Five minutes with… plus-size fashion blogger, Gabi Gregg
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…
Gabi Gregg’s pet peeves…
1. “When people bring up the issue of health and body acceptance. I think health is important and we need to talk about it, but it’s wrong to attack individuals based on the way they look. We need to separate those two things. Also, we need to separate the health issue from the question of fashion. I think all women, regardless of size, should have access to fashionable clothing because it has such an influence on how we see ourselves and how others treat us.”
2. “My second pet peeve is this myth that plus-size women don’t shop because they don’t care about what they wear. That’s so not true. It’s hard to participate in fashion when we don’t have many options There are tons of women my size who love to shop. There are some good sites, like
Dorothy Perkins and
Addition ELLE, but we’re waiting for the rest of the fashion world to catch up.”
3. “I don’t like this notion that all plus-size women hate skinny women, or even the suggestion that only real women have curves. All women are real women. It’s not about us versus them. There’s this dichotomy set up so that if someone loses weight, they’re being judged. That happened with
Crystal Renn. She lost weight and some people said she was selling out, but I didn’t feel that way at all. I think she’s a great model, no matter her size. It’s her body and it’s her career. She can do what she wants. I think it’s hypocritical for plus-size women to say they don’t want to be judged for their bodies, but then they’ll turn around and judge someone else who may choose or happen to lose weight.”
Have you totally embraced self-acceptance? “Like most women, there are always good and bad days. I’m definitely past that point in my life when I would look in the mirror and not like what I saw. I’m happy with how I am. I wouldn’t say that I’m perfect, and I wouldn’t say that I don’t have any insecurities, but at the same time I’m at a point where I like the reflection that I see.”
What are your pet peeves when it comes to discussions around body size? Please enter your thoughts below in our comments section.
Five minutes with… the winner of the Addition Elle #Ihavegreatgenes contest
Five minutes with …. the finalists in the Addition Elle #Ihavegreatgenes contest
Can using different types of models benefit brands?
What’s it really like to be a plus-size model?
4 reasons why we love Melissa McCarthy’s controversial cover for ELLE US