By recreating the outfits of skinny girls for 12ish-size women, Katie Sturino has been spreading an empowering message of powerful body positivity. The social media sensation and entrepreneur 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.
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In honor of Meghan Markles baby news, I’m posting some of my fave #SuperSizeTheLook ‘s with her. But baby news can be triggering for some and for those of you struggling and those thinking of freezing their eggs, today I’m also proud to be a part of @Knixwear’s #FacesofFertility campaign and revisit my experience with freezing my own eggs. The strangest thing that I learned during the process is that nobody talks about it! I froze my eggs because I don’t know if I want to have kids, and I don’t know when I want to have kids, but I know it’s not now and I know I want to keep my options open. When I started looking into it, friends whispered doctors names and I got sad looks from acquaintances who took the egg freezing as a sign of failure. As with so many things on my platform, I want to empower women and get rid of stigmas. Fertility is shrouded with emotion, silence and misinformation. I hope you feel you can always turn to me and to the women you meet here to find support! Did you end up freezing your eggs? Please feel free to share and let’s knix the stigma! If you use the hashtag #FacesofFertility @knixwear will donate $1 to @resolve, a national infertility organization.
Body positivity is finally 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 – finally!
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?
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.
This feature originally appeared in the November/December 2018 print issue of #legend