We had the good fortune of connecting with Casey Karlson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Casey, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Authenticity. For a long time, I wasn’t true to myself. The way I dressed, the people I surround myself with, even the way I walked through life were all contradictory to the woman inside who was screaming to come out. I would make myself small to fit in and not draw attention to myself. I think that had a lot to do with the image I had of myself and my body. Growing up in the early 200os was tough as a plus-sized girl. Pleasing others became a priority, no matter the cost, and I was miserable. I wasted so much of my time trying to be someone I wasn’t to please a world that told me it was still not good enough. One day I woke up and decided that if I couldn’t change their minds, I might as well be happy with myself. Inside of me was a bold and colorful woman who wanted to be seen when she walked through a room. I dyed my hair Little Mermaid red and revamped my wardrobe to be the eyecatching, bold statement closet of my dreams. It helped me learn myself, love myself, and find my way through life while making real connections I could only dream of. But it only happened because I decided that my real self WAS enough. We all deserve to be seen when we walk into a room and take up space no matter our size. Authenticity is the balm to the wounds of societal expectations. It is freeing, and I promise you the key to genuine connections. I am thankful for the girl I was because she carried me through to where I am today. She helped weed out what wasn’t for me. She will always be a part of me, but she lived and walked through fire so I could come into alignment with my most authentic self.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In addition to working in Luxury Retail, I am a Plus-Sized Model. I always knew I wanted to model. Fashion, styling, and makeup have been my life for as long as I can remember. I would inhale magazines as a kid, looking at all the beautiful women in clothes I wished I had. The problem was that none of them ever looked liked me. The beautiful clothes were never in my size. I hated the rhetoric that surrounded modeling. That you couldn’t be beautiful unless you were between a size 00 and 2. Every body was beautiful, and every body deserved to be adorned the way that smaller bodies did. Big bodies didn’t have to be dressed in potato sacks.
I did all the research I could to find brands and models that looked like me. As you can guess by how larger people are treated in this day and age, it was not easy. There was VERY little, but the women I found trying to change the game were inspiring. I knew I had to join them. First, I had to build my presence and get some smaller calls under my belt. It was difficult because I would either be too big and even too small, which amazed me because I have never been called that before. So many times, I wanted to quit any time I didn’t book a call or was having to pay out more money than I was making. But I did it thanks to the unwavering support of friends and family who saw that I was growing before I even did. When I didn’t believe in me, they did. They saw the outcome I was working towards and never let me lose sight. I found some amazing brands and photographers in Atlanta who helped me build my presence. They inspired me to start my own, In Case of Curves. I am currently working on building an online boutique to add more representation and have accessible, stylish clothes for girls like me.
So, I guess in all of this, what I am trying to say is that if you can picture it, you can achieve it. To get over the challenges, rely on yourself and support. Move out of that space of wanting but resisting and shape your reality. There is someone out there who needs to see you do it, so they can see it can and will be done.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a tough question because Atlanta is a WHOLE experience. There is so much to see and do, and even though I have lived here for years, I am still exploring and discovering new things. I am all about the aesthetic though, and look for places where we can take bomb photos of our adventures.
For food, I know I am taking them to The Slutty Vegan for burgers so good and unique you can’t even tell they are plant-based. I know this from experience because I tested the theory on my non-vegan friends and family. Their food is delicious and the names of each dish will have you dying.
I know this may sound cheesy, but we would also be going to the GA Aquarium. This is one of my favorite places, and I could spend all day sitting in the giant observation room with the Whale Sharks.
To take photos, we are going to Krog Street Tunnel for some of the most phenomenal street art I have ever seen. If you go on a good day, you could run into festivals, music, and more!
One of my other favorite things to do is visit the bathhouses to get pampered. We would need massages and the steam room after a long day of walking before going to get drinks.
Then to finish it off, we would go to somewhere like Skylounge for drinks and maybe even iLounge for hookah.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One of the biggest components in discovering myself on my journey to authenticity was the support of friends and family. My family gave me the patience and support to grow what I was going through. Through the career changes, hair color changes, and moves, they were always there. Rhayna C. Photography, Antoinne Duane Jones Photography, Diva Bigg, and Andrionna Williams Curvy Gurl Collection gave me the space to explore my potential. They uplifted me to new levels in my career. Through them, I was given opportunities that molded me into the woman and advocate I am today.
Instagram: @incaseofcurves @caseidia
Other: Tiktok: @caseidia
Rhayna C Photography for all images