God blessed all women with hips, thighs, boobs, tummies and arms that we curse every time they don’t fit neatly into an outfit or resemble Beyonce’s. Kirstin Klingshirn, an over 10 year radio vet and an on-air personality from Atlanta’s hit radio show The Bert Show, has a different approach to body image. She doesn’t want women to hide who they are. Instead, she wants women to stop shaming themselves for not having the perfect bodies and love the ones they do. With the #SuitYourself campaign, she helps to encourage women to embrace their bodies with pride by putting them front and center in a swimsuit (eek!) and uploading the picture onto social media (double eek!).
We sat down with Kirstin to talk self love, support systems and why the hell we have to show it all in a bathing suit, the official uniform for #SuitYourself.
Jasmin Martin: We see skewed images of beauty everyday in magazines, music videos and billboards. All of them Photoshopped. How do you think a campaign like #SuitYourself will shift the standard of beauty and what is considered beautiful?
Kirstin Klingshirn: Beauty is subjective and always will be. #SuitYourself isn’t so much a mission to shift the standard of beauty, I would say it’s to expand the standard of beauty. It’s more to encourage women to love their bodies and to quit being so hard on themselves and each other. We just want women to know no matter what their shape or size, they should love themselves. Magazines will always be airbrushed and photoshopped. But we don’t live in magazines. We live in the real world. And that’s why it’s important we stop comparing ourselves to those images, because they just aren’t real. That’s why posting the pics of real women was so important.
JM: Why is the bathing suit the outfit for #SuitYourself? Why bear it all?
KK: This campaign was brought to The Bert Show table by our former phone screener, Marisa, who was inspired while shopping for swimsuits. Most women, including myself, feel the dread of swimsuit season and finding the perfect bathing suit. We wanted to remove the dread and instead replace it with a love of one’s body. No more tears in dressing rooms, it was time to focus on being positive rather than negative. It’s so easy to tear yourself down when looking in the dressing room mirror rather than build yourself up. We wanted to change that.
JM: #SuitYourself is not only a campaign about self confidence and positive body image, but it also is a collaboration of women coming together to support each other. How does this support system help women feel more confident?
KK: That was one of the highlights of #SuitYourself. There was tremendous comraderie that came from posting a swimsuit picture and knowing women would be uplifting, not judgmental. Being a woman is hard, rewarding, but hard. We should make it a little easier by being supportive of each other.
JM: Although you work in radio, people sometimes forget that you’re still a public figure and have to make appearances. Do you feel the pressure to look a certain way?
KK: If I’m being honest, no. I go to work in no makeup and super casual clothes, unless we have a guest in studio. Then I’ll make sure I look what I consider to be presentable which I think is the professional thing to do. I love getting dressed up for events, but I wouldn’t say there is a pressure attached to that because I enjoy doing my hair and makeup when it’s necessary. There’s so much pressure when it comes to being on-air that there’s just none left when it comes to my appearance!
JM: #SuitYourself is a great campaign because it helps to boost self confidence for females from all walks of life; young, old, mom, single, svelte or bootylicious. What’s your favorite success story from someone who decided to join the #SuitYourself challenge?
KK: My favorite moment from #SuitYourself was going to Instagram on the first day of the campaign and clicking on the hashtag. I was moved by the sea of pictures. Women from all walks of life, overcoming their fear of posting a swimsuit picture (and yes, that fear exists.)
JM: Do you think there’s a double standard in fashion and beauty between men and women? (Ex. a man can be overweight and hairy and it’s funny, but an overweight, hairy woman is labeled disgusting and rushed immediately to her nearest wax salon.)
KK: I do think more is expected of women than men. I don’t think men are exempt from beauty standards, but I definitely believe women feel more pressure. That’s obvious when you see the amount of ads targeting women.
JM: Why is it important to love your body the way it is?
KK: Because you are more than your body. And if you want to make changes, just remember to love yourself along the way.
As someone who struggles with body image I truly appreciate Kristin’s work. You can check her out on the radio on Q100 Atlanta through the I Heart Radio app and get involved with the #SuitYourself campaign by searching the hashtag #SuitYourself on Instagram and Twitter or by visiting TheBertShow.com.