My guest this week is the fabulous Holly Richards from Ample Folk, and she has not one but TWO diet culture tirades to share! As someone who’s always been larger bodied, Holly is well acquainted with how tough it can be to travel on planes, and on a recent flight purchased two seats to make sure she was comfortable. Jetstar’s treatment of her proves that fatphobia is alive and well, but she took no sh*t! They didn’t know who they were dealing with, because Holly is also unmasking the exclusionary and outrageous tactics of the Australian clothing industry on as well! There is no end to Holly’s rage or her awesomeness! Listen now!

Show Transcript

Welcome to all fired up. I’m Louise your host and this is the podcast where we talk all things anti diet. Has diet culture got you in a fit of rage is the injustice of the beauty ideal getting your knickers in a twist? Does fitspo make you want to spit-spo? Are you ready to hurl if you hear one more weight loss tip? Are you ready to be mad, loud and proud? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get all fired up.

Welcome back diet culture dropouts, I have a gobsmacking pile of diet culture bullshit for you today. I know last week I promised you part two of our discussion about the dastardly edit collaboration, delving into their connection with the Tessa chat bot from the National Eating Disorder Alliance. But it turns out that my guest for that conversation has come down with COVID So we’re going to bring that episode to you once she’s all better. In the meantime, I have a particularly outraged guest this week, Holly from ample folk.

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So on with the show. My guest today is Holly Richards from Apple folk, fabulous creator of those amazing towels, who is incandescent with rage. Not only has she been treated like shit by budget airline Jetstar. As someone who’s always been larger, she’s just had it up to the back teeth about Ozzie clothing sizes, and has discovered some frankly outrageous facts about women’s sizing and fashion in Australia. That is going to blow your mind. So without further ado, let’s welcome Holly Richards. So Holly, thank you so much for being on the show. Unknown Speaker 4:50 Thank you so much for having me. What a treat. Louise Adams 4:53 Tell me what’s firing you up. Speaker 2 4:55 Oh gosh. Well, how long have you got but let’s start with bloody Jetstar. Louise Adams 4:59 Oh, Oh, bloody Jetstar. Unknown Speaker 5:02 Really firing me up. Let me tell you the whole story Louise Adams 5:05 from beginning to exquisite end. For any like listeners who aren’t familiar with what the hell Jetstar is, it’s our Australian low budget airline. Speaker 2 5:16 Yes, low budget. And it turns out low class. So look long story long. Basically, I am a plus sized person I’ve been plus sized pretty much all of my life or I used the word fat. And in the last sort of six months, I’ve started booking an extra seat purely to avoid having that awkward conversation with someone next to me or like, an awkward confrontation. God forbid, I hadn’t told a single soul that I was doing this, I was so ashamed. And so naturally, like traveling is a big person is like really a terrifying experience. But just like ratchet it up. And so I sort of I was in Sydney, and I was flying home to Avalon. I live in Geelong. And I was already very anxious and went to check in, I knew that I had to check in in person just to make sure that the second seat was okay. He sort of kind of fobbed me off and that was like, it’s fine. Go to the gate, went to the gate sat down. Of course, the Jetstar people roll over the trolley to weigh your bags. Because you know, that’s that’s how their business model works. So I was like, Oh, here we go. I’ve done this a million times. And the ladies, I could just tell one at a fight like, I’m looking for blood. Yeah. And they went hard for me. But it started to get really awkward, because I sort of just kept we kept going down this rabbit hole. And I didn’t want to say, Oh, actually, I have an extra seat. So like, I actually have extra hand luggage allowance because it was a room. It was packed at the gate. Yeah, you’ve got no privacy, zero, less than zero. There were literally so many people already, at this point, listening to the conversation, I was surrounded by people. And so I ended up having to say, I’ve actually got an extra seat. So very sheepishly, he said, that doesn’t matter what particular Sterling. And there was this, all this back and forth as well, because I had a CPAP machine for my sleep every anyway, I