This week we’re inspired by the courageous, career-driven, body-loving blogger, Rachel Hollis! Her proud bikini photo received tons of media buzz and we couldn’t help but want to learn more about this beautiful, mother of three.
Aerie: We love your body positive message – what inspired you to share this photo with your readers?
Rachel: So many reporters asked me this and the answer is kind of silly. I theme my Instagram every month to a color and that month’s color was orange… the exact shade of my cute new bikini top. We were in Cancun and I thought it would be a cute picture and so I had hubs snap a bunch. I am no kind of model and being in a swimsuit feels especially awkward so the one I chose is the one where I’m laughing at how silly I felt. When I saw it I noticed my stretch marks right away but I figured plenty of my followers are moms and have them too so I just decided to post it anyway. I couldn’t have anticipated what would happen with that picture, it still blows my mind.
Aerie: How did you get started with The Chic Site?
Rachel: I was an event planner for ten years in Los Angeles and initially I started The Chic Site as a virtual way to house all my ideas. At the time I thought people would want to see pictures from fancy parties but what I quickly learned was that they were much more interested in recipes and parties from my own real life. When I started to focus on my personal style (down home with a little fancy thrown in) that’s when the site really started to gain a following.
Aerie: What’s your favorite part about running a lifestyle website?
Rachel: There are a lot of things to love. I’m my own boss, which is a great feeling. And I work with an incredibly talented group of people that I got to hand pick. In the words of Confucius, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Also, I truly love the idea that we’re being helpful to women who read our site. Whether it’s a recipe, a makeup tip or a tutorial on how to decorate your bedroom I want our readers to come away feeling inspired and encouraged.
Aerie: Do you have any advice you would give to girls interested in starting their own blog or business?
Rachel: Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Seriously, there are so many businesses and blogs out there and the only way you’re going to make a splash is with a genuine message that is authentically you. Also, if you want to start a business you can’t treat it as a hobby. A lot of new bloggers decide to throw up a post here or there without structure behind it. Build an editorial calendar, collaborate with people smarter than you, take yourself seriously and others will to.
Aerie: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
Rachel: There is no such thing as luck, there is only preparation meeting opportunity at a moment in time.
Aerie: What’s your favorite Aerie product?
Rachel: I love a great t-shirt but I am such a sucker for a summer sweater! Haha, only in LA would someone consider the term summer sweater but it’s a real thing! You know the kind with a loose weave or the ones that are so light it’s like wearing cotton? I love them! It’s a way to feel cozy even if the weather is warm.
Aerie: What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?
Rachel: #AerieREAL is the idea of not just being comfortable with but grateful for who you are today. I love the idea of wanting to better your self, to become a better person inside and out. But that doesn’t mean that who you are right now (at this exact weight, with that exact hair, with your nose and your smile) isn’t awesome. Celebrate where you are, the real you because the real you is fabulous!