The first thing that caught my eye about Katana Fatale was her stunning teal locks, and the second, her almost effortless sense of style which I would describe as boho chic with a twist of old school femme fatale glamour. Katana was kind enough to answer my questions with topics ranging from self-acceptance to feminism, and on top of that took a new series of photos just for the Volup2 blog! Read on to find out more about Katana, her incidental discovery by buzzfeed, and her journey into plus-sized modeling.
First off, tell us about yourself? What are your interests, passions? Any hobbies?
I am a native of Portland, Oregon. I get so much inspiration from my city, and we have an amazing plus size fashion community here that's become a big part of my life. I identify as a performance artist. Before modeling, theatre and singing were my main pursuits. I was a theatre major at a private performing arts college in Seattle, and grew up singing blues and funk music. I consider modeling to be an extension of performance art, and I'm really enjoying the journey it's taking me on! I have many other hobbies- but, performance art has always been time consuming and I'm content with being consumed by my craft.
How did you get into modeling? What’s the most difficult part of the job? The most rewarding?
It's a very interesting story. I was actually discovered by buzzfeed.com! They mentioned my Tumblr as a body positive style blog to check out. I had my blog for maybe twelve days at that time, I don't think I deserved recognition like that, but my selfies caught the attention of a buzzfeed editor and that put my Tumblr blog on the map. That caught the attention of Shawna Farmer who's the designer and owner of Chubby Cartwheels. My first photo shoot was for Chubby Cartwheels. She treated me as a professional model knowing I had never modeled before. She's been a mentor and great friend of mine from the beginning. The most difficult aspect of modeling for me right now is making sure I’m not stuck in any one particular category. If I were to be categorized, it would limit me. I want to break expectations. The best aspect of modeling by far is the platform it gives me to reach out to women of all shapes and sizes that are on their own journey of self-love. I often get messages from women who feel more confident after seeing me model for designers, or celebrating myself.
I’ve always been curious how models feel when walking the runway, are you nervous being the center of attention? What do you think about when you walk?
Oh, I get plenty nervous. But, only right before I walk. My goal is to get to a state of "relaxed readiness." I don't always reach that exact state, but I aim for it. I walk as if I'm $100 short on rent and this walk needs to make rent! Haha. It really, depends on what the designer wants the story to be, what kind of woman wears this? Where is she going? I walk with intention.
What inspired you to become a fashion blogger—and where does your love of fashion come from?
I didn't mean to become a fashion blogger. I mean, I didn't realize that was what I was doing. I was still figuring out Tumblr and what blogging meant when Buzzfeed found me. I just thought I was posting images that inspired my aesthetic. I never imagined people would admire my fashion taste or that it would create this huge career opportunity. My love of fashion comes from film, music, and theatre. Story telling is the heart of fashion. Who doesn't love a good story?
Your hair is flawless and mermaid-esque, what is the secret? Have you ever sported any other colors than green?
Haha! Well, I have naturally thick wavy have hair. Alas, my hair color is not naturally teal. I've been teal for over two years and I have no plans to change it! I identify with myself as having this hair color and I think my fans and followers do too. I use Pravana Green to keep my hair so vibrant. Before I was teal I was always a red head like my mother.
How would you describe your sense of style, how has it evolved over the years. Do you have any fashion role models?
I think some would call my style "boho chic". For me, I have to be comfortable. My style is glorified pajamas, at times. I think my style is very worldly, comfortable, and I'm the queen of accessorizing (I wear a lot of black). I'm inspired by Mata Hari, Marie Antoinette, and femme fatales of the film noir era. I'm influenced by the stories these women navigated in, the history they made, and the hearts they broke. They're feminine, dangerous, bold. All qualities I wish to posses.
Where are your favorite places to shop for clothing?
I mostly shop at thrift stores, boutiques, and online. Chubby Cartwheels, Domino Dollhouse, Audrey, Copper Union and my favorite plus size thrift/boutique Savvy Plus in Portland keep me inspired and drooling over their collections. They all design up to a size 32 or more, which is important to me. I respect designers that make clothing for every range of plus size. That's important to me: Inclusiveness.
