is a writer, speaker, and the founder of WANT: Women Against Negative Talk
– a platform that gives women tools, insight, and inspiration to move forward in their lives by shifting their negative self-talk patterns.
She brings to the table over a decade of experience in the wellness lifestyle editorial space, and almost two decades in public speaking and performance. She has spoken across the country – from SXSW to body-positive pageants – about self-confidence and self image, and is the host of the WANTcast: The Women Against Negative Talk Podcast, where she interviews visionary WANT Women (and occasionally, some magnificent WANT Men) about moving forward fearlessly and taking a pragmatic approach to positivity.
Katie was a founding editor of The Chalkboard Mag and has been featured in publications such as mindbodygreen, Darling Magazine, xoJane, and more. As an actress, singer and host, she’s been seen on TLC, Entertainment Tonight, and Fox Business Channel, as well as in feature films and on stages both regional and Off-Broadway. She has been teaching group fitness for over a decade, and is currently a trainer on Aaptiv, the #1 audio fitness app, where she reaches over one million users per month with her unique brand of positive, proactive coaching. She holds a BA in Drama from University of California, Irvine, where she also studied sociocultural anthropology and creative writing. (For press + praise, click here.)
Katie currently lives in New York City with her husband Jeremy, and spends her energy shifting the cultural self-talk paradigm, producing engaging new content for women both online and off, advising creatives and entrepreneurs on how use their unique strengths to make the biggest impact possible, and singing loudly while she runs.
Her middle name is Joy. Literally.
the short version.
WANT is more than my passion project – it’s my purpose project.
It’s the manifestation of the service I know is my life’s purpose: to ignite change in the world through fearless self-love and actualization, one person at a time.
To me, that means a massive paradigm shift in the way we speak to and treat ourselves – which naturally overflows into the way we treat others and the world around us.
I wanna make change and self-actualization accessible – because if we can’t understand it, then how can we achieve it?
WANT was founded out of the realization that there were zero places for women to not only receive inspiration, but actual tools change their limiting negative talk patterns in a lasting way that works very personally and specifically for them. It’s what I wished I would have had early on when I was first starting to navigate the highs and lows of being human. I firmly believe that in order to change the world, you must change YOUR world.
My hope is that WANT gives women (but men too, hi dudes!) a way to experience the full range of their thoughts and emotions and then proactively transcend them.
WANT will always be a place of openness, honesty, and proactivity, a tool kit that you get to choose how to use.
And along with a slew of supercharged authentic female leaders, WANT will show you there is a whole world of wonderful women out there who are being the leaders of their own lives.
No matter where you fall on the self love spectrum, as long as you’re not afraid of facing your entire self, head on, this is the place for you.
why does this mean so much to me, you ask?
from katie: unabridged.
Here’s the deal: for most of my life, I had a crap-tastic self image.
Self confidence? Loads of it. But the lens I VIEWED that confidence through – the opinions I formed around it, the things I did to “keep myself in check,” the image of myself I saw in my internal mirror – was all scratchy and blurry, and made me believe that self-confidence was synonymous with narcissism and vanity.
Negative talk was the norm in my life when it came to the women around me. I thought it was normal to bash your body, downplay your intelligence, and tuck your talents far, far away. And even though it felt vaguely wrong, I joinined in just to connect – just to fit in. I wanted to change the world but would never admit it. That was way too ambitious, and ambition wasn’t relatable. I just wanted to relate. How else would I find my people?
But I wasn’t a cynic and I didn’t loathe myself. I just felt like my brightness was blinding to others. So I stored it away. That way, other people could turn my brightness and off at their own will – whenever THEY needed it (and me) most.
When I was a kid, I told myself that I was the “loyal” friend, the one who you could fall back on when the other kids weren’t available (or were just being plain cruel). As I got older, I developed a Hero complex that made me OBSESSED with saving the day. If I could just rescue someone, anyone, from sadness or trouble, I’d be in.
The cost was my confidence.
I studied musical theatre in high school and college; I’d go to my singing lessons and cry half the time, because being alone with my voice was one of the only times I felt completely full, confident, and fearless. Then I’d leave the room and it was back to being the Katie who downplayed her strengths so that no one would feel uncomfortable or threatened.
It’s ironic that the more I bonded with others over negativity – the more I beat myself down with the “selfless” goal of lifting someone else up by showing them I really wasn’t all that great – the more alone I felt. I was fab at faking a smile and winning people over with my generosity, but ended up feeling even lonelier than before when I gave everyone my all, tried to be like them, spoke their language….and still faded into the background. What was wrong with me?
My self image, internal and external, fluctuated up and down throughout my teens, hitting an all-time low in college when I developed Orthorexia – a form of disordered eating and lifestyle in which a hyper-focus on extreme “health” before all else overtakes your life and dictates your every decision. When I look back on it now, I know I was just doing what I thought was right: being the person who had her shit together like “real” adults do, while simultaneously taking control of my unbridled ambition and fire so that who I WAS wouldn’t get in the way of who others WANTED me to be.
