Marie Southard Ospina is a Colombian-American plus-size blogger who has been lucky enough to make a career of writing. The voice behind the popular plus-size blog Migg Mag, she is also an associate editor of fashion and beauty with fellow sisters-in-the-struggle Bustle. Marie has been seen discussing body image on Good Morning America and StyleLikeU and has written for Refinery29, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and Volup2. Marie is also an English-Spanish translator and has worked in film and novel translation, which is all pretty damn impressive. She is currently working on a collection of essays and we cannot wait to read them!
WYV: How do you describe your style? What informs it?
Marie Southard Ospina: Constantly evolving! I used to have a very concrete focus on vintage silhouettes — a hybrid of ’20s and ’50s aesthetics especially. But these days I’m more about preserving the rather traditional feminine details I’ve always loved about those decades in a more comfortable manner. More often than not, you can find me in a dress. And more often than not, my shoes are flat Dr. Martens because I’m too clumsy for heels and just can’t deal with the achy toes after a few hours of wear. I also love a good cartoon print, rainbow anything and whatever makes me feel like I’m a unicorn child rather than a boring adult in NYC.
I’d say the most important thing about getting dressed for me is an emphasis on eschewing so-called plus size style rules, though. I’m all about bright colors, bold prints, a mixture of either body-cons or super flowing/”unflattering” cuts. I love seeing my fat belly in crop tops and bikinis. And really can’t stand A-line anything. Too many fat women have spent a bulk of their lives abiding by these rudimentary and totally made-up guidelines. I certainly did. So I want to make sure the rest of my life is exactly the opposite.
WYV: What inspired your career as a writer? How did you start?
MSO: I started my personal blog in 2012 after spending some time abroad. When I was away, I really connected with my body in ways I never had before. I learned to see its beauty, its sexuality, its strength, the gloriousness of the trajectory of its jiggles and even its appeal to others.
When I came back to America, I needed to hold onto all that. I knew I’d be back in the environment (and largely around the people) that’d in part contributed to my internalized fat shaming, and I ended up stumbling upon a couple of plus-size style bloggers, as well as fat-positive activists, online.
I was in school for journalism and actually needed to start a blog as part of a class project. So I went for a “plus-size pride” one, as I called it back then. It wasn’t about fashion at first, per se. More about general fat positive topics. I did a lot of questioning in the early days. But more and more, people asked me for outfit posts. And I ended up sort of experimenting with and finding my love of fashion through those requests from people both inside and outside of the plus size community.
I’d had my blog for about a year when Bustle first launched. A friend from college landed an internship with the publication and put my name forward when they were seeking out plus-size writers. Bustle wanted to feature not just body-pos content, but fat-positive content. And I was all about both, but especially fat-positive work. That was summer 2013, and I’ve since been editing and writing for them and other publications on occasion, too.
WYV: Who are your three top StyleCrushes?
MSO: Oh gosh, only three! I would have to say Ragini Nag Rao of A Curious Fancy. I’ve long admired the playfulness she evokes through her wardrobe. It’s whimsical and fairytale-esque and every time I look at a new outfit she’s put together, even the more minimal ones, I feel a genuine sense of escapism from the world and all its BS. She embodies everything I think fashion has the power to be and does it all in a way that feels effortless.
Georgina Jones teaches me so much about the intersection of sexuality/ownership of the female body and fashion. She’s a self-described tacky queen whose influences include Divine, general John Waters-esque aesthetics and the glam-rock looks of the ’80s. Her style is about weaponizing femininity and taking back anything that’s long been used to treat women as “less than” or “slutty” or “shallow.” Plus, her eyebrow shaping goals are covetable AF.
I also have to shout-out Beth Ditto. As for a lot of fat individuals, Ditto was one of the first unapologetic fat people I saw in the mainstream. In the earlier 2000s, her nudity on magazine covers felt so incredibly revolutionary. I’d hardly ever looked at my own fat body in the nude and specifically remember taking showers while staring at the ceiling and washing myself in oblivion. Ditto rocking her fatness beneath Spandex jumpsuits and Lycra onesies and giving zero fucks about how roll-some or sweaty or “whale-ish” she looked on stage has always meant a lot to me.
WYV: Where do you shop? What are your favorite brands/designers?
MSO: I’ve been trying to shop more and more at indie plus-size brands; brands that are doing it right in terms of offering the kind of visibility and representation so needed when it comes to fat bodies. Ready To Stare, Smart Glamour, Chubby Cartwheels, Re/Dress and Zelie For She are amongst my favorites. They’re doing things never-before-seen in the plus world, and for that I’m so grateful. Breaking barriers is what it’s all about.
In terms of somewhat bigger companies, ELOQUII is wonderful and has produced size 26+ lookbooks that are so, so badass. SimplyBe and ASOS Curve are my go-tos if I’m looking for something specifically “trendy” in plus. Forever21 has some of the most affordable fat fashion out there; and on the website, the options are actually quite glorious and aesthetically varied. But the sizing is limited to a 3X. If I happen to have money to spend and want to indulge in some high-quality goodies, Hey Gorgeous boutique is a godsend. They recently started selling Shegul, which just melts my heart. Feminine, traditionally “unflattering” silhouettes rock my world right now.
WYV: How do you wear your voice?
MSO: I wear my voice by remaining fat positive and preaching fat acceptance despite living in a world that insists that fat people are unworthy, undesirable, undeserving of proper healthcare, undeserving of representation or visibility, undeserving of fashion, undeserving of basic human respect or compassion.
There are a myriad of reasons why a person might be fat in this world; some totally beyond their control, of course. But for me, it’s important to acknowledge that I want to be fat. I’m in the body that feels right. I’m in the body that makes me feel most in tune with my sexuality. I’m in the body that feels best under my clothes.
This doesn’t mean that every day is a perfect body image day, or that the daily barrage of “why don’t you kill yourself” or “you’re greasy scum” or “you deserve to die of a heart attack” emails don’t sting. I experienced some doxing last year and at the beginning of this one, which probably stung the most. Few web-related things, at least for me, have been quite as terrifying as having details of every place you’ve ever lived — of where your mother lives — posted publicly on a hate page along with your phone number and work details and partner’s info. All of which happened because I’m fat and choose to write about it.
But at the end of the day, furthering the advancement of fat acceptance is the only thing that’s ever made me feel like I have a legit purpose or voice. It’s the only thing that makes me feel like I might leave a mark in the world. even if I fuck up sometimes along the way (and I’m so, so sorry to the plus size and fat positive communities for when I do). It’s really the only thing I want to do with my voice; at least for now.