How Remi Bader Went From Losing a 9-to-5 Job to Amassing 2M TikTok Followers

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There's a reason it's become a well-known meme that we're all sitting behind our corporate desk waiting for that one viral video or photo that whisks us away from our 9-to-5 and into social media fame. While it's no more than a pipe dream for the majority, Remi Bader is now experiencing it as her reality. A former marketing employee for Jay Z's music company Tidal, Bader found herself down and out after being let go due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not one to sit on her haunches, she began taking on plus-size fit-modeling jobs until striking gold—as it typically happens for the internet-famous—accidentally. Since launching her Realistic Haul series, Bader has steadily grown loyal TikTok and Instagram followings who love the model and social media star for her blunt reviews on plus-sized fashion and brands. Read on for some of our favorite moments from the fashion icon's podcast episode below. 

You are a content creator, you are a body-positivity advocate, you're an influencer, you're a model—the list goes on. You create some of my favorite content on TikTok. I love your Realistic clothing hauls. They are amazing. I love the fact that you review so many different categories from swimwear to skincare, specific brands like Zara and H&M, and I really want to ask you about some of the behind-the-scenes that goes into all of this because we are talking about a lot of product, and it's not always returnable, and even if it is, that's a whole lot of work. What is the backstory for how you came up with the idea?

I came across the curvy-fashion side of TikTok, and I was like, wow, I didn't know this existed on TikTok. I thought it was just dancing. I was like, you know, maybe I'll just try. It could be interesting. I taught myself to edit, taught myself how to film the videos. I got some of the ideas from other curvy influencers, doing similar videos they did. That's what TikTok did. But I do realize now, unless you kind of come up with something of your own, find your own niche, I think it's harder to have a following on your own. So it wasn't even one day, when I made that fifth video, that I was like, I'm going to come up with this because it's going to get me somewhere. That was not my thought process.

I randomly got a package from Pretty Little Thing. Everything looked insane on me. It was hysterical. I was sending Snapchats to my friends and was like, maybe I'll just make a video out of this. I truly posted on TikTok not thinking anything would happen with it. I was kind of over the idea once no one cared about my first four videos. That video blew up. The next day, I just happened to get a Nasty Gal package. I never was ordering clothes at that time because I was like, I can't wear cool clothes; I gained so much weight. I got that package, did a similar thing, turned it into my Realistic Haul series where I show that not all clothes will look the same on your body as it does online or in-store on the model—whether you're plus-size, short, tall, whatever you are—and a lot of people related to it. That kind of grew and grew, and now it's my full-time job.

I'm curious about which brands you think are really getting it right [with plus sizing]. When you have to shop for something, where are some of your go-to places where you're like, I know I'm going to find something, or I am likely to find something that not only will fit but will make me feel great and that I actually want to wear?

It's interesting because a lot of brands are trying to get it right. I support them for the fact that they're trying, but it might not mean that their sizing is right or they're doing it the best way possible, but it's more that they're trying that I support. Brands like Abercrombie [& Fitch], I think it runs super small, but as long as you know to size up, I think their jeans are great. It's actually funny because most people lately that walk up to me, they're like, Oh my god, you're the reason I wear Abercrombie. It's always that brand, which is funny because I think that people were always so turned off to Abercrombie for only catering to skinny people, and now it's not, and they're making a change. I think that that was a shock to everyone once I started sharing all the clothes I have from there.

Also Aerie I'm a big fan of. They do well with comfortable clothing that fits me. Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal I've done a few hauls for. Is it exactly my favorite? No, because I think for me and my body, sometimes I do like to spend a little money on something like Revolve. Sometimes those cheaper brands don't look as good on me. It's not as flattering, but I know that a lot of plus-size people love those brands, and if they asked me to do it, I'm going to do it. Missguided is a good one. ASOS. I do a lot of Target, Walmart.

One thing that [Revolve] did do—which I really appreciated—is they came to me and said, "We want to do better," and wanted my help. I definitely am a sensitive person. I posted that I was at this Revolve event the other day, and a bunch of people were commenting, Why do you push them so much? They're not even size-inclusive? They're trying to be, and the fact that they're trying, I'm not going to not support brands that are trying and want my help. When [brands] want to work with me and want to make a change, I think that's me actually changing the fashion industry, and I'm going to continue to do that.

Is there anything that you like for fall? Are you thinking about a new denim style or a new shoe or color that you normally wouldn't wear?

I'm into colors a lot. I've been purchasing a lot of blazers, oversize blazers. When it comes to jeans and pants like that, I used to only wear skinny jeans and think that was the only thing that was working for a curvy girl. But I've been getting a lot of flared and straight-leg [jeans], which I'm excited to wear. I'm definitely into the shoes right now. I feel like I never got into shoes for fall, and I always wanted to. I just have the same boring booties, and I definitely want to try more fun boots. I was always afraid. I think one thing for myself that I've never purchased is high boots, like knee-high boots. A lot of curvy girls stay away from that because of calves, and I have pretty big calves. I'm really experimenting a lot this fall because there's a lot of stuff that I thought that I could never wear that now I want to get into and try right now for my followers.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Next up, check out our previous episode featuring celebrity hair colorist Tracey Cunningham.

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