I talk a lot about style and fashion, and I speak from the perspective of someone who has been small enough to wear sample sizes, and large enough that I couldn’t shop at Express. I know a thing or two about dressing a tiny, cute body, and a thing or two about dressing a larger, cute body. What I know best of all is that it isn’t the size of the body making it cute, it’s the attitude wearing the body, wearing the clothes. Nothing I like better than a sharp dressed attitude, so I was excited to find Natalie Perkins.
Jezebel.com introduced me to Brisbane native, Natalie Perkins, an artist (portfolio here), fashion blogger, and joy to behold. Natalie came to my attention when Jezebel reposted her blog article about having become a focal point of a Facebook group dedicated to mocking larger bodies in skinny jeans. Refusing to be bullied out of hers, Natalie took the gospel of greatness at any size into their group and invited them to get to know her as a human being, rather than throwing internet eggs at a nameless soul. Kindly and gently, and with excellent syntax probably wasted on that lot, Natalie suggested that hating her figure wasn’t the key to happiness, but that it could be found in learning to love one’s own.
What I love about Natalie’s blog and twitter feed is that she posts about style (fashion/home decor/art) in a way that makes you feel like you could be just as much a bon vivant as she. Rather than just drawing back the curtains to allow you a peek behind the runway into a world exclusive of you, she flings open the doors and invites you to experience the color and texture she found there.
Great fashion is about art, and art has nothing to do with your height, weight, hair color, or shoe size. Great art has to do with passion. Natalie is full of that.
Name: Natalie Perkins
Age Range: On the cusp of my 30s
Preferred Job Title: Artist
Industry: Graphic design/ illustration
Who are you?
I’m Natalie, and I feel like I’m working out who I am every day. The things that characterise me are friendliness, my laugh, my real-world ditziness, and my passions for self acceptance and art. I was born in Brisbane, Australia and I’ve only really left this town on short trips interstate, but I’ve wanted to visit or even New York one day (something I’ve wished for since I was little!)
Describe your family:
My family is very big, welcoming and loud. We like to argue and laugh, and this can be a little bit intimidating for new people but we always want to include people and bring them in. We don’t shy away from hard issues, and I can credit my family for pushing me through some really awful mental health times.
When I wake up I usually go into the bathroom and splash my face with water, then go and make myself a coffee. I sit down with emails and try to plan out the rest of my day. Sometimes I’ll eat toast (buttered with a little bit of strawberry jam) but it’s a struggle, I have never enjoyed eating in the mornings.
The last hour?
Preparing for bed usually consists of a hot Milo, some stuffing about watching tv or browsing the internet, and then I brush my teeth and wash my face.
Finishing a drawing that achieves the things I set out to achieve. Solving problems (usually visual/ spatial problems!) When I’ve been of assistance to people. Receiving praise!
What brings you joy?
I feel joy when marginalised people receive equitable treatment; when I’m formulating a creative plan (for a client or for my personal work); when I’m laughing with my friends and family; and when I am alone, working. Also… puppies! I am unapologetic about my love for dogs, and even though I can’t have one in the apartment I currently live in, I will lavish attention upon any puppy I see.
I admire my female friends and my Mum and Nana. I also admire countless many activists and artists: Beth Ditto, Nomy Lamm, Charlotte Cooper, Tori Amos, Marianne Kirby, Marian Bantjes, Hazel Dooney, Lesley Kinzel, Kate Harding, Sia Furler, Aimee Mann… I could go on forever!
My closest friend is my husband. I love that he is open to discussing really sticky issues, and that he understands my need for alone time.
I like that I am more concerned with personal growth and self awareness than I am with being wrong. I don’t mind admitting I have thought or said or done something hurtful because I am so mindful of all the things I don’t yet know in the world. I want to learn and be taught by people who know more than I do.
What advice would you give boys about girls?
Girls are human beings, boys are human beings. Girls don’t all exhibit the same behavioural traits, we are a gender that consists of billions of different, beautiful characteristics. Instead of assuming a woman will react a certain way, give her the opportunity to react how she wants.
Adversity is so varied for everyone. In my life I have had access to a huge range of privileges (I’m white, middle-class, uni educated etc); I have had some very dark times that perhaps weren’t as awful because I did have certain privileges. I found that having a strong support network really helped me, and talking through problems was a key factor.
I think I’d like people to remember me for being myself, to the full extent of my being, including all the nice and the not so nice bits. I want to have challenged people and nurtured unconventionality!