Hair Stories: Kate Austin On Queer Representation and Choosing Love Despite Hardships

Miriam Herst | 13 June 2019
Kate Austin

Kate Austin discusses all things hair, pride, and how the two intersect. 

“Keeping it queer every day of the year,” Kate Austin‘s Instagram bio reads and it’s the overarching theme of her queer activism. Austin and her girlfriend, Sarah Sulsenti, are the power couple behind a community of a collective 100k followers. Year-round, you can find photos of the couple hanging out at home with their dog, exploring their home base in Philadelphia, or sometimes posing for a series of styled wedding shoots for various brands.

During Pride, Austin runs her annual campaign titled #Kates30DaysofPride where she features another follower each day of the month. This effort to spread love and visibility both within and beyond the queer community has had quite the impact. Austin talks openly about her family’s lack of acceptance of her sexuality and aims to spread hope to others going through the same challenges. We sat down with Austin to discuss representation, the evolution of her style, and what message she hopes to send through her visibility.



Kate Austin on Choosing Love



Kate Austin
Kate Austin and Sarah Sulsenti.

Do you consider your hair to be a form of self-expression?

Yes! I think I went through a phase of feeling like I needed long, thick hair to be beautiful. Finally, I learned that all lengths, styles, and colors are beautiful as long as you’re confident in them!

How did your style shift when you first came out and how has it shifted since?

I went through a weird phase of feeling like I needed to look like the queer women I saw represented in mainstream media. To me, my only representation was more masculine women and I felt like I needed to become that to be validated and understood. I dressed in a way that was so uncomfortable and not me and finally realized that I can be femme and can be valid. Now I rock my dresses and makeup and know that it doesn’t define who I am!

What does pride mean to you?

Pride is choosing to love and live even through the hardships that come with being a part of this community.

Kate Austin
Austin and Sulsenti at Philadelphia Pride 2019.

If you could give your younger self any advice or words of strength, what would you say?

There is nothing wrong with you. You can be whoever feels right and you don’t owe any explanations to anyone. Take your time in figuring out who you are and always put your happiness first. All things in time!

What message would you want to send to allies about the best way to support their queer friends and family?

Supporting your queer friends and families is more than going to pride weekend and wearing rainbow. It’s showing up and speaking out in the moments that aren’t as fun. It’s being a safe space all the time.

Kate Austin
Austin and Sulsenti in their home in Philadelphia.

Is there anything else you want to share with the ATH audience?

Show kindness, love, and acceptance any time you can and with everything you do. This world is so full of anger and hate – choose to be the light and others will follow.

Find the best haircare products for your hair type

Take our hair quiz