This Womens History Month were excited to partner with Katie Sturino, multi-hyphenate style and body positivity advocate and author of Body Talk, to spotlight the importance of self-love and understanding that beauty comes in all sizes.
Katie Sturino is an entrepreneur, author and body acceptance advocate. Through her personal platforms, @katiesturino and katiesturino.com, she lends her voice and personal style to raise awareness for size inclusivity, empowering women of all sizes to find their confidence and celebrate their style. Katies regular content series, #SuperSizeTheLook and #MakeMySize, have gone viral, reaching millions of people and attracting global media attention.
Tell us about your journey to becoming an entrepreneur.
I have always been an entrepreneur. I started my first business, a PR firm called Tinder PR (and yes, I later sold them the name) when I was 25. When that started to feel stale I went from publicist, to dogager (who remembers my sweet supermodel rescue pup ToastMeetsWorld?), to plus-size fashion blogger (something everyone told me could not be a career) to founder of Megababe. For me, being an entrepreneur is all about instrict. If you see something missing from the market, create it. Because if you want or need it, theres a good chance other people do too.
Maya Angelou said, As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. How do you feel your platform has impacted your own identity? How has it impacted a larger community?
That sentiment really resonates with me. Even from my early days on the internet, when I was behind-the-scenes managing ToastMeetsWorld, giving back has always been a core tenet of my platform. When it comes to dogs, Im a lifelong animal activist and have used my platforms to raise awareness for pet adoption. On my personal account @katiesturino, I do weekly roundups of small businesses to highlight, I do charity work to raise awareness for sex trafficing victims and other causes. And with Megababe, we launched #MegababeCares during the pandemic, and provided in-demand products like hand sanitizers, deodorants and shower sheets to front line workers. I think one of the biggest advantages to having a platform is being able to use it in a positive way.
What has been your biggest challenge as a female entrepreneur?
When I was first launching Megababe, many people in the beauty industry didnt take me seriously, or understand the problem I was trying to solve. I could barely get retailers to say the words thigh chafe in a meeting! It was immediately clear to me how overlooked and underserved this category was, which only motivated me further to prove that this wasnt a niche issue. Today, were carried nationwide at Target and Ulta. I always say, I want all women to be within 5 minutes of a Thigh Rescue!
Were so inspired by the work youve done as a leader in the body acceptance movement. What are some tips you use to feel confident in your skin?
In my book, Body Talk, I share tips on how to connect with yourself and begin your personal journey to body acceptance. Whenever I catch myself insulting my body or talking shit to myself, Ive trained myself to say NOPE!. You have to pay attention to the things you inherently insult about yourself and in that moment, shut it down before you even begin.
Your book Body Talk has been influential for so many people. Did you feel that you also learned anything new through the process of writing it?
I realized while writing Body Talk that there were a lot of experiences from my childhood that I still needed to process. Recording the audiobook was particularly cathartic! Writing these stories down, understanding their impact over me, accepting them and letting go was extremely hard at times but Im so glad I went through it - both for myself today, little Katie, and every reader.
In a society where were taught that only a small percentage of body types can rock certain clothing, how do we break those stereotypes and discover what we actually feel good wearing?
It can be hard to move past the stigma and stereotypes, which is why I dedicate my platform to helping women of all sizes embrace confidence and find their personal style. My viral series #SuperSizeTheLook is all about experimenting with different trends that plus size women have traditionally been told to stay away from. I want to prove that everyone, of every size, can have fun with fashion. Its also up to the designers and retailers to offer fashionable clothing in extended sizing so that more people can have access to fashionable clothing that fits their bodies.
When faced with body-shaming, how can we rebel against that messaging and advocate for ourselves?
Well first of all we need to identify it, give it a name and call it out! The tone of body shaming can be very subtle, were all so used to the celebrity headlines where skinny = positive (glowing new look!) and weight = negative (headed for meltdown!). Thats why I created my series #WeightIsntNews. We need to change the perception and cultural interpretation around body size.
Can you tell us about your inspiration for founding MEGABABE? What advice would you give other women looking to create their own solution-based companies?
I started Megababe out of necessity. I have had thigh chafe my entire life and there were no products on the market that worked, and that I enjoyed using. Everything was for men or athletes and had terrible names and branding- they just felt sub par! Women deserved a clean, effective product that we wouldnt be embarrassed to pull out of a handbag. Since then we have launched a variety of products that provide solutions, like Bust Dust, Toe Deo and Magic Powder, and this year we will be expanding further. My advice is to stick to your guns - if you know that youre creating a real solution for a real problem, you can be the best advocate for yourself and your customers.
I started Megababe out of necessity. I have had thigh chafe my entire life and there were no products on the market that worked, and that I enjoyed using. Women deserved a clean, effective product that we wouldnt be embarrassed to pull out of a handbag.
*Dont forget that for every product you purchase in March, including wonderful anti-aging skincare products, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Movemeant, a non-profit that celebrates physical movement to unlock values like self-confidence, resilience, commitment, balance and community. Head to our Female-Founded shop to support women while you look and feel amazing. *
While a self-described social butterfly, I find empowerment in my independence. Taking myself on a spur of the moment solo vacation, dinner dates to new restaurants or parts of the city where my company is solely the characters in the book I bring, visiting the local bar and getting to know the bartenders over a glass of wine… or 3. I find that intimate moments with myself leave me feeling brave, confident, and empowered to take on the world without depending on anything else as a buffer. It also gives me time to reflect, plan, journal and explore new places at my own pace.