It’s been surveyed that 88% of women refer to other women similar to themselves for inspiration, yet 71% don’t feel like there is enough attention focused on their life experiences. So, T.J. Maxx has partnered with Katherine Schwarzenegger for a 16-city nationwide tour to give these real women an opportunity to tell us their stories.
Yesterday, we met up with Katherine to chat about what it’s been like on the “Road to Real”.
Tell us about this tour you’re doing with T.J. Maxx.
I’m working with T.J. Maxx on a tour called “Road to Real” where we’re traveling to sixteen different cities around the country interviewing real women about how they live life on their own terms and what inspires them, what makes them tick. We’re just traveling around, talking to these inspirational women about different things and giving them a platform to share their stories.
Have you already started interviewing some of the women?
Yeah, so New York is our second stop. We started in Boston, we kicked it off at their Newbury store which just opened and we interviewed like 25 to 30 women so far and it’s been so amazing. It’s like the craziest, coolest experience because every single person that we’ve interviewed has been so so inspiring. They’re just like everyday women shopping in T.J. Maxx and we’re like, “Can we talk to you for a little bit?” Sometimes they’re with their husbands or with their families. It’s been an amazing experience so far and I have 14 other cities left so I’m excited.
What’s been an inspirational stand out story that you’ve heard so far?
Everyone’s stories have been so inspirational. I would say one of them was definitely a single mom who came in with her two daughters and one of her daughters was autistic. She talked to me about being a single mom and raising her two daughters and the things that she’s learned having an autistic daughter and the amount of patience that’s required and hard work. She was really emotional, so for me just being able to hear her story and see her strength was really amazing for me. It’s also been interesting to see how many people open up very quickly because we only have 10 or 15 minutes with each woman, so to see people cry and get very emotional….just to see people’s strength. You hear all these and I get so inspired by almost every single woman that I’ve talked to.
I grew up watching my mom interview people and for me to be able to go to these different cities and talk to real women and see how they live their lives and how they live on their own terms.
Your family actually has a lot of very strong willed, independent women. Did that play any part in why your focus is on women?
I’ve always been really … I’m a very curious person so I ask a zillion different questions and I’ve been always really interested in real women, real people. The fact that this tour highlights real women and how they live life on their own terms. My website is actually called Lifestyle on Your Terms so the messaging aligned perfectly for me. I’ve always been really interested in talking and connecting with real women and seeing how they live life, where they get their inspiration from, so I love that T.J. Maxx is giving a platform to those women.
You have two books out now?
Yes, the first book I did, five and a half years ago which is crazy, is about body image. So again, talking about real women the different kinds of experiences that we have dealing with body image and the pressures that the media put on young women and women of all ages to look and be a certain way and to be everything that they’re not. That was my first book and then my second book was about life after college. I did a series of interviews with well-known, successful people about their experiences with life after college and the advice that they have for people graduating now. Both books have been really fun.
What advice do you have for women in your age bracket about how to live on their own terms? Everyone wants to be themselves, but then they also say, “For a guy to like me I have to do this. For me to have great girlfriends I have to do this.”
I think, just knowing that you can have it all just do it in your own unique way and stay true to who you are. For me, what I love being able to do with my website and the web series that I have with InStyle magazine is to be able to show women in my age group that, you want to move into your first apartment and you want to do a gallery wall, here’s how to do it. You want to have your girlfriends over, but you don’t know how to cook. Here’s how to make a quick dinner. How to have a relationship, how to have a functional relationship dealing with all the forms of social media now that we have today. There’s so many different things that are going on that are so overwhelming and you’re trying to keep up with them as a young woman. I think just knowing that there are so many different ways to do them is refreshing and comforting for me.
I see so many amazing women so many cool things in their own way which I’m really interested in. How you express yourself with your hair and I express myself with my nails that I always get different comments on. I think that watching people do things in their own unique way is really cool and inspiring to me. I think that the advice that I have for women is just knowing that you should do things in your own way and that’s the best way.
You mentioned your web series with InStyle. Can you go into a little bit about that?
So I have a web series with InStyle called #Ask Kat, and people write in, ask questions, and we answer them in every other week video that we do for them. We really covered everything under the umbrella of lifestyle – food, fashion, beauty, home, kind of everything that I think our generation really wants to know about. For some we have guests that come on because obviously I don’t know it all, so I want to be able to learn it all. Enlist the help of people who are experts in those categories.
Can you describe your style? What is your must have key piece with you at all times?
I have my cell phone with me at all times. I would say a good leather jacket is really important because I like to have that with me. I travel with mine all the time. I would describe my style as California girl, but feminine and comfy.