Portland’s Katana Fatale may be the next big thing. Northwest born and raised, the bombshell blends boho beauty with a retro sensibility — think Jane Russell at a Thievery Corporation show. A fashion chameleon, we have watched Fatale bounce between blue, teal, black and strawberry blonde tresses — and rocking each and every one of them.
A darling of the plus-size fashion industry, Fatale was first noticed by a Buzzfeed writer who featured some of the best-plus sized blogs several years ago. From there, she was asked to work on several projects which eventually led to runway work and other gigs. The lesson here? Put yourself out there and say “yes.” You never know where it will lead!
Wear Your Voice: How do you describe your style?
Katana Fatale: Sexy pajama babe meets femme fatale. Let’s be honest — I wear a crop top with leggings six days a week and I’ll find one excuse a week to put on the tightest dress I own and saunter around the city. There’s really no in-between for me. The only common thread is that I’m always comfortable. I don’t like clothing that I have to adjust constantly. I don’t think that shows confidence or ease, and as I see fashion as storytelling, a lack of comfort isn’t exactly the story I wish to tell.
I would say that films, literature and music absolutely inform my style. When I think of an ensemble, I think, “where am I going in this look?” “What kind of woman am I in it?” “What’s my intent?” “What’s the affect I have?” That all might seem dramatic, but I have a theater background and I was taught the importance of props and costumes, and I believe what I wear truly informs which dimensions of myself will be showcased that day — physically, mentally, aesthetically. It’s storytelling, at the end of the day.
WYV: What inspired your career in modeling?
KF: I honestly fell into all of this. Three years ago I didn’t personally know one fat person. I didn’t know there were any fat communities online or otherwise. I didn’t know modeling or “influencing on social media” was even an option for fat people. When I thought of plus modeling I thought of Mia Tyler, which made plus modeling seem even more of an unobtainable feat. I’m not thick, hourglass, with a flat stomach. I’m not a size 12 or 14 and my dad certainly isn’t Steven Tyler. I’m fat. Actually fat.
So, as you can imagine, it was very surreal to have my reality turned upside down in about a 48-hour time span when Buzzfeed included my two-week-old Tumblr blog in their list of body-positive Tumblr blogs to follow. It kinda threw me into this fat-fashion-focused digital world where I quickly discovered a global fat community full of fat people doing so many cool, inspiring, amazing things with their lives and positively lifting up other fat people in the process. So, if anything it’s the fat fashion community online that I was thrust into, and fat babes in general that have inspired me, awaken me and led me on this path.
WYV: Who are your three top StyleCrushes?
KF: Natalie Hage is everything. She’s a fat babe who’s doing big things for herself and the community. I see her flourishing in her personal and professional life, all while navigating life’s obstacles in the most relatable way. She’s fat and flourishing and I just love watching her succeed while bringing awareness and creating further conversation about anything from issues with anxiety, the fat experience, to fatshion and beauty. Natalie just created my favorite hashtag of all time, #ActuallyPlus, to start a conversation about the lack of actual fat representation in the plus-size fashion industry, and it’s encouraging fat babes to share their favorite photo of their body to celebrate fat babes and provide representation varying shades of fat bodies.
I’m also crushing on Virgie Tovar, because … Virgie Tovar. She’s the “Dear Abby” of fat politics. She dedicates her time to offering a fat positive, WOC, feminist narrative. Her articles put words to feelings and experiences I’ve had as a fat woman that I didn’t know how to articulate, even to myself. She takes varying questions from her readers and offers advice that affirms their truth, that allows the reader to feel valid and heard, and if you identify with the question or concern the reader has, then you too feel validated and reaffirmed by Virgie’s informative and resonating responses. And imagine the mental and emotional labor she offers to her readers? It’s a gift. Truly.
Lastly, Coco Madrid is my absolute muse. She inspires me so damn much aesthetically. Like, I’ve never met a single person who I could say I’d wear their entire closet. But Coco? I’d wear Coco’s entire closet. She’s a genius, aesthetically, I believe this. She’s a DJ, event creator and coordinator, fat fashion influencer. I’m so lucky that she actually lives in Portland. Find her on Instagram, she’ll change ya fatshion and music life.
WYV:Where do you shop? What are your favorite brands/designers?
KF: In no particular order, I love ASOS Curve, Forever 21 Plus, Youtheary Khmer, Chubby Cartwheels, Copper Union, Proud Mary Fashion for all my vintage needs, Zelie for She is absolutely everything to me, The Plus Bus and Pin Up Girl Clothing when I’m in L.A., ModCloth, Monif C., Hips and Curves for my lingerie fix, Torrid bras and leggings, and I’m a thrifter for life.
WYV: What causes are closest to your heart?
KF: Philanthropy wise, I make financial donations to organizations that provide protection, support, and resources to marginalized people, and animals (like giveblackorganization.org ocadsv.org, oregondogrescue.org) I’m also currently raising money for our local AIDS Walk with a group of close friends at aidswalkportland.com.
WYV: As a skin care expert, what can you recommend for readers?
KF: Exfoliate three to four times a day, drink water regularly and daily, and incorporate virgin, unprocessed coconut oil into your skin routine, it’s a natural anti-microbial, helps heal scars, minimizes skin tags, is great for taking off all your makeup in three seconds and makes your skin incredibly moisturized and baby soft. It’s also great for your hair, and for those with psoriasis and eczema. If you’ve never used coconut oil on your skin, rub a little on the back of your hand and let your skin absorb it for 24 hours to assess if you have any potential allergy before smothering it all over your body.
WYV: Any selfie pointers?
KF: Just a reminder that people “who take great selfies” don’t look amazing in every photo. We take fifty and like two of them, and share one of them. Let’s be real. Also, natural lighting is the best filter you’ll ever have.
WYV: What would your dream campaign be?
KF: Zelie for She just makes such beautiful clothing. I love their fabrics, aesthetic and silhouettes. I would love to work with them. I’d like to see more fat models working with big names like ModCloth, Torrid, Forever 21 and so on. I’d also love to work with ASOS, because — ASOS.
WYV: How do you wear your voice?
KF: Proudly. Loudly. Unapologetically. It’s in the swing of my 62 inch hips, it’s in the celebration of the space I take up in this world. It’s in my shout of support to other fat babes trying to navigate in their fat experience.