Featuring Kenzie Pittman: Body Positive Advocate & Blogger

I’ve known Kenzie for years because she’s one of my friend’s younger sister. However, I didn’t really get to know Kenzie personally until this year when I started my blog. She already had her own established lifestyle blog, The Curve Confessions, and I reached out to her for advice when I was getting to launch Lipstick & Ink. In the time I’ve spent with Kenzie, I have been so impressed by her drive and passion. She created The Curve Confessions in 2016 in hopes of bringing more awareness to the topic of body image. On the blog, she discusses her point of view on body image in the news, shares her own personal stories, promotes self-love, and provides inspiration to her followers.

In addition to writing for her blog, Kenzie is a Senior Account Executive at Finn Partners, where she focuses on creating and executing media relations and digital strategies for clients across the health and wellness, food and beverage, healthcare, and technology industries. In her 3+ years at Finn Partners, she’s helped to grow a large healthcare client’s digital presence on Facebook, helped to develop award-winning social media campaigns, contributed to award-winning blogs, and spearheaded media relations efforts and results for consumer clients. Frequently tapped for various writing projects, she has always had a strong passion for writing and editing. Before Finn Partners, Kenzie worked at another global PR agency and at WGN-TV. Kenzie holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was a member of Public Relations Student Society of America.

In her spare time, she volunteers at Tutoring Chicago, which provides free one-on-one weekly tutoring for economically disadvantaged elementary school kids in the Chicago area. In the past year, Kenzie has been featured in Women’s Health Magazine and Prevention Magazine for her healthy lifestyle changes. She is also an ambassador of Shred415.

Continue reading more about how inspirational Kenzie truly is in our interview below!

Kenzie stands amidst trees and a pond in a pink dress and white jean jacket.

Kenzie, so excited to have you a part of this series! I can’t wait for you to share your story. Can you explain what’s happened the last few years and how you got to be where you are today with your blog?

Almost two years ago, I was gathering advice from one of my mentors at work, Alice, who’s a freelance writer and previous big time lifestyle magazine editor. We sat down for coffee and I started opening up about how I felt something was missing – work was going great, but I felt like I needed something on the side. I threw out the thought I had about starting some type of blog (I’d been writing my whole life, and created a blog when I studied abroad in college), and we started bouncing ideas off of each other.

She asked me what I would write about and what I’m really passionate about, and we landed on the topic of body image, something I was passionate about and would like to write more about. We discussed how the topic was hot but no one was really writing and blogging about it – that I could pluck stories from the news and give my take, bring more awareness to the topic – and right then and there we already had multiple ideas for what would soon be my blog, The Curve Confessions. We came up with the idea in the spring of 2016, set deadlines and check-ins along the way, and by fall of 2016 after lots of writing, preparing, and name brainstorming, The Curve Confessions was up and running. It has been incredibly rewarding – from engagement with celebrities on social media (supermodels Ashley Graham and Denise Bidot) to the conversations I’ve had with people (known and unknown) about how my blog’s making an impact on them – it’s an indescribable feeling.

It’s been almost two years since launching my blog and it has been a great ride so far. I’ve learned a TON about myself, grown exponentially, and it’s been great having The Curve Confessions be a part of my story. Honestly, I’m just trying to make more time for it these days!

Ahhh, I love that so much! It’s incredible what can happen when you have someone in your corner who is encouraging you and keeping you accountable. What do you hope your readers get out of reading the Curve Confessions? What is the message you are bringing to your readers?

My entire life, I’ve struggled with poor body image, which is defined as the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body. From a young age, I was bullied for being fat, and from that point forward, my perception of my body has almost always been negative (until NOW!). I’ve also witnessed countless incidences of other people’s bodies being criticized (from friends to celebrities), and frankly I’d just had enough.

I started this venture because it brings me joy to write, but also to empower people. I decided to take my poor body image, which took over life for many years, and make it my strength with my blog. That is, doing everything in my power to stop other people from having poor body image, and bringing more awareness to the issue. But that’s also translated into promoting self-acceptance and self-love, another thing I’m passionate about. My goal is for readers to leave my blog feeling more inspired and confident, and more informed and aware of the issue of body image in the news and in our everyday lives. It’s something that everyone deals with in some form or another, so I think it’s important to talk about.

And I think my blog has transformed from simply discussing body image to a lot of other things: promoting self-acceptance, self-confidence, and self-love. They’re all related – but all in all, I hope that my blog is relatable, informative, and inspiring. If my readers feel any of those, I’m doing it right. I’ve absolutely loved making people feel a certain way – whether it’s empowered, understood, more confident, etc. – there’s nothing that brings a bigger smile to my face.

Kenzie stands and smiles amongst trees.

That brings a smile to my face! Body image is something so many of us women struggle with and The Curve Confessions is such a beautiful way to encourage women to feel more confident with their body. In terms of decisions you’ve made over the years, what would you say has been your best decision?

I think my best decision is two-fold. First is starting my blog and opening up about my life, struggles, and breakthroughs, while also shedding light on a topic that’s discussed constantly but not always dissected enough. In all ways, my blog opened me up publicly, and quite honestly started a whole new chapter of my life where my honesty and writing has connected me in so many ways to so many people.

