Meet Katrina! An inspiring JunoActive customer!

by Customer Service May 26, 2021 6 min read

Collage of images. Plus size woman in JunoActive Aquasport Crossback One Piece Swimsuit, Woman with family and woman with spouse.

Meet Katrina! She's one of our beloved JunoActive customers who relies on our swimsuits to teach her recreational therapy aquatic classes! She recently sat down with our social media manager, Heather, to talk about the positive work she's doing to promote an active lifestyle and a positive body image as a plus size woman. Read our interview below to learn more about the great work Katrina is doing!

Heather:
Thank you so much for agreeing to chat with us, Katrina! To start off, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for a living. 

Katrina:
My degree is in Therapeutic Recreation. I have worked in inpatient mental health for 12 years. I had discovered aquatics when I was much younger but over the course of college and then, having to get a real job, I had to step away from aquatics and go into the clinical services. I was able to rediscover my love for aquatics, in 2018, and started teaching some lessons. Because of my background, I very quickly expanded to teaching swim lessons to some of our clinical services clients. They come in with different sensory disorders along with people who just are in need of a little more support.

Heather:

That's amazing! It sounds like such rewarding work. When did you become a JunoActive customer?

Katrina:

I discovered JunoActive last fall while reading an article that was featuring swimsuits for plus size and fitness. I was very impressed with your products and I read Anne's story about how she started as an instructor and that she looked around and said that there weren't enough options available for plus size women. Cotton pants were really the only option and I remember that. So, thank you! I'm really glad that you hit the nail on the head. What I think is great about your company, is your mission in helping women to get beyond those barriers that are holding them back so they can live a confident, active lifestyle. Thank you. I'm a fan!

Heather:
Thank you! It has always been our mission to support women to live their best active. life. style. When it comes to finding good swimwear, was there a particular area that you've always struggled with? For example, suits that just would never fit right in your bust or never covered a specific area that you were hoping for? What was it about our JunoActive swimsuits that you really like versus some of the other brands out there?

Katrina:
When I'm in the water, I'm active and I'm moving. I need things to stay where they need to stay. The fact that you have such wide straps in the back, there's no slippage, I don't have to worry about doing a left wing flip turn and then having to stop to put the shoulders back on. I can keep doing the same thing over and over with no issues! I recently had to go up a couple of sizes in swimsuits actually. I went from a 3X to 5X just to cover everything, and I really had to talk to myself like, "There's no shame. We're not gonna worry about that." And once I put the suit on, I was like,"Oh yeah, I don't care, I don't care what size this is, it's covering everything I need to and it's going to work for what I need". My favorite JunoActive piece is the AquaSport Crossback One Piece SwimsuitWhat I really love about your suits is the engineering. It is such a quality product that paying $100 for a swimsuit, even better when you guys go on sale, is great, I love being able to invest in myself, because that's what it is, you know. People spend $100 to $200 on running shoes and this is the same thing. They're all great products and you really do back up the investment you're putting in yourself.

Heather:
Yes! That's what I love about JunoActive. It's so great to work for a company that has not only stayed true to their mission for the last 25 years, but also takes pride in producing products that will last and really support women being active. Is there anything besides your aquatic classes that you like to do to stay active outside of the pool? You're in South Carolina, are there any great local spots you love for working out?

Katrina:
I live in Greenville, South Carolina, and there's so much hiking up here, and we actually have a group called, "Girls Who Hike". For me it has been a slow incline at a high speed, but there are lots of waterfalls in the area, we have waterfalls actually right in the downtown area of Greenville, South Carolina and we really enjoy that.

Heather:
You work in the mental health industry and May is Mental Health Awareness month. Do you have any advice for anyone that is struggling with their mental health or struggling with their body image or body positivity?

Katrina:
I would say seek out your tribes. All of us who are struggling with something. There are so many resources. For example, if you are part of the LGBTQ community there's the Trevor Project for anyone who might be dealing with suicidal ideation, there's also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. But if you're just really looking to not be so isolated and not be lonely, I think we're all trying to communicate again and be social and it can be a little awkward, that's okay. We're all in that same boat together. Seek out those interests that you enjoy. There are other people who enjoy it too, and they're also lonely. Everyone is a little bit lonely right now, so just seek out those people and you will find your group, you will find your tribe.

Heather:
That's great! One of our goals with JunoActive's social media is to create a community of women who are plus size, who are body positive, who know that they have their tribe. We feel that we have an opportunity to be a common thread connection to find people, to connect with and support and cheer each other on. So, Katrina what do you say to someone, a woman, especially in your classes who says, "I'd love to take aquatics, but I'm not going to be seen in a swimsuit or I'm not going to go there." What do you say to her?

Katrina:
I say, "Well, is it that you don't want to be seen around other people or is it just that actually getting into the water is difficult?". I would ask them to kind of scale down to what the issue is because we can have classes when there's not a lot of people around. And, we can offer one on one if you need that support. Also, in that environment, where it's just women and I, and being that I'm a larger woman, it has been great to be able to actually encourage them to be in the water. When they see that their instructor is also someone who might deal with body issues, it makes them feel more comfortable and it is great because the focus goes from them being very internalized, to just being able to enjoy the water.

Heather:
Yes, that's a great idea to help them break it down and just say there's always a way to get there. Do you have any funny stories of things that have happened with you in your aerobics classes?

Katrina:
I think it's so funny when somebody is not really aware of their abilities. They're in the water and they're really working hard in the water, and they have spaghetti legs whenever they get out. They actually feel like they're sweating, and they're in the water so they wouldn't know whether they were or not. They don't even notice they're working that hard until they get out.

Heather:

That's my kind of workout!  Are there any life lessons that you operate by? For example, my thing is that everybody thinks they're awkward and everyone is dealing with something. What is your thing?


Katrina:
Patience is always something that I struggle with, but patience without judgment is so much easier. I have some patients that have difficulties communicating their needs and it can be hard to identify what they need accomplish their goals. Those kinds of situations would probably escalate and become some kind of stressful event, but when I can be patient with them and not judge where they're coming from, it really does help me to do my job so much better. I feel better whenever I can be like, "Oh, we accomplished this, we got past a barrier, we're good!".

Heather:

Wow. Yes! Patience without judgment is so much easier. You're giving a gift to your swimmers that you're saying, "It's okay. Take your time, clear your thoughts, and then communicate. What are your future goals for the work you do?

Katrina:
My hope is to work more towards making aquatics available to a lot more populations, and just talking to more people. I want plus sized women to know that they have a community, they have resources, they have help. The hardest part of being a large woman my whole life, is that feeling of, "You can't sit with us", feeling left out. It would be great if we were able to actually show women of all sizes that they are included and they definitely can sit with us, and can definitely work out with us, and if what you need in order to feel like you belong, is the equipment and the resources, then I want to help promote that. I do have my own business, Curves and Waves Aquatics. We currently operate on a seasonal basis, I spend my free time in the summer providing private swim lessons and private aquatic exercise sessions! You can find my page ,"Curves and Waves Aquatics" on Facebook and Instagram.

Heather:
Thanks Katrina, and thanks so much for all this time, we really appreciate it! You are such an inspiring, positive woman, and we feel so lucky to have you as a customer! 

Katrina:

Thank you for having me!



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