'The DUFF' Author Kody Keplinger On The Importance Of Being Body Positive & The State Of Plus Size In High Fashion Today

Kody Keplinger is a woman of many talents. She may have written the best-selling novel The DUFF at 17-years-old, but her interests are not confined to pen and paper. "I'm a bigger girl — I'm between regular and plus-sizes, which is a really awkward place to be in," the author says. "Even thought I wrote The DUFF and I've always been a very body positive person, I've always struggled with my body. Fashion's been a way that I've overcome that."

Through her instagram and platform as a beloved writer, Keplinger has used her own struggles to relate to her readers and beyond. "I've always struggled with finding clothes that fit me right. If they fit me in one place, they don't fit me anywhere else. I never enjoyed clothes. This past year I decided to find a way to change this," she says. "I pursued stores that have clothing that actually fit my shape. I found things that I loved and made me feel confident. I had a complete transformation in how I saw my body."

Finding clothes the first step, and Keplinger utilizes the hashtag "#BodyPositive" when sharing her favorite looks. "I no longer feel awkward when people look at me because I'm proud of what I'm wearing. I wanted to start using my instagram for this, because I figured there were other girls out there who, whether plus size or not, needed help finding clothes that made them feel good," she says. "I think fashion is a wonderful way to make people feel positive about themselves. I don't care about what's on trend, I care about what makes me feel good today. I want to spread that message."

And while Keplinger's optimism is refreshing, and is surely embraced by the gaggle of followers she's accrued, it's the fashion industry as a whole that needs to take note. "I think we're starting to see a lot of progress. A lot of bigger name designers have started to do plus sizes, and we also have people like Tess Holliday, who is blowing it up. She's amazing. She's making waves and she signed with a major modeling agency, and that gives me so much hope," Keplinger says regarding the plus size model.

"I think there's a misconception that you can tell how healthy someone is by looking at them. So some assume bigger girls aren't as healthy. I'm glad we are finally saying that beauty can be any size, and that we should be making clothes — beautiful clothes — for people of any size."

See the big screen adaptation of Keplinger's novel The DUFF in theatres Friday, February 20. And follow Kody Keplinger on instagram for further fashion inspiration.

Images: Instagram/@kodykeplinger