Canadian-based influencer Lisa Schoenberger created her blog MustangSallyTwo as a way to inspire others through sharing her own self-love journey in fashion, style and body acceptance as a size 26/28 woman.
Her blog has grown tremendously since its launch in 2015, and in the process, she has become a body positive advocate and strong voice for size inclusion in fashion. A CPA, CA by trade, Lisa represents the everyday woman who’s a confident professional that truly owns her style.
Maddy: The first question people must ask you is, how did you get started?
Lisa: I went to an event called The Big Deal in Toronto that was run by Karen Ward, the owner of the boutique, Your Big Sister’s Closet. I was turning 40 and I had finally decided to end my obsession with being thin after suffering complications from lap band surgery. It was a ‘shop your favorite blogger’s closets’ event and it was the first time I was in a room full of plus-size women who were genuinely happy and loved fashion!
I became friends with Karen and her husband Peter and they encouraged me to start my blog because I clearly loved fashion and they felt at the time there was a lack of representation for women my size. Eventually, I agreed to give it a try and what I thought would be a hobby turned into something bigger than I ever imagined. Modeling happened as a direct result of my blog and digital content creation.
Some people may be surprised, but even the plus-size industry can be a bit size-ist. How have you been able to overcome this challenge?
I don’t think I have completely overcome it but I keep fighting it every day. We all deserve the same respect regardless of size and I make a point of showing everyone the same respect I expect in return. I am not afraid to use my voice to create change but I also try to educate people and brands on why inclusion and representation are so important in and outside our community. I think it is about being open to different points of view, understanding that there is a lot of longterm historical stigma to overcome and being authentic has helped me overcome it. When people look beyond your size and see the person then that is a win in my book.
How would you describe your brand and how important is it for us to see visibly plus-size bodies in media and fashion?
My brand is all about the everyday woman and my genuine love of fashion and the belief that you can look and feel good at ANY size.
As a full-time professional and influencer I basically have two full-time jobs and my life and my content is not perfectly curated; I want women to relate to me on a personal level. I also share my personal journey with my body, my struggles with anxiety and living with a chronic illness, lipedema.
Seeing visibly plus-size bodies in media and fashion is so important because inclusion absolutely matters. I am dying to get my hands on some actual statistics but if 67% of the population is a size 14 and up than it stands to reason that a decent part of that population is larger than a size 24. But we are the most underserved in terms of fashion.
If we want to encourage self-acceptance, respect for everyone and dispel the negativity around being fat we need to see people who are visibly plus-size living and enjoying life like everyone else. We need to see them in killer outfits that a size 14 wants to wear. We need brands that don’t make our size to see we want to buy it and the demand exists. And my next step is to really go beyond fashion; beauty and lifestyle brands are way behind fashion in terms of using visibly plus-size people in their campaigns, but yet we use all of their products and services. If you take my money then I want to feel represented like any other customer.
Maddy: Let’s talk about The CurvyFest! One of the MOST diverse runway shows I’ve ever personally seen. Can you describe how being a model during this event made you feel? What was the most memorable experience for you?
The CurvyFest is definitely the most diverse runway show I have ever seen and it was truly an honor for me to be a part of it. Being a model made me feel ‘seen’ and celebrated in a way I have never experienced. To have designers so excited to work with someone my size was emotional. To be treated with so much respect was humbling.
While I had many memorable moments, my most memorable experience was walking for Valerosa at the beach party. When I came out and people were screaming my name and showing me so much love it was something I will never forget. I am not your traditional model, I am a size 28, I can’t walk the runway in heels, and I am only 5’6″ but no one cared. I was so in awe of it all, I still am every time I think of it. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing camaraderie among all the models, the energy was infectious.
The creator of The CurvyFest is truly becoming a pioneer in Mexico for bringing body positivity into the new generation of women in Mexico. Why is it important for those of us with platforms to support events such as this one?
Melina has created something that is truly special and I applaud her for producing this amazing event. I don’t think that those with platforms always realize how far our reach is. When I attended last year I had no idea of the following I had in Mexico. Body positivity in Mexico is far behind what we see in North America and so we have the unique opportunity to use our platforms to create more awareness and help them push forward.
To me, it is no different than attending and supporting an event in North America. Body positivity is a worldwide cause and I firmly believe that those of us who are fortunate enough to have a voice should use that voice to help wherever and whenever we can. In the age of social media, our ability to support each other is greater than ever. I wouldn’t have my voice without the help of those who supported me, so to me, it’s really no different.
For women who are struggling with body confidence, can you offer some kind words about the journey we embrace in loving our bodies?
I think it is perfect that you use the word journey. How I became so self-confident is probably one of the things I get asked about the most. But it’s not one single thing or moment that makes you confident, it is a continuous journey and we all have our bad days.
The one thing I will say is you do have to start the journey. So all it takes is a single step. Something I like to recommend is standing in front of a mirror and focusing on the things you like about yourself. Just start by picking one thing and when you regularly return to that mirror you will discover more things you love every day. And as hard as it is, don’t compare yourself to others. We are all unique as individuals. One of my favorite quotes is:
You are imperfect, permanently & inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”