11 Questions with Cat

Sometimes in life, you’re lucky enough to meet the people who inspire you. I was introduced to Cat’s artistry and activism a year ago. She did a photoshoot with a plus size model I follow and as soon as I saw her work I knew there was something special about her. This curvy chick is a change maker you should know about. Even on the other side of the globe she’s making moves for the fat community. Her series The Thique Clique received global recognition for putting plus size Asian women front and center. And images from her Dark Skin series are currently circulating the interwebs as a meme.

I asked Cat a few questions to help us get to know the lady behind the lens a bit better.

What inspires you?

The people I meet, and their stories & challenges. I wanna help people see themselves in a different, more positive light. 

You’re very open about your social anxieties in your Instagram Stories. What allows you to be so vulnerable publicly?

I’ve always been brutally direct about a lot of things, and I don’t see how being vulnerable is a weakness. What’s more important is someone out there realizes that they’re not the only ones feeling this way, and to see that you can be out there doing things and still feel vulnerable. 

Why is vulnerability important?

Until you are genuinely vulnerable with someone, you will never form a genuine bond with anyone else. If you’re only dipping your toes, you will never feel depth. You can’t be afraid of getting hurt or losing when you’re willing to vulnerable, and that makes it a strength on its own.

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when there's gold on the inside too

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Knowing that it’s illegal to be queer in Malaysia why do you often showcase queer love?

It’s important to normalize the gaze. Most people see queer love as ‘weird’, ‘unapproachable’, or worse, a fetish. Queer love is not some kinda novelty or freak show. They’re just as human as the next person, worthy of love and being treated with respect. 

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PDA (Private Displays of Affection) ~ a prelude

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What does inclusivity mean to you?

Inclusivity is being able to see someone that looks like yourself being shown in a positive light. That kind of acknowledgment is powerful and inspires us to reach new heights we never knew was accessible to us before.

What inspired your “Dark Skin” series?

This was actually a collaboration with a fellow photographer, Daniel Adams. In Malaysia, skin bleaching is known to be a norm, and dark skin is considered to be a flaw. 

The Thique Clique series, why is it important?

I’ve been a big girl almost all my life, and I wanted to see girls and people like me being portrayed in a light that is optimistic & confidently existing. 

Fat men are often excluded from the movement. What inspired you to create the Brown Men edition?

It’s as simple as working on being more inclusive. I aspire to become even more so in the near future. Also, I don’t think fat men are purposefully excluded from the movement, but men, in general, are not held to the same standards of being a certain kind of beautiful to be regarded as human.

Your (s) kintsugi series is so powerful. Can you explain it and why it was important for you to create it?

I was scared that someday the man I love and/or my children will see my scars, and ask how did I get them, or why did I do that to myself. Creating that series was a means to accept these scars as just a part of my history, not something to hide or be ashamed of.

What advice do you have for someone who aspires to be a professional photographer?

It depends on the kind of photography you wanna do. But regardless, don’t get too caught up with the gear when you’re just starting out. Just start doing. And keep doing more. It took me about 12 years to figure out what I want to do.

What’s next and how can we support you?

Eventually, I wanna travel more and be paid to take more pictures of (different kinds of) beautiful people in beautiful places around the world. But for now, I’m just rolling with the punches. 

I recently traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and before I even booked my flight I booked a session with Cat. Another way you can support this incredible artist is by becoming a Patron.

11 Questions with Cat Pin

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