Thankfully, I knew something was very wrong with me and identified my Orthorexia early on. Not-so-thankfully, I was told I was “weird” more times than I could count. The names and snap judgements hurt me the most. Again, I was “too sensitive.” And when I began to excel in my Drama department, that voice came back into my head that told me I was a show-off. So I self-sabotaged. And every time I’d take two steps forward in my recovery, it felt like I could only be proud for a millisecond before I was shoved back three miles.
The conflict between how I “should” be for others and how I wanted to be for my own recovery got so strong that it drove me further down the rabbit hole for about three years – eating in private just so I could avoid judgement in public, escaping to the gym just so I could feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, binging on junk to prove a point. I was called names. I was talked about behind my back. I got into screaming fights with my family over my appearance. It was awful. It was NOT ME.
I ended up spending my senior year of college at home, commuting back and forth – I wanted to work, but moreso, I wanted to start fresh. I was sick of the status quo of my negative, lonely existence and knew it was not who I really was. I wanted to enter into spaces in which I felt I could be myself again. The way I wanted to treat my body, the way I wanted to love, the way I wanted to be of service to the world.
What ended up saving me? That unwavering desire to move forward into communities in which it was safe to believe in myself. Communities that didn’t have to be quantitative to be meaningful – communities in which I could be the Katie I knew I was meant to be. Those communities, go figure, started with me truly wanting to do the work within myself to move forward fearlessly, and to do it for me alone. The eating disorder didn’t define me, I realized – but how I responded to it DID.
Through fitness, friendships, and fearless love, I learned that who I was…was exactly who the world needed me to be. It was during this time and transition that WANT was conceived – when I realized there was no place or outlet to actually help women kick their sources of their discontent to the curb, not just band-aid them up with pretty affirmations alone.
…So, usually when you hit this point in someone’s self-written bio, it’s when you get the Oprah-style A-HA moment.
But my “story” isn’t about one rock-bottom moment (even though I had a lot) and it’s not about a clearly defined before-and-after shot (those never tell the whole story, anyway).
It IS about continuously choosing to be proactive over being reactive, over and over again. And in order to do that, I needed to come squeaky-clean with myself about the language I was thinking and speaking, to myself and with others. I needed to find a way to break out of the cage I’d put myself in…without forgetting about the other people who were still behind bars. I needed to lean into my hyper sensitivity and eerily spot-on self awareness WITHOUT judging others or isolating myself in the process.
One big way I realized we hold ourselves back? Casual negativity: the negative talk we use without even thinking twice, the stuff that’s become our vernacular. Both in our heads and out loud. I realized that the talk I’d been hearing it all my life – I’m so fat – I suck at this – I’m too sensitive – was a cultural epidemic, and there was no place that existed to recognize and shift these detrimental norms.
People always ask me what “negative self-talk looks like.” And I get where the question comes from. But it’s the wrong question to be asking.
It’s not about what it looks like that matters most:
it’s about what it FEELS like.
Negative self-talk starts out as a feeling. A STRONG feeling. So strong we don’t have words, and so we attach the words that seem like a good fit. And those words are usually the heaviest, nastiest ones we can think of. Hate. Ugly. Stupid. Terrible. Used over and over again, they become the language we teach ourselves that we never intended to learn.
Self-talk isn’t good or bad: it’s information. It’s not inherently positive or negative: it’s proactive or reactive. And in order to shift our self-talk in a real, lasting way, we MUST be brave enough to dive in, dig deep, and move forward fearlessly no matter what we find out about ourselves along the way. To be fearless isn’t the lack of fear, it’s when the fear is less than the faith. And we’ve got to have faith that once we sift through the harmful patterns and misaligned words, we’ll uncover the person we know in our core we’re meant to be.
I went through many, many ups and downs, mini crises, and self image fluctuations. Fast forward to the present: I still do. But with every thought or feeling comes a chance to learn and think better, do better, be better. I love when I win and I love when I lose, and someone help me if I stop loving it all.
Most of the negative talk we use in our lives stems from a place of feeling different, feeling alone, not seeing examples of how to be any other way. I know this is how I felt for so much of my life – and how I bet you’ve felt or still feel, too. You don’t need to experience an eating disorder or mental disorder like I did to feel like you’re too much, too sensitive, too introspective, too aware for the world around you.
I’m here to tell you that those things that make you feel insecure or ostracized – those things you hide behind a veneer of “Fitting In” – those are gifts and clues to help you be the you YOU were meant to be.
I am fully 100% dedicated to being WANT’s number-one test subject, leading through example through all the high highs and low lows. WANT isn’t a blog and it isn’t a life coaching session. It’s a community, it’s an example, it’s a resource and a shot of soul therapy. More than anything, it’s a roadmap for you to interpret for yourself and use as you see fit.
I am not a doctor, psychologist, or nutritionist. I’m a writer, an artist, and a professional noticer. I’ve been immersed and self-taught in all things wellness and “self help” since age thirteen, and have made it my mission to be as thoroughly knowledgeable as possible since then though writings, workshops, and careful analysis (honestly, I hope to always be learning).
WANT is my love letter to the people I see walking around every single day who might not even realize how much magic they possess just by being unapologetically themselves –
and it’s my love letter to the ones who already know it, too.
I used to be obsessed with being the hero. Now I’m obsessed with the idea that we can all be our own heroes.
I used to dream about changing the world. Now I know that changing the world can only begin when you change YOUR world.