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#Legend - - HIGHLIGHTS -

China’s big­gest star, Fan Bing­bing, and her fall from grace

By recre­at­ing the out­fits of skinny girls for 12ish-size women, KATIE STURINO has been spread­ing an em­pow­er­ing mes­sage of pow­er­ful body pos­i­tiv­ity. MARTA COLOMBO talks to the dig­i­tal star, who’s taken the beauty in­dus­try by storm with her brand, Me­gababe

SO­CIAL ME­DIA SEN­SA­TION and en­tre­pre­neur

Katie Sturino started her fa­mous In­sta-page to cater to women “stuck in the mid­dle” be­tween plus and straight sizes. Many posts and out­fits later, The 12ish Style is now an on­line des­ti­na­tion that cel­e­brates body pos­i­tiv­ity and con­trib­utes to an ever-grow­ing move­ment for count­less women of all sizes and shapes. Sturino also founded Me­gababe with the same in­tent – to cre­ate ac­ces­si­ble prod­ucts to solve a nor­mal “prob­lem” that has been ig­nored and stig­ma­tised for too long.

With other dig­i­tal in­flu­encers and body-pos­i­tiv­ity ac­tivists, Sturino is among those lead­ing the change when it comes to ask­ing fash­ion brands to ex­pand their siz­ing op­tions and to cre­ate stylish gar­ments for every body shape. We ask Sturino about her pro­jects, her as­pi­ra­tions and the ever-grow­ing move­ment she’s help­ing to spread.

How did you come up with the idea to found The 12ish Style? Tell us the story be­hind it.

I was fea­tured on the Man Re­peller for a style story and re­alised how rare it was to see my shape on a fash­ion blog. I fig­ured there were other women out there who needed dress­ing and style tips, so I started The 12ish Style to cater to women who were not re­ally “straight size” but also not true plus – stuck in the mid­dle! But I would say my site is now more of a place to cel­e­brate body pos­i­tiv­ity for all sizes.

What’s your back­ground?

I worked as a fash­ion PR for years un­til I launched my dog Toast’s In­sta­gram (@ToastMeet­sWorld). I did that for sev­eral years try­ing to raise aware­ness for res­cue and adop­tion un­til I started The 12ish Style and Me­gababe.

What was the ini­tial re­cep­tion of users to the In­sta­gram se­ries #su­per­sizeth­elook?

They im­me­di­ately loved it – and I think that peo­ple still do. I even get ex­cited to see how cer­tain looks will turn out and how closely we can get them to­gether.

Body pos­i­tiv­ity is fi nally start­ing to get the at­ten­tion it de­serves on so­cial me­dia. What do you think of the way the cam­paign is be­ing car­ried out on In­sta­gram and other plat­forms?

I love see­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tion. It’s so re­fresh­ing to see new faces and skin tones and sizes. I love that brands are get­ting into and so is tra­di­tional me­dia – fi nally!

What do you think brands can do to em­brace body pos­i­tiv­ity and truly start to be in­clu­sive?

I think brands need to look at ev­ery­thing, start­ing with the way prod­ucts are made all the way to mar­ket­ing.

Some­times it’s just a façade or a mar­ket­ing strat­egy for brands to pro­mote em­pow­er­ment and body pos­i­tiv­ity, but when it comes to ac­tu­ally taking ac­tion, not many fash­ion houses have done much. Do you agree?

Ab­so­lutely!

What is the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Me­gababe? Why is it dif­fer­ent from other brands that of­fer sim­i­lar prod­ucts?

I was tired of us­ing men’s prod­ucts to solve my thigh chafe, so I went to check out what else was on the market. Ev­ery­thing was ei­ther su­per- cheesy or made for men or ath­letes. Me­gababe is ef­fec­tive and the brand­ing is meant to in­spire women to feel un­apolo­getic about a prob­lem that the beauty in­dus­try has ig­nored for years.

We think that Me­gababe is much more than a brand; rather, it’s part of a broader move­ment.

Yes, thanks for get­ting that! Me­gababe is all about em­pow­er­ing women to stop be­ing ashamed about nor­mal prob­lems and to erase the stigma around women’s bod­ies.

Where are Me­gababe prod­ucts avail­able at the mo­ment and how are you plan­ning to ex­pand the brand?

On­line at Me­gababe.com – we hope to launch in­ter­na­tion­ally soon, but we are small and have to grow slowly. All I want is for every woman in the world to have easy ac­cess to Me­gababe prod­ucts.

What does the fu­ture hold for you, your blog and your brand?

As long as we are help­ing to make women feel good about them­selves, I’ll be happy.

What would you tell your teenage self?

I would tell my teenage self to stop feel­ing bad about my body. My blog has re­ally helped me ac­cept my­self – and I’m so happy that I can in­spire women of all ages to do that now. #

Who wore it bet­ter? Katie Sturino of Me­gababe is out to chal­lenge the sta­tus quo and pro­mote women’s body pos­i­tiv­ity

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