Fat Girls Chat: An Interview with Kitty Underhill

We are so excited to introduce Kitty Underhill to The Fat Girls Guide community for Women’s History Month. I have known Kitty for a few years now and she has been such a source of inspiration and more to me. More recently Kitty has started a movement called #TotallyTubular🤙🏻 which we firmly believe is helping change the world and making a difference. There’s something amazing watching history happen live.

We chat #TotallyTubular🤙🏻, her favourite travel spots and more. Make sure to give Kitty a follow on Instagram!

Tell us about you and what you do:
My name is Kitty Underhill and I am a model, speaker, coach-in-training and advocate for body and self-acceptance.

My work is underpinned by my fury that we are taught from our youth that we are not good enough and have to spend years learning how to accept ourselves, our emotions, our bodies and our so-called ‘flaws’. Through my online platform, I try my best to reframe peoples’ limiting beliefs, show them how to be more compassionate toward themselves and teach people to be critical of the forces at play that teaches them that they and their bodies aren’t good enough so that they may challenge them.

What are you passionate about?
Where to begin! I’m passionate about my career and my work. I believe that everyone is deserving of self love; it’s my driving force and motivates everything that I do.

I am passionate about not only teaching others to accept their bodies but also bodies unlike their own – in the fight for body acceptance it is imperative that people are critical about and challenge their own anti-fatness, racism, queerphobia, ableism so they can do better by others also.

I am passionate about food also – in a world that teaches you that food is the enemy, it’s a radical act to embrace the joy of food and forget about calorie content, fats, sugars and all those things we label ‘bad’.

On a more trivial level, I’m also passionate about dogs, early 00s emo/post-hardcore, true crime and all things spooky and weird. Give me a story about a ghost or a cryptid anyday!

Can you tell us about #TotallyTubular🤙🏻?
#TotallyTubular🤙🏻 is the campaign I launched in order to spread awareness about Tubular Breast Syndrome, which is a condition whereby the breast tissue doesn’t grow “correctly”, resulting in a conical breast shape, puffy areolas, and a narrow breast base.

There is very little information about it out there and many people who have tubular boobs feel like they can’t speak up about it because they feel embarrassed or ashamed, so I’m trying to fight that and help people to accept their boobs!

What motivated you to create the #TotallyTubular🤙🏻 campaign?
I found out by mistake that I had tubular boobs – I always knew my boobs were ‘different’ but didn’t know why. I happened to stumble upon an article which spoke about tubular breast syndrome, so I googled the term and lo and behold, pictures of boobs that looked like mine!

Finally, after years of wondering, I understood. However, all the photos came from plastic surgery websites talking about how to ‘fix’ the ‘deformity’. I found another article where it said that some people with tubular breasts even felt suicidal. I went from feeling seen to feeling crushed in a matter of minutes.

I realised that it is not ok that I found out about my boobs by mistake. I also was angered that the only information about it was on plastic surgery websites! What does that say to people that the only resources for people like me are from plastic surgeons talking about how your body is ‘wrong’?

I created the campaign not only to spread awareness and show others who are #TotallyTubular🤙🏻  that they are beautiful just as they are, but to also highlight the lack of research into the condition. We need more compassionate resources to help people accept their boobs! 

What do you hope to achieve with this campaign?
I hope to show others who have tubular boobs that there is nothing wrong with them, even if the media and society may make them feel that way. I want to help them unlearn the idea that their boobs are ‘bad’. I also hope that this sparks some research into the condition; it strikes me as odd that boobs that developed differently are medicalised enough that surgeons recommend surgery, but not so medicalised that we know if there’s negative effects of having them.

Plus, there are no stats around how prevalent it is because of a lack of interest in the area, as well as the shame and stigma that those who have the condition experience. So, I hope that with further research we can understand it more deeply and help more people.

The first place you’ll be travelling to when it’s safe?
My short-haul options are either Rhodes or Italy, long haul I’d love to go to Bali!

Editors note for all our American readers, short-haul is what in the UK we consider quick trips i.e. 2-4 hours vs long-haul would be anything over 4 hours!

How can those in the fat community support you?
If you think you may have tubular boobs and are in a place where you feel safe and comfortable to do so, shout about it! Post about it! Use the hashtag to share your story. If you don’t, spreading the word about the campaign is great too. 

What do you wish you could tell every person reading this interview?

You are, you were, and always will be enough. Your self worth is completely non-negotiable. 

Favorite quarantine activity?
Cooking! It brings me so much mindful joy. I’m not one to rely on cookbooks often but I recently completed an online plant based cookery course which really taught me the value of being in the moment and patience with cooking. It’s been great for my mental health. I do miss restaurants SO much though!

Anything else you want to share? 

I hope that everyone who is reading this has been able to treat themselves with extra love and care as of late in such a difficult, heavy, triggering time.

 Enjoyed this interview? Make sure to share it!

Amanda Wilkinson

When Amanda is busy running While Fat she can be found running her own Digital Marketing Agency in Bristol, UK. Amanda can also be found reading books on her Bookstagram, drinking Aperol, and dreaming about her next trip.

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