Watch Marlene's video bio
Marlene says she grew up in a neighborhood of Chicago where there were gangs, drugs and alcoholism all around her. One of six children to a single mother, Marlene says her mom is her role model. "She always encouraged me," Marlene says. "She taught me that whatever is going on in the world, it shouldn't impact you so much that you can't go forward and move on." When she's not traveling for her job, Marlene spends a lot of time at her local church, where she is a motivational speaker and an aerobics instructor. "I love the fact that I'm large and can show people that if I can move, you can, too," she says. Her goal is to expand the class into every church in Chicago.
"I wanted to be on Oprah's Big Give because I love to meet people. I like to encourage people and inspire them to help someone else. I love people to be happy!" Marlene says. "I'm going to win this Big Give because I'm a competitor. I don't care what it takes—I can eat snakes if I want to."
Giving Back Moment: When this local Chicago family was burnt out of their home and I was able to donate coats, boots, groceries and a TV. They were so excited that someone they didn't even know cared about giving them things they needed.
Food: Soul food
Movie: Soul Food
Type of Music/Artist: Gospel
Dessert: Peach cobbler
Time of Day: I'm a 24-hour lady. I don't have bad days.
Indulgence: Taking my nieces and nephews out. I indulge them a lot.
Vacation: Portland, Oregon
Memory: Every year, for the last three years, I've been hosting my family for breakfast on my birthday. I give them gifts on my birthday.
Snack: Double chocolate chunk ice cream, with double chocolate chunk cookies
Weekend Activity: Going to church and spending time with family and friends