If you had to spend the rest of your life in one outfit, what would it be?
That's easy, a crop top and high waist black harem pants, with bold statement jewelry. That's me in my final form.
What are the must have items in your closet? What would consider closet essentials?
Anything black, haha! My aesthetic is that my clothing is the foundation for my statements, which are in my accessories. A must in my closet is a fitted black blazer, a black crop top, and black cotton skirts and pants. I can build from there. I can dress that up, or down. I can be bold, or subliminal. Add a dark lip and I become unstoppable.
Have you ever struggled with self-image, and if so how did you become as confident as you are? What would you say to someone still having trouble facing themselves in the mirror?
Oh, of course! I absolutely struggled in my past with self-image, and I still do. Your journey of self-love doesn't end once you've become confident. It just doesn't. I found my confidence the moment I became at peace with my mortality. This I think is truly key to surpassing self-acceptance and transitioning into self-celebration. We must celebrate the space we take up in this world. This is imperative. I think a lot of women my age don't think about our individual mortality. We are young and we have a great future a head of us, why would you? But, it's necessary to understand that giving and accepting love from others must come from a place of loving yourself first. Your body is your temple. There is literally no one just like you in the world. No one. How amazing is that? And you're so incredibly temporary. It's poetic. It's beautiful. It's uncertain. So, why spend a moment of such fragile time hating your body? Hiding your body? No, I refuse. So, that's what I suggest to other women of any size. Fall in love with yourself. Take yourself on dates, pamper yourself, have orgasms (self created or consensually otherwise), challenge yourself, be bold, be vulnerable, and understand that you're temporary. Remove the natural human ego to conceptualize that.
Do you think the societal view of ‘beauty’ needs to change, do you think it puts too much pressure on young girls?
Well, of course. I have a theory- the societal view of beauty is to be thin. To take up less space. A woman is valued more if she takes up less space. We must not be bold or loud- it's threatening. Women's value is rested on her youth and the size of her jeans. What kind of starting chance is any of that for a girl?
Ok, I’m going to as you about the F-word, which in this case is feminist. Do you consider yourself one? Why do you think so many women still balk at the term? Also what does feminism mean to you?
My name is Katana Fatale, and I am a feminist. I don't associate with anyone who isn't. We need feminism because of the stigma associated with it. A stigma that man created, not woman. A stigma that tells women that if they identify with being a feminist they're man hating lesbians, who are more masculine than feminine. This stigma was created to stunt women's progress and it worked. But, that's ending. Men and women alike are educating themselves on the definition of feminism: for women to have the same social, political, and economical rights as men. That's it. There's no catch to it.
What motivates you to get up in the morning (this can be anything, even something as a simple cup of coffee)?
Stretching. I love stretching like a cat. Also, Cereal. I'm pretty sure the answer to life is cereal. Oh Hi, Captain Crunch Berry. Sometimes coffee, but I'm not a consistent coffee drinker.
Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years? What are you doing?
I hope to have created my own brand. To be my own brand. I think if I can brand myself, the opportunities will be varied for me in the plus size fashion community. Id loved to be traveling as a model, I see myself collaborating with designers on a collection, as well. I'm incredibly excited to see why this journey takes me. I'm keeping my head held high and my arms open.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the blog readers? Any parting words of wisdom?
I’d like to personally thank my fans and followers for inspiring me, for giving me an encouraging space to explore myself, my evolving aesthetic, and my vulnerability. Thank you for sharing your journeys with me, and striving to celebrate yourself- with me. It's the most rewarding feeling.
DANIELLE SIDHU is a current student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities pursuing a degree in theatre arts, and hopes to eventually work in the field of theatrical makeup design. She has a strong interest in fashion, beauty, and creative writing and believes strongly in self-love and body positivity. She is an avid fan of science fiction, red lipstick, and winged eyeliner.
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