Real Model Bio: Katrina Simyab
Posted on March 09 2020
Around this time last year, we were having a bit of a strategy meeting with our photographer - an open discussion about what we felt we were doing well and what areas we could improve upon. And, as usual for me in these situations, I started to have that weird pulse-quickening, heat in my chest feeling that usually signals I have an idea forming and I better share it quick before I completely forget it (mom-brain is what that's called). "This might sound like a crazy idea, but what if we used real people as our models?" I nearly blurted. "Everyone wears clothes, so anyone can be a model... so long as they're comfortable getting in front of the camera." I couldn't express it in the moment, but using real people as our models ties into our authenticity as a brand - real people, making and wearing real clothing. Not revolutionary, but not quite commonplace in the world of fashion marketing either.
We've been fortunate to find ourselves a group of really wonderful "real people" models to work with. We met one such lovely lady at our Revive Fashion Show last year - she happens to be a local fashion-enthusiast, stylist, and body-positive activist. We all sort of fell in love with her in tandem and were thrilled when she took up the offer to model for our spring collection.
Katrina Simyab is a body-positive model and wardrobe stylist. Through her blog Inspo & Co. she explores size-inclusive fashion, collaborates with creative brands and talks openly about her own self-love journey. Katrina loves helping women find their unique personal style, being on-set and promoting an ongoing conversation about size diversity.
An excerpt from one of Katrina's body-positive essays:
"I used to regularly limit myself by believing that there were certain things my body wasn’t small enough to wear. Don’t show too much cleavage, you will look suggestive. Only women with toned thighs should wear shorts. Crop tops are for people with flat abs. And the one that stuck with me the strongest… no one wants to see flabby upper arms. Time and time again I would see an outfit that I would want to replicate - but I would hold myself back, covering my curves because I didn’t think I had “earned” the privilege of a body that could wear anything.
Once I officially started my self-love journey, I began exposing more of my body as an act of self-acceptance… starting with my arms. It was scary at first and I can literally remember having obsessive thoughts in public where I was sure everyone was looking at my fat and thinking about how disgusting my arms were. But the more I regularly wore things that I thought I 'shouldn’t' - the more routine it became and the less I cared about if and what other people might be saying. Then something clicked. A friend told me she thought it was so brave when I showed up to a party with both upper arms fully exposed. She said I looked great and she would love to be able to wear a shirt like mine too... suddenly I realized that my “bravery” could be the only example my friend had of a body that looked like her own wearing a trendy 'small girl' top.
She didn’t get to see this magical feat in movies or on tv or in the pages of her favorite magazine, but she saw it on me and it made her rethink what was possible for her own body. The wheels were turning. She started considering options that she hadn’t before.
I decided right then and there that I was going to wear clothing as a form of activism. As a stand against those who want to make fashion an exclusive club where only certain bodies are allowed. As a daily protest against a culture that shames women into believing they are less than and a mere sum of acceptable beauty. As a visual reminder to all my sisters that we create the culture we cultivate and I am cultivating the freedom that comes from normalizing WOMEN OF ALL SIZES WEARING WHATEVER THEY WANT…and looking DAMN GOOD while doing it."
Some random facts about Katrina:
I love indie pop music. Death Cab for Cutie is one of my favorite bands.
I used to be a music director and traveled the world leading a youth band.
I grew up on a raspberry farm. If you attended the Dane County Farmer's Market in the 90s a baby me may have given you change at my family's produce stand.
I try to read at least two books for fun each month. My most recent read was The Nickel Boys. My favorite book is Animal Farm.
I wanted to be a documentary filmmaker when I was younger. I also acted a lot...you can find a film I was in on Amazon Prime!
I love traveling but get super bad flight anxiety.
I sing all the time at home, but have yet to try karaoke - I'm scared!
We're so happy Katrina decided to join the Fair Indigo family and love the authenticity she brings with her to set and any time she stops by the Fair Indigo office. Give her Instagram a follow for daily body-positive messages and inspiration and see more of her on our website as new spring product continues to in!
Designer + Social Media Marketing Manager, Fair Indigo