“It’s Time to Stop Feeling Bad About Yourself”: How Megababe Katie Sturino Is Transforming the Fashion & Beauty Industry

Here at the Everygirl, nothing makes us more excited than women helping other women — it’s what we’ve dedicated our careers to and we love to pick the brains of women who have dedicated their careers to it, too! Which is why Katie Sturino, founder of The12ishStyle and Megababe Beauty (aka the newest it-girl beauty line taking over your Insta feed), has a special place in our hearts.

This inspiring #girlboss started out as a PR powerhouse and, after noticing the age-old clothing size gap and seeing a lack of size inclusivity in the fashion industry, she started her blog — with size inclusivity as her mission. But her desire to make a better world for women did not stop there. She wanted to “give women what the beauty industry wasn’t” and Megababe was born. Read on to learn about Katie’s career, natural beauty products, the advice she would give to her younger self (it’s good!), and how she is helping women find their confidence. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you might just catch the confidence bug, too.

 

Name: Katie Sturino, Founder of The12ishStyle and Megababe Beauty
Age: 35
Location: New York, NY
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

What was your first job out of college, and how did you land it?

 

During college I had two internships in the Chanel Fashion PR Department. I will say that coming from Wisconsin with zero connections in the fashion industry, it was really my persistence that got me in the door. With Chanel on your resume, it’s easier to land interviews, so after college I worked in the PR department of Dolce & Gabbana.

 

How did you discover your passion for PR?

 

I love talking to people and I get really excited to share brand stories. I am a natural entrepreneur, so people’s businesses are very exciting to me. It’s always cool to watch someone go after their dreams.

 

 

In 2005, you founded your own fashion PR company, Tinder PR. How did you know it was time to go into business for yourself?

 

Looking back I was way too young to start my own company — but that’s the benefit of being naive, you don’t know enough to be scared. I also named my company Tinder before Tinder the dating app launched! I was really hoping online dating wouldn’t take off so that I wouldn’t have to change my name, but alas, it was a thing!

 

Tell us about day-to-day life at Tinder PR. What did you love about it?

 

No day was the same for me, and that is still something I love about what I do today. I also worked with mostly female business owners, and I formed some real friendships with my clients over the years. With a small business, your PR person becomes a sounding board for everything, and I loved helping women succeed! I have also chosen to work from home for a long time. At first it was out of necessity, but when I finally did rent a space, I hated the commute, I missed my dogs, and I preferred working at home! So employees and all, I headed back to the dining table.

 

 

Looking back I was way too young to start my own company — but that’s the benefit of being naive, you don’t know enough to be scared.

 

 

In 2012, Man Repeller asked you to share your style tips for women who are “stuck in the middle of fashion markets” — women who are neither a plus size OR a size 2, but fall more in the middle. Why were you excited to work on this project?

 

Well, that is really a market that I feel I have been in my entire life — not big enough to feel included in the plus space, and too big to be desired by the “fashion world.” Size purgatory is real, and as designers start to expand their lines size-wise, it’s still the middle sizes that have the most awkward fits. Designers are just still figuring that out.

 

The popularity of that article led to a super exciting move — the creation of your blog, The 12ish Style. Why’d you decide to start The 12ish Style?

 

Yes, before I did this article, I had struggled with feeling “fat,” or just bigger than everyone else in the room all the time. I could never fit into the clothes that I wanted to wear, and I had to find my own way of participating in trends and high fashion. When I read the comments of the Man Repeller article, there were women who were excited to see similar body types as their own on a fashion blog. It hit me that I was so not used to seeing my body type that I had demonized my body and had been punishing myself for being wrong for so many years. This moment broke it all wide open for me and I knew my new mission was to help women feel good about themselves.

 

 

Size purgatory is real, and as designers start to expand their lines size-wise, it’s still the middle sizes that have the most awkward fits.

 

 

It hit me that I was so not used to seeing my body type that I had demonized my body and had been punishing myself for being wrong for so many years. This moment broke it all wide open for me and I knew my new mission was to help women feel good about themselves.

 

 

What’s the message of The 12ish Style? After a visit to your blog or Instagram, what do you hope people take away as the message?

