Katie the Megababe

5 years ago by

If you don’t already know Katie Sturino, you probably should. She’s one of those multi-hyphenate people who really lives up to all of her titles. She’s the founder of the company Megababe (truly one of the smartest and most practical beauty companies out there), and an outspoken advocate for women of all sizes, in addition to being a model and media personality. When I found out that I was going to get to work on a fashion story with her, I was thrilled. I was so thrilled, in fact, that I forgot to interview her on set during our shoot! Instead, I caught Katie on the phone a few days later as she drove home from the airport…

katie sturino fashion editorial atelier dore

Top photo: Coat, Ami; Sweater,  J.Crew; Pants, Eloqui; Shoes, Pierre Hardy
Above photo: Dress, Rachel Comey from 11 Honoré; Shoes, Pierre Hardy

Christina: Tell me a bit about your experience as a plus size woman who is modeling.

Katie: I wanted to be a model from a very young age. Even though plus size modeling wasn’t a very popular thing, I went to a few open calls when I moved to New York. And when I was interning during college, I went to castings – I very much wanted to be a model. Something funny is that 4 years ago when I got the opportunity for that to become a real thing and I signed with an agency, I realized that I don’t actually enjoy modeling.

How come?

It’s a lot harder than you think it is. It can be really tedious. It all depends on the work. You and I doing this shoot together, that’s fun. It’s collaborative and there’s something about it that feels different than true models when you see them in magazines. Like brand campaigns, they aren’t collaborative. You just stand there and wear what they tell you to wear and do what they tell you to do. It’s interesting…

When I was pulling clothes for you, I learned that there’s still a real lack of options, and particularly luxury designer options. Can I ask you to speak about that, from your experiences dressing yourself to modeling on set?

I feel like you found out what it’s like…to think that you’re going to have a vision for something, and then you have to choose the best of the worst to make that vision come true, because it’s not happening the way that it would if you were a straight size person.

For me, that moment frequently happens on set, where you see someone’s vision not come true. But, you did a great job! I’ve been on too many shoots where I can see that they wanted to do this whole thing and then it ends up just being a dumbed down version. Or, they’ll say, let’s just put you in a white button down with no pants. They take away all the clothes because they can’t get any of the clothes.

I noticed that too. I was looking at other shoots for inspiration and plus women are so frequently shot in lingerie and swimwear because I think there’s a lack of options and a lack of creativity.

Through the eyes of a straight sized stylist or fashion editor, a lot of the times the looks that they think they want to do don’t look the way they want it to look. So, they just scrap it! For example, you pulled a Sandro men’s piece. It was a men’s X-Large shirt. We’re both thinking that it’s an option, but then you find out that the sizing is so fucked, that I’m bigger than Sandro’s biggest man!

Katie the Megababe

Right! That’s so crazy and particularly with designer brands where the clothes tend to run really small, even the men’s clothes. That was surprising. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like the sizing can get so screwed? You might fit a certain size from one brand and not the same size from another. It seems like it just gets worse and worse.

Oddly enough, as we are moving towards getting better, it also seems to be getting worse.

Maybe because people are experimenting with different sizes that they haven’t tried before? Or maybe they don’t have the right consultants on their team. What do you think?

I really don’t know, especially in straight sized brands, I feel like everything is just getting smaller and smaller. Or I’m getting bigger and bigger. I just don’t know.

It’s ironic, given that women aren’t getting smaller and smaller.

To change the subject, can you describe what you consider your personal style to be?

My personal style is like a Japanese kindergartener. It’s like a school uniform, preppy, but with cartoon monsters on it.

For this shoot, we really wanted to play around with dressing you more like the aesthetic of our site – which is very French-girl, dressed-down, very minimal. I think we ended up somewhere in the middle – as I was editing the clothes, I didn’t want it to feel so cliché. I also noticed as I was pulling in the plus market, there seems to be a lot of poorly designed clothing! There’s not a lot of sleek or minimal designs. There’s a lot of distraction.

Right! If you have a clean piece of clothing, 99% of the time there is a bad detail.

Another thing I noticed is how some designers claim to make plus size, and then really don’t.

Sure. You can head to Seven Jeans, the latest example of a brand who has “extended sizes” stamped all over their website… but, when you look at it, they only actually go up to a size 34. Like that’s their extension…

So it’s not really extended…

Yeah, it’s like you’re technically offering up to the average size American woman, but that’s not extended….

It seems like a lot of places have one or two plus size items. Hopefully, they’re just getting into it and they’ll start making more, but right now, it seems a bit half-assed from some people.

That sounds about right.

katie sturino fashion editorial atelier dore

Dress, Mara Hoffman; Earrings, Anita Berisha

When I thought about wanting to make this a fashion story where we just focused on the fashion, I thought, ‘maybe we shouldn’t talk about plus fashion at all in this interview.’ But, we spoke about it on set and it felt like we wanted to address it. I’m curious, how do you feel about always having to talk about plus size clothes and plus size women? Do you like that you’re able to be a voice? Or, do you wish you could focus on other things? What’s your take on it?

