On this episode of Straight Up With Stassi, Stassi’s fellow world traveler Katie Maloney Schwartz joins to talk about their recent trip to Istanbul.

“Here we come!”

“So, ya’ll,” Stassi begins. “Katie and I didn’t just decide, ‘Hey, you know where I’ve never been? Turkey.'”

“Eventually, I want to go everywhere in the world, and it definitely wasn’t on the shortlist, and it wasn’t on the long list…” Katie says.

“But it was on the ‘I hope one day I can make it there for some reason’ list…” Stassi continues.

“And we had this really random opportunity to go, and we were like, ‘Well, it’s now or never,'” Katie explains.

“Katie and I got emails basically saying, ‘Would you like to come to Istanbul?’ and they made it sound like it was kind of an influencer trip…” Stassi says/

“Not really an influencer trip, but an experience, and we can’t say exactly what we were there for,” Katie says. “But there was an end goal to be there for sure.”

“You’re so much better at being secretive about this,” Stassi laughs. “I’m about to accidentally word-vomit everything.”

“The details were extremely vague, and the way it was presented made it seem like, ‘Okay, well this seems like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Katie explains.

“Yeah, like when will we be back to Istanbul, and together?” Stassi asks.

“Exactly,” Katie agrees. “Stassi and I love to travel together.”

“We are really good travel companions,” Stassi adds.

“We are,” Katie says. “So we were like, alright, I guess this is our next destination. Here we come!”

“A little piece of me died there. RIP.”

“We should be travel bloggers,” Katie jokes. “I feel like I got a crash course in Insta-influencing.”

“100 percent,” Stassi agrees. “So, we get to the Double Tree Hotel in Istanbul…”

“We check in… and then we had a welcome dinner with all of our new friends,” Katie adds.

“So basically this ended up being an influencer trip,” Stassi says. “Like, the way I can describe it is like when Revolve has those ‘around the world’ trips and they go places and a bunch of influencers go and post about it. That’s pretty much, I imagine, what that was.”

“I’ve never thought of myself as being much of an influencer,” Katie says. “I mean yeah, sometimes I’ll do some stuff on Insta. I’m very selective of the things I like to do, because I feel like it needs to be authentic, it needs to be something where I’m like, ‘Yes, I actually enjoy this product.’ I’ve got a weak game on the Instagram.”

“Well honestly, I thought I had a strong game, until I went on this trip,” Stassi says. “I will never allow any of you guys to make fun of the amount that I Instagram story after seeing all of the influencers on this trip. I’m sorry, I couldn’t walk into a room anywhere without every single person having their phones up, selfie-storying, being like, ‘Hey guys, I’m here in Istanbul, look how beautiful it is, also check out my outfit.'”

“There’s a level of cringe and phony-ness,” Katie says. “They’re great at it, once you see it, on the ‘gram. But when you’re watching it go down behind the scenes, behind that veil…”

“Yeah, watching them pose for their fashion photos, being like, ‘Take a photo of me, take a photo of me’ and having them fake walk and then look down and look to the side,” Stassi describes. “Like no, my soul just died. A part of me is left in Istanbul because of that.”

“Not the better part of me, but a piece of me,” Katie says. “A little piece of me died there. RIP.”

“I don’t want people to think we had a shitty time,” Stassi says. “We had a really fun time. I really like Istanbul. It was really cool hearing all of the prayer sounds.”

“The call to prayer was the best part,” Katie agrees. “Because of that, you felt immediately immersed in their culture. It’s impossible to go there and think, ‘Where do I go that’s authentic?’ or ‘Where’s the authentic food?’ Everywhere is authentic. You’re surrounded by it.”

“Yeah, I had lentil soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Stassi says.

“That experience in itself was awesome,” Katie says. “And that’s invaluable for sure.”


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