(#SheForShe) Beyond the Social with 'WANT' Founder, Katie Horwitch
Let us introduce you to the A M A Z I N G Katie Horwitch!
Not only is this twenty-something beautiful AND inspiring—she is absolutely the REAL deal. Her brand, WANT (which stands for “Women Against Negative Talk") gives women the “insight and inspiration needed to shift their negative self-talk patterns and move forward into an empowered, self-actualized life.”
(( How could we not be OBSSESSED?! ))
Her content is full of life – covering the ups and downs (( the triumphs and downfalls )) that we can all relate to: everything from self care to health to relationships to love to work. Through her podcast, “The WANTcast” Katie talks to game-changing female entrepreneurs and tastemakers -- providing incredibly LIFE CHANGING advice, lessons and insights that absolutely can't be missed!
Fueled by a passion to banish negative self-talk and to encourage women to move forward FEARLESSLY in the direction of their wildest dreams …we couldn’t imagine a better candidate for our #SheForShe campaign!
So without further adieu… let’s hear, in Katie’s own words, how she went from actress to activist, why she started WANT and her best advice for any woman struggling with insecurity and anxieties that may be holding her back in life!
(( Not familiar with #SheForShe? ))
SOLO's #SheForShe campaign is an intimate interview series showcasing the voices of female bloggers, entertainers and entrepreneurs. We ask interviewees to talk candidly about the obstacles they've faced in their careers, and to provide their best career + confidence boosting advice with their female fans and followers!
>> The WANT Interview <<
Can you tell us a bit about your career journey? What lead you to WANT (Women Against Negative Talk)?
I thought I was going to be an actor almost my entire life (well, until I was eight years old, I actually thought I was going to be an animator for Disney). Went to school for it, started working professionally. At the same time, I got certified to teach indoor cycling classes AND was freelance writing for both health and entrepreneurial blogs (plus working jobs that ranged from days at a cubicle in an insurance office to singing backup vocals on Miley Cyrus karaoke DVD tracks). I soon realized I was way more interested in being ME than being any sort of archetype a script called for. So I transitioned into the wellness industry, and ended up on the founding team of a major online magazine for four incredible years.
I actually thought of the idea for WANT back in 2007, when I was still acting and working on recovering from orthorexia and other disordered tendencies. However, in hindsight, it was what I needed at the time, not what I knew I could deliver. Fast forward to 2014, and the idea came back to me in a very real way as I realized that not only did nothing exist like it (STILL), but that I actually knew how to implement it this time around. So while the second time around it took about eight months from business plan to launch, it was really seven YEARS and eight months in the making!
Are there any women who have influenced WANT? If so, in what way?
Every single woman I have ever met in my life. Seriously. The most influential trigger for me was when I realized we unintentionally keep each other in these loops of negativity and low self-worth, even though at our core all we really want to do is love and be loved as our fullest self. Once I realized both of these things as constants (the latter being the most important piece of the puzzle), I knew something needed to change. Big time.
There are so many different ways to spread a message these days - blogs, vlogs, social media etc. How did you decide that a podcast was the best route for you? What have been some challenges with your podcast?
Well, to be clear, the podcast is an extension of the editorial portion of WANT - And I recently started up a video channel, and I love social (especially Instagram). But podcasting is still pretty new, and pretty wild-west….especially when it comes to female-driven shows. I love asking the tough questions and I love listening to how people respond. And I LOVE showing others examples of women who have not resorted to either Pollyanna fluff or an abrasive attitude to move forward fearlessly in their own lives. I believe we all learn the same lessons here – just not at the same time or even the same lifetime. There are so many things we can teach one another if we just choose to listen – and, on the flipside, trust we will be heard.
The biggest challenge with the pod is time. I’m mostly a one-woman show, so I do all of the recording and editing myself. I’ve got a friend who zazzles up the sound file at the very end of the process, but the editing work is incredibly time-consuming. It’s not the big things – it’s the small clicks or coughs and things most people wouldn’t hear. But I am committed to giving not only the best listening experience to my subscribers, but I always want my guests to be proud of the incredible work they did on the pod. This means not just doing my job as an interviewer well, but doing my job as an editor well and not getting sloppy even when my eyes and ears hurt from trying to stitch things together seamlessly for hours on end. It’s like an art project to me. Just because “most people” wouldn’t pick up on it if I left those edited parts out doesn’t mean I should settle for “good enough.”
What makes WANT different from other self-empowerment movements?