I think that I’m in a bubble where it seems like we have made a lot of progress and there is a lot of movement in the industry, when in actuality there hasn’t been. If you look on a board graph scale across not just fashion, but media, and the images that we see, the majority of brands out there are still overseeing people. The scale barely tipped. There is a lot of noise so I feel fortunate about that. I know that a lot of people are like, ‘yeah, it will be a good thing when I don’t even have to talk about it, you’re just featuring me for my style, not my size.’ And I guess that is true, but I just think that we’re really far away from that. So for now, it’s still important to call it out.

I think so too. Tell us some of your favorite brands and some things in fashion that you’re excited about right now.

Generally, Veronica Beard. I’m big on Good American jeans, Warp and Weft jeans. The rest are like, it’s a sweater from Iro here, a jacket from Isabel Marant there. It’s individual pieces because I, physically, can’t shop a brand head-to-toe. And I know that many women can’t, but…

I wanted to ask you about that too, about ways that you’re wearing designers that you love, but that don’t necessarily make your size, or just creative solutions to things. If you find that jackets fit you from a certain brand, for example, is that something you keep track of?

Yes, I buy Saint Laurent Men’s boots.

I just bought a pair of cowboy boots from Chicoma. I think it’s a new brand. I bought men’s in those shoes and they’re very beautiful. I wore the men’s BLK Denim leather jacket for a long time. I never considered men’s Sandro, that’s why I was so into that shirt you brought. That’s why I brought it up because it’s fun to discover new things like that.

So, yes, I will check a unisex piece for sure. And by unisex, I mean, I’ll check if they make a men’s version of the women’s thing that can totally pass for women.

That’s something I ended up falling into when I was pulling for this shoot.

It’s smart.

A lot of people are dressing so fluidly anyways, so it seems like there are more men’s options that women can wear today. We went down that road…

I just have to say, as a stylist, I think you did a really great job of dressing my body and most straight sized stylists and editors do not do that at all.

Thank you! That means a lot to me. I don’t know what would’ve made me better than anyone else except that I did the research and put a lot of thought into it.

No, I think it’s a skill because you have an understanding of something that most people don’t.

katie sturino fashion editorial atelier dore

Do you have any questions for me?

I’d like to know where plus size French women shop!

That is a good question! I’d like to know that too. Commenters! Do you know?? I think everyone gets tired of the whole idea of ‘French women don’t get fat.’ It’s such bullshit – there are plus women in France! I’ve read a bit about this stereotype in particular and how French women deal with the whole, ‘we’re all thin and perfect and eat bread and wine’ thing. I wonder if we would find that there are very limited options there as well…

We might be smelling a story here! That sounds really awesome. If you’re interested to work on that story at a later date, I’d love to help with that!


Add yours
  • Super article mais qui dit quoi dans l’interview?
    c’est pas clair du tout et pas fluide

  • Veronica McCarthy April, 11 2019, 12:03

    Hi! We’ve added names to the beginning of the conversation to help this. Christina’s questions are in the bolded areas, Katie’s responses are unbolded.

  • lytanie April, 23 2019, 11:22

    Merci pour votre réponse suite à mon premier commentaire, cependant je pense que remettre le prenom à chaque demarrage de questions serait la base, surtout que certains commentaires de Chrisitina sont plus longs que les réposnes de katie (ce qui est confusant)
    de plus la question suivante :
    “Pour changer de sujet, peux-tu nous décrire ton style personnel ?
    est en “unbold”

  • Linne Halpern April, 23 2019, 1:58

    Hi! Thank you for that note! I’ve corrected the bold on that question. Hopefully it is more clear now. Thank you! xx

  • Gorgeous! I was so happy to see this post this morning. Love it.

  • Mon amie a un style de dingue (pas pour une “ronde”, un style de dingue tout court ) – je crois qu’elle s’habille beaucoup sur Asos –

  • I love this article and I hate it! It’s great to finally see a woman that represents 68% of women in the US. And I agree with you both that we still need to have the “plus size” conversation… but you are preaching to the choir. Basically what I’m saying is can we celebrate normal sized women for the beautiful individuals that they are without having to shine a spotlight on the fact that they aren’t skinny. And if you want to make a real change… write to the editors and creative directors of the brands and stop beating us, readers that aren’t making any decisions at these design/fashion houses over the head with the same tired message.

  • Veronica McCarthy April, 11 2019, 1:31

    Hey Samantha! We totally hear you and actually addressed this concern in the interview. I think Katie’s response really sums it up, “I know that a lot of people are like, ‘yeah, it will be a good thing when I don’t even have to talk about it, you’re just featuring me for my style, not my size.’ And I guess that is true, but I just think that we’re really far away from that. So for now, it’s still important to call it out.”

