Model, content creator and businesswoman Catie Li is all about spreading self-confidence, self-care and body-positivity to women via her social media channels. Now, she’s taking her message to Amazon with her “The Drop” fashion line, debuting tomorrow. With a collection that includes timeless staples focused on inclusive sizing, Li is putting a collaborative twist on the pieces by getting her loyal followers involved (think vlogs and interactive polls). Li recently chatted with us about her creative process, beauty and why a good Sephora haul always makes her happy.
You do so much for the body-positivity movement. Is there anyone out there that you look up to when it comes to messaging?
“These questions are always the hardest because there’s so many people out there now! There are so many creators that are out there that are really sharing their stories. There’s so many people that aren’t ‘well-known influencers’ that are just out there doing it; I always try to bring out people that aren’t necessarily getting the spotlight. It is so important for me to recognize people that maybe don’t always get recognized.”
“Right now, TikTok is like a black hole and can get you obsessed with anything. It has been getting me into this super-Sephora mode with buying and testing things. Something that I’m always obsessed with I is Korean skin care. I have a cousin who currently lives in Korea, so I have the inside scoop. She sends me a box where she’ll be like, ‘Try to buy this, get this.’ Korean skincare is like magic. It does wonders for my skin.”
Are you into the TikTok beauty hacks?
“What’s funny is I think that these beauty hacks are recycled! For example, the white eyeliner trick. I’ve known for years that you put white eyeliner in the corner of your eye, and it makes your eye look bigger.
Now, they’re taking the white eyeliner and showing you how to contour your nose with it and they’re also doing the lines. I’m trying that one out. You basically draw a line from your smile line up, and then your nose up. Then you go from your eye up, blend it out and it’s supposed to give you this natural facelift. I tried that one and it’s OK. I think, sometimes, they make stuff up just to make stuff up.”
You’re also really into the message of wellness and self-care. How has that changed for you during the pandemic?
“Prior to the pandemic, I would try to do spa days. I would go to the Korean spa or a regular spa or whatever. I think, because we’ve been stuck at home, a lot of that has been lost. We’re always on call, we’re always on demand—there’s no boundaries anymore. I think I lost that self-care and creative a little bit over the last year. This past year…I was really stressed out; I actually got shingles and I quit my job in August.
During these past few months, I’ve had a little bit more freedom. One of my main things is focusing on my mental health and self-care. For me, it’s making time for the little things. Whether that’s getting my nails done or just doing something nice for myself. If that makes you happy, go ahead and do it.
I’m also trying to ease in back my maintenance stuff, getting my eyebrows done. Those little things that can feel so tedious but, at the end of the day, it does makes you feel good. I just got off my first massage last week and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I needed this.’ I’m reintroducing those back in, but it’s also hard because with COVID, we just don’t know…I also think making your home space is very important too. Making your home feel like home. That’s important to me—so is just taking time for myself and creating those boundaries.”
Some demarcation between work and life?
“Yes. It’s gotten so bad. The 24-to-48-hour rule of answering emails is gone. It’s literally gone. I’m thinking about my previous job. To wake up and have hundreds of emails at 6 a.m. in the morning, that affects you. And you can’t really log off any more because your boss is like, ‘You work from home,’ so there’s a sense of guilt, compared to when you were able to go into the office and you’re like, ‘No, I’m clocking out at 6 p.m. because I’ve been here all day.’
I think everybody’s struggling with that and everybody’s going a little bit crazy. I think that’s why mental help and self-care is becoming such a big thing—but it’s also something we have to teach ourselves because we live in America. We overwork ourselves. It’s a guilt trip when we have to ask for a vacation. I know I have the hardest time. I cannot log off. I feel like I can never log off. I can never take a full vacation. But I’m trying to do little things for myself. If I need a day off then I need a day off and not feel guilty about it.”
Is there any advice you’d give to your younger self?
“Sky’s the limit on anything and manifestation is real. I noticed that when I really manifest, things do really come true. I used to do a lot of those vision boards and a lot of it actually come true. For example, I put CoverGirl on it. In my mind it was like, ‘I’m going to model for CoverGirl’ and it actually happened that year; I did a marketing brand deal with CoverGirl. Things happen, but they might not happen exactly what you plan. I think it’s all about being openminded, manifesting, putting it out there and then seeing where it takes you and not being scared. Just go for it.”