access to abundant food, and a military lifestyle. It’s all possible I suppose but I prefer to think ND put her right there at the upper edge for everyone to go wow.

Real life comparison: I also want to point out that Abby’s shoulders and frame are on the wider side. That’s not not normal. My wife has broad powerful shoulders. In fact, I usually go for the slightly more wispy physique on a woman but life can challenge your preconceived notions. That’s life.
 
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Reckheim

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Why doesn't the OP mention that women can look like Abby only if they take steroids or male hormones? The OP is disingenuous. By the way, I'm not being biased, because I actually like the game and like Abby; however, in my head-canon, Abby has taken steroids and/ or male hormones, which isn't hard to believe considering how organized and resourceful the WLF are.
Did it say somewhere in the game she didn't take steroids?

if anything, trying to bulkup in the post Apocalypse if you have the resources makes sense. Definitely more sense than Ellie murdering 200lb monsters with a pocket knife.
 

namekuseijin

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women only the likes of Dwayne Johnson would date. And even still, I guess they would prefer them softer

still not convinced Abby is an actual woman though
 

Revolutionary

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if anything, trying to bulkup in the post Apocalypse if you have the resources makes sense. Definitely more sense than Ellie murdering 200lb monsters with a pocket knife.
She literally stabs their jugular vein, my dude.

Meanwhile, Abby puts them in a sleeper hold, which means her bicep is within an inch of getting bitten EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Which is more plausible?
 
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I love Abby’s design. She doesn’t even act masculine IMO. She just has muscles.
Pretty much this. Is she attractive? Fuck no.
But to me this is her way of building a defense against the world she lives in.
She chunky.

Who gives a fuck if it's realistic. Characters in that game get stabbed just to ignore it a few hours later.

Unless she found a steroid stash, a very strict diet, and hit the gym for five hours every day.

Actually not even unrealistic given how dedicated she is. Have you seen the amounts of meat on that bbq in the stadium?
 
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BluRayHiDef

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Did it say somewhere in the game she didn't take steroids?

if anything, trying to bulkup in the post Apocalypse if you have the resources makes sense. Definitely more sense than Ellie murdering 200lb monsters with a pocket knife.

The game doesn't mention steroids and implies that she looks the way that she does because she's a soldier and has worked out very hard for three years. However, no woman can get as jacked as she is without steroids or male hormones no matter how many years or how hard they work out; women don't naturally produce the amount of testosterone and other bodily compounds necessary to become as muscular as Abby.
 

Atrus

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Her build is unlikely given the circumstances. I figure she's on steroids after TLoU1 given access to Nora and Mel with the latter indicating she could get her "whatever she wants". She could be a rare genetic build but the amount of eating she'd be doing would be noticeable, not one burrito or whatever she was eating at home base. Her eating would be enough that her friends ought to know to grab more than one.

Still, its no more unrealistic than the way characters tank damage in both games like John McClane or are immune to cold weather.

It's just a cheap shot for the agenda-mongers to trash the game. It was boiling for months beforehand and they'll pick at whaever they can get so its actually a good sign on the overall quality of the game when the criticisms are this bare.
 
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GymWolf

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I was glad to have female joel to use during the game, his combat style is more brutal than ellie but yeah for a game that try to be hyper-realistic in many many things from details to animations etc. having a woman with all these muscles with a burrito diet is a little bit silly, not impossible or woke, just silly to look.

Yeah i know she doesn't only eat burritos but the rations size on the wlf side was not close to what you need to maintain that level of muscles, and abby was basically the best soldier in the entire wlf, just look how isaac doesn't want to lose her to save another high officer like owen and how he offer to her the leadership for the final scars assault.

If even the best soldier who need to eat more than anyone have the same portion of food compared to any regular soldier it's very hard to believe that this chick can eat around 4000-5000 (if not more) calories and a LOT of proteins every day.
Also those arms are very very difficult to achieve without some "science" help...

Did abby disturbed me? No, i kinda loved her and i was rooting for her, but it remains silly seeing her in probably one of the most "realistic"game ever.
She literally stabs their jugular vein, my dude.

Meanwhile, Abby puts them in a sleeper hold, which means her bicep is within an inch of getting bitten EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Which is more plausible?
Ellie put his hand very close to the mouth of every clicker she kill from behind, and even if she is immune you don't really wanna lose some fingers every time you stab someone.
They both have very risky stealth kill animations :ROFLMAO:
 

cormack12

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You either have a brain and get the underlying point or you don't and just sceam about the surface level. If this was Joel in that world it would look as stupid - because that's what she is like compared to all the other women (Tess, Marlene, Dina etc.)

 
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Punished Miku

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I've kind of wondered about this myself. With Dragon Crown gamers were kind of on the opposite end of that, and journalists were calling the Amazon stupid.

