Welcome to our new podcast, Who What Wear With Hillary Kerr. Think of it as your direct line to the designers, stylists, beauty experts, editors, and tastemakers who are shaping the fashion and beauty world. Subscribe to Who What Wear With Hillary Kerr on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Few influencers, despite their large followings, are as notable for their social impact as Katie Sturino. Not one to shy away from new opportunities that help empower women and advocate for body positivity, she’s worn a myriad of hats throughout her career: plus-size fashion blogger (under the name The 12ish Style), co-founder of Megababe, the mastermind behind the movements #supersizethelook and #makemysize, and most recently, author of Body Talk. She’s grabbed the attention of millions by publicly encouraging the fashion industry to do better when it comes to being inclusive of all shapes and sizes. And as if running her own digital brand wasn’t enough, she’s also the stage mom to OG dog celebrities Toast of @toastmeetsworld, Muppet (both of whom have since crossed the rainbow bridge), Cheese, and Crumb.
In this week’s podcast, catch Katie’s sit-down with Hillary as she explains how Body Talk came to be, why she felt the need to start her own beauty brand, and her newfound love for Crocs (we’ll take her word for it).
Your new book Body Talk is out on May 25. Congratulations on the book, on your life, on everything. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about the book, why you decided to write it, and why it was important to bring to life?
Katie Sturino: You know, I actually didn’t think that the world needed a book from me. I certainly didn’t think that I warranted a book about my life or my journey. I knew that if I was going to do something, I wanted it to be truly for women, benefiting women, and so I decided to make it an interactive workbook.
So that’s why there’s homework at the end of the chapters—it’s all about you. It’s not me just pushing my narrative at you. I think it’s much more about self-reflecting and making a choice to change the conversation that you have in your head about your body today. I think that that’s the big thing: I want you to work on accepting exactly who you are today. And if you’ve got some things that you want to change, do, work out, fine. But know that your self-acceptance is the key to being able to be free from that whole roller coaster. The design is ’cause I’m a big baby, I’m a big toddler, so everything has to be colorful. It’s nothing too serious or earnest, I hope. Most of the self-help books in the area of body acceptance are a little literal and a little, I hate to say this, cheesy. I just wanted to put something out there that had a wink and had some humor and hopefully, you will laugh and also make the changes that you want to make.
Can we talk about some of your viral content series #supersizetheLook and #makemysize, which reach millions and millions of people around the world? Can you talk a little bit about how they came to be, how you develop them, what their responses were?
KS: #Supersizethelook I did because when I first started out on my platform, I realized women were always like, “I love this person’s style, but I can’t pull it off.” It’s just me re-creating the look. Like most recently, I did Hailey Bieber and a pink bra top with oversize sweatpants. People, they look at celebrity looks, they get inspired, but they don’t think they can wear it, so I’m hoping that my #supersizethelooks inspire people to try new things and actually convince themselves that they can wear the things that they think that they can’t.
#Makemysize was started just out of sheer shopping frustration. I love #makemysize. It’s a real positive call-to-action for brands. I don’t find this to be like a shaming thing for brands because I don’t do that. I’m not like, “Boycott this brand.” I like to just say, “Okay, Zimmermann stops at a size 10. This is what your biggest size looks like on my body. I can’t get it over my head. Can you imagine how many other women can’t wear your clothes?” Like, make my size, expand your business. I think that that is one of the most interesting things that I do on the internet, and I find brand reactions to be very telling. I think we’ve also had a lot of success with brands expanding their sizes like Veronica Beard, and Madewell, and Staud.
I also want to talk about Megababe. The products are all amazing. You have been such a thought leader in categories. Tell our audience a little bit about why you started the brand.
KS: I started Megababe with the idea that I wanted to make an anti-chafe stick. Like the #makemysize stuff, it really comes out of a frustration and a need that wasn’t being met. After one hot summer here in New York, I was like, “I’ve got to find something better than what I’m using this like men’s garbage stick.” And I really couldn’t. I was so surprised. And the fact that I, someone with no beauty experience and someone without any product experience, just Katie Sturino in her apartment had to come up with a beauty line. It wasn’t a big giant corporation that did it, it was me. That means that truly, I’m not in the conversation in these rooms. Like they’re not thinking that chafe is a problem when they’re making their product lines. So we decided that Megababe is the brand that is going to provide real solutions for real problems. We want everything to be cute, and celebratory, and fun, and our packaging is bright and everything is clean. I really just—I only want to solve problems for women.
Are there any trends that you’re really excited about now, in this spring/summer moment?
KS: Well, I am thrilled to say that Crocs seem to be here again. I think it started as a joke and the beginning of the pandemic and now they’re here. I was at the airport and I would say maybe like 50 people had Crocs on, and I was thrilled with that.
Were they like the fashion Crocs that are personalized and bedazzled?
KS: Yes! They had Jibbitz in them—because I know what those are now. They’re so comfortable, they’re really fun, and they’re just easy. Like when you have to run to the front lawn or the backyard or whatever, that’s it. They make you smile.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Check out our previous episode featuring celebrity stylist Sophie Lopez and hear Katie Sturino share her inspiring story in her episode on our Second Life podcast.