Meet Katrina Simyab
Meet Katrina Simyab. A inspirational writer, trend setter and truth teller, Katrina embodies a strong and empowering girl boss. A female entrepreneur, she uses her personal stories to inspire others and makes connections with her audience that help them feel connected and motivated in all they do. Her goal is to promote body positivity wherever she can and to get people doing more than just talking about things but really getting out and doing something about it.
Where did your creative journey start?
I have always loved using stories to interact with others. I began my creative endeavors as soon as I could talk by engaging anyone who would listen to me in wild conversations about literally any topic while feeding my vocabulary by checking out as many library books as humanly possible (did you know you can’t have more the 100 books out at one time without getting in trouble?). These interactions helped me build bigger and better stories that I wanted to tell and pushed me to find new ways to share my musings with others.
I would direct my four sibling in plays, video recorded dance routines, acrobatic shows, and puppet extravaganzas – anything I could make them help me with. I was not afraid to stop the whole production and let one of my “performers” know if they weren’t doing something the way I wanted them too (bossy much!?).
How did you get into this work?
This love for performance and directing got me started in Community Theater at age 8 and since then I have dabbled in film and stage acting, directing and producing as well as modeling and singing/songwriting.
Most recently I have been regressing back to my first love of my own written and spoken word through updating my blog inspo + co. and making lifestyle and fashion Youtube videos.
I blog primarily about things I find or do to try and live my most beautiful and inspiring life possible, but I also talk very openly about my personal struggles with having an eating disorder and leaving an abusive relationship.
What made you want to be a part of the #ReclaimBeauty project?
I believe it’s important to show and start conversations about what real bodies actually look like. Not just through a “token” sitcom heavier girl who has curves in all the right places, but though moms, your neighbor, older sister, and best friend – people who exist in real, unedited skin. Having a background in filmmaking and social media management has shown me the deep body deception that is projected through the media and online. While some of my modeling or film projects involve retouching and editing, I always want to be open and honest about my body and what it actually looks like when I get out of bed in the morning. Reclaim beauty is allowing me to bring my own personal experience to the table and add my voice to the call for change. I am so honored to be a part of this project.
How has being a part of the project impacted the way you see yourself or the beauty in the world around you?
I have been told by prospective modeling jobs that I am too big to continue straight-size modeling, but too small to be a “normal” plus size model. It’s hard to even know what a healthy body looks like anymore or feel like you have self-worth just by being alive. Having an eating disorder also make it very easy for me to internalize extra hate or negativity towards my body. I think this project has reminded me that we still have a long way to go before total body positivity and self-love will be a widely accepted thing, but this shift will NEVER happen without a forum for discussions and real people willing to be open and honest. I am so grateful that Reclaim Beauty is stepping up and filling this needed void in a meaningful way.
Tell us more about your work? What got you into it?
My work focus has been shifting as I recently decided I was finally ready get professional help to overcome my eating disorder. I have always loved acting and being on stage, but found myself drifting away from these passions as I became more entrenched in self-doubt and mistreating my body.
Blogging seemed to be a way to keep my creative flowing, but I am allowing myself to get back in touch with the root of my passions as I work towards healing myself.
I think I got interested in acting and performing because watching movies and plays was always such an emotional experience for me. Certain “staged” productions could elicit very real feelings from me. I cried when Simba’s dad died in the Lion King, gleefully sang along to The King and I soundtrack and felt genuine pride when Tatum O’Neil learned to be a clever thief in Paper Moon. Thinking about my own songs or performances or words making someone else feel scared or accepted or brave or enlightened felt so powerful it scared me, but equally truthful and right.
What sets you apart from others?
I believe I am a very strong and powerful person. I am willing to share my story and be honest about things that might be associated with a social stigma or shame.
I feel like if this power is something I inherently have been gifted with that it is my responsibility to use it because I know not all women feel this empowered.
I like to think that my openness and candor could be seen as an invitation and a validation for others who may not feel brave enough to be open about their own life. Every time I reveal something about myself I want someone else to not only hear my story, but then feel my words validating “I see you, you matter, and you are not alone”.
You are also the co-founder of B.A.B.s (Bad Ass Babes). Where did that idea come from?
BABS grew from my personal feelings of apathy towards “sanctioned” forms of social and political protest. I’m not saying letter writing campaigns, petitions and social media solidarity trends aren’t good, they always just seemed very sterile and unmemorable to me. I met Kyira and instantly felt connected to her through her mission with Reclaim Beauty. I knew I had found a kindred spirit who was interested in actually doing instead of just talking. Through long discussions about our own struggles and passions, BABS was born.
Social influencers like Banksy, Pussy Riot or even the members of Improv Anywhere always inspired me as they seemed to take their beliefs past common forms of social change and instead used art and action to make something memorable and meaningful.
BABS exists to similarly combine creativity with social change in a current and actionable way.
We are a girl gang of social activists who are using our talents and passions to spread a message of body positivity and equal rights for women.
Request to join our gang on Facebook if you want to learn more.
What are your goals with B.A.B.s? How do you see it impacting the community?
My goal with BABS is to give women an outlet to actually see and feel how their personal opinions combined with creativity can impact others. Our voice matters and our needs matter. We are working to challenge women to think about how they engage with people on a social level and inspire women to use the effect they have as a social change agent. I hope BABS can help our community embrace discomfort and challenge people to look at their worldviews and others perceptions without always having to be political.
How can people learn more about your work or get connected with you?
Twitter/Instagram handle: @inspoandco