 

The first thing you should put on is your confidence. I am heavier than I was when I started the 12ish, and certainly bigger than I was when I was punishing myself for not fitting into the clothes of my counterparts. Once I accepted my body and realized how much we punish ourselves as women, I wanted to help others find peace. When people visit my page I hope they find positivity, humor, and maybe some style tips.

 

 

When people visit my page I hope they find positivity, humor, and maybe some style tips.

 

 

Most recently, you’ve championed the #MakeMySize movement — encouraging brands to expand their range of sizes to be more inclusive. Tell us more about this, its importance, and how we can all get involved. How can we ALL be more body positive?

 

I am tired of having women feel bad in a dressing room because nothing fits them in the store, when really, sizing of certain brands has gotten smaller and smaller. In some cases, they don’t even make over a size 10. A SIZE 10! What kind of message does that send to women?

At my thinnest I was a 10 and I had to exercise obsessively 6 days a week and eat just over 1,000 calories a day to maintain that size — not healthy. But a brand is going to say they don’t want to make clothes for my frame? No matter what? I think it’s a dated business idea to say that you are going to ignore 70 percent of the female population when retail is struggling so much.

 

You’ve received backlash from critics who say the #MakeMySize movement encourages unhealthy standards — what do you say to those critics, and how do you protect yourself from feeling personally attacked by them?

 

One cannot tell by looking at someone whether they are healthy or not (to a certain degree). Our society values thinness above all, so when we see a woman who doesn’t eat and doesn’t exercise, we praise her. Our society has way too many opinions about women’s bodies to begin with, but the assumptions that are made at every size need to stop. Let’s focus on something else as a people!

 

 

I think it’s a dated business idea to say that you are going to ignore 70 percent of the female population when retail is struggling so much.

 

 

In addition to all the other amazing career accomplishments you have under your belt, you’re also the founder of Megababe Beauty — a beauty brand that creates safe, non-toxic body products. Why did you want to create Megababe?

 

Megababe is my everything. After using solutions made for men for years to solve my thigh chafe issues, I decided to try and find a brand that was more for me, and I couldn’t. I decided that I was going to give women what the beauty industry wasn’t and make a line of solutions-based products that aren’t embarrassing or cheesy, and Megababe was born! The reaction has been incredible and I get messages every day from women who are wearing dresses or skirts for the first time in years because of your anti-chafe stick.

 

 

I decided that I was going to give women what the beauty industry wasn’t and make a line of solutions-based products that aren’t embarrassing or cheesy, and Megababe was born!

 

 

Your Megababe natural deodorant was sold out and had an INSANE waitlist — congratulations on such a successful product! Why should everyone be using natural deodorant, and why are you passionate about spreading that message?

 

My mom survived breast cancer twice and that really woke me up to the realities of cancer in my family. This experience combined with information about the toxins we are taking in through beauty products made me want to switch away from aluminum and harmful chemicals in my armpits that are so close to my lymph nodes. The problem was that I am a really stinky human, so none of the aluminum-free deodorants on the market worked for me. I also discovered I am sensitive to baking soda, so the popular natural deodorant brands out there do not work for me either. I basically had to make this deodorant for myself, ha!

 

 

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

 

When I get messages from women telling me they spent years feeling bad about themselves, but are finding a new confidence by following me. That is life changing.

 

What’s next for you, your blog and brand, and Megababe? We want more Katie!!

 

You’re gonna get it! I wont stop until I am helping women across the world have easy access to Megababe — especially the thigh chafe stick because it’s such an instant solution. And I am working every single day to try and change the way that we market to and make clothing for women.

 

 

Having a smaller body will not make you happy. Having a boyfriend will not make you happy. Your life begins when you decide to make an effort to find out who you are!

 

 

What advice do you have for today’s women?

 

Let’s learn to be more direct while being more compassionate to other women in general.

 

What advice do you have for your own younger self?

 

Having a smaller body will not make you happy. Having a boyfriend will not make you happy. Your life begins when you decide to make an effort to find out who you are!

 

 

Katie Sturino is The Everygirl…

 

Favorite Megababe product?
Thigh Rescue

Favorite show on Netflix?
Big Mouth

Most-played song on your Spotify?
She’s the One by Bruce Springsteen

Best thing about having pets?
Staring at them while they sleep (like a psycho)

If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
Oprah. Duh.

 

Bring Katie’s Magic Home

 

all images via @the12ishstyle and @megababe
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