meet hannah schneider, a plus-size creator advocating for body positivity


photo courtesy of hannah schneider // model: hannah schneider

In a world where plus-size women are still disregarded and underappreciated by the media on a regular basis, influencers who preach self-love for all body types are necessary. Although plus-sized women  have always existed, only recently have they started to gain representation in the fashion industry. Still, there is a long way to go  until they are fairly included in campaigns, runaways and clothing designs. 


While fashion trends have changed over the years, the market for plus-sized women still  offers less variation and usually resembles maternity clothes. It seems creators who spread body positivity messages and help others feel more confident with themselves are doing what the fashion industry fails to accomplish.


Even if the sizing range has increased in the past years, advertisements continue to emphasize thinner bodies. But the American culture is still degrading towards fat people, which can psychologically  impact plus-size women, men and non-binary individuals. Also, this biased culture criticizes plus-sized people as uncontrolled and undisciplined to follow diets, even if they are healthy. Thus, it is prejudice and judgment masked as a health concern. As the award-winning writer Dubravka Ugrešić states in her article “The Dream of Dorian Gray,” “There’s no mercy anywhere for the fat.” 


From a culture that favors skinnier individuals and an industry that reiterates this bias, plus-size people are still ignored in the 21st century. Fortunately, social media has given a voice to those who are not usually heard.


Hannah Schneider, known as Hannah Lee Lifestyle on social media, is one of these voices. Schneider is a plus-size digital creator and confidence coach with more than 29,000 followers on Instagram and over 41,000 followers on TikTok. The influencer lives with her husband and two puppies in San Francisco, California. Besides sharing her personal life, she uses her platforms for fashion and self-love tips to empower others. 


The creator has her own merch, selling T-shirts, bucket hats, sweatshirts and more. Most of her products have the phrase “All Bodies Are Good Bodies,” expressing Hannah’s advocacy for body positivity. I interviewed Schneider on her journey to self-love, the lack of diversity in the fashion industry and tips to become a social media influencer. 

Why did you decide to become a confidence and influencer coach? Where did the idea originate?

HS: “This was never an actual decision I made, I just sorta fell into it! I found an incredible community on Instagram preaching body positivity and loving yourself, and just knew that I had found my people. I started sharing my own confidence tips, and fell down the rabbit hole!”


What is the impact you want to have on your followers?

HS: “Ultimately, I want young women and girls to be able to see themselves on social media and feel that they have a voice. Representation is so important and I never saw myself represented when I was a girl. Whenever I see a comment of someone saying, ‘Wow, we have the same body type! You look amazing, so I must as well!’ it warms my heart!! That is why I continue to do this!”

What is the message you wish you could give to plus-sized kids?

HS: “Omg so many things!! One, you’re a KID. Go be a kid!! If your peers make fun of you for your body, that’s on them. You’re beautiful!!! Look at Lizzo! If she can do it, so can you!!”


Did you see representation for plus-sized women in the fashion industry growing up? Has this changed in the last few years?

HS: “I saw zero representation in the media growing up. In fact, it was even worse than that, because we were made to believe that certain celebrities were ‘fat’ simply because they were slightly larger than their straight size co-stars (Raven Simone, America Ferrera etc). In the past few years, this changed drastically (thank god!!). Suddenly we have fat representation everywhere- fat models, actresses, and singers. It’s really incredible to watch.”


Have you been fat shamed on your Instagram account? How did you handle it?

HS: “Oh yes, people on the internet can be mean!! I’ll never forget the first hate comment I ever received, and it rocked me, not gonna lie. However, you start to realize that these people must be so sad to spend their time commenting mean things on a stranger’s post. Now, it barely bothers me. It bothers me more when fellow women comment mean things, but men… I don’t even bat an eye.”


Is fashion an empowering tool for you? If so, how?

HS: “Fashion is so empowering. Fat women have always been told what they can and can’t wear. When I’m wearing an outfit I feel really confident in, I walk through the world differently. Suddenly, nothing can touch me.”

In your opinion, what can brands do to be more inclusive?

HS: “A great start is carrying at least some plus sizes. And by that, I mean at least up to a size 22/24. Real inclusivity happens when any human can shop with your brand, which means offering a much larger size range. And then, and this is super important when the brand actually starts to carry extended sizing, actually marketing this to fat people is vital. So many brands increase their size range and then don’t market it… and then blame the failure on plus-size people not shopping or wanting to spend their money. We got money to spend!!! We just didn’t know you existed.”


Did the way you see yourself change over the years? How?

HS: “I’ve always been fairly confident, but surrounding myself with other beautiful plus size women has definitely changed the way I view myself. It’s given me so much more confidence!”

What are three tips for anyone who wants to build a following and be a digital creator?

HS: “Three tips for becoming a digital creator. One, be AUTHENTIC. Show off who you really are! Two, find reasons why people would follow you, and expand on those. Maybe you have a really fascinating life? Show it off. Maybe you know fashion super well and dress in a really fun way, then show that off! Always be thinking through the eyes of consumers. Three, start building a community! Connect with other creators in the space you’re trying to break into. Social media is all about being social!”


After interviewing Schneider, I realized how developing a healthy relationship with ourselves is important and how the media has a role in it. Even if you are not excluded by it, everyone should be part of the change towards a more inclusive society. The fashion industry is still not representing everyone, but fashion can be a way to empower yourself and make you feel more confident about yourself regardless of your size.

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Hi! I’m Catie Pusateri, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.