Malia Anderson is a plus size powerhouse.

It’s not easy being plus size and visible in the fashion industry, especially if you’re not the typical hourglass shape. Malia Anderson knows this all too well.

She stands at 6 feet tall and is an apple-shaped woman who sometimes has to shop over a size 24, which is a struggle on its own. It’s these shopping struggles that inspired her to create her own opportunities, which lead her to becoming not only a personal stylist, but also a body positive activist, public speaker and writer.

Based in Northern California, Malia is also a style contributor for Essence Magazine and works as a brand ambassador with brands such as Eloquii, Trina Turk and Les Lunes. She is so knowledgeable about dressing a woman’s body type and forecasting upcoming trends that she is sought after for her services. See what we mean? She is indeed a powerhouse.

We had to talk to this amazing female entrepreneur and advocate for all women as part of our 5 Questions feature so that our readers can get to know her better.

#1: How did you get your start as a personal stylist?

Malia: Fashion was my first love but honestly was not something I thought would be a career. In fact, I was planning on going to baking school after high school but the classes started too early so I changed my major to fashion merchandising, with the idea of fashion show production being my career. Personal styling was a complete accident. It became my career when I understood women needed an unapologetic voice to combat the voices in their heads. I think the reason I am good at what I do is that I don’t subscribe to my client’s body issues or judgment. I just show them what their bodies are capable of.

#2: Often, plus size women do not see representation of themselves in the bodies shown in the media. As someone who is plus size, tall and not the traditional hourglass shape, what does it mean to you to be a stylist and personal shopper for others?

Malia: For me, this is the body I have. I don’t spend moments in my day thinking, well if I looked like this celebrity on TV, my life would be better. I figure out how to have the life I long for; a life I am proud of and that I work hard for. I also think we are too driven but what the “media” says about how women should look. I also instill in my clients the idea that personal style has nothing to do with size. If you love a type of look, I can get it in your size.

#3: You were recently hired by Essence as a plus size columnist. Please tell us more about that new role and what you plan to share with the magazine’s readers.

Malia: Essence is a dream come true. I am learning my way around the magazine world and getting to work with brands on a different level but I love being able to share looks on a larger scale. I also love finding new brands and designers to promote. For me, Essence is about sharing great style pieces and talking about how to incorporate them into your wardrobe. I am currently working on a story about plus size bloggers in swimsuits as well as a story about wearing shorts.

#4: What are your top 5 fashion/style tips for plus size women?

  1. FOUNDATION!!! It is key for all women. It helps make everything look amazing.
  2. Stop waiting to look good. If you woke up tomorrow with your ideal body, you would go shopping, so stop waiting and buy great clothes now.
  3. Dress for the life you want. If you want to be the boss, dress like it.
  4. Never be afraid to try. You may find the look you have been longing for, if you just try something on that catches your eye.
  5. Remember you don’t know those people. Who you are and how you dress is about you, not what others will say. Get dressed and love yourself and the rest will fall into place.

#5: What are your plans for the next year? We hear you just launched a new blog and we’d love to know more.

Malia: Yes, I just launched a new blog, which it is a major step for me. I am going to be 40 this year and I run my own company and I realized there were very few blogs out there for women like me. When I started writing for Essence, I try to only give my “stylist” take on fashion. This blog lets me be more personal. You can find it at www.malianderson.com and it is called My Life Styled. It will be about being a 40-year-old married business woman who loves fashion, books, brunch and good bourbon. I hope people will find it interesting. It also gives me a way to work with fun brands that I love and show people what it’s really like to be a busy woman in a crazy world.

Special thanks to Malia Anderson for talking to us and for her passion in helping women have fun with fashion and love the body they are in right now.

You can check out Malia’s website and blog here.

You can also follow Malia on Instagram here and on Facebook here.