  • Ita Darling April, 11 2019, 4:07 / Reply

    As a size 10-14 (who even knows anymore?) woman who used to live in Paris- shopping was insanely depressing and even worse than the US.

    I can’t even honestly tell You any high end French labels that have an extended size range.

  • Such an interesting read. There is a rumor in the fashion world that it’s only for skinny people, but fashion is for everyone. I personally love to see all types of body-shapes rocking the latest trends! Katie looks absolutely gorgeous in these photos. My favorite look was a white dress by Mara Hoffman and pear-drip earrings! So elegant!

    Bri |

  • But why-oh-why those heavy, hulking, graceless black sneakers with the floral dress?

  • Véronique April, 12 2019, 4:36 / Reply

    Côté français, on peut regarder le site de Stéphanie Zwicky :
    Et les marques scandinaves et belges tendent (à mon expérience) à tailler plus grand que les autres.

  • isalune April, 12 2019, 7:34 / Reply

    j’habite en Alsace, et dans la région, les femmes grandes tailles vont s’habiller en Allemagne…

  • WoW this article is brilliant Christina and so on point regarding fashion for at least 50% of the population…..anyone can design for child size women a true designer can produce a cut and styling and drape to fit from size tiny and upwards and they need to be called out and challenged if they aren’t ….Katie is a bold beautiful woman …if you check her Instagram account you will see she “walks the talk”

  • Le probleme avec les marques de vetements – en tous cas pour la plupart des marques françaises – c’est que si on sort de la “norme” cad des tailles 36-38-40 (tailles T1, T2 et T3 Fr) on a un mal fou pour s’habiller.
    Je fais un petit 34 et j’ai très peu de poitrine, j’ai autant de mal pour l’habiller que Katie. Et même en allant voir des marques faites au départ pour des jeunes filles (Soeur par exemple), leur taille 34 est bien trop grande, alors que chez Claudie Pierlot, un jeans T34 peut être trop petit serré pour moi.

  • Hi! She really looks great, but if it’s about her style, why doesn’t she wear her own clothes? I’d really like to see, how she looks everyday…

  • Veronica McCarthy April, 14 2019, 12:44

    Hi Banna! This was a fashion editorial, that is why she isn’t wearing her own clothes. Although Katie does have great style and you can check it out on instagram, @katiesturino

  • Great feature and beautiful styling. I find it very hard to have clothes that look good on me, with a wonderful drape, design and GREAT fabric. I am a 12, in my 50’s & find so many limitations. I wanted to make a comment about the european women, size and culture. I spend summers there, the food is different than in the US. Less of something for sure. A friend recently commented about a trip of 10 days in Italy that he and his husband lost 13 and 6 pounds respectfully and they were eating pastas, bread, wine etc..what is it here. The size of our portions (for sure), or additives we put in the foods? anyway, great feature and beautiful images.

  • There is definitely something in the food in the US.. sadly!! I am from Canada and you’d think it wouldn’t be be that different but we have different laws about what can be put in food and after a 2 week trip down there I just felt awful and really bloated, even after cooking our own food. Couldn’t put my finger on it but was a relief to get back to ‘normal’ food. Honestly I liked the food but I swear it is different in some undefinable way. Feel for you guys. Never had that issue living in the UK either. Anyway a bit off topic here so I’ll go now!

  • Audeliaq April, 15 2019, 11:17 / Reply

    La magnifique stephanie zwicky elle est une source d inspiration sans fin

  • Hi, in answer to the question of where to buy plus sizes in France I used to shop at Marina Rinaldi. It is high end quality with prices to match. Before they closed it down, I would shop for basics at Marks & Spencer. There is a brand called “Un jour ailleurs” who go to a size 48/UK 18. Cos goes to a generous size 44, H&M Plus is another fast fashion option.
    Also, it should be said that plus size in France sort of begins at a 44 or 46 which is an UK 14 & 16, so we are not talking seriously overweight here, living there actually stopped from becoming too overweight!

  • You are such an inspiration. Your look super gorgeous in these outfits

From the Archives

This or That
  • This or That
  • Holiday Gifting
  • Happy Holidays!
  • #AtelierDoreDoes
  • How To...
atelier dore this or that summer sandals chunky sandals vs. delicate sandals

This or That / Sandal Edition

This or That: American or Française?

This or That: American or Française?

atelier dore this or that lingerie lace or cotton sex month

This or That / Lingerie Edition

This or That / Blush vs. Bronzer

This or That / Blush vs. Bronzer

This or That: The Beanie

This or That: The Beanie

This or That: Nails

This or That: Nails

This or That

This or That

This Or That

This Or That

Silja Danielsen Photo

This Or That: Low Knot or Top Knot