Realistic Clothing Hauls Queen Remi Bader Still Can't Believe This Is What She Does for a Living

·10 min read

Welcome to E!'s Tales From the Top, our series on women who are leaders in their fields and masters of their craft. Spanning industries and experiences, these powerhouse women answer all the questions you've ever had about how they got to where they are today—and what they overcame to get there. Read along as they bring their resumés to life.

Remi Bader found success in a hopeless place.

When she was let go from her job as a partnership marketing coordinator at Tidal in July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Yorker was admittedly at a loss.

"There were artists in the office every day and I was throwing these events and talking to all these brands," she recalled to E! News, "and I loved that."

But the more Bader thought about it, the more she realized that she had actually been running herself ragged.

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"I think I thought I loved the job more than I did, but I really was so stressed every day," she explained. "That's when I started really gaining weight and started binge-eating as a way to put out my stress. I would come home from work and just eat. So when I lost that job, I was upset, but then I realized that I felt it was kind of a relief. And I was like, 'Well, now what do I do?'"

What Bader did, out of boredom at first more than anything else, was start making TikTok videos, "truly never thinking that people would see them," she said. As it turned out, a lot of people stopped to watch and were utterly charmed by her super-relatable and often hilarious posts about shopping past a size 12.

Less than two years later, the queen of realistic clothing hauls—in which she scours accessible brands for good stuff and candidly reviews her finds—is churning out content for her 2 million followers, modeling and using her growing platform to effect change in the fashion industry when it comes to making clothes for women of all sizes.

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"I taught myself how to edit and I just was like, 'This is interesting.' And then once that started blowing up, I never thought this would turn into what it did, and that it would be my full time job," Bader shared. "But this is really my third job ever!"

After graduating from University of Delaware in 2017, she worked as an executive assistant and PR team coordinator at sister networks Bravo and Oxygen before starting at Tidal in March 2018, after which...

"I feel like each job was something completely different, and now I'm in a position that I never thought I would be in," the 26-year-old said.

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But even though Bader—who just joined Victoria's Secret PINK as an ambassador and size consultant as the brand strives for more inclusivity—is pretty much living the dream (or her "freaking dreams," depending on the weekend and whether Drake is performing), there are still things that keep her up at night as she navigates this new trail she admittedly blazed out of nowhere.

As befitting her tells-it-like-it-is approach online, Bader got real:

Remi Bader
Jasper Soloff

E!: What was the biggest challenge during this stretch for you, going from working at Tidal to making TikTok content? Or was it an easy transition?

RB: Oh, no, it was definitely challenging. I'm so thankful for it and I think that everything happens for a reason, and I want to be in the position I am now, but I'm still struggling to figure out how this can be a job-slash-my lifestyle. And again, I hate complaining about that because I know a lot of people would want to be in my position, but I have to be honest, which is what I do with my platform. You could get anything that you ever dreamed of and still have challenges and still have a difficult time. I'm still struggling with the stress and the eating and anxiety and all the things I was before. It took me awhile to [decide] this is going to be a full-time job. I had this plan for myself, and going in a completely different direction scared me. But the positive thing is that I'm learning to go with the flow and take opportunities as they come. Clearly, going by "the plan" never worked for me.

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E!: Is there anything you would have done differently?

RB: I really don't regret anything. Every single thing I've done [professionally] is benefiting me now. The fact that my boss let me go, I thought that was a horrible thing, and that turned into a positive thing. And even gaining 60 pounds, when I think about it, I'm like, "Well, if I never gained the weight, this never would have happened." I started making my videos talking about how I was struggling and [my experience with] fashion being a plus-size person. It's all this, or else I wouldn't be on TikTok and these things wouldn't have happened for me.

E!: What has been your biggest OMG moment since your videos started taking off and celebrity fans started reaching out?

RB: Every time celebrities are sliding into my DMs I panic, like, "You're a fan of mine?! That's so weird! I don't even get it, I'm a normal person, so why?" [Fans including] Meghan Trainor, Bebe Rexha, Venus Williams and Kelsea Ballerini, I definitely maintain relationships with those people because they're awesome, and also I have them to go to when I get confused with what to do in this industry. I have those people to look up to in a way. But probably every little thing, from the first moment I was on TV and all of my friends and friends' parents and my parents were sitting at home waiting to watch and freaking out. So I guess every big moment has been a big deal. It's still mind-boggling.

