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Photo from Mode XLusive.

Tour de blogosphere: Chantal Sarkisian on Mode XLusive’s success

By Kelsey Sunstrum on November 14, 2015

Local fashion stylist, body positive advocate, mother, and all-round cool girl, Chantal Sarkisian, is no novice in the blogging world. Throughout the past five years she has used blogging as an outlet to share her interests and inspire others. Her journey so far has found her exploring a number of avenues, from reporting on Ottawa culture to chronicling her maternity leave experience, determined by her hobbies and life at the time.

Currently, Sarkisian is the founder of the popular blog, Mode XLusive, Ottawa’s voice on plus-size fashion and style. You may recognize her from her recent holiday style segments on CTV Ottawa Morning Live or Daytime Ottawa.

Growing up in Toronto, Sarkisian was surrounded by fashion. From Saturday evenings taking in Fashion Television hosted by the iconic Jeanne Baker to her mother’s penchant for second-hand clothing finds, Sarkisian and style clicked from a young age. This growing passion sparked her to branch out to make-up and hair, too.

As a curvier woman, Sarkisian admits that, over the years, an occasional motivation behind her attraction to all things beauty is overcompensation for the feeling that clothes just didn’t look great on her. Utilizing fashion to learn to work with her body type has enabled her to embrace and feel comfortable in her figure.

This kind of confidence is what Mode XLusive is all about. Sarkisian elaborates on the blog’s mission statement: “When I see other stylish women in my size, I am always tempted to ask them where they got that great coat or perfectly tailored blazer. Her and I, we understand one other. It’s hard to find fashionable and high quality clothes that are made for larger women. There is almost a secret society of well dressed women, and I want to be part of it, except I want to share those secrets with others. We all want to look great, no matter what size.”

Fans of Mode XLusive read about Sarkisian’s recent weight loss journey in her Transformation series and already know that she has lost 20 pounds over the last year. This has presented another challenge: People have pointed out that she doesn’t qualify as plus-size anymore. Sarkisian describes herself as an ‘in-betweener’ now, but stresses that anyone can be an advocate for the body positive movement, regardless of body type. It’s that kind of honest and refreshing attitude that has gathered Mode XLusive such a fanbase.

Going back to her passion for the world of fashion, Sarkisian’s favorite posts to publish are outfit based, in spite of the colossal amount of work they require from styling details to location scouting to nailing the perfect shot. She thrives on a certain level of creativity required to pull these shoots off. And the pleasure of working with talented local photographers is just the cherry on top.

Sarkisian considers her most notable posts, however, to be the ones that elicit a response from her readers. “When I get comments reassuring me that I have added value to someone’s life, this for me is a successful post,” she explains. “There is no greater feeling.”

I was amazed to find out that Chantal is the mom to an adorable son and balances blogging between her family and her day job. I was sure there was a secret to her superhuman abilities. Turns out, it’s good old-fashioned hard work. She admits her life is always busy, the result of inherent FOMO, as rampant as the common cold amongst bloggers. She doesn’t let herself get bogged down with perfectionism either. “Quick and dirty, that’s my solution to juggling everything.” A lifelong perfectionist myself, I hope some of Sarkisian’s philosophy has rubbed off on me.

After conquering so many goals already, what’s next for Sarkisian? “I always hate admitting this, but my secret wish is to have my own TV show one day… not so secret anymore, I guess.”

Chantal Sarkisian blogs on Mode XLusive. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.