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 own life, I had a pretty crap-tastic self image.
Self confidence? Loads of it (more on that later).
But the way I viewed that confidence – 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 – made it seem more like an enemy than a BFF.
Turns out, self confidence ain’t sh!t if you don’t know what to do with it.
I became aware of both how I looked and how I thought about the world when I was about…seven? eight? Somewhere around there. Grown-ups would dote on my appearance and I was utterly confused: I didn’t look or dress like the cool kids in my class, I had big thick Winnie Cooper bangs, I narrated intricate stories to myself about the world around me while other kids seemed to just float through their lives action to action. I was instructed to stand up straight and hold my stomach in, and I was called “vain” simply for looking in the mirror for more than three seconds.
While other kids were reading Sweet Valley High through their tweendom, I was reading Iyanla Vanzant and Anna Quindlen. I picked up on the emotional nuances of others quickly and became frustrated when I was shut down because I was “too young to understand.” I desperately wanted to fit in, to love and be loved, to be someone’s favorite. How could I be, though, when I wasn’t even convinced I was my own favorite person?
Negative talk was the norm in my life when it came to the women around me. I began to think it was normal to complain about the size of your thighs, the way your stomach looked, how much you had eaten that day. I was told I was too sensitive when my feelings were hurt, I was told I was a show-off when I was proud of my work. I found myself joining in just to connect – just to fit in.
To this day, I don’t know which came first: seeing it, or believing it.
My self image, internal and external, fluctuated between positive and negative 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. This was before anyone really knew it was a “thing,” and the only eating disorders talked about in the mainstream were anorexia and bulemia (it’s now a much-discussed topic in the eating disorder/body image sphere, thank goodness). Not to mention that my idea of health had been defined by the women around me my entire life – fat-free, low calorie, small portions – and so no matter how much research I did, I was always skeptical of anything that did not gel with the views I was brought up with. How limiting and ostracizing – a very dark, lonely place to live.
Thankfully, I knew something was very wrong with me and identified my Orthorexia early on. Not-so-thankfully, when I started to slowly ease things I once shunned into my day (think small but important baby steps; healthful nutrient-filled food that contained once-shunned fats, formerly off-limits sugars, or simply venturing outside the tiny box of options I allowed myself), I was told I was “weird” more times than I could count.
The names and snap judgements hurt me the most. The choices I made were not “normal” for a college-age girl who should be eating pizza and Subway, especially after getting so thin from her little flirtation with ED. 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.
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 became fear-ridden in class presentations and my voice became shaky each time I went to sing. I went through a heartbreaking break-up and started to overeat at night for comfort, hoping to gain a little weight and make the critics inside and outside my head go away (my boyfriend also had wanted me to gain weight, so in a way I think I thought this could “win” him back). Ironically, I lost even more weight, as my hormones had gone cray-cray and my metabolism had gone haywire. 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 wanted 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.
Through fitness, friendships, and fearless love, I finally 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.
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.
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 lordy 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. You’ll get tips, tricks, tools, both from me and from others – mostly comin’ atcha in the form of essays, events, podcasts, and prose. Experience-based stuff (I’m a huge fan of results and proof. My definition of proof includes intuition-kicks and universe wake-ups, just fyi).
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’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).
My role models and influences transcend job titles or genres, and include Glennon Doyle, Gloria Steinem, Sutton Foster, Sia, Jenny Lewis, Michelle Obama, Marie Forleo, and…well…Muppets.
I live and love in New York City (and lived 29.5 of my years in Los Angeles) with my brand-strategist, red-headed fiancé Jeremy, where I am constantly amazed by the magic around me, every single minute.
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.