won’t bore you with those details. But it ended up with me, asking to speak to her manager, which I’ve never done in my life. I knew what this particular said, I’m so embarrassed, like, we’ve gone this far. Heck, let’s keep going. And so they went off and got the manager, the manager came over and sort of like, backtrack from a couple of things. They said, but then continue down this path of No, but you’re gonna have to pay for extra baggage. And I was like, we’re letting my pride again and said, I actually have an extra seat. And he was like, Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I did not know that. And I was like, Are you serious? Like she didn’t even tell you that like this is insane. And oh my god, I was like, she was not listening to me and didn’t care. Like it was just like no regard for at all my feelings like nothing. And he was very apologetic, walked away. And then by that point, I was in tears. Ah, just like so embarrassed, so embarrassed, like everyone around me had heard this exchange. Louise Adams 7:57 This is all taking place in front of hundreds of people literally, literally Aw, Speaker 2 8:01 was mortified. And like that alone is any kind of altercation with like, staff at an airport is awkward anyway, let alone when it has to do with your weight, and the seat size and all that stuff. So then I get into line and I’m like, Oh, God, that was awful. But whatever. And then as I get to the front of the line, the same manager comes up, he’d been eyeing me off, and says to me, don’t do that, again, don’t book an extra seat again. And I just immediately burst into tears. Because it again, set it in front of everyone. And so I jumped out of the line. And I was like, I don’t know what like, what do I do? Like I don’t understand like this. Louise Adams 8:37 Use like, Speaker 2 8:38 I thought I was doing the right thing. And it turned out he said you’ve confused the system. And I was like, What do you mean, I’ve confused the system. Like you checked in online, not at the service desk. And I was like, No, I checked in online as I was told you and then I went to the service desk as I was told to, they told me it was okay. And immediately he was like, I didn’t know that. I’m so sorry. At this point. I’m sobbing. And so like the whole like sobbing thing so awkward. And he immediately he realized what had happened at this point, he realized just how badly they treated me when I’d really tried to do everything. Right. And he just said I’m so sorry. I’m so so sorry. I really hope you fly with Jetstar again. Louise Adams 9:21 But no. I hired to fly with Jetstar again. Watch Speaker 2 9:30 my speechless thing to say. And also I just I couldn’t even speak by that point. Oh. So then I get to line and it was sort of it was all over. And while this is happening, I’d had to tell my best friend who had just left in Sydney for the first time that I’d booked an extra say like, WaterFire experience telling her that and then she’s just sort of said when you get on the plane, like, just write down what happened. She was like, just write it down. And I’d love to read it if you’re comfortable with that. But like I just I think it’d be cathartic for you and she was right. I literally just sat down in the seat and started writing. And then before I knew I looked up and we’d landed, and I’d finished writing it down, and she read it. And she was like, you have to share this with people like it’s yes. This. She was like, I’m your best friend. And I didn’t know about this, like, I know you better than anyone. And I didn’t even know that you were doing this and that this, you deal with this kind of thing on a daily basis. And I was like, shoot you, right? You’re so right. Yeah. Louise Adams 10:21 Yeah. Right. It’s like, keeping it to yourself and feeling that sense of shame is it makes me I’m just I’m just, like, it’s just a loss for words. It’s just so terrible. But the shame is the friggin airline. