It’s Tuesday! Time to meet another Bold Boss! Today we’re featuring Kristie Stumpf Rork, Influencer/Writer, mom and spreader of positivity! Kristie is one of the brightest cheerleaders in the Bold community. We caught up with her to talk about writing, mental health, beauty standards, finding support in the online experience – and driving a tractor! Enjoy!
Bold: Tell us about you!
Kristie: I am an over 40, cheery, plus-size gal who is a cheerleader to all people, yet not always confident in my own skin. I struggle to be as positive about myself as I am about the people I make laugh around me.
I recently moved from New Hampshire to Northern New York to be closer to family. I live with my extremely understanding husband in a large farmhouse next door to my parent’s home and farmland. Together, we have our two beautiful scientific miracles (one born by IVF and the other FET) and our adopted rescue dog, the lunatic Fred.
Being surrounded by family makes my heart most happy.
Spreading kindness is a big part of my identity.
Bold: How did you get started as an influencer? What kind of content do you create, and what is your main channel?
Kristie: First, and foremost, I am a writer. However, I classify myself online as an Influencer. I do so because when I have shared my plus-size experiences, knowledge, and fashion with my audience, I have received such wonderful feedback of how my stories have affected change in their lives. My main channel for sharing my plus-size content is Instagram.
Bold: What Makes you BOLD (unique, awesome, and you?
Kristie: I am BOLD because, despite being 50, overweight, bipolar, and balancing that line just above poverty, I am confident, strong, kind, and a voice to those that need it most. If I share my struggles and challenges, it is only to inspire you. I will not bring you down, nor will I let you be a victim, but instead help you rise from the negativity and work towards a better peace of mind and love of your body
Bold: Describe your personal style. What are some of your signature colors, styles, and accessories?
Kristie: My personal style is simple: eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick — it does not matter if I am wearing an elegant dress, or jeans and a tee. However, everyone and anyone, who has met me in person, or online, would be quick to state that my signature style is my Red Lips.
Bold: What are some tips you’d like to share with aspiring influencers or models?
Kristie: If you are aspiring to be an Influencer, my suggestion would be to follow these FIVE steps:
1. Follow Influencers you like and want to emulate, study them
2. Get a feel for how your favorite Influencers write their copy and learn their flow
3. Learn what time of day to post for best engagement with your audience
4. Use specialized resources (i.e. hashtagify) to key in on what hashtags to attract businesses and companies
5. Tag everyone in your post: the makeup you’re wearing, the clothing, the companies, restaurants, park in the background, and the companies you want to represent. Most importantly, if you genuinely want to be an Influencer, be dedicated to follow-through!
I went to Modeling School when I was 47. You are never too old to start living the life YOU want!
Bold: If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Kristie: If I could give my younger self any advice, it would be, “Stop Being a Doormat!” Being overweight and ashamed of it throughout my childhood and early adulthood, I never had the confidence to stand up for myself. Opportunities lost, goals left unattained, and even worse, tragic mistakes made in the disguise of love and affection, because I was too intimidated to be disagreeable.
Bold: What’s your family and personal life like? Who are your best supporters?
Kristie: My family consists of my husband and two daughters, ages 9 and 13 — both fertility babies, one IVF, the other FET. A year ago, we moved from our beloved New Hampshire to Cape Vincent, NY – my hometown. We now live next door to my parent’s farm that we help work, as my parents, who are in their late 70s, are getting too old manage the day-to-day.
Despite moving to my hometown and being literally surrounded by family (immediate, aunts, uncles, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins) I do not get any support from them. Most mistrust social media, several do not have IG, and those that know that I post pics of myself will not “like” them because they consider me vain. At the start of the COVID quarantine, I made a promotion video for the Chamber of Commerce that indicated what businesses were still open. I was my upbeat, positive self in the video and ended it with my trademark wink. I proudly showed it to my parents. My father’s response was, “Are you trying to be sexy with that wink?” and my mother said, “You really should have blotted your lipstick; it’s much too shiny and red.” My greatest supporters are people I have never met. It was stepping out of my comfort zone and posting a few fashionable selfies on Instagram to a warm and supportive response that began my journey to self-love and making peace with my body.