WANT was created out of the realization that there were ZERO outlets that not only gave women the inspirational yet authentically human role models and real-life examples they were starved for – but actual pragmatic, positive tools and resources to shift their harmful talk patterns and perspectives into ones that could allow them to be those inspirational and authentically human role models for themselves. And the ones that did were to supplement someone’s one-on-one life coaching practice or simply focused on body image (SO important, but not what WANT is about). WANT recognizes the light and the dark, never ever ever vilifies a thought or body part or emotion, and speaks on an all-inclusive level when it comes to recognizing the negative self-talk in our lives (cause it pops up with our bodies, our relationships, our work, and our world). It’s also not a coaching practice. I’m honored when people tell me I’m “like” a life coach, but that’s not what I identify with. I am a writer, an artist, and an activist. And WANT is an organization and platform that lets the issues most important to me – and US – live out in the open so we can do something about them together.
Are there any sacrifices you have had to make in order to get where you are today?
I genuinely love the life I am leading and stand behind the choices I’ve made – but I guess if I had to really answer honestly, I’ve sacrificed short-term stability for the long-term vision. I come from an acting background, so stability isn’t really in the job description to begin with – but I will say that as I got older, I realized that the “expected” wasn’t all that bad. I was at a desk job – a wonderful and creative job, but a desk job – for quite a few years and while there were aspects I loved, I eventually left in order to pursue something way bigger and beyond the immediate future. Sometimes that can come from a desk job or a 9-5. But for me, I knew I needed to find a healthy balance between structure and freedom to not only be happy, but to make my biggest impact. The transition was not a breeze and still has its ups and downs, but that’s something that fuels me.
What advice would you have given to yourself when you were first starting out?
Just keep going. You’re soulful and intuitive and wise af and there are people who might not take you seriously because you’re young or don’t have a Masters in psychology or are “too sweet” but those are the people who are creating excuses because those are the ones who need you most.
How do you pull yourself out of negative talk, bad moods or dark days? Do you have specific techniques?
So many! I encourage your readers to definitely go get lost in WANT for a while – every single thing I write about has come from a personal experience of mine. But I will say that I never write about anything unless I feel that I have either mastered it (for lack of a better term), or that I am uber-confident in what I know AND what I don’t know. I will never give anyone advice without knowing if it works first, and definitely will never advise if I’m still in the struggle and trying to figure out for myself which way is up. I’ll write prose, maybe, but I will never advise. That’s dangerous stuff – and isn’t really advice at all, it’s just personal catharsis. One of my favorite ways to pull myself out of a dark day is to remind myself that this has happened before and will happen again. It’s not permanent. So what can I learn this time around?
Our beauty shouldn’t be defined by society, magazines and Instagram filters. What are some of your favorite flaws about yourself?
Flaws? I don’t like calling parts of my body “flaws” – creates a this vs. that mentality. I do think I am flawed, just like everyone else. Beautifully flawed by my life experiences and the way I choose to deal with certain circumstances. But I am always sure to stay self-aware enough to avoid my flawed-ness morphing into the kind of myopic stubbornness that does not serve me – nor anyone else.
As far as my physicality…maybe my freckles? Or the soft white zig zigs on each of my hips? But those aren’t flaws to me. They’re just me.
What is one misconception our society has about women that you feel strongly about?
That femininity and kindness is weakness or naiveté.
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Teleporting. Although if I didn’t deal with a commute, I’d have to find another time to listen to all my podcasts…
Self-doubt. It never ceases to amaze us! How do you handle it?
Honestly, I just go and think about it later! I give myself full permission to reflect on the doubt after the fact, but if I really care about something, I force myself to be IN IT. Sure, I might have a vulnerability hangover later, but that’s way better than not doing whatever you were going to do – plus, you can learn so much from vulnerability hangovers!
We know WANT just celebrated it’s 1st Anniversary, congrats! What is your vision for the future of WANT? What are you most excited to accomplish?
Multi-platform. Multi-national. Multi-faceted. Major social impact.
What message do you want to send to women who may deal with insecurities and anxieties that could be holding them back in their lives?
First find out if they’re actual insecurities and anxieties, or if it’s just more comfortable to hold onto them as a crutch (this exercise about Casual Negativity is awesome). If it’s the former – what is more worthwhile to you? Feeding insecurities or fueling your life? Do what you love and what fills you up. And for the record, if you have clinical anxiety, please know there are so many incredible pros out there who can help you work through those roadblocks. You’ve got the capacity for a wide emotional range – and because you’ve got the dark also means you’ve got more light than you even realize.