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like, I mean, first of all, for not having seats that can accommodate humans of all sizes, leading them to make decisions, like you had to make. Yeah, to purchase two seats, because they don’t bother with any frickin options. Because apparently people don’t exist, you know, above a certain size. And when you try and solve it, that treatment overview is like horrendous. Yeah, that’s exactly it. That’s exactly it. And as you said, shame is the word is just so steeped in shame. But you know, the great irony of all of this is that actually has taken away some of that shame for me sharing this experience and talk Speaker 2 11:20 about it. It’s really, like, really gifted me like some lessening of that burden, which I never expected. Louise Adams 11:29 Yeah, cuz it’s, it is a really courageous thing for you to do to share it and because I saw you talking about it on social media, and am I Well, first of all, fuck off Jetstar. But second of all, I love it when people take stands like this, but I always like, in the back of my head going hard. This person is okay. Because it can be can get blowback, you can get horrible stuff happen. Yeah, but yeah, so it’s good to hear that you’re like, actually, the shame has dried up. So Speaker 2 11:58 like, I mean, not completely, obviously. But it certainly lessened. And I mean, he’s not complaining, interviewed me. And I should say, as well, for those, like, who am I sorry, for the first time, and maybe you don’t know that I was originally a journalist before I started my business. And so I think people sort of I had a couple of journalists following me already. So like, I think they’re kind of like, and so then Today, you got caught wind and wanted to interview me. So I haven’t read any of the comments, particularly on Facebook on that article, because never Louise Adams 12:27 never read the comments. Never mind, we don’t read No. Speaker 2 12:33 I haven’t gone there. And then obviously got picked up everywhere by The Daily Mail and the mirror and the sun and everyone and ended up going on Sunrise and today’s show, which was actually great. But I looked at any of the comments because it’s just that is what hurts, you Louise Adams 12:47 know, okay. But we all know that people on social media, like doing troll comments, like the lowest form of a lot of life on Earth, and you know, they’re so bad, they probably just wouldn’t even higher than to be in customer service. So you don’t have to wait read the comments, but it’s feeling the support feeling them worldwide media retention of Hang on, this is not your body. Shame story. Speaker 2 13:14 This is an a woefully like in it. And cruel airline, and no paying passenger should ever have to go through that. Yeah, yeah. And truly like, honestly, and I’ve said this a couple times, and I’ll say it again. But you can be a low budget airline, I get it. It’s low cost, like tight margins, all that stuff. But kindness is free. Like it doesn’t cost a cent to be nice to people. And I just think that you shouldn’t have to pay extra for a polite courteous staff member who’s at the very least going to treat you like someone who’s not trying to rock the system at every turn. But yeah, it’s just Louise Adams 13:51 rotting this system by like, going out of your way and putting yourself like paying more money to them. Yeah. So to avoid awkward situations with other passengers. You should get like passenger of the Year from Jetstar. Unknown Speaker 14:06 Oh, no, I just got a $200 batch. Ah, Louise Adams 14:09 god. I wonder if all of this attention has led to any kind of changes for jet star? Like, are they doing any kind of weight stigma training? Or like how to become less of an asshole training? Speaker 2 14:24 I don’t know if that exists. Maybe you should start those courses. No, is the short answer. I did speak to jet Saudi they actually reached out but only because they’d the media had gone to them for comment. Yeah. And that’s when they offered me the voucher. And I was like, whatever. This is not about a voucher. And I said to them, you know, I have to ask one is that you pass on to the people who are directly involved what I just said the kindness is free. And then to that I’m involved in policy change for Jetstar, and I’d love to say that the table, even if like it’s literally just one meeting or I sit there as an observer like I don’t care So I just I want these to lead to some kind of policy change, because what’s clear here is you have zero policy around purchasing an extra seat, regardless of like the white seats for training and all that, like at the very least, policy for passengers who want to book an extra seat. And absolutely nothing’s come of it. They said that email me nothing. Masters. Yeah, Louise Adams 15:19 just absolute bastards, not even one star. Because that’s the negative stuff. Negative stars far out. That’s just an astonishing, astonishingly bad story. good outcome. Yeah. To talk about, like times when you might feel ashamed of your body when it’s actually a systematic problem. Yes, yes. Speaking of which, there’s something else you’re fired up about? Unknown Speaker 15:45 About a lot. You know, it’s probably like the natural