So you think you can blog? So many of us dream of starting our own successful blog. But, it takes a lot of hard work to blog about women’s fashion. May we introduce Rachel Gee Bee (rachelgeebee.com) Gee Bee self-proclaims her site as as a plus size fashion and beauty blog written by herself. She describes herself as a 30-something from New Zealand. But, there’s so much more to the story. One of her more popular posts, “Being a woman on the internet,” hit global headlines when she investigated the harassment behavior of a few of her 10000+ Instagram followers.
Blogging is not Gee Bee’s full time job, but it certainly takes up a good deal of her time. Even when she’s not blogging, she’s answering friends’ questions about her clothing style. We love that spread of positive karma! Well we sat down to talk to this blogging queen and see what she had to say about her online style sessions!
Gee Bee really loves to blog about fashion. We asked if she would venture into other plus size content and she knows that “broader content would require more time commitment…” And, with her already time consuming day job, expect Gee Bee to stick to fashion! And, of course, sticking to her personal life with her husband, dog, and Playstation 4! Here goes!
Bold Magazine: So, tell us the story. Why did you start blogging?
Rachel Gee Bee: I started blogging because I seemed to get a lot of questions about the clothes I wore. Living in New Zealand, I shop online all the time and many women I spoke to were afraid of fit issues and my blog naturally sprung from there.
BM: Oh, who were you getting these questions from?
They came from friends, co-workers and strangers. Especially niche items like wide-fit leather boots that are still hard to come by in brick and mortar stores. And the more I shared of my outfits online the more questions and interaction with women I got, and it all spiralled from there.
BM: Love that! What’s the reaction been like so far?
RGB: Overwhelmingly positive – the plus size fashion and body positive communities have been very kind to me and I have made some amazing friends. Until very recently my blog life and my personal real life were very separate, but recently I’ve started sharing my posts and photos with friends and family, who have also been super supportive.
BM: So, why keep it all separate?
RGB: Because I was a little bit shy and apprehensive of what people may think of my branching out into blogging, particularly because I don’t justify my existence as a plus size woman. I make no apologies for what I look like. My content is purposefully picture heavy and don’t tend to write much more than the bare minimum details (size, fit, store) and I don’t pursue flattering (a term I abhor) outfits. And lastly it is a bit strange to explain to my parents that there are 10k+ people following my style on social media and that I spend a good portion of my day pointing women in the direction of specific garments, stores and suppliers.
BM: So, what happened to spur this merger?
RGB: The catalyst for my blog and personal life crossing over was actually a really horrible experience I had online with a young man who was harassing me on Instagram. When the story was picked up by media my full name was used so any thoughts I had about existing separately as a blogger were no longer practical or possible.
BM: Well, we are so glad you do! We’re sure you’ve had some challenges. What’s been your biggest?
RGB: My biggest challenge as a blogger is probably trying to remain inclusive. As a plus size blogger who is on the smaller end of plus sizes, I am aware I may alienate bigger plus women or women who aren’t an hourglass shape. I am aware that I can possibly come across as “more of the same” as most plus models resemble my shape and size and not necessarily that of my readers and followers.
BM: How about financially? Do you pay for the clothing you wear on your site?
RGB: I personally purchase the vast majority of my clothes, which means developing regular content can be challenging as there is only so much of a budget for dresses in my finances! I proudly re-wear items all the time because that is reality.
BM: We hear that! What’s the next step for you? Blogging full time?
RGB: I don’t predict I will ever be a full time blogger. I live in New Zealand with a primarily US/Canadian readership which means I am always in the opposite season. Also, my market is very small right now and there simply is not enough work to pay the bills via blogging.
BM: Ah, got it. Do you have a full time job other than blogging?
RGB: Outside of blogging I usually work in IT or Marketing as an analyst or project manager.
BM: So, what are your favorite brands to wear? To work with?
RGB: My favorite brands…. I have so many…are probably Pinup Girl Clothing, 17 Sundays, Hope and Harvest, Smart Glamour, Society +, City Chic. But I am obsessed and always looking for great basics, so ASOS Curve, Old Navy, Target… I love fashion on a budget.
