Name: Ama and Yuli
Blog Name: Fat Girl Food Squad
Where were you born?
Ama: I was born in Toronto, Ontario but raised in Mississauga, just 30 minutes outside the city. I moved back to Toronto when I was 18 years old. I'm not a suburban person at-all.
Yuli: I was born and raised in Calgary. I spent 8 years in Ottawa studying photography and graphic design before moving to Toronto 2.5 years ago.
Where are you living now?
Ama: Brockton Triangle, an area of southwest Toronto bordered by Lansdowne, Dufferin, College and Queen.
Yuli: Along a stretch on St Clair West in Toronto known as Corso Italia.
Why did you start your blog?
Ama: Both Yuli and I have been involved in the blog world for a long time, both having written about music, design and various topics for a number of blogs. Just over a year ago, I started hash-tagging things on Instagram #fatgirlfoodsquad. I had mentioned Fat Girl Food Squad to a few friends that I had wanted to start my own blog on food and body positivity. Yuli and I have been working as a tag-team writer/photographer duo for months and naturally, we came together to bring Fat Girl Food Squad to the public. Both of us care about people, how they feel about their bodies, we care about them eating great food and most importantly: we want them to take our positive messaging and feel good inside their bodies, mentally and physically.
Yuli: We'd been thinking about going out on our own for a while. We wanted something different, more freedom and control. And to be a different voice. And one day I sat down, put together a website, social accounts and a place holder logo and told Ama it was a Thing. We hit the ground running almost 8 months ago and have been posting Monday to Friday ever since.
How did you decide on the blog name.
Ama: Everyone either is confused by the name, loves the name or hates it. But then there are those people who just GET IT. The name was something that came to me really easily. First and foremost, I had friends tell me to not refer to myself as "fat" because it was derogatory to myself. Thing is, plus-size girls everywhere are reclaiming the word "fat". So I thought, OK. Well: I'm fat, I'm a girl, the main focus will be food and then since I listen to so much hip-hop Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka always refer to their "crews" as Squads and I knew it wouldn't be just us. Thus, Fat Girl Food Squad was born.
Yuli: That one is all Ama. I don't think I would have ever named it something so frank and bold, but I am glad we did.
What do you blog about?
Ama: Generally speaking, we discuss food however we also touch on body positivity, fatshion, sexuality and feminism. Every Wednesday we have a bi-weekly split between Real Talk and Lookin' Good Girl.
Yuli: At first it was mostly food and then, as a natural extension, it's equally about body positivity (whatever the body) and feminism.
What post are you most proud of?
Ama: Our post for the Food Network Scouts contest. Our newest FGFS contributor Siobhan alerted us to the contest and we decided to enter. Our good friend and FGFS supporter Corey Moranis donated one of her cosmic cakes for our cause. From cake-pick up to photo shoot to blog post, it took 3 hours and we ended up winning. I just had a piece go up on the Food Network Canada blog, as part of winning the FNC Scouts
Yuli: I did a review of a dinner at the Samuel J Moore here in Toronto. Not only was it my first time writing about food in any real way, but it was also a wine paring dinner, and I have no knowledge about wine other then the handful my family drank my whole life and are by proxy the only ones I drink. So, it was an out of my comfort zone exercise for me, plus I'm particularly proud of the photos I took that evening too.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
Ama: Our homegirl Heather from LA's first piece on the blog entitled, Tour de Taco by Bike! When she explained the concept of her riding around LA on her bike and eating tacos, we were so stoked. She even sent us a photo of her tagging a wall in LA with Fat Girl Food Squad (with chalk, of course). However, when the post went live, it just didn't generate the hype and excitement like we felt about it. TACOS BY BIKE PEOPLE, COME ON! How can you not love that?
Yuli: I'm with Ama on being perplexed as to why Heather's Tour de Tacos piece didn't do better. It was so well done, and funny. We're still waiting on Part 2 from Heather so maybe now that 10% of our Facebook followers are in and around LA it will fare better.
Which post's success surprised you the most & why?
Ama: Megan who is part of our Toronto Squad did this rad piece on finding great Gluten-Free places to eat in the city. The post had a ridiculous amount of shares, bit.ly traction and also positive feedback via social media. I think what we've come to realize is that more posts like this are absolutely necessary, as more and more people have specialized diets and feel constricted by where they can eat. Luckily, a post like this showed that you can eat whatever you want and not feel restricted. She ended up putting together a follow-up version from her time in NYC, since the Toronto one was so well received.
Yuli: I think Siobhan's first piece for us, on "fitshaming", surprised me by how much response and views it got. Not because of the content, I knew Siobhan was a great writer from working with her back in the day on another blog, but as of right now it's numbers are leaps and bounds higher than any post on the site.
Which is one (non-kitchen) gadget you could not live without?
Ama: My iPhone. I have been known to fall asleep with it in my hand checking emails. I may have a problem.
Yuli: One of my cameras. At this stage in the game let's be honest, I couldn't live without one of the DSLRs.
What is one kitchen gadget you can't live without?
Ama: My knives. This year, I have really come to love and appreciate a good set of knives and thus, the collection has begun.
Yuli: French Press. We're a three French Press household. It's my preferred brewing method and I drink a lot of coffee.
Favourite food, care to share a recipe or restaurant choice?
Yuli: I really like Thai and Japanese food. I tend to make a lot of it at home. I'm not really a recipe follower, but I did at one point have a very well done Asian cuisine cookbook and basically committed to memory before losing it in a move years ago. As far as restaurants Toronto has so many that I rarely hit up one on the regular (Samuel J Moore being the exception, FGFS loves that place). I just discovered Aft out in the East End in what I guess you'd call Riverside while walking around after a photoshoot. I really like Big Crown, it feels like being at camp. You're outside, and if the weather is not so great, under these tarps, sitting on biergarten style tables with Hudson's Bay blankets to keep cozy.
What else should we know about you that may or may not be in your "About Me"? What makes your blog unique?
Ama: I am totally an A-Type personality, which I think comes from working as a full-time event planner. I promise, I'm not totally high-strung! I do not take myself too seriously. I'm more than willing to laugh at myself and love laughing about all the little things that life likes to throw my way. Come at me, life! I think what makes Fat Girl Food Squad unique is we're serving up the thick and juicy word on food and body positivity. This makes us hugely unique in a lot of different ways.
Yuli: A lot of the people we have writing for us have never done anything like this. They've never been published, they've never written about food, or photographed food, or had to talk to PR people or set up interviews. But they do it for us. As an editor I email back and forth with new writers and hear a lot saying "but, I'm not a writer" or "please look over this for me?" And I'm so happy to tell them their pieces are great and they can't stop asking that now.
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