How it all began

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Starting over: the decision that changed my life and how my blog got started

I get a lot of people asking me how I got started in blogging, and since my blog turns five this year (has it really been that long?) I thought I’d share a little bit of my back story about how This is Meagan Kerr came about.

In 2010 I was working full time as an administrator for a non-profit, and in the weekends and after hours I was working as a photographer. I shot portraits, some really fun creative fashion and beauty editorials, and even the occasional wedding. I’m the kind of person who always wants to know more, to be better at what I do and to push myself further, so I started looking at study options. I’d done certificates in Business Administration and Computing when I was still a teenager, but I wanted to have another crack at tertiary study as an adult. I decided that I wanted to turn photography into my full time career, so after lots of research and with much trepidation, I decided to leave my job and jump right back in to full time study.

It’s pretty daunting going back to study after so long away, especially when you’re surrounded by people who are ten or more years younger than you, but I was determined to get everything I could out of it. I learned how to take better photographs, how to use light to my advantage, valuable research and analysis skills, the fine art of photo retouching, and I even had the chance to intern with a photographer that took me along to New Zealand Fashion Week! I wanted to see more diversity than what I was seeing on the pages of magazines, so I started taking photos of other people and posting them on a blog (because at that point there was no way you’d catch me in front of a camera!), and thus This is Meagan Kerr was born.

In my last year of study, I learned something that turned out to be life changing. I learned that I didn’t want to be the kind of photographer that I had originally set out to be. I no longer wanted to be part of a fashion and beauty industry that manipulated images of women to make them smaller and smoother. I wanted to let other women know that they don’t have to be smaller, smoother, younger to enjoy fashion.

From the archives: my first outfit post, wearing a dress from Harlow

In early 2013, I took my frustration at not seeing bodies like mine advertising the clothes that were being sold to me, and I decided to focus my blog on plus size fashion. I wanted people to know that there were clothing options available in plus sizes and we didn’t have to look frumpy if we didn’t want to. It wasn’t until May 2013 that I was finally brave enough to share my first outfit post, but in the meantime there was a lot of work going on behind the scenes. I began taking papers that would help me turn my blog into a career, where I would learn about running a business and building my website. I started taking self portraits to become more comfortable with my body, and I really hit the ground running. By the end of May I had the chance to share my photography in an exhibition as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography, and I decided to show something really personal. A photo of me in a swimsuit.

Meagan Kerr swimming at Waikaraka

From the archives: me swimming at Waikaraka

From there, my blog grew with the help of my studies. In mid-2013, for my final year project, I began photographing women who ignore the β€œfashion rules” and wear what they want. That’s what my blog became known for, a place where plus size women could be themselves and to heck with what traditional media told us what we should be, do, say, or wear.

The decision to go back to study was not one I made lightly, but I’m really glad that I made that investment in myself. It was crucial in helping me to get to where I wanted to be and to give me those skills I needed – even when the plan changed a bit along the way. I might even study again in the future, because I think that learning doesn’t have to stop as we get older and I’d love to upskill in a few areas. Things have changed a lot since I first entered tertiary study when I was 17 – now you’ve got the choice of studying on campus, doing a short course or even distance learning (which means you can study from home, great if you’re juggling other commitments or don’t live near a campus). If there’s something you’re keen to study, you can find out more about distance learning here.

Have you ever thought about going back to study as an adult?
Let me know in the comments below what you’d love to study

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26 Comments

  1. February 26, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    Hi Megan I follow u on Instagram and have been a huge fan of yours for years this blog resonated with me so much. 4 years ago I started my Instagram to show women that there were other plus size fashions out there that weren’t tent like! I was a Sze 30 and while I was happy I wasn’t healthy so had a gastric bypass and I’m now a big but healthy girl and doing something I thought I only dreamed of representing plus size girls on the cat walk in new Zealand fashion week!! I even decided to leave my job and jump back into full time study and I’m doing my bachelor of criminal justice. I wouldn’t have been inspired or been brave enough to do what I’ve done without the women before me so THANKYOU!!!

    • March 1, 2017 / 12:13 pm

      Oh gosh, thanks so much Melanie! Exciting to hear that you’ve gone back to full time study, criminal justice sounds really interesting too! I’ll have to come and find you on insta now πŸ˜‰

  2. Jackie Connop
    February 25, 2017 / 8:47 am

    I went back to study as an adult and did patternmaking and sewing and am now sewing from home only in a small way. This year I’m starting my own line of long knickers to stop the joy of thigh rub πŸ˜‰πŸ‘ I’ve been wearing them for years under dresses and skirts and thought I would get them out there for others to try.

