Hello you brainy bathing beauties! The Call is back with another fantastic, utterly beguiling, awe-inspiring guest: blogger and fashion entrepreneur Gabi Gregg. You may know her as GabiFresh; I know her as my personal beach icon. This week, she is blessing our ears and minds with thoughtful life advice, notes on her unconventional career trajectory and a completely relatable tidbit about how Torrid and LiveJournal changed her life.
After applying for a bunch of office jobs during the recession, Gabi eventually started blogging to get a foothold in the fashion world. As she tells host Erica Williams Simon, finding a community of fat women online who were interested in fashion (and not really there to share diet and weight loss advice) helped shape her idea of who she wanted to be. She and Erica also discuss how sometimes her work of highlighting fashion options for fat women is branded as activism. “I don’t know if you want to call it activism or not,” she says, “all I know is I believe in the freedom for fat bodies. And I believe that fashion is one way to express that freedom.”
Erica and Gabi also get into the politics of the word fat. Gabi talks about how, in the fat positive community, reclaiming the word to make it neutral and moving it away from a negative descriptor gives women more power.
She also discusses the pressure of being a public person and how much of herself she felt like she had to share. She talks about how she wanted to project being a happy, fat black girl who defied the odds, and how she eventually learned to present a more truthful version of herself, including highs and lows. She tells Erica, “I thought I had to be that icon, and so once I got older and realized like, that’s not sustainable. … [Y]ou also put a target on your back because then when you do fail or when people do see your flaws, it’s like a big thing as opposed to just being like, no, I’m just human.”
While opening up about everything from trusting her gut, being diagnosed with ADD, and how it feels to have a public body, Gabi is vulnerable, honest and very charming, so snuggle up and tuck into this fantastic aural treat.
Illustration by Anne Bentley.