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‘I’m showing people you can be intelligent and a model,’ May once said.
Katie May, a model and self-proclaimed “Queen of Snapchat,” passed away last night at age 34.
May was hospitalized for a stroke on Monday, reports TMZ. She remained in critical condition, and yesterday she was taken off life support.
In recent years, May had made a name for herself on social media. In addition to her Snapchat presence, she has nearly two million Instagram followers. She used the account primarily to share modeling shots.
May’s career began in public relations. She worked in PR for a fashion house after graduating from college, before opening up a boutique firm of her own. But eventually, hustling in the business world, while also being a single mother, was too burdensome.
“I knew that I no longer wanted to work for someone else in a 9-5 job,” May explained in an interview with The Huffington Post last month. “I couldn’t be without creativity and I had to be true to myself in this next chapter of my life. I was faced with insane overhead and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.”
May used jogging as a time to contemplate life changes. As she ran home after dropping her daughter off her school bus stop, she started to picture a new future for herself.
“During my jogs I would listen to mantras or spiritual music and meditate and during this time I decided that I was going to do a photo-shoot,” May continued. “I was going to follow my true desire to be on the other side of the camera, even though I am much older than most of the girls in the industry and really had no experience. Fortunately, that shoot went viral thanks to a feature by Arsenic Magazine. The rest is history.”
Shortly before her death, May became the face of JetBet, a competitor of popular sports betting apps FanDuel and DraftKings. She made it clear, though, that she wasn’t only a spokesmodel —she used her business background to play a role in the app’s development and her intelligence and skills were an integral part of the partnership.
“I’m showing people you can be intelligent and a model,” May told The Huffington Post. “You can do more than sell protein and tea on social media and you don’t have to be a movie star or musician to have influence. I tell the guys at JetBet when something is corny or won’t work socially and they tell me when my marketing ideas are too expensive or won’t align with their strategy.”
May is survived by her 7-year-old daughter. At time of publication, a GoFundMe campaign has raised over $11,000 for May’s daughter’s living trust.
Screengrab via Instagram.com/mskatiemay
Carrie Nelson is a writer and documentary filmmaker. Nelson’s reporting for the Daily Dot focused on LGBTQ issues, feminism, and internet culture.