Bold: What is your “day job” like?
Kristie: My “day” job, pre-COVID, is running an afterschool program at the local elementary school. I also write a monthly business feature for the local paper. I make a couple extra dollars managing a few social media accounts in the Northern New York region. And, occasionally, I pick up freelance writing and copyediting job, but they have been difficult to come by since moving to rural NY.
Bold: What does being an influencer or model mean to you? What do you hope it means to others?
Kristie: Being an Influencer allows me to let other plus-size women, mothers, short women, women over 40, women with mental health issues, women who are not perfect, know that fashion and beauty is for EVERYONE; and, that you should never be ashamed of your shape.
Bold: What are your goals and dreams as an influencer or model? What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Kristie: My ultimate dream is to sign with a modeling agency before my 51st birthday and be known as the oldest plus-size model for a Brand name. My goal as an Influencer is to convince society that regardless of size, we are all one people – each deserving the same treatment, respect, and love. The accomplishment I am most proud of is the cumulation of stories from women that have told me how they have changed something, dressed differently, or spoken up for themselves because I inspired them to do so.
Bold: How have you seen the fashion, retail, or modeling industry change in the past decade – specifically with regards to diversity and inclusivity? What work still needs to be done? What work still needs to be done?
Kristie: Plus-size models and plus-size fashion has gone more from novelty to commonplace in the past decade, however, it still has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream. When society posts fat women in bikinis on FB to humiliate them and Fox News ridicules an actress for weight gain, we need to work on attitudes as well as industry changes.
Bold: What does beauty mean to you?
Kristie: Beauty is not one thing — it is not just the outer appearance. It is all encompassing. It is equal parts character, actions, and confidence — that makes a person beautiful!
Bold: What does “Fat Acceptance” mean to you? “Body Positivity”?
Kristie: Fat acceptance is seeing the person — the individual — for who they are and not their body size. Too often in our society, a person is judged by looks instead of intelligence, character, performance, etc. and I am advocating for change. I am a body positive advocate, not just to inspire others to accept their bodies, but to encourage society to change how we view and judge fat in general.
Bold: How has your body image and self-esteem changed over the years?
Kristie: My body-image and self-esteem from childhood through most of my adulthood was diminished. I was so ashamed of being overweight that I hid from people. I wore clothes that were a size too big, I always wore dark colors, and I stayed away from patterns that would draw attention to myself. It was not until the support of my IG friends that helped me gain the confidence to love the body I am in and wear clothes that fit. Today, I am at peace with my body — sure I still stumble from time to time and want to hide but it is fleeting, then my self-esteem shoots right back up.
Bold: Who are some people who inspire you?
Kristie: I am inspired by Janet Conroy-Quirk. I have been following her on IG for a couple years — prior to becoming the Editor in Chief of Bold. She is like my RBG of the IG world. She is intelligent, open-minded, and like me, she is also a writer and an actress. I cannot remember why I started following her, I just remember thinking I wanted to be more like her.
I am inspired by a popular model and want to emulate her. I intend to be the short, older version of super plus-size model Denise Bidot.
Bold: What are some unique hobbies you have?
Kristie: I do not have any unique hobbies; however, people have often found it fascinating that I can drive a tractor. Having grown up on a farm, I have driven tractors since my feet could reach the clutch. I can drive any size tractor. It was my proficiency of driving tractors that led to my lifelong love of owning cars with manual transmissions. Driving stick is the only way for me!
Bold: What can readers expect next – do you have anything exciting you would like to share with us?
I do not have anything exciting on the horizon, however I want to keep growing and expanding my reach! I aspire to make a difference in the lives of men and women who think that it is shameful to be fat. I want to let them know their body is perfect the way it is, and they are beautiful!
Bold: Do you have a message you want to leave with your readers?
YOU are beautiful.
You can follow Kristie at: