April 16, 2011
I mentioned recently that Robyn interviewed me for her website which is a university project and also her entry for The Young Journalist Award this summer (good luck lady!) The whole interview is quite long, it seems that once I start talking I can't stop! I really enjoyed it so I wanted to share my answers with all of you. On to the interview..
Robyn: As a plus size blogger, have you ever felt discriminated against?
Me: Not really, which is surprising to most people. When I first tell people about my blog they assume my reader base is made up of fellow plus sized ladies, but I get emails from girls who are a size 6 to 26 and beyond! There was one time that I felt a little discriminated against, but at the same time I was given a great opportunity so I shrugged it off. A brand I am a huge fan of asked me to review their plus sized line which began at size UK 20. I do consider myself a plus sized girl but I am size 16-18 and fit into their "normal" sizes so it bothered me a little at first. It wasn't a huge deal though and I do label my blog a "fatshion" blog so its probably my own fault!
Robyn: Your blog is inspiring, have you ever received any really complimentary feedback from other young girls?
Me: Absolutely! Its both incredibly flattering and slightly scary at the same time. Incredibly flattering as someone has taken time from their day to send me a nice message. That said, I get slightly scared when people ask me for advice. Afterall, i'm just a regular girl - no fashion degree and I lasted only a few weeks in my first and only job in a clothing store! I do try to help people as best I can, I always tell girls to trust their own judgment at the end of my response, though. Its pointless to give a girl tips on what to wear to flatter her figure if she doesn't feel confident in it.
Robyn: Have you ever received any particularly nasty comments or emails?
Me: Of course, I think just about every blogger has. When I first started blogging I had enabled the option for users to leave a comment anonymously, so users who weren't signed up to blogger could leave a comment too. Someone decided to leave me a rather rude comment saying I did a bad job at photoshopping my legs - or something along those lines. It hurt me at first as I hadn't altered my body in any of my photographs (I have an apple shaped body so I carry most of my weight in my midsection and so my proportions aren't very good) but I realized that I was getting far more positive comments than rude, so I didn't let that scare me away from blogging. The internet is just like real life, there will always be people who don't like you. I try not to dwell on it, if someone doesn't like me or my blog they don't have to read it, I won't be offended. I do appreciate all of my readers but I understand that its not everyone's cup-of-tea!
Robyn: Do you feel a pressure from your peers, or the fashion industry to look a certain way?
Me: Not really. I definitely used to though. During my pre-teen years I gained quite a bit of weight which didn't bother me until I started reading teen magazines at age 12 or so. All of the magazines had pretty models with perfectly straight blonde hair, huge eyelashes, slim figures and pretty clothes - and those girls were my age yet I looked nothing like them. In my late teens I was a size UK 12 (US 8) and was a follower of the emo/scene trends. Everyone liked to say they were an individual and unique back then, but really we were all just trying to out-do each other with wacky hair colors, piercings, and "different" clothes. Nowadays I don't really care about little things like that so much. If I looked how the industry wants girls to look, I would be 5'10, 90lbs, sunken jaws and eyes that look like they need sleep. I'm happy which is the most important thing, plus I quite like my chubby cheeks!
Robyn: Talking to Caryn Franklin of the ‘All Walks’ campaign she states that within the fashion industry “All these girls are from 5 foot 10 to 6 foot 1 and a minuscule size 8, they could easily be a size 12 without making any real changes to how the designers would work”. Is this something you would like to see happen, and do you think it would?
Me: Would I like to see it happen? Most definitely! Do I think its going to happen in the near future? Unfortunately not. I hate to be negative about this subject but having size 12 girls walk a catwalk for a mainstream fashion house isn't going to happen soon. Crystal Renn walked for Chanel last fall but that was after she had lost a lot of weight, Karl Lagerfeld didn't have her walk when she was plus sized. I do hope there will be a day when we will see catwalks filled with women who represent real bodies, of every shape and size.
Robyn: Looking at the issues of weight, race and height the high end fashion industry has become very set in its idea of beauty. However when it comes to the high street and blogging there already seems to be a change, how far would you agree with this?
Me: I agree for the most part. There is one thing that high end fashion and the blogosphere share in common though - pretty girls always gain the most exposure. I have stumbled upon a few blogs where the blogger rarely wrote a full paragraph, just filled their blog with pictures, yet had thousands of followers. I do think the blogging world is more open minded than the fashion industry though. After all, i'm a size 16-18, 5ft 4inches, and not the prettiest girl in the world yet I have quite a large number of readers.
Robyn: Young women seem to think they need to constantly worry about some part of their appearance, that they aren’t good enough, because of media portrayals of the ideal beauty. How far do you agree with this?
Me: I think the media can be more harmful than the fashion industry at the best of times. Pick up any magazine aimed at women and the titles on the front cover will read "how to lose weight", "tips for dressing slimmer", "how to contour your face with makeup to look better", among other similar stories. Many women probably wouldn't have thought about making their nose appear smaller with make-up or toning their belly because it isn't washboard-flat, had it not been for those magazines. Television is quite similar with its many commercials for diet pills, affordable hair dyes endorsed by celebrities who have hair stylists work on their hair for hours before they make the commercial, etc. I don't remember the last time I purchased a magazine simply because they bring you down. You are reminded at least 100 times throughout the 80-or-so pages that you aren't good enough unless you change who you are. They're wrong.
Robyn: Is there anything you would like to say to young girls who are insecure about their beautiful healthy bodies?
Me: You are so much more than the size tag on your favorite dress. When you don't feel pretty, remember that how you look outside is just a shell, inside there is a whole personality just waiting to shine. Its a cliche thing to say and can be hard to believe when you're feeling down - but a unique, interesting, personality is far more rare than a pretty face or slim figure. Have a belly? Don't hate it, it works hard every time you eat. Hate your large calves? At least you have legs, many people lose theirs in tragic accidents. Life is too short to be caught up on looks, don't focus on the things you don't have and be happy with the things you do have. I think everyone is beautiful, I will look at someone with a large nose and although they hate it, I think it just gives them more character. Or someone who has an apple shape (such as myself), while the pear shape may be the most desired, apple shapes usually have strong, shapely legs and arms so appreciate that. We'll always find someone prettier, thinner, taller, stronger, better, if we look..so don't. Even the celebrity you dream of looking like has flaws and hates certain things about her body. We all have flaws, don't get caught up on yours because life is too short to waste.