The requirements for boy groups all around the globe seem to be talent, charisma, and visuals. For most groups, the latter means having slim or muscular physiques.

produce pandas
Produce Pandas doesn’t look like most boy groups | @producepandas/Instagram

Chinese group Produce Pandas, however, is breaking stereotypes! They’re fighting the norm by being thicker than most idols.

They mentioned in an interview with South China Morning Post that their “XXL” moniker comes from their size and dreams.

We are called the ‘XXL’ boy band. The ‘XXL’ not only represents our body size, but also reflects our limitless possibilities.

— Mr. 17

Produce Pandas consists of 5 members including Otter who originally worked in customer service at Amazon

otter

Mr. 17 who studied acting in the Nanjing University of the Arts

mr 17

Cass who studied pop music in the same university as Mr. 17…

cass

Husky who was a former project manager at an internet company…

husky

…and Ding who drove trams and subways, modeled, and worked in public relations.

ding

When their company approached them, they originally thought their offer to make a boy group was a hoax. After seeing their serious intentions, their eyes were opened to new possibilities.

I think the band quite suits me. They told me that they wanted to find some chubby boys, and they must look like pandas. I told them, ‘That’s me!’

— Cass

Being plus size doesn’t mean they’re treated differently by their teachers. The standards for singing and dancing are just as high as in other companies, but they need to work even harder to keep up. The members hit the gym everyday to increase their stamina through exercise.

For bigger people like us, we need more energy to dance. We are also asked to dance at the same pace as other dancers. But since we are heavier, we exert nearly twice the amount of energy to achieve the same level as other dancers. So our daily practice is very hard.

— Mr. 17

After a good morning workout, they eat to their heart’s content!

This can answer the doubts of many fans. Why haven’t we lost weight after we dance so hard? It’s because we put the weight back on. We dance a lot but we also eat a lot.

— Cass

Produce Pandas frequently posts covers, vlogs, and dance practices on their YouTube channel, reaching out to fans across the world.

They debuted on July 28, 2020 with the song “La La La” and released their album A.S.I.A later in October.

Their latest headlining schedule is joining Qing Chun You Ni or Youth With You 3, the same show in which BLACKPINK‘s Lisa is the dance mentor.

Check out their full interview below!