redheaded me. Louise Adams 15:49 I can relate. Speaker 2 15:51 Look, I’m also fired out about the way that the clothing industry is just lied to us to be honest. Louise Adams 15:58 Yes, yes. In what way has the clothing industry lied to us? Because it’s hard to pick through Speaker 2 16:05 as many so the one thing that I’m really pissed off about Venus is and I just wrote an article about this for refinery 29 Is that we’ve kind of been told time and time again that the average and I say average in inverted commas. Australian woman wears a size 14 to 16. Like it’s trotted out in so many media articles. It’s something that we all know like, it’s just, I’ve Louise Adams 16:25 heard that, that since I was a teenager. Exactly. Yeah, Speaker 2 16:29 exactly. Exactly. And, you know, I remember my mom even saying to me, like, you want to be around the size 12 to 14, and what? When I was a kid, and but it turns out that that is actually not the case. So I did some investigating. And I took some ABS data from a national health survey in 2017 2018, have the average waist circumference of a woman, which is 88 centimeters, and then compare that with the size charts of 20 of Australia’s leading retailers. And it turns out that someone with an 88 centimeter waist would likely fit between a size 16 and a size 18. And that’s conservative, it’s probably 18 to 20. Louise Adams 17:07 Oh, I’ve just like, like, you’re amazing for like, just casually doing that. Oh, what do I do today? I think I’ll get some, but wow, what? I know. When you actually go to the data? Yeah, it is like wildly wrong. wildly wrong. Wow. Ozzie woman is a size 18? Probably 18 to 20. Speaker 2 17:33 Yeah, probably. Yeah. Like, like, I mean, obviously, it’s not a lot of data so hard, right? Because that, you know, yeah, it’s kind of too hard into the ABS data. And it’s not exactly great. So always have a gold standard. But what what I discovered out of this is I then took the next step further, and I wanted to know, you know, like, why, why aren’t there any sizing standards, like you can go into one store and be a size 12 in one store, and then another use ice state, and then the other one unit size 12. Again, you know, it’s just, it doesn’t make any sense. And so I spoke to someone who used to be on like the sizing Standards Board, and it was scrapped in 2008. And she told me that the data that was used to make our sizing system is based in data from the US from the southern states have 11,000 white women 1839 Louise Adams 18:23 waiting for us. Oh, there’s a lot to unpack here. Yeah. Okay. So our Australian sizing system is drawn from women born into like, at the beginning of the Second World War in America, Speaker 2 18:42 post depression, they’ve just come out oppression. Yeah. Okay, that’s That sounds reasonable, huh. It sounds relevant sounds Grayson. Louise Adams 18:54 Okay, so that’s, that’s where our standard sizing for Australia has come from. And then there was something called the set standard sizing board that got Speaker 2 19:02 disbanded. Yeah. Why is that? Oh, because they had realized, Oh, we actually basing all this data, which no one’s following anyway, by the way, everyone’s doing their own thing with sizing really? I sort of said it’s completely irrelevant, because this data is based in 1939 data in another country with its roots in white supremacy. They were just white women who participated in this survey. And you know, are you going to get any plus size of fat people participating? You know, electronic data server like that, even in 1939? Absolutely not. So, yeah, it just didn’t make any sense. So they saw they had the good foresight to say, this doesn’t make sense. Let’s get rid of it. But there hasn’t been any thing that’s kind of replaced it. Louise Adams 19:44 Just everyone’s kind of like firing their hands up in the air and said, It’s all too hard. Like it’s a free for all. But yeah, good luck, ladies. Speaker 2 19:52 That’s it. I should say this woman who I spoke to her name’s Kate, and she, she’s wonderful and she’s actually done a PhD on the topic and is looking at sort of like, 3d modeling and how they can solve the problem, but it’s so complex. And then to get, you know, the fashion industry on board is just it’s next to impossible to ask. Louise Adams 20:11 Yeah, I mean, it’s like herding cats, isn’t it to get to get that that many people, a lot of them still pretend that we’re in 1939. sizing and want it to keep stay that way. But okay, yeah. So how Yeah, I mean, I fantasize about this world where there’s like, just clothes that you can wear