Alexandria, VA – In 2014, Old Town resident Dani Sauter took a leap of faith and moved from her government contracting work to a job in the private sector as a marketer for a tech company. She was hired to create a website and increase the firm’s social marketing presence, something Sauter knew well and enjoyed.
Unfortunately, it was not a good fit, and Sauter became unhappy and frustrated. But rather than feeling defeated by the negativity coming at her, Sauter decided to overcome the situation by wearing clothing that made her feel beautiful and confident, reducing her anxiety.
It worked. It worked so well that Sauter left that job and started blogging. It came naturally to her, as she had always loved to express herself through clothing and knew she was onto something good. “I started blogging to encourage women to look at style as a tool to use to help their self-confidence,” she said.
Sauter grew up in front of the camera, as her parents were both photographers. She always wanted to be a model but knew her size and height didn’t match the lean and lithe models in magazines. So Sauter embraced what she had and made it work for herself. “As a visual person,” she said, “photography and art speak to me.”
Initially, Sauter’s blog, Blonde in the District (a nod to her signature hair color), focused more on sharing personal style and showing up on the scene at events all over Washington, D.C. Then it morphed into a body-positive vehicle. “The more I blogged, the more I noticed the body positive movement taking hold,” she said.
Even Fendi and Versace began featuring plus-sized models on the runway. The environment is shifting, but there is still work to be done,” she added.
Style has no size, Sauter declares, and people should wear clothing that makes them feel good. “Women can be intimidated by style trends. I wanted women to take ownership and use their style and beauty as a way to feel good.” Men have also reached out to her, thanking her for encouraging them to feel better about themselves.
That bright, positive, and confident outlook stuck a chord. Between the blog and social media channels, mainly the photo-centric Instagram, Sauter has become an influencer with 111,000 followers. When the pandemic took a damaging toll on the fashion industry last year, many of her campaigns and contracts were canceled. Undaunted, Sauter took a refresher session of Coco Rocha’s Modeling Camp online, and her phone started ringing again. “I wish I could tell my 12-year-old self, don’t worry — you will be a model when you’re 36!” she said.
Sauter’s body-positive vibe caught the attention of Jessica Buchanan and Jessica Kidwell, hosts of the popular podcast We Should Talk About That. “Dani’s style and her editorial photo shoots just jump off the page,” they said. “We love how she uses her platform to normalize plus-sized beauty and to model that gorgeous comes in more than a size six or less.”
The Jesses were drawn to that body-positive message as they have focused on similar issues in their conversations on previous episodes. They reached out and invited Sauter to join the We Should Talk About That show on Z-TV LIVE Tuesday, May 11, at 7 pm. “We are looking forward to talking with Dani about body positivity, beauty at all sizes, and body acceptance,” they said.
Looking ahead, Sauter is enthusiastic and hopeful about the post-pandemic world. She is excited for her next event in Old Town on May 22, where she will partner with the Brit Boss pop-up at Glynn Jones Salon and helping Brit Boss on the fully inclusive fashion event. She joined the roster at T-H-E Artist Agency as a model, and she recently starred in a promo video for Citizen M boutique hotels.
Most of all, Sauter is longing to get back to traditional fashion industry events. “I can’t wait for Fashion Week to return! I want to watch a runway show, or maybe,” she smiled, “be on the runway as a model.” Find Dani Sauter’s blog, Blonde in the District, at www.blondeinthedistrict.com. Follow her on Instagram, @blonde_inthedistrict, and on Facebook, @blondeinthedistrict. And be sure to tune into Z-TV LIVE on Tuesday, May 11, at 7 pm, when Dani will be the guest on We Should Talk About That!