The scene: Yesterday I was in New York attending a photo shoot with the five finalists in the
Addition Elle #Ihavegreatgenes model contest. I’ll be
posting my interviews with these engaging and
inspiring women over the next few days. Up first: My fellow judge, plus-size style blogger,
Gabi Gregg. The Chicago-based writer launched her
GabiFresh blog five years ago. Today, she has more than 1.5 million page views per month and between 25,000 and 30,000 followers on her various
social networks. She’s written for
Teen Vogue and
The New York Times, but her blog is now her full-time gig.
What’s your mission? “I want to be a real advocate for women who are trying to—and will eventually—love themselves. I want to show them that style doesn’t only come in one size.”
How did you get into blogging? “I always thought that fashion was a hard industry to break into—especially for a plus-size girl. I applied for internships at magazines after I graduated with a degree in International Relations and African American Studies, but I didn’t land any because I didn’t have any experience. I thought if I started a blog it could be a way to introduce my writing and my style to future employers. It became popular because I offered a different perspective. My blogs weren’t about how to slim down as a plus-size woman or how to look skinnier. They’ve always been about how to express your style and where to shop to find the trends.”
What’s been an unexpected outcome from your success? “My mom and I have always had a good relationship, but she has struggled with her own weight. Growing up, I think that her insecurities were pushed onto me as well. She would encourage me to diet in high school because she didn’t want me to feel like she did. Like her, I struggled with my weight and my self-esteem was low during that time. When I was at college, I got involved in online body acceptance communities. I started to love myself and began to realize how I could use fashion to express my style and to push back against a society that tells plus-size women that we aren’t allowed to participate in fashion. My mom also started reading my blog. One day, she told me that she now understood how her own attitude about her weight had affected me. She apologized and said that by reading my blogs I had taught her to love herself.”
Find out the top three pet peeves Gabi has when it comes to discussions around body size…
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