for everyone. Unknown Speaker 20:33 What’s that? Well, like? Louise Adams 20:36 I say seems like if I can make electric cars we shouldn’t be able to make clothes that fit everyone like in an actual stores to like, so we can not that I have any against online shopping. I love online shopping. The option the accessibility? Yeah. Is this crazy? Absolutely. Yeah, I can I have to ask what motivated you to just start doing this casually one day? Speaker 2 21:03 Well, the answer is really, in my business in the I started my business and Woolfolk. And as part of the sort of market research for that, I sort of discovered that yes, 67% of Australians are considered plus size, but just 6.3% of retailers offer plus sizes, and I was just like, Oh, can Louise Adams 21:21 I sell it again? Sorry. Like, I Speaker 2 21:23 know, it’s mind boggling. Ah, 67% of Aziz are considered plus size. But so that’s basically like a size 16 or above. But 6.3% of retailers offer plus sizes. Holy fuck, I know. I know. It really explains why I’ve never been out of buy clothes. And so I just these numbers, and they were cold, hard facts. I was like, This just doesn’t make any sense. Like, why has no one done these? Like, why do people and it just led to me asking more and more questions. And then I got to that question of what is everyone saying the average is like a size 14? Like, that doesn’t make sense to me. Like what is the average? And that’s how she’s kind of all started. Louise Adams 22:01 Okay. Well, thank God. Let’s say your your business is amplified. And you’re making I know, you make the towels, which everyone loves. Are you making other clothes as well? Speaker 2 22:11 Yeah. So it all actually started with me wanting to make a sports bra for plus sized women, because I couldn’t, I was actually sort of a couple years into treatment for a very long term eating disorder and had finally cracked that like pushing past the community have approached exercise. And I was really starting to embrace it like really, for me and like actually enjoying it during the lockdown. And then but I couldn’t find a sports bra on my site. It’s like it lit like I literally can’t climb and it doesn’t exist. There isn’t one on the planet. And so I was like, oh my god, this is ridiculous. Like, surely Oh, my golly, there’s got to be one and turns out I’m not alone. Louise Adams 22:48 I imagined Like, seriously, what the fuck, like we’re making electric cars. But But yeah, boobs don’t have a home. Like, Speaker 2 22:55 we just like literally half the population have boobs. And like it just it none of it makes any sense to you. I’m very logical person. And I was just very, like, very big on like justice and like just didn’t make any sense. And so I get started designing. And it’s kind of it’s honestly, it’s been like two and a half years of trying to get this brand off the ground. And it’s really difficult. My designer and I have been working really hard on at least probably not even halfway there to be honest. And so in the meantime, we wanted to bring out products and help the community straightaway. So we have 15 products in the works now. But the sort of the quickest development time was was towels. And so that’s why we went with them first, but we’ve got towels. We’ve got robes coming out soon. And we’ve got beach towels coming in a beach cover up and swimwear and there’s lots of lots of things in the horizon. Louise Adams 23:42 Oh god the world like you need to get the Australian of the Year award. Because just for the boobs like that. Just for that, how dare Jetstar treat you like that? Do you know this woman is rescuing Australian boobs, but designing a bra sounds terrifying. Speaker 2 24:07 Yeah, it is. It really is. It’s one of those things where I was like, It’s easy, right? Like knowing absolutely zero about it. Like I was formally journalist, as I said that, yeah, my design is a genius. And we still haven’t quite cracked the code. But I think we’ll get there. It’s just a matter of iteration. Like just sort of keep testing and every time we get a bra back, it’s like closer to being ready. And yeah, we’ll say Louise Adams 24:29 I’m gonna Can I come to the browser launch? Unknown Speaker 24:33 Absolutely. Louise Adams 24:37 Where can people find you Holly? Yeah, so I’m just at Apple folk on pretty much all platforms tick tock, Facebook, Instagram, all the above otherwise Oh, my God. Thank you so much for coming on and talking about all this. And yes, fly safe. You too now.  Take care, trust your body, think critically push back against our culture and untrap from the crap!