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Katie Maloney-Schwartz Is the Body-Positive Hero We Could All Use in Our Lives
After James Kennedy told her to "lose some f---ing weight," the Vanderpump Rules beauty shares why it's so important to have zero tolerance for such comments.
Katie Maloney-Schwartz has come a long way since we first saw her serving up Pumptinis in Season 1 of Vanderpump Rules. On the show, we've seen the Utah native find her voice in struggles with her friends, adopt and outgrow the nickname "Tequila Katie," turn a fragile relationship into an unbreakable marriage, and launch her own Pucker and Pout lipstick line — just to name a few. We've also seen the 31-year-old be very candid about her struggles with body image, which may be the most relatable thing about her. Haven't we all been there and felt that way?
Unfortunately, Katie is no stranger to fat shaming. Last season on Vanderpump Rules, we shook our heads in unison as Lisa Vanderpump's event planner pal Kevin Lee told Katie, "You gained a little bit of weight. You have to work on it." Fast forward to tonight's episode of the show, when James Kennedy uttered that the SURver needed to "lose some f---ing weight." No.
"My journey of self-discovery and self-love was a rocky road," Katie exclusively told The Lookbook. "At times it took everything I had to tune out the noise and negativity." But before she hits mute on the haters, Katie has a few choice words of her own — and they're ones we can all stand by. Read on to hear the SURver's reaction to the body shaming in her past, and how she managed to come out on top and stronger than ever.
Why is it so important to have zero tolerance when it comes to body shaming?
Katie Maloney-Schwartz: The media for a long time has been pushing the notion that there is only one “ideal” body or a standard that we all should strive for. Now I’m not offended that models are typically very thin, but whenever there’s a plus size model (which I really despise that “plus size” is ever mentioned), that she is labeled as “brave” or “different.” In the real world reality she isn’t different. She represents a broader demographic, in fact. And any time ANYONE models or puts themselves out there, I think they are brave. Not just because they are or aren’t a size 2.
I believe it’s important to be intolerant because we all come in different shapes and sizes. Our bodies are built to change, to weather storms, to create life even! It’s preposterous to imply that because someone gains weight or isn’t ideal in the eyes of someone that they are failing or need to lose weight.
The psychological effect body image has is severe; not being happy within your own skin, regardless of your shape or weight, can really impact the quality of your life, and when others think it’s appropriate to comment negatively on someone’s body, I lose my mind.
You have said you’re in a place where nasty comments don’t bring down your self-worth anymore. Why is it still important to stand up to these kinds of comments, even if they don’t affect your self-esteem?
My journey of self-discovery and self-love was a rocky road. At times it took everything I had to tune out the noise and negativity. I have always thought of myself as a confident individual. But it ate away at me like a disease. It’s impossible to not let negative comments creep into your psyche.
Coming out on the other end of that was rewarding and a personal victory — but it doesn’t end there. I will never forget the way those comments made me feel, which is why I feel it’s my duty to stand up to it. We are human, we are not made of steel. So to say I’m not affected isn’t accurate, but the way I let it affect me is very different. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt, to go through life hating your reflection in the mirror, hate getting dressed every day, hate taking photos... it’s debilitating. So I’m channeling my newfound confidence into a positive energy to fight back against harsh criticism. I want everyone to know they are worthy and remind themselves of that every day. Tune out the noise, focus on what you have (and not what you don’t), and learn to love it! I think it’s always great to improve yourself for your own happiness, whatever that means to you.
You’ve become a figure of body positivity on the show and fans are really connecting with it. What message do you hope people take away from your story?
It’s OK to feel what you feel. We all have bad days, we all feel uncomfortable in our bodies from time to time. But the only thing that matters — that REALLY F---ING MATTERS — is what is important to you. The opinions of others should not affect that. Sometimes we all need our ego stroked or some validation. But every day you check in with yourself and you take notice of everything you are blessed with and everything you love about your body and your life and you solely focus on those things. You remind yourself of your worth, you make promises to yourself to improve in the areas that you want to improve. Take inventory of your life. Keep the things that make you happy, and get rid of the things that don’t. Embrace new interests and perspectives to continue growing mentally and spiritually. Life is really short and you shouldn’t subscribe to the bulls--t.