I think it would have been fine if they game grounded it in the story a bit. Anyone that muscular works out, so they could have shown her working out and training just to get revenge, maybe even using steroids. Would have actually been kind of interesting.

I think people would be fine with her if her personality was a bit better in the game. It's disingenuous to act like her actions and personality aren't a factor.
 

sn0man

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guess we need more chubby women then, rather than fake steroids buffs
I would be fine with a few chubs here and there. I’m not interested in a fantasy novel paperback with Fabio and insert random twig girl for every game out there. For every TLOU, there are like 5 anitiddy simulator games. I’m all for variety


You either have a brain and get the underlying point or you don't and just sceam about the surface level. If this was Joel in that world it would look as stupid - because that's what she is like compared to all the other women (Tess, Marlene, Dina etc.)

I think Tess, Marlene, Dina, that black gal at the hospital. All looked really cool and badass women. Abby does look like a badass.... but the physical proportions are still throwing me a bit.
 
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To be fair, fat Geralt (As he's lovingly called) is pretty buff/fat too. Abby isn't the only big character in the game.
 

TsimpleD

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I read in some note somewhere that they where having some food problems, but still I thougth, maybe it makes sense to be like that in this world, but then why there is no other person like that or trying to be like that? it is true, even if they have all this food in home base would every one be okey with her taking largers amounts of food than others, besides, they are at war and she is known as the top killer, I am not a soldier but I don't think that as a soldier you get to have 5 hour of exercise everyday and still have the energy to be out there figthing all day to get the title of the best killer.

I have a female friend who is trying to get a body like that, she got dumped once because she kept eating way too much and his ex-boyfriend was expending too much buying her food, when you play as abby, you only eat a burrito and get on the move, along the way she eats protein bars or whatever they are, but I still all the time I was thinking, there is no way that she is doing all of this for this long, that single burrito can't move this body for this many days.

To me the problems where:
I wanted to play as Ellie, and when the story was getting to it's climax, time gets reset, the momentum is lost, I didn't want to play as her, I mean she killed joel, and I nearly dropped the game because of that, then I kept being distracted, to me her body made no sense, she looked like a cartoon, no one else looks like that in the game
 
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dcx4610

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I think a large part of the hate is the assumption from people that don't play the game or that want to hate the game is that Abby is trans. OR, that ND made Abby look the way she does to appease some woke agenda or trans community.

That said, I do think they went a little overboard. The model they got is a CrossFit champion and in a post-apocalyptic world, I don't think Abby would have the food or supplements to get that big. I think they would have been better suited to just get a fitness model instead of a yoked CrossFit champion to get the point across that Abby is in shape.

A lot of guys just don't like women that are bigger than they are and it's going to cause some negative reactions.
 

cryogenic7

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Abby is super ugly and there is no way I would pay to play a game as that. Actually, I wouldn't even play it if it was free. Icky.
 
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Stilton Disco

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So Abby was based on a woman with the body of a bloke, who must spend her entire life at the gym (and almost certainly is on the test) and her voice actress, who has a normal womans body and looks nothing like her character, worked out a bit.

You'll forgive me if I don't think that's a compelling argument for making characters with no feminine traits whatsoever, that look nothing like any woman I've ever seen, including female Olympic athletes, then calling anyone who points out that these female character designs look nothing like actual women sexist.

The fact is they intentionally made them look as unattractive as possible so as not to catch the dreaded 'male gaze'. That's it.

You don't need to try and justify that by pretending they look normal (because they don't), that doing so was a victory against sexism (because saying you have to remove any attractive or feminine features from a woman to have them be taken serious is itself fucking sexist) or that this is just giving a greater degree of representation than women normally get in the media (because again, actual physically fit women do not look like roided up power lifters).

These are designs meant to be repellent to straight men. They are anti sexy, anti beauty, and that is entirely deliberate, given the creators well publicised views on how woman should be portrayed in media and the feminist extremists they have declared themselves to be inspired by.

Really it's almost no different to games of old making characters 'impossibly' beautiful.

The only difference is, I know for a fact you can find those thin, fit and busty women in far greater numbers than that 1 in a billion ogre of a woman they used as a model for Abbey, firstly because they're ten a penny on social media, secondly because I married one of them, and thirdly because it's just logical that there will be vastly more women with hyper feminine features than there will be with hyper masculine ones.

So sure, parried around that woman with a man's body and declare it a victory over the misogynists, that doesnt change they fact that both she and the female characters of TLOU2 have the bodies of men, not women.
 
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pLow7

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I can't grasp the level of stupidity you have to have, to question the realism of a post woman being buffed in a Zombie Apocalypse.
If the only thing that seems unrealistic to you is the fact that Abby is buffed, you have serious problems.
 

