Chicago based YouTube personality and blogger, Sarah Rae Vargas, is taking the world of plus size fashion by storm. In less than one year, her subscribers have grown from 1, 000 to over 150,000. Fans across the world tune in for videos on fashion, beauty, and body positivity. This month, Sarah visited Fashion To Figure in New York to collaborate on a special upcoming project. We had the pleasure of sitting down with her for a cup of coffee to learn more about what inspired her to join the body positivity movement. You started as a mom blogger but then transitioned over into more beauty, fashion, and lifestyle about a year ago, why? Because I like it better than talking about lasagna and M&Ms and vacuums. I like lifestyle. We all eat lasagna and have vacuums but I m not passionate about it. I hate vacuuming and I don t cook. It was too hard to be genuine talking about those types of things so I transitioned over to beauty and fashion because it s something I care about. I think it just felt like a better fit to me. It just felt natural. What are your favorite things to blog and vlog about? My favorite blog posts are about fashion for myself or for my kids. And then, as far as the videos go my favorite to film are the sitting down and talking kind, usually about my experience, and it will have a body confidence feel to it. Something about how I felt in high school or not getting asked to prom or being the fat girl in class. I like those kinds of videos because it is therapeutic to talk about it and also because I know so many people can relate. I saw a quote on Tumblr (typical) that said be the person that you needed when you were younger. That s exactly what I m trying to be. I needed someone to tell me, it s OK to be the fat girl in class because not EVERYone is thinking, She s the fattest girl in class. Like look at how much space she s taking up at her desk. You re thinking it. But not everyone else is thinking it. They have their own problems, they have acne, they have poor parents, they have their own things going on and everyone in high school is insecure, for different reasons. Then you wind up in your 20s and you re still insecure but now you re insecure because people are judging your life choices. Like where are you doing? Where are you going to college? What s your 401 K look like? What led you to start making videos about controversial topics? How did you find the courage to put yourself out there and be vulnerable? I think the fact that I didn t see people doing it. Maybe I d talk about it with my friends, and people will talk about it with people close to them, but I didn t see it online. Everyone is so stylized and everyone is so perfect on the internet. Is your YouTube personality the same as your real life personality? Yes. However, I don t go to dinner and yell about stretch marks. It can be difficult. Some people when they meet me in person I m a little cooler and more reserved and they expect me to be in your face. In person I m a lot more reserved and I m not a hugger. I m not going to go and squeeze you. Necklace: Mixed Media Statement Necklace Is it hard to talk to a camera and not people? NOOOO. It s so much better. It s so much easier to be in a room just with you and your thoughts and you re recording it so you can say whatever you want. It s wayyyy easier talking to a camera. Being an internet personality, you re subjected to a lot of backlash and negative comments. How do you deal with the hate? Does it affect you? Yeah, I think initially it was really hard. It was really hard to have to open up my Youtube and read these comments every day. But I have pretty thick skin now. What are you going to tell me? I ve seen meaner things to myself than anyone else has ever said to me. I ve made myself feel worse than anyone else. I m my own worst critic. I also think about, what kind of person leaves these comments? This person has something wrong with themselves. This person it taking it upon themselves to tell you how to live your life because someone is probably telling them how to live theirs. Someone is making them feel bad. So I never really respond. The only thing I ll do, like if someone is really being ridiculous, is I ll just write them back a comment, SHHHHHHHH. That gets them really mad. Do you think you ve grown more confident since you began blogging? Are you wearing different clothes than you may have worn 2 or 3 years ago? Has your confidence evolved at all? No, I would say I started becoming more confident after I got out of the bad relationship I was in with my kid s dad. Because I was so insecure. And I thought that that was my personality, it was to be insecure and jealous. I realized that it was the situation I was in with him that was making me feel insecure. After I got out of that is when I realized, you re going to start [looking good] for yourself and lets see how this goes. So when I started doing the fashion posts I felt good about myself. I felt good about how I looked. And then I had all these people online telling me, You look great! You re so pretty! And so I started getting more confident. I was really insecure about the fashion because I was not fashion forward. And I felt like I couldn t afford to be fashion forward. And I didn t look like the other fashion bloggers and I didn t have the cute Kate Spade bag or the Louboutains. And I still don t, but now I feel like I can put something together and it feels very me and because everyone loves it I m very confident in it. So over the last year, just putting myself out there and being exposed, it has really helped my confidence SO much. Especially because the thing that I want to do more than anything is to just help other people be happier. Because I hate that we go through life feeling bad about ourselves, being made to feel bad about ourselves and to what end? What s the point? What s the point of waking up and being sad and feeling bad about you look or what you re wearing or what you like? We re shamed for liking certain TV shows or certain books or what we order at Starbucks. We re shamed for everything. What s the point!? Who are you trying to please? What would you tell a girl who feels like fashion isn t for them? The girl that feels like she could never wear a dress that shows her arms or that hugs her body? Comparison is the thief of joy. They need to stop comparing themselves and they need to stop trying to be, or trying to live up to, someone else s look. You re never going to look exactly like someone else. (Unless you have a twin.) You re never going to be someone else. So you need to accept how you look and be happy with that. You know I have really big arms, and a lot of fashion bloggers don t, and so by comparison sometimes I get really insecure about it. I just have to remember that it s OK for us to look different. I m still beautiful despite that and I think people need to remember - who are you living for? Who s judging you? Who s deciding what the status quo is for what s beautiful and what s not? Ultimately it should be you. So if you can decide I look good and I m happy with it then it doesn t matter if you look like the other girl who wore it. How would you define your style? I m really into comfort but I like showing off my figure. And not necessarily for anyone else s benefit but I feel good wearing things that are form fitting because I like my form. I like to be on trend sometimes. Sometimes I think the trends are a little too ridiculous even for me. I like to showcase different things because everyone has a different style and I like to give people options. What s your favorite color to wear? Probably burgundy. I m all about it. And black. I mean who doesn t t love wearing black? What s your favorite Starbucks drink? OK. So. It depends on what time of the year it is. I like the Carmel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino during the summer. And of course once October hits you have your Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino. And then, once winter is here then I m all about the Gingerbread and the Cr me Brulee Lattes. Who takes your photos? Everyone asks this question! Various people will take the photos. My kid s dad takes them and in my opinion he takes the best ones. I feel like, if the person behind the camera has a physical interest in you, and that person likes your body, that person is going to take a more flattering photo of you. Sometimes my boyfriend takes them and he he ll get me in the best lighting. And then you have my mom. And she doesn t do that. Because my mom isn t like, Damn girl you look good! She doesn t even look when she s taking the picture. But she does pretty good considering that she s not a photographer. I appreciate all of them for doing it. What s next for you? I would like to write a book. Probably some kind of self help book but I feel like I m not really certified and my videos get a lot of the points across so I don t know if I d do that. But definitely I d love to write more. Ideally I d do more fashion and maybe create a clothing line. Maybe include my kids some more. I mean the possibilities are endless! And I d like to maybe get outside of my box and my room and physically see people and maybe have some workshops and be a bigger part of the body positivity movement. That s the whole point of my channel. I want to empower women to empower women. I m not trying to lead a pack of followers. I want to create a pack of leaders. To just create the whole movement. Let s all just be happy. It s so much easier. It s so much more fun! To see more of what Sarah got into while she was in New York be sure to check out her blog post and her behind the scenes vlog.  

XO, FTF