A plus-size content creator with more than 70,000 TikTok followers who once thought she was “too fat to travel” is now planning a group vacation for curvy women, where every place they visit will have seats and stronger beds without slats.
Kirsty Leanne, 29, from Telford, Shropshire, started creating TikTok content after noticing a gap in the plus-size-friendly travel market and wanted to show other women that no matter what size they can travel comfortably.
She would like it to become more acceptable for plus-size people to call restaurants to see if there is a comfortable place for them to sit, and for places to be transparent about their seat sizes so that plus-size people can reserve larger seats in advance. of time.
The influencer hopes to encourage other full-fledged women to stop putting off exciting things until they’ve lost weight and show that they can do whatever they want, no matter what. or their dress size.
When Kirsty was at the University of Westminster studying business management and marketing in 2012, she took a work-abroad program in California and knew from then on that she wanted to go the world – but put it off because she thought she was “too big”. travel”.
After finishing college, Kirsty continued to feel skeptical about traveling as a plus-size woman, but one day she realized she couldn’t keep putting things off for her size.
She said: ‘It wasn’t until years later that I realized I was torturing myself, on every trip I took I thought I needed to lose weight. It was a horrible cycle.
On her travels, Kirsty was looking for plus-size friendly activities and places to stay, such as places with sturdy beds and roomier chairs, and realized there was a gap in the market. .
She started creating TikTok videos, sharing travel tips for plus sizes, and her most viral video is the one where she reviews airplane seat sizes.
She said: “My theft reviews are always going great, mostly because people are not okay with it.”
Kirsty also began filming herself doing things people wouldn’t always expect tall people to do, such as surfing and biking.
She explained the general reaction to her videos saying, “I have two sides, where I have people who are really grateful for what I do.
“And they text me and they text me things like, ‘Thank you so much, I never would have flown if it wasn’t for you.’
“And then I have the complete opposite where people completely hate what I do because they think I’m telling people it’s okay to be tall.”
In 2019, Kirsty gave up her job as a social media manager to create full-time, full-size travel videos after her posts started gaining traction. She now hopes to show other plus-size women that they don’t need to lose weight to do the things they want to do.
She said: ‘I was looking for it and couldn’t find it myself, so I kind of thought I might be the person to give this information to because I travel a lot.
“I want to empower people to see that they can travel the world with a bigger body, but I also want to give them all the information they need to travel comfortably.
“So it’s kind of both kinds of parts, both educational and inspirational.”
Now, Kirsty has planned group vacations for plus-size women in Bali so they don’t have to worry about the inaccessibility of everyday activities like she once did.
She explained: “I’ve researched everything to make sure we’re going into plus size friendly restaurants, we’re going into Bali swings which have a weight limit above the average weight limit for them.
“So places that have bigger seats, more stable seats, no plastic chairs, and places that are a bit more accommodating.
“We go on a lot of different excursions which I’ve made sure heavier people can do. There is no weight limit for them.
“It will just be a nice, safe space for plus-size people to travel with other plus-size people, because people probably don’t get to do that very often.
“When I made the reservations I left little notes on it and said we were a plus size group of people.
“I asked if we could have a table that would be a little more comfortable for us, and they were all perfect.”
Kirsty makes three trips to Bali; the first sold-out trip is with nine people in November 2022, 11 on the second trip in April 2023 and three on the third trip in November 2023.
Kirsty has visited Bali before so knows where it’s most accessible to tall women, but thinks America and Mexico are the most welcoming to tall bodies.
She said: “I believe America is probably the most accessible because they have a lot of plus sizes, so they probably just naturally have those things in place, which makes them great.
“I also felt very comfortable in Mexico and they were really accommodating.”
Kirsty explained what she would like to see changed in the UK so that daily outings are more accessible to tall people.
She said: “I just think it would be great if the information we needed was available to us.
“So I don’t necessarily want every restaurant in the world to go around and make bigger chairs, which would be great. I understand that’s not possible.
“I just wish they would say, ‘We have tables with bigger chairs available if you want to reserve them. Or, I just want this information available.