    • February 25, 2017 / 1:14 pm

      That’s awesome Jackie! It’s cool to see your dreams coming to life – keep me posted! x

  3. sandra mason
    February 24, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    I did go back and study as an adult student, with 4 small children. I returned and did my Nursing Degree, after having been a caregiver for 7 years.
    Scarey stuff considering I was the breadwinner. Have now been nursing for 9 years and love it

    • February 24, 2017 / 4:19 pm

      That’s wonderful Sandra! Always a bit scary making that move from being the breadwinner to being a student but it sounds like following that nursing path was a great idea for you x

  4. February 24, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    I toy with idea of study but with a toddler at home I just don’t know how I’d fit it in! One day….photography would be my dream 😍

    • February 24, 2017 / 1:45 pm

      Juggling study and a toddler could be an interesting feat! Maybe a short course could be a good way to get in to photography? What kind of photography are you keen on Catherine?

  5. February 17, 2017 / 7:38 pm

    I’ve considered it occasionally, but I’d honestly just struggle to support myself if I was studying, plus my student loan is already big enough lol

    • February 21, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      You’re right, supporting yourself can be really hard when you’re studying! I remember juggling two jobs and study when I was at uni, plus internships. I think next time (because I really want to do further study!) I’d do a short course or do it extramurally.

  6. February 16, 2017 / 11:39 am

    I have enrolled myself in some Tikanga courses which are from home. I have crazy work hours so this works perfectly.

    • February 21, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      That’s awesome Tash! I’d love to do a course to learn tikanga and Te Reo

  7. Ruth
    February 15, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    I have just started studying! I have a diploma in Event Management from years ago but decided I want my cap and gown so I just started a Bachelor of Applied Management via SIT correspondence. I love it so much more now that I’m older, invested and know what I want from my career πŸ™‚

    • February 21, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      Yay Ruth, how cool! I think studying as an adult is so much fun, and you’re definitely more invested than when you’re just out of high school (I know that was the case for me anyway!)

  8. February 15, 2017 / 11:21 am

    My dream is to study baking and patisserie. I don’t think I can, though. I’m 34, I have two kids, and I’m partially disabled by chronic illness. I bake every day, though, and I study the science and art of baking every chance I get.

    I’m so inspired by your story, Meagan. There has to be a way for me to do what I love, to follow my passion, no matter what limitations I have. X

    • February 21, 2017 / 9:12 pm

      Sounds like a pretty cool dream Carly! I think there is definitely a way for you to follow your passion, whether it’s via a formal qualification or not. Maybe you should get in touch with Massey, they’ll be able to advise you on how they can work in with your needs xx

  9. February 15, 2017 / 10:42 am

    Although I’m only out of university study for 5 years, going back to do a post grad dip full time was a big decision. I’m still paying off my initial loan and I’m lucky my partner wants me to be happy and is supportive.

    • February 21, 2017 / 9:13 pm

      Exciting that you’re doing post grad Toni! I’m glad to hear that your partner is supportive – having people who support you is really important (especially when things get stressful!)

  10. Tash
    February 15, 2017 / 9:54 am

    I’m just about to start studying again after close to ten years away (orientation this Friday then start next Monday!). I studied then worked as a nurse for a number of years but came to the realization that although I enjoyed helping people, nursing wasn’t my passion. I then did a short 6 month course in art and design (always been interested but had always done science etc at school) and loved it. Took me another couple of years to figure out which direction to go with it, and now I’ve discovered a passion for interior design. I have heaps of ideas of where I want to take it, but have to get through the study first! Absolutely freaking out about studying again, but I know in the long run it will be so worth it to be doing something I’m passionate about.

    • February 21, 2017 / 9:20 pm

      That’s so exciting Tash! How are you finding it so far?

  11. February 15, 2017 / 9:48 am

    Thanks for sharing, what a great story. I returned to study fashion at the ripe old age of 29. My initial intention was to learn the art of paternmaking and hone my sewing skills so I could become a dressmaker. I started out as a Patternmaker, moved into product development, sales, account management and design. Then 4 years ago took the plunge and started my own business designing and making fashion for women who are often forgotten in the wide world of fashion . I’m a firm believer that it is never too late to change course, and that the road you travel on will most likely have twists and turns along the way and may even take you somewhere totally different to what you expected. Life is a work in progress, you change with everything you do or say everyday, so it is fitting that so too may your goals, the important thing is to enjoy the journey.
    K

    • February 21, 2017 / 9:25 pm

      And you’ve come so far in that time! Lots of twists and turns in the journey for sure!

  12. February 15, 2017 / 9:19 am

    I finished Uni 10 years ago and returning to study after years of working full time sounds super scary to think about! On the other had it’s a pretty fabulous opportunity to be able to go back and learn something you love. Look how far you’ve come!

    • February 15, 2017 / 10:27 am

      It’s a bit of a shock (especially in a financial sense!) but at the same time so worth it to chase those dreams!

  13. rachelfaithcox
    February 15, 2017 / 7:30 am

    I dream of going back to study writing, creative writing. And sometimes I want to do graphic design. If study were free and time were surplus, I’d also study English Literature as a major. But it all seems so frivolous for me now. Maybe once I’m through the busy parenting years and out the other side…

    • February 15, 2017 / 8:42 am

      Sounds like you’ve got a passion for learning, Rachel! I think creative writing is on my list of things I’d love to study too, and something that I could do via distance learning to make it fit around a busy life. It would definitely complement our blogging skills!