Tales from the Top, Remi Bader
Getty Images/E! Illustration

E!: Do you have a mentor or someone you seek career advice from?

RB: I go to Meghan Trainor for a lot of advice. I'm really thankful that she followed me early on in the journey and loved me—and I was so confused why! But over time we connected and she's been my go-to person. Then the more I meet people in the industry in the TikTok space or the influencer space who I know have been doing it for a long time, I love asking people for advice and I love learning new things, even ways to respond to haters.

Remi Bader, Daryl Sabara, Meghan Trainor, Instagram
Instagram

E!: Is there something you've learned along the way that sticks with you?

RB: I was so structured and needing everything to be perfect and going by my plans since I was 10 years old. I wish I wasn't as hard on myself and went with the flow a little more. Because all of the years of stressing over having the perfect career and being so upset that I didn't love my job... It does end up working out and you will find your way.

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E!: Do you have any advice for others looking to further their own careers?

RB: I have had the hardest time dealing with the negativity and I don't know if that'll change. I wish I wasn't a sensitive person, but I am and I do care about what people think about me. Every single day I have people—no matter what, every day–I have these people just being, 'You're fat, you're fat, you're fat. You should be losing weight,' just a lot of things about nothing I've done, just my physical appearance. And that's the hardest time because I'm like, 'Well, I put myself out here, I guess I have to deal with that." At the same time, I kind of didn't even choose this path. But, I'm happy I'm on it. So, how do I navigate that? I noticed that people that don't get heat are the people that don't put their full selves out there, and that's fine. Some people aren't open, but my whole thing is about being realistic and open about myself. I'm not going to change that, but it gives people more ammo to use against you when you're just speaking your everyday thoughts.

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E!: Where do you find the strength to put yourself out there knowing that's what you're going to encounter?

RB: I don't even think of it as strength or confidence. People come to me and they'll be like, "How were you so brave, how are you so confident, and how do you talk about this stuff?" I think the thing is, I don't even think about it. I've always been this way. It's the same way I talk to my friends or family or even colleagues. I'm very honest and I'm very open about myself. Speaking to a camera, I'm not thinking in the moment, "Over 2 million people are seeing this." Ninety percent of my feedback on everything over the past year has been positive. The more you grow, there's going to be mean people. I think maybe I'm testing myself to become less sensitive and just deal with that. I know people love me for being honest and being realistic and being relatable. So if I changed those things and hid those things about myself, it wouldn't feel real. I would feel like there's no point in me having a platform.

Remi Bader, Instagram
Instagram

E!: Is there is there an element that people may not know about what you do that is critical to where you've gotten today?

RB: I think that people don't realize the work that goes into all of this. I'm not going to constantly tell my followers, "You don't get what I've done to get here!" but yes, it was a huge thing, me randomly just deciding to teach myself how to edit, teach myself how to make these videos, literally going and buying these clothes—which I still do, even getting brand deals and stuff now, I use my own money for all these videos so that it's as realistic as possible for my followers, so that they know I'm doing it on my own. I have a team [now], but at the same time I've created this myself and I'm putting myself out there 24/7, which is also a huge part of it. The time-consuming thing is that I am there for my followers. My DMs are open, I respond to people, I want to help people, I respond to comments. I've built this community with them.

E!: What is your proudest career moment so far?

RB: Once this became a platform and a full-time job, [next it was] "OK, now I have followers, but what can I actually do for this? What can I stand for?" It's about changing the fashion industry, actually using my frustration with these brands and these designers for not being inclusive. And since people are listening to my voice, let's make some changes. I'm going to be a brand consultant for Victoria's Secret PINK for the next year, [working with them on] becoming more inclusive and increasing their sizing, testing the clothes before they go into production. Then February 17 will also be when they're launching their swim [collection], which is going to be in XXL for the first time, which I'm a part of as well. Actually changing a huge company—that's the most exciting thing that I would ever want to happen.

E!: Any goals that you're still dreaming about?

RB: I think that designer brands and higher-end brands really are not there yet with being inclusive, and I would love to somehow get into that world a little bit and show them how important it is. And I'll keep continuing to use my voice when it comes to the fashion industry, make people feel like they can feel more comfortable in their bodies. Wearing clothes shouldn't be difficult for anyone. It should be fun and it should be easy.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

(E!, Bravo and Oxygen are all members of the NBCUniversal family.)