Stilton Disco

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I can't grasp the level of stupidity you have to have, to question the realism of a post woman being buffed in a Zombie Apocalypse.
If the only thing that seems unrealistic to you is the fact that Abby is buffed, you have serious problems.
Her physique is entirely wrong for anyone who is living in that kind of situation.

Look up any primitive people living in actual hunter gatherer societies today, that live off the land and are in constant danger from predatory animals in environments that will kill them without warning and where being physically fit is a genuine necessity to stay alive, and compare them to TLOU2's characrer designs.

Abby is not realistic. She has a body that would require an intense and almost non stop gymn routine, a massive amount of food in constant supply and either billion to one genetics or male hormone supplements to achiece.

This guy is realistic for the world Abby lives in:



...And even he looks more feminine than she does.
 

Tiamat2san

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She literally stabs their jugular vein, my dude.

Meanwhile, Abby puts them in a sleeper hold, which means her bicep is within an inch of getting bitten EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Which is more plausible?
Nothing is plausible.
Joel did it in the first game.
Even if Ellie is immune the air is too thick to breathe correctly when there’s spores.
Characters survive ,hammer, machete hits and can counter attack After a few blows.
Crafting medkits is stupid.
Killing hundreds of people alone is stupid and impossible.

It’s a video game , it is not plausible.
 

Revolutionary

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Nothing is plausible.
Joel did it in the first game.
Even if Ellie is immune the air is too thick to breathe correctly when there’s spores.
Characters survive ,hammer, machete hits and can counter attack After a few blows.
Crafting medkits is stupid.
Killing hundreds of people alone is stupid and impossible.

It’s a video game , it is not plausible.
Dude, I wasn't arguing the plausibility of every aspect of the game, I was responding to one person's defense of Abby ("Definitely more sense than Ellie murdering 200lb monsters with a pocket knife") and responded with something equally (or more) implausible. That's it.
 
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nkarafo

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Notice how Drunkmann said "props to the badass" when referring to the muscular girl actor.

Remember when you were a child and your grandmother would start the endless grovel about how good boy you are, how beautiful, etc? Remember that uncomfortable feeling?

That's how i would feel as an adult if someone was pandering to me this way without me doing anything to justify it. It's degrading and insulting.

But of course, narcissists love that kind of pandering and attention, that's why they do it to others, thinking it's a good thing.
 
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Raven117

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I mean, a top of her game cross fitter is likely not going to be the usual in the post apocalypse.

It’s one thing to have a jacked Abby. That’s fine, no issue. She is a solider after all, soldiers do workout a lot.
What was distracting was that they were hilariously comically large. In a game where everything else was somewhat based on reality.

Ending spoiler
And, things change when she isn’t working out as much).

I know we don’t complain about curves of some women in video games, but those games are not based in reality. They are fiction.


Regardless, going to put this in the, I don’t give a shit category
 
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JimiNutz

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I enjoyed playing as Abby and, as someone that works out regularly myself, I have no problem at all with in shape or muscular women.

There's just no way the average women could ever get that jacked in a post apocalyptic setting with limited food supplies, reduced leisure time (so unable to train for hours each day) and most importantly - supplements/hormones (which the athlete that Abby was modelled on clearly uses).

Personally I don't care because the game is clearly not realistic and I'm happy to suspend my disbelief (maybe Abby found a lab with some good roids?) but if Naughty Dog were aiming for an appearance that was somewhat realistic or achievable then they've clearly demonstrated a lack of understanding of the conditions required for a woman to achieve a physique like that.
 
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plip.plop

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Haven't CrossFit women been caught numerous times using steroids? Maybe Druckman doesn't say Abby uses steroids because it would draw a lot of attention to Colleen Fotsch. But yeah, she is clearly juiced to the gills.
 
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Gods&Monsters

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No. Women living in the post apocalypse can never look like that.

Unless she found a steroid stash, a very strict diet, and hit the gym for five hours every day.

Even the guys don't look like her in the game. What was the point of basing her character on some truck woman and then go "See? They exist you bigots!"

Everything was designed to piss people off with that character. No redemption possible for her no matter how hard they force it.
 

TGO

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But the person she's based on isn't actually big, Abby would obliterate her 😂
She supposed to be based on her but looks bigger then the guy standing next to her 🤔
 
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BluRayHiDef

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But the person she's based on isn't actually big, Abby would obliterate her 😂
She supposed to be based on her but looks bigger then the guy standing next to her 🤔
Abby's muscles are big for the size of her frame. However, her frame is small overall compared to the male characters, such as Owen and Manny; she's shorter than them and all of her body parts are smaller than their corresponding ones. Heck, her arms are smaller than Manny's, but they have more defined musculature and subsequently grab people's attention.
 

VertigoOA

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The female bodybuilder she’s based off is clearly on roids.

Who knew that in the apocalypse test enanthate and sustanon is readily available...

(I’ve taken juice when I was in my early 20s... I know what I’m seeing).
 
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