What is advice can you can give to women who are trying to find their "purpose" in life?
Find your through line. And then don’t worry about it so much. We all have that through line, the common theme and goal in everything we love and do. So many people get so wrapped up in “finding their purpose” that they miss out on the actual impact they could be making. Purpose is just a way to easily define your impact. By acting on your through line and DO-ing, your purpose will become clearer and clearer.
What is the best piece of advice a woman has ever given you?
My mom once told me, in (unbeknownst to her) one of my darker moments of Ortho, that “You’ve got to do what’s right for YOU.” A bunch of my friends were going to the gym very late at night, then to dinner after. I’d been to the gym that day, was feeling depressed and tired, but was getting extremely triggered by exercise talk. Plus, I was feeling major FOMO over the fact that everyone would be bonding…without me. My mom basically said to me that what they are doing does not define what I should or should not be doing, and that that is more than okay. I’m an introvert (a gregarious introvert, but an introvert nonetheless), so this advice has helped me tremendously when it comes to feeling at peace with my decisions to take care of myself instead of following the crowd or the “should.”
What does the phrase “SheForShe” mean to you? Which women have supported and inspired you the most throughout your career?
It means we’re all in this together. We are on the same team.
It’s interesting: I always choose my role models, career-wise, not based on what they are actually doing but who they are and how they do it. I love seeing women own all of who they are and infusing that into their work. There is very little that’s more inspiring to me. From afar, Marie Forleo has been a tremendous influence because of this. You can tell that who she puts out there is who she is once the computer is turned off and the cameras stop rolling – she was actually the first person in a very long time who helped me realize what I wanted to do with my life and how I wanted to do it.
From not-afar, I’ve been a huge fan of Sutton Foster’s since I was, like 13 - way before she was a Broadway headliner - and watched her basically catapult into fame while still staying true to who she is at her core. Besides her crazyface amount of talent, that grounded genuine spirit is a reason I think so many people have just fallen in love with her over the last decade or so and why people who aren’t even in theatre think she’s so freaking rad. My voice teachers not only helped me find my singing voice – they helped me find my VOICE voice – the one I was so scared to use out in the world for so long. My dear friend Jen, who has had all kinds of different careers and is one of the most fearless women I know, inspired me to stop accepting the role of second-best or the one who “saves the day” by helping everyone, and instead own my power and my aspirations without shame or apologies.
And, oh my god, there are SO many incredibly badass women in the wellness and feminist-minded spaces right now who have supported me and inspired me: My friends Jessica Murnane and Lynn Chen and Suzanne Hall, who all have phenomenal sites and brands and have been so generous with their advice and empathy and awesomeness even before I knew what the hell I was doing. I think what female entrepreneurs like Adina Grigore of SW Basics and Caitlin Crosby of The Giving Keys are doing is absolutely amazing for women – and people! – everywhere. The good stuff isn’t just about a product any more, it’s about a mission you can feel from the inside out. And these are all women who are just A+ human beings. Nay, A++.
It would literally take me hours to tell you all about the women who have inspired and supported me. I would be a horrible person to win an Oscar, because they’d have to drag me off the stage to the music playing due to my impulse to show my immense gratitude to every single person I am thankful for. I am so blessed to have had so many incredible women in my career who have had my back through the tough times and the celebratory ones. So I’ll stop there.
But wait! There is obviously my mother - a mega fun-loving person who tells it like it is (whether I like it or not) but also has that soulful side to her that allows her to connect with me and support me in a way not many can. And my grandmother – the living, breathing incarnation of all the lovely Julie Andrews characters rolled into one. This is a woman who lives her life with rose-colored contact lenses permanently attached to her eyeballs, who sees the fabulousity in life no matter how dark the forecast or depressing the outlook. She’s seen some shit. It never seems to shake her. I have never heard her complain, and the absolute worst I think I’ve heard her say she’s doing is “not great, but I’ll be better soon” (in the middle of recovering from a major surgery, no less). Not to mention turns 80 this year, and is way more busy and social than I think I have ever been in my life! She’s such a hero to me, is a WANT superfan, and the perfect example of an important fact of life: What you cultivate within yourself only grows with time, and can be your greatest strength or your shakiest crutch as the years go by. You get to decide.
We just L O V E her! Thank You Katie!
While you're at it check out WANT's Site, Instagram & Twitter to stay up-to-date on Katie's beautiful messages, interviews and inspirational content!