I have been lucky enough to work with some brands – Smart Glamour were the first brand to reach out to me, as well as 17 Sundays and City Chic but I am not often approached for collaborations. I don’t really pursue blogging work, it’s pretty organic and I am happy to let brands come to me.
BM: So, let’s get down to the dirt. What’s the BEST part of being a plus size blogger?
RGB: The best part of being a plus size blogger has been the amazing women I have met both in real life and virtually. I always have women to reach out to in terms of blogging and everything that comes with managing an online presence, but more importantly I have friends to reach out to.
I didn’t grow up with women who looked like me…even when I fit into standard sized clothing, women in the media, women in magazines did not have my body type. So having women reach out to me to let me know they like my style or they love seeing a size 16 woman in her underwear talking about fit – that always makes my day because I do know what it’s like to feel like the world is telling you that you look wrong, that you need to change.
BM: That’s awesome! Keep being a role model! So, what’s your motivation to continue blogging?
RGB: My motivation is fairly materialistic. I love clothes, I love shopping, I love how a garment can make me feel and I want to share that with other women. I want women to know what their options are, which designers and companies support them, and which ones to stay away from.
BM: How would you define your style, Rachel?
RGB: My style is heavily vintage influenced. I love structure to clothing but I’m also practical and probably a touch lazy so I will never have perfectly done hair and makeup. I am probably guilty of sometimes letting the clothes wear me. I like to just throw things on. I don’t really care about accessories, I tend to touch and play with jewelry far too much so I don’t bother wearing it. I like to think I am practical, hopefully relatable, and that shows through my style.
BM: Talk to us about the term plus size. We’ve both been using it so much during this interview. It seems to be a hot phrase lately, very magnetizing. But, do plus size women actually blog differently?
RGB: I don’t have any strong feelings toward the distinction between plus size women v women. I find the term plus size infinitely useful, because even when I fell into straight sizing, I had more in common with plus size models and bloggers than I did straight size in terms of my body shape. I’ve never been offended by being referred to as plus size. I’ve always considered it merely a description that relates to how clothes are manufactured, and that’s it. I wear plus size clothes, I have blue eyes, it’s pretty matter of fact and completely unemotional.
I think it’s really difficult for all women, regardless of size, not to buy into size-shame because it is everywhere and likely has been for our entire lives. But I think if we unpack the negative feelings women may have with the term plus size, what really is it? Shame associated with taking up more room than some pattern maker decided was economical once upon a time? Shame for requiring more or less material in your clothes? I don’t really have time for those feelings or the feelings of people believe the size of my body relates in any way to my value as a person.
What I dislike immensely are comments from high profile plus size women such as Ashley Graham who with one hand tell us how beautiful being plus size can be and on the other appear to be ashamed of being referred to as plus size. It’s appears quite contradictory and not at all empowering to me.
BM: Wow! We agree! So then, who are your influences? Who would you want to share some drinks with?
RGB: My biggest influences are women who aren’t afraid to say it like it is: Georgina Horne (Fullerfigurefullerbust.com), Cynthia Ramsay Noel (flightofthefatgirl.com), Danie Vanier (daniellevanier.co.uk) and Sarah Chiwaya (curvilyfashion.com) spring to mind, as well as writers like Amanda Kate Richards (@amandakater). I love women who appear to have the same struggles as me, women who don’t gloss over the fact that sometimes it is hard to be a plus size woman, or just a woman, or just a functioning adult.
I’d love to share a few drinks with any of these ladies – or anyone actually! I do not discriminate in my blog/instagram drink dates.
BM: Lastly, Ms. Gee Bee. As we always like to ask, why are you BOLD?
RGB: I’m not sure I would describe myself as bold or unique. But I like to think I am an every-woman. I hope that women can relate to my fashion and style because it’s practical and not overly complex or glamourous. I will never perfect my eyeliner but I’ll show you how I got it wrong and laugh about it. I don’t know that it makes me unique but hopefully refreshing.
As suggested, since Gee Bee’s blog is picture heavy, so is ours today!