Katie Sturino, A Thought Leader In Body Positivity
Katie Sturino. After years of working in fashion and PR, Sturino was no stranger to the way in which the world praised and prioritized “skinny women.”
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced many things to the world: Carole Baskin, an unimaginable amount of Zoom calls, fights for toilet paper, amateur attempts at sourdough bread making, and a grand exodus out of cities.
Around this time, at-home workout classes took off. Exercise influencers like Chloe Ting shared programs that promoted flat tummys, hourglass figures, and slim thighs. Ting praised that her classes would “shred” said parts of the body. Social media was filled with women of all ages posting “progress pictures” and “what I eat in a day” videos - videos that did not indicate that a healthy amount of eating was taking place. The message was clear: everyone was trying to be thin.
Enter Katie Sturino. After years of working in fashion and PR, Sturino was no stranger to the way in which the world praised and prioritized “skinny women.” Sturino spent the first thirty years of her life battling with her own body shaming. As body negativity appeared to become compounded by the depressing nature of the pandemic, Sturino took her experiences to paper.
She authored Body Talk: How to Embrace Your Body and Start Living Your Best Life. Her book aims to inspire more than just positive thoughts, by including an interactive guide and workbook for readers to learn and take action in better loving themselves and their body. Sturino encourages readers to stop wasting their time hating on their bodies, and instead, she empowers women to understand that their body is not the problem. Sturino has also explained that this book is not for women of only certain sizes. Rather, she says the book “is for all women because all women have found themselves dealing with body image issues or insecurities at some point or another.”
Sturino has spread her message through other channels as well. She uses her Instagram platform to call on brands to #MakeMySize, challenging popular fashion retailers to become more inclusive of all bodies. This campaign originated from “general outrage” about her lack of options when shopping.
Most recently, after receiving a last minute invite to an after-party for the Met Gala, Sturino set out to go shopping in SoHo, New York City to see if she could find something that would fit her. She posted a video online that explores the challenges she faced as a size 18/20 in one of the shopping capitals of the world. The video puts into full view that many brands do not carry all sizes in their stores, in addition to many also not carrying the full extent of sizes online either. Sturino noted that many stores carried XXS, but not XXL.
Sturino has been frustrated that “outside of the 12 and 14 range — that once you're a 16 and 18 — there's nothing to wear. If you're trying to participate in the fashion conversation or wear something that isn't made of a flammable nine-dollar material, you cannot get dressed. What's so funny is that high, high-end brands, they will always make custom clothes for women. So it's like the way low or the super high end, and there's nothing in between.”
As part of the #MakeMySize series, Sturino has emboldened others to understand it’s not their fault when a brand doesn’t carry their size. Sturino said, “It's shifting the blame off of you to the brands and thinking more about why are the size zeros and twos always out on the floor? Why do I have to order online? Why doesn't the double zero order online? There's no shade to the double zero — that's not what this is. It's more that that's the party line with fashion, that the small sizes are catered to, the larger sizes are pushed to the back.”
Her goal of #MakeMySize is to call brands in, to give them the opportunity to make more inclusive sizes accessible in-person and online, rather than calling them out.
Her other content series campaign, #SuperSizeTheLook, recreates style and fashion choices of celebrities, using her own body. Her pictures show that a woman of any size can rock similar outfits to those that famous models wear, in their own sizes and within their own price range. Sturino insists that it is not about “who wore it better”, as she does not believe in pitting women against each other.
When she isn’t recreating a Meghan Markle or Gwyneth Paltrow look, Sturino is busy working on her podcast, Boob Sweat, where she features guests who have similarly advocated for rejecting toxic beauty standards. She has used her podcast to address other challenging topics that are less commonly discussed amongst women, such as divorce and freezing your eggs.
Never one to shy away from “taboo topics”, Sturino is also the founder of Megababe, a beauty company that creates products for women for less “glamorous” personal care needs, like thigh chafing, boob sweat, smelly feet, and body acne. Sturino created these products to fill the void in the market, after thinking, “who's doing this? I'll do it.”
Sturino never planned to be a body positivity leader in the fashion and beauty industries. When she first created her blog, The 12ish Style, her goal was to address that “there was really no one with [her] body type who was doing just regular fashion blogging”. As her activism has become more prominent, her blog has grown to reflect this. Sturino has shared, “I think it went from a place for me to help people shop to a place where people of all sizes can come and find inspiration for being more accepting of their body.”
By leading through multiple avenues - on Instagram, via her book, through her blog, and by engaging brands - it’s clear that Sturino will remain a strong force in breaking down harmful beauty norms and celebrating bodies of all shapes and sizes.