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"Fashion is for everyone"
Why Let's Get Physical author Danielle Friedman says you should follow writer/podcaster/entrepreneur Katie Sturino.
Here’s the first segment from Friday’s episode with Danielle Friedman, the author of Let's Get Physical: How Women Discovered Exercise and Reshaped the World. If I did it right, the embedded video below should start right as this segment is beginning. Guess we’ll find out!
Also, super quick ask: Would you take this two-question survey about how you listen to Follow Friday? It will take 30 seconds, probably less.
ERIC: Danielle, before the show, I gave you a list of categories, and I asked you to tell me four people you follow who fit in those categories. Your first pick is in the category: "someone you just started following," and you said Katie Sturino, who is on Instagram and TikTok @katiesturino.
Katie is a triple threat, maybe more. She's the author of a book called Body Talk, the host of a podcast called Boob Sweat, and the founder of a company called Megababe Beauty.
Can you talk about what Katie does and why you started following her?
DANIELLE: I am trying to think of how I even found my way to Katie's accounts. I think the work that she does is very much in line with my interests. As you mentioned, she is a sort of triple or quadruple threat. But the way that she's using her Instagram especially right now is to promote body acceptance and size acceptance.
The recurring feature that she does that I love is something called #SuperSizeTheLook. She takes these cool, beautiful fashions that are shown on thin bodies and she replicates them for her body. She lives in a larger body. She does it in such a smart and wonderful way. I have loved following her.
I happened to also have the opportunity to interview her not that long ago for a piece that I was doing about the return of low-rise jeans and the midriff. But I had stumbled on her account shortly before then.
I think there has been so much conversation over the past few years, similar fitness for women, about who high fashion is for. And many people have begun to highlight the dearth of flattering fashion for larger bodies. She's kind of a living testament to the fact that fashion is for everyone. And just because you don't look like the very narrow ideal that's promoted in fashion, usually, you can still wear whatever you want and look great.
ERIC: Yeah. And to your point about #SuperSizeTheLook, part of this project, at least on her website, is that she has the original photo, the publicity paparazzi photo of the famous person, and then she has herself wearing the recreated look. And then below that, she has links to all these different options if you wanted to recreate the look in your size. "Here's that sweater or something that looks pretty close to it," which I think is so brilliant.
This is something that the internet has really made possible; the ability to emulate the things that you see these glamorous, rich people wearing and to take on that fashion, to be a little bit like them, if that's what you want.
DANIELLE: It's also a really interesting play on that Us Weekly trope of "who wore it better?" And she'll often say, it's not about who wore it better. For those of us who grew up or came of age in the 90s and early 2000s, when you think about it, that's such a cringy trope because you're comparing one person's body to another. And I love that she's turning that trope on its head.
ERIC: It sounds like you were already primed to see eye-to-eye with Katie on some things. But is there anything that you found since you started following her that has really surprised you or changed your mind or just nudged you in some direction?
DANIELLE: I think it's interesting when she has responded to critics. I think that I relate to this. Doing the work that I do, I've unintentionally created almost a social media bubble of fellow body-positivity, body-acceptance believers, and just empathetic souls because I tend to not want to immerse myself in the more toxic aspects of social media.
She just recently posted about how she responds to the inevitable critics. And I think she has provided a model in some ways for how to respond in a way that acknowledges that there 's still a lot of controversy around what she stands for, while rising above it at the same time.
ERIC: Something else that I'll flag is that I was looking at some of her Instagram videos. She is very open about things like panic attacks and mental health — things that are that intersect with body image issues and being a person who's posting stuff online and getting attacked, maybe getting criticism for what you post.
All these things collide in a lot of ways for folks. She's certainly not the only one doing this, but I really appreciate it when someone is transparent about their mental health and being like, "Hey, even though I have a ton of followers on Instagram, this is the more difficult side of what it's like, being in the public eye like this."
DANIELLE: Absolutely. I'm so glad you mentioned that video of hers because I had temporarily forgotten that. I watched that entire post where she talked about exactly what it feels like for her to be experiencing a panic attack. And I think she, if I remember correctly, called out to her followers to describe how they manage panic attacks.
I found that to be so comforting. In general, I'm a believer in that kind of personal transparency and being open about experiences that might have been stigmatized in the past, just to help everybody feel less alone. As someone who has dealt with anxiety myself, I remember watching that and feeling deeply comforted by it.
ERIC: Well, that was Katie Sturino, who is on Instagram and TikTok @katiesturino.