On July 18 I’m going for a run with Jennifer Dome King, no matter how hot it is — and since we live in Alabama I’m sure the day will be a scorcher. But on July 18 Jennifer is hosting her second Makeshift 5K, an event series she launched this spring to encourage readers of her blog Stellar Fashion and Fitness to get out and run and challenge themselves even if they don’t have the money for or access to an official race.
Jennifer’s Makeshift 5K is just one of the many reasons I’m happy to announce that Jennifer Dome King is the See Jane Write member of the month for July. I’m also excited to report that she will be a panelist at the upcoming Bloganista Mini-Con. (In honor of Jennifer and the start of a new month, a few tickets are on sale today for only $50!)
Jennifer’s blog is one of my favorite to read due to her focus on having a positive body image at any size.
I started my first blog, which is now defunct, in 2006 when I was interning at W magazine and Women’s Wear Daily in London. I wanted a place to document my travels for my family and friends back home, but it turned into a fashion blog in 2008 because that’s always been my passion. I wanted to show how you can interpret what you see on the runways and incorporate it into your own wardrobe.
How would you describe the mission or purpose of your blog Stellar Fashion and Fitness?
The current mission of my blog was solidified in 2010 when I started working on my own health and fitness. I decided then that while I still wanted to write about fashion, I was also interested in overall health — from working out to eating more healthfully to new experiences, I think all of these come together with fashion to express who you are and help you feel good about yourself. The message of having a healthy body image evolved naturally because I truly feel that leading a stellar life incorporates all of these pieces. I’m still working on that journey, on finding my healthiest self, my inner fashionista and my self-confidence, so my hope is to encourage others who are on similar paths.
You also do a lot of freelance writing. Tell us about some of your latest pieces.
I’m lucky to work with an editor at HellaWella.com who lets me pitch stories that interest me. So I recently interviewed Kelly Creel, another Jane, about the best yoga poses for runners. I challenge myself to walk and run, but because of some issues with my knee and feet, it can be a little rough. These yoga poses help keep me limber, so I knew they would help others as well. Right now I’m also copy editing the summer issue of Filmmaker magazine, which is published by the Independent Film Project out of Brooklyn. I’ve been editing that magazine since 2011, and it’s fun to get an inside scoop on movies I wouldn’t always hear about otherwise.
How did you get the idea to start the Makeshift 5K? What is your hope for these events?
Since 2010, when I ran my first 5k (the Rumpshaker), I have run at least a dozen 5ks, the Vulcan 10k a few times and two half marathons (Mercedes and Talladega). I decided I needed to start setting goals for myself to keep my running/walking going, but registering for a 5k every few months wasn’t in my budget. So this spring I picked a date, April 25, and decided I would run a 5k that day and invited others to join me. Thankfully you came, and so did Tanya Sylvan, and y’all pushed me to beat my previous 5k time! I decided then that I wanted to make this a regular thing, and I hoped others would join me because I think having a definite goal in mind when you want to walk or run regularly is so helpful. It’s great to challenge yourself and give yourself that feeling of accomplishment. I hope that it will grow to encourage people who maybe haven’t done an official race before to try it out in a casual, fun setting. There’s no time requirement, and I really do want people who walk to know that that is just as good as running. The distance — 3.1 miles — is the goal. That and having fun!
What advice would you give to people who want to start a fashion/fitness blog with a message, people trying to live a stellar life, and people who want to freelance for various publications?
Finding your niche is key. I cover a lot of different topics, but I always try to talk to women of all shapes and sizes and keep building one’s self-confidence as my goal. Discover what that niche is and hone in on that, and then you can broaden your approach a little to be more inclusive.
The best advice I can give for living a stellar life is don’t hold yourself back. If you think you don’t have fashion sense, go out on a limb and try a print or a design you never have before. If there’s a workout you want to try, trust me, no one in the class is really paying that much attention to you — so try it! You’ll be surprised how welcoming people are no matter your size or how in shape you are. I don’t think anything should hold us back to do the things we want — our body shape or our past. You can work with all of that and take the steps toward living a full (stellar!) life!
Use your connections to help with freelance jobs. And use your blog! I got my freelance job at HellaWella.com partly because I went to grad school with my editor and mostly because she read my blog and knew I could write about (and research) a number of different topics. I was a copy editor at Southern Living magazine when I got the job copy editing for Filmmaker, through another copy editor who didn’t want to do it anymore. So talk to other writers/editors. You never know when someone is looking to take a project off their plate, or if they heard about a job they can’t take.
Finally, tell us what you enjoy about being a member of See Jane Write?
I love the community of women that SJW has created. I love that we encourage one another and competition is the furthest thing from our minds. We all want to see each other succeed! And if you have writer’s block or a technical issue, there’s always someone you can call on. But the best thing about SJW is that we really do take each other’s work seriously. We know blogging has the potential to be a wonderful outlet creatively, but it can also be a big business opportunity. We take the business of blogging seriously, but we have a lot of fun doing it!