And during this chapter is my second best decision, the decision to change my lifestyle and lose weight for my health. My blog is all about rocking your body and being comfortable in your own skin, and in this recent phase of my life, this still holds true. But ultimately it’s up to everyone to decide what’s best for their own health and happiness. This past year, I decided that it was time to make changes – but because I loved myself, not because I hated myself and my body. I’ve never in my life experienced this feeling of being comfortable in my own skin, while also seeing success with my health and weight, and to be honest with you, it’s an indescribable feeling. But I don’t think I would have gotten there in the self-love department without The Curve Confessions, which is why they’re both my best decisions to date.

Good for you, Kenz! It’s so great to hear everything you’ve accomplished, especially over the last year. In that time too, has there been any challenges with your blog or in your life in general? How did you push through it?

The biggest challenge with my blog has been making the time to do it – which I still struggle with. From the beginning, I told myself I wasn’t putting pressure on a certain amount of posts or certain metrics, I was just doing it for fun. This is something I constantly grapple with, though. It brings me a lot of joy and my time spent working on the blog is quite honestly mini therapy sessions – but life happens and sometimes my blog isn’t my number one priority and something I feel like I have to constantly update. And I think that’s okay. Right now, I’m working on making it more of an ongoing lifestyle blog, including updates about my life and what I’m up to, etc. in addition to my longer form blog posts that readers want.

I have to agree that I have a lot of the same feelings! It’s hard not to feel guilty if you’re not giving your blog your full attention. But I too think it’s okay to take time away and write when you’re truly inspired and when you have the time. You have been able to accomplish a lot though these last two years. What would you credit your success to?

I would say a combination of working hard, giving back, surrounding myself with others who lift me up, following my passions, being spontaneous and open, making my mental and physical health a priority, and having a positive attitude as much as possible. But I do think success is always a work in progress!

Kenzie sits on a bench with a pair of sunglasses on.

It really is! Would you say you have any particular success habits?

Definitely taking care of myself – eating right, exercising regularly, making time for myself and to see my friends, and working hard but having limits. There was a point where I was super successful at work but I was being super unhealthy and felt terrible. Since then, I’ve worked to put myself first while still keeping my priorities straight and working hard. I think knowing your value and respecting yourself in that goes a long way. There’s a happy medium.

Self-care is huge for me, too. That includes working out and eating right, but it also includes much needed “me time” – baths, days to myself, etc. I know when I need to unplug or tone it down, and I think that helps to be more successful and find motivation when I do get that time to unwind. I also love being around people – specifically my friends and family – so making time to do that helps to keep me going, and something I consider part of my self-care.

Self-care has been a big topic of discussion in 2018. But I do think it’s because we’re all extremely busy and trying to keep up with everything going on in our lives that our “me” time is often sacrificed. I’m glad you brought it up and you are making it a priority! I always like to ask every woman I interview who has inspired them in their lifetime. Who is your inspiration and why?

Oh man, so many people in my life inspire me, but I’ll pick one special person: my grandpa. He actually recently passed away, and it’s been an emotional time for my family. However, growing up, he’s always been my hero. He came from a really tough upbringing – he was an orphan and lost his brother at a young age in the war. He became an extremely successful war veteran, athlete, teacher, coach, and he also had the biggest heart I’d ever seen. He was sweet, compassionate, non-judgmental, respectful, hard-working, and so grateful for everything he had (and not to mention, treated my grandma with the most love and respect possible – they were married 65+ years!). He inspires me to be the best version of myself and do good in the world, be grateful for everything I have, and treat everyone with love and kindness.

He seemed like such a great man. Anyone who goes through tragedy and difficult times like that and still has such a positive perspective and loving heart is an inspiration to me too. On that note of inspiration, let’s talk about motivation. What keeps you going and motivated?

Motivation is something that you have to continually work for and find in yourself, and I think what keeps me motivated is that feeling of accomplishment. I’m constantly setting goals for myself – with my blog, fitness, work, personal life – and it’s just the absolute best to hit a goal or achieve something you’ve been working towards. It’s most definitely challenging along the way, and there are times where it’s harder for me to find motivation. But I always think back to my feelings – is this going to make you feel good? Then do it. I think the idea of always improving upon yourself and hitting new goals and milestones is what really keeps me going. And when I’m doing that, it makes me a better version of myself all around – and in turn I’m putting more positive vibes out there.

Kenzie looks off into the distance.

Goal setting is part of the Lipstick & Ink mantra, so I couldn’t agree more here. Goal setting and accomplishing those goals is the best feeling. You are quite the busy gal with your blog, work, and volunteering. How do you balance it all?

Balance is something that I constantly strive towards, and it’s hard! I think setting personal boundaries for myself helps a lot – for example, signing up for that morning workout class no matter what my schedule is like, leaving work at a reasonable time but working from home later if something has to get finished – these are a few things that can help.

But as we all know, life doesn’t always go as planned, and sometimes things need to shift (especially with a crazy job and schedule like mine). I try to listen to myself and what I feel like I need in that moment – if that means working on my blog at 11pm because I thought of a great idea, taking a bath and calling it quits for the night, or spending quality time with a friend – I kind of just follow what I’m feeling. We all have responsibilities, but we also owe it to ourselves to wind down sometimes too. It’s all about balance – and everyone has to find their own version of that. I try to take it day by day and listen to myself as much as possible.

Yes, girl! Preach. We’re coming to the end of our interview so I just want to ask you one more question. If you had one piece of advice for women, what would it be?

Be confident in yourself and stop doubting. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Lift other women up, and surround yourself with people who lift you up and support you.  

Couldn’t say it better myself! Thanks so much for your time! If interested, you can connect with Kenzie at her channels below!

 

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