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How plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino inspired change in the industry

He figures is Yahoo Life’s body image series, delving into the journeys of influential and inspiring people as they explore what body confidence, body neutrality and self-love mean to them.

Katie Sturino is one of countless body acceptance advocates who uses social media as part of her platform to talk about the importance of waist inclusion and to portray trendy fashion sense. on a plus size body. But while the creator of The 12ish Style and author of Body language is not currently alone in her work, she is recognized as one of the first people to host an online community of curvy women and empower them to live their best life.

Since childhood, Sturino remembers feeling singled out because of her height when she bought women’s clothes and was given a coaching uniform while playing on a youth soccer team.

“It really shaped how I felt about my body. I didn’t really belong because I couldn’t shop where my peers shopped and I couldn’t wear the same stuff because I just had a fully grown adult body,” she told Yahoo Life.

This began to contribute to the belief that there were things she could and couldn’t do simply because of her figure. Even where she saw her height as an advantage, Sturino thought of ways to shrink to conform to traditional beauty standards.

“I tried to see modeling as something I could get into and where my height could be useful,” she says, noting that she’s 5’11. model size, then this will be my fix,” she recalls thinking.

But even as she got older and her interest in fashion and styling grew, her options as a size 12-14 seemed limited. “I just thought I was too big to be successful and to some extent at that point I really was. Like things were very different from what they were in 2014 until now,” she says, explaining that media representation and access to clothing as a plump woman was hard to come by. “That moment, when I realized my body wasn’t the problem, it was me and my own insecurities that were holding me back, that’s when everything changed for me.”

While working in fashion PR, Sturino was asked for an article on seasonal trends and how to dress for summer with a curvy body. “For the first time, I saw myself in an editorial sense there being photographed,” she says, recalling the impact of the piece. “I read reader comments and they were like, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen myself featured on a fashion blog.’ And again, this is 2014. So I was like, ‘Wait, neither am I. What if I was the person to do this?'”

The 12ish style was born out of its focus on mid-size women who had not yet been served by other accounts inspiring fashion looks among straight and plus-size women. “They didn’t quite fit the current mold of what was available,” she says. In a “bleak” social media landscape, however, Sturino says it was difficult to be a plump woman on the internet and to be taken seriously as a fashion blogger.

“I think my group of friends and family were embarrassed at first,” she says of her first assignment. “I still hadn’t made my full discovery of my own journey of accepting my body. It was difficult because people still saw it as something like, ‘Oh, she’s in this temporary body.’ Or maybe I even thought you’d end up losing weight, then I stopped feeling like that when I started doing the work.”

What started as a representation in the fashion space grew into something much bigger as Sturino gathered a community of empowered women. She herself began looking for ways to feel more comfortable in her body and eventually used her growing platform to demand that the rest of the industry do its part.

Using the hashtag #supersizethelook, Sturino began recreating celebrity fashion looks to show women of all sizes that they could pull off all the biggest trends by finding clothes to suit their figures. Her next #makemysize movement drew attention to the brands that needed to make these pieces accessible.

Later, she created her brand Megababe, which offers body care products that target “taboo” body issues like chafing thighs and sweaty breasts. She also hosts a podcast called Boob Sweat which tackles a number of topics that “women are afraid to talk about” but ultimately brings her community together.

“I can’t believe I can be part of someone’s journey of self-acceptance in any way,” she says. “It’s really powerful.”

It was through her relatability and willingness to use her voice to discuss otherwise unspoken parts of a woman’s lived experience that Sturino’s platform went beyond its original mission. Today, she recognizes that it serves as a community for women of all sizes who experience many of the same insecurities when it comes to their bodies. In many ways, her community reflects the evolution of the body positivity movement as it embraces acceptance and neutrality.

“At one point, being called body positive was just another way of saying you were plus size. So I love that now people really understand that it’s not about a plus size,” says- she, “it’s about a mentality and that you have women who are a size 4 doing the same type of work and helping women accept their bodies because it’s needed.”

As more people of all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life take to the internet to share their body image journeys and demand more acceptance, Sturino hopes acceptance will come sooner for young people than for she.

“I feel like now, if I was a 16 year old girl with access to social media, I would feel so good because I could see sexy, fashionable, successful, stylish women and role models. about how to dress. And I definitely didn’t have that at all,” she said. “It means more lives are being affected and that’s not an anomaly. It’s not just a handful of people doing it. I like more people doing it.”

-Video produced by Stacy Jackman

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