As the third installment of our Q&A series, The Continuist has interviewed the duo behind Fat Girl Food Squad: writer Ama Scriver and photographer Yuli Scheidt. FGFS combines elements of body positivity with traditional food blogging, and we are so proud to know these two.
What do you do for a living?
Yuli: I’m a freelance photographer, illustrator & graphic designer. And a barista.
Ama: I work full time as an event planner and help organize the Super Bowl of Mining at my 9 to 5, lovingly known by many chefs in the city as PDAC. Outside of that, I’m a freelance blogger.
What’s your favourite part about what you do?
Yuli: As much as I love eating food I’ve discovered that I really enjoy photographing it. I also love photographing the people who made it.
Ama: I love meeting the different people involved in the industry and hearing their stories. Be it the chef, the mixologist, the restaurant owner, the publicist, whomever — I love all the different stories that all relate back to food. The passion that comes from everyone in this industry. These are the stories that drive me to keep going.
Yuli: Waking up at 2:30 or 3am to get things on the site in order before I go pull espresso shots for 8 hours. Or maybe not being able to fit everything we want to do into a day. I can’t be at two places at once and it’s hard to miss an opening or a special event.
Ama: I will usually wake up at 5AM every single day (weekday or weekend) to work on stuff for Fat Girl, prior to going to my full-time events job. Be it sending out Tweets or answering e-mails, etc. I think it’s hard for me to accept sometimes that there are only 24 hours in a day and I physically can’t jam more into it. I want to attend every single event, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way.
How did you get started?
Yuli: Ama and I met on Twitter right before I moved to Toronto. She asked me to take some photos of a Summerlicious diner last year and we became a really tight writer/photographer duo. At one point this year we were working with five websites, but we wanted to go out on our own. FGFS came out of a certain amount of urgency. We needed to do this for ourselves.
Ama: About a year ago, I started hash-tagging things on Instagram #fatgirlfoodsquad. I had mentioned Fat Girl Food Squad to a few of my friends that I had wanted to start my own blog on food and body positivity. My friends were super supportive and Yuli was one of those. Yuli and I had been talking about starting another blog together, but nothing came from it. One morning, I woke up and Yuli had sent me an e-mail saying she made all the accounts and website for Fat Girl Food Squad; it was a real thing and it was kinda like Christmas morning. Thankfully, people took notice – quickly.
What has this project done for you both?
Yuli: It’s brought a lot of amazing people into my life. As soon as we started doing FGFS people reached out to us, wanted to be a part of it. And now I work with amazing, inspiring women across North America every day.
Ama: There has been a lot of really great opportunity that have come our way, thanks to the blog. We took place in the Food Network Canada Scout contest and won, which was kind of a big deal. We’re just in the midst of planning two dinner party events at some great Toronto restaurants, which will be launching in the Fall. But as Yuli mentioned, all the incredible and inspiring women who have reached out to us (via e-mail, IG, Twitter) and now are part of the Squad or just fans. I never thought our reach could go this far, but here we are and for me: I’m humbled and honoured.
What do you hope is in the future for FGFS?
Yuli: I would just be happy to be able to continue to be a voice for people who think they don’t have one. I want to be that fat girl in the room holding it down. Making other women feel like they have the right to be who they are, judgment free. I never thought I would be that person, but now that I am I feel privileged.
Ama: I have been thinking about the *ahem* five-year plan for Fat Girl Food Squad on the regular. There are many things I would like to achieve for Yuli & myself (as a team) but also for all of our Squad Leaders and Member holding it down in other chapters. Everyday I’m trying to come up with new ideas/thoughts/visions to bring us forward, so I have no doubt in my mind that this five-year plan will become reality. Until then, I’m so utterly content and happy with providing positive messaging and an open space for plus-size girls to feel like the bad ass bitches they are each and everyday.
Is there other related creative work that you do? If so, what is it?
Yuli: There’s very little time for non-FGFS related things, but outside of that I like to take photos of things other than food, design posters, make short films, paint water colour illustrations, write arts commentary and book reviews. You can look at these things at yulischeidt.com.
Ama: I am the Food Editor over at Toronto is Awesome and I have my weekly column there titled, Breaking Bread. Beyond that, I don’t have time for anything else outside of FGFS. I volunteer at the Stop Community Food Center (as part of their Events team) and also part of the Daily Bread Food Bank (as part of their Events support team). For me, I try to give back to the community through volunteering as much as possible as I feel like that is the least I can do.
We’ve included some stripped-down, body rockin’ photos from Ama and Yuli’s No Inhibitions photo shoot below. All credit goes to photographer Jessica Levy.