Natalie Craig, one of Columbia College Chicago’s most recent graduates has had major success with her blog, Natalie in the City, a plus-size fashion blog that pushes the limits of how the world views plus-size fashion and women in general. She’s appeared on numerous TV shows and worked with some pretty big brands. We chatted with her about her inspirations, experiences, and advice for all of our collegiettes!
HC: What are your goals in writing Natalie in the City?
“My goal has changed and developed over the years to adjust to the blog’s growth. I started the blog because I wanted express myself through writing and fashion, and it was fulfilling for a while, but I needed to modify my first goal in order to motivate myself to keep blogging. When bloggers start out, I don’t think they understand how fulfilling it will be at first. We see so many bloggers in the fashion world talking about how they make millions, have thousands of followers and subscribers, and they seem to do it so effortlessly. I almost gave up on my blog until one day I received an email from a couple of girls who told me they had body image issues, they didn’t love their plus size bodies, and they didn’t know how to dress to accentuate their figure. I worked hard to make (my blog) what it is now so that plus size women can feel like they have a real person who they can connect with at the forefront fighting for them. I realized then that my blog had a purpose.”
HC: Tell us a few of your favorite memories since launching your blog.
“I remember around this time last year I was on the Steve Harvey Show in a two-piece bikini with fifteen other plus-size women. We were invited onto a segment called “Embrace Your Curves,” where we walked out onto the show’s stage in bikinis with absolutely no shame or fear. We were proud and confident and we were immediately greeted with cheers from the audience. When the show aired on national TV, I was working at the college newspaper, The Columbia Chronicle, and the entire staff piled into a classroom with a big screen TV and watched the episode. I felt so proud and so much support from my peers.”
HC: How has your life changed since starting your blog?
“I was picked on my entire life for being plus-size, and now being plus-size is what sets me apart and gives me a voice. Knowing that I can change perspectives with this little blog I created, yeah, you could say that my life has definitely changed.”
HC: What has the hardest thing been about maintaining a blog?
“Staying relevant and being consistent. Having a blog is a full-time job, but if I were to stop showing up, writing, taking photos and responding to emails, no one would fire me. Sounds great, right? Sure, but when I started out blogging, I didn’t have any readers, I wasn’t making money and brands didn’t want to work with me. So, it would’ve been easier to just let things fall to the side. Adding another full-time job onto my actual job is a lot of work, but at the end of they day, I can call Natalie in the City mine and it is a complete reflection of how hard I work and how much love I put into it, which is an incredible feeling.”
HC: Being a recent graduate, what is your best piece of advice for current college students?
“Take part in as many things as you can. Take on internships jobs and projects that challenge you. When I transferred to Columbia College Chicago, I didn’t have much time to make my mark at the school as I had just completed my junior year amd needed to graduate within the next two years. My college advisor told me to make sure everyone knew my “story”. I lived by that piece of advice during my two years at Columbia, and I left with all of my professors, advisors and classmates cheering me on in support of my dreams — best piece of advice I’ve ever received.”
HC: Advice for novice or aspiring bloggers?
“Start your blog right now, if you haven’t already. The sooner you start, the more you will learn and the faster you will grow. Most importantly, do not ever give up. You never know who is out there reading. Whether you want to be influential or you just want to write, you could inspire someone with your work. I tell myself this song lyric over and over form Big Sean’s “One Man Can Change the World”. He says, “Think about it, close your eyes, dream about it, tell your team about it, go make million dollar schemes about it.” Every day and every week, you will have to make changes and improve your blog because the internet is always changing, so if you think about it, dream about it and tell people about it — it will never become irrelevant. Repeat that phrase over and over. Thanks, Big Sean.”