At the end of last month, nursing student Katie Bizzak from Pennsylvania was crowned the winner of Curvy Kate‘s Star in a Bra North America 2013, winning a 12-month modelling contract with the brand.
Here Katie, who entered the competition as a 36D and was refitted as a 28HH, answers our questions about why she entered and what winning means to her – and she has totally inspired us!
Congratulations on winning Star in a Bra North America! Has it sunk in yet?
To be honest, no! I still feel like I am in dream that I never want to wake up from. I will be walking to class and people will recognise me and yell ‘Curvy Kate!’ and it still takes a second to register that they are talking to ME, I am the new Curvy Kate, me!!! How convenient that my name already is Kate – I think my friends have found my new, lifelong nickname.
Why did you decide to enter and were you worried about how your friends and family would react?
I knew I had to enter when I found out that a friend I had grown up with was being sent to rehab for anorexia and bulimia. Having an issue hit so close to home like this made me enter to inspire her to love herself for who she is. I told her that if I beat all of North America in this competition, that she can and will beat this disease. And look what happened! I won and she is on the road to recovery!
I was beyond worried about how my friends and family would react. I didn’t even tell my parents I entered until I found out I was in the top 20. Putting myself out there for the world to judge every flaw was by far the scariest thing I have ever had to do. I just had to keep telling myself that even if I inspired one individual that a million cruel comments would be worth it.
What was your favourite part of the competition?
My favorite part of the competition thus far has been all of messages I have been receiving from family, friends, and strangers. I put myself out there for the world to judge in order to try and make a difference in one girl’s life, and turns out I have inspired many more than just her! I can not even begin to count the number of people that have been opening up to me about their past experiences with eating disorders, others calling me their role model, asking me for advice, or thanking me for allowing them to love themselves again. Nothing could ever beat that. To know that I have personally made a difference in lives is truly indescribable.
At what point did you realize you might actually win it?
I thought I had a good chance to win when my Instagram followers when from 200 up to 600, my Facebook was going wild with shares and friend requests, and random people on campus were recognising me from the flyers being handed out to vote for me. Also, the fact that I am from a small town of about 4,000 people – I knew I had all of their support and they were all going out of their way to spread the word.
What has the reaction been like to your win?
Absolutely humbling. My local newspaper, The Kane Republican, posted a lengthy article about me and also shared it with my two neighbouring towns. Since the article was published, I have had many past friends, teachers, family, and others call and tell me that the article brought tears to their eyes and that I am making great change in this world. This has all made me realise that I can, in fact, help change the media’s skewed image of ‘beauty’ that is harming many young lives today.
Did you ever imagine you would be a lingerie model?
No, never in a million years. This was only a far fetched dream of mine, never thinking it would actually happen. I’m a nursing major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and I have always envisioned my life going to work in scrubs – not lingerie. What an amazing change of pace.
How will this win change your life?
I hope this next year with Curvy Kate leads to more and opens up many opportunities and doors for me. I would love to go on to represent healthy, curvy girls in the media and be a voice that inspires girls and makes change. Also, this has already changed my life by giving me a new outlook on inside beauty and my confidence is now through the roof!
What would your advice be to future Star in a Bra hopefuls?
Do it, do it, do it! From the beginning until now this has been the best experience of my entire life. Just be true to yourself and give it all you have. I entered the competition at the very last minute. If you are nervous about entering, talk to a friend or message me about your concerns (my best friend Kelley helped give me the courage to enter my pictures). It is scary putting yourself out there but I have only received positive comments. You will be amazed by how many people will tell you that you are their role model or that they are looking up to you. It’s amazing.
As the face of Curvy Kate North America, Katie will be fronting Curvy Kate’s Spring/Summer 2014 collections and marketing campaigns as an ambassador for the brand and all curvy women. You’ll be seeing photos of her modelling Curvy Kate lingerie across all the brand’s key retailers including Bare Necessities, Fresh Pair, HerRoom and Figleaves.