Just two years ago, Katie Sturino was working full-time in fashion PR when she did an interview with Man Repeller about how to pick and choose trends for your body type. She was totally caught off-guard by the reader response. “I noticed the comments were all women saying things like, ‘Wow, what a relief to see my body type on a fashion blog,’” she remembers. “It made me realize there really wasn’t much of a representation in the blogger world for girls my size.”
With that, Katie set out to create it. “I felt like like there was a huge need for someone to come in and be honest about fashion when you have thick thighs or don’t fit into a size 12 or 14,” she says. Her site—The 12ish Style—was born.
Aside from the female commenters, her background in fashion PR gave her the expertise—and confidence—she needed to start her own brand. “I’d helped launch so many products and companies, that I knew how to get a sense of when there’s momentum behind something,” she says. “Anytime I mentioned my idea to people, there was always such a positive reaction. That’s how I knew I should keep going.”
But where to start? According to Katie, you just start posting. “Something that I realized is that the size two and four and six girls have fat days, too, where they don’t want to get out of their sweatpants,” she says. “So many women said to me, ‘I wish I looked like you in a swimsuit,’ which made me realize that they’re not seeing the cellulite or the fact that my stomach’s not flat. They’re vibing on the fact that I’m comfortable. So many women are not comfortable in their body.”
Now Katie’s on a mission to change that. “I’m leading by example,” she says. “I think by trying out some of these trends, I’m inviting my followers to do the same. I let them know: OK, I tried it, even if it was a fail. It’s all about finding the trend that works for you.”
On her go-to sources for style inspiration. “Man Repeller, Net-a-Porter and the streets! Women in New York City work so hard on their looks and I think they do such an amazing job. I’m also never afraid to just go up to someone and ask: ‘Where’d you get your coat? Where’d you get your shoes?’ I think of it as a compliment.”
On how she practices self-care. “I try to meditate, which I know sounds cheesy, but because I run all these social media accounts and, given the fast pace of new media, I think it’s very important to find ways calm your brain. I listen to Davidji from the Chopra Center. He has something like 20 free meditations and I just keep cycling through them. It always changes my mood.”
On her other full-time gig. “I have three dogs: Muppet, who’s a King Charles Spaniel; Underpants, who is a Japanese Chin; and Toast, who’s basically one of the OG dogs of Instagram. All three are puppy mill rescues. I started Toast’s account because she’s just so cute and laid-back. It made me think, ‘I’ve got to get this dog out there into the world.’ It is funny, though. Because I get a lot of emails about both The12ishStyle and Toast, I always have to ask: ‘Do you want me or the dog?’”
On how to always look photogenic. “Before I started doing this, I had no idea that I had a good side of my face. People always say: ‘That’s my good side.’ It’s true: People have a good side. I notice that my head slightly to the right is better than my head straight on or to the left. You just have to look at a bunch of photos of yourself to realize it.”
On the best career advice she’s ever received. “People want to help, so if you have an interest in something, you should contact someone who is really good at it and ask to pick their brain, face to face. Talking to people is the one thing that I’ve always done from college on—not via email, but in person.”
On what’s next for her. “I just launched MegaBabe, my own beauty line, with three products to start. There’s an anti-thigh-chafe cream, an underboob sweat spray powder and deodorant. They’re game changers.”
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