"You are perfectly beautiful the way you are."
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Why did you want to be apart of this campaign/photoshoot?
I wanted to see myself how others see me. I wanted to push myself to do something a little uncomfortable and be part of a powerful movement. I wanted to prove to myself that I am perfect and imperfect in my own skin, but I'm 100% me.
What would you say is your biggest insecurity and why?
My biggest insecurity is my weight. I tend to reminisce about what I looked like in high school - thin and always athletic - and begin comparing myself. I hate that I do that because that person hated the way she looked. I always thought about the girls who were skinnier and prettier and I was jealous. I no longer have that mindset anymore even if I'm a little fluffier than I was 6 years ago.
why did you chose to wear what you wore during the shoot?
I had a couple outfits. I chose something I feel strongest in first - sports bra and leggings. I feel strong when I push myself to my limits. I went through a couple knee surgeries that really knocked me down but humbled me. I proved to myself my body and mind could do anything. I also chose to take some photos in a swimsuit. This is something generally out of my comfort zone, but I love who I am so i want that confidence to show when I'm most vulnerable. I have more progress to make to be completely confident, but I feel I've made leaps and bounds from my insecurities I used to have.
When did your body image issues start and how did you know?
My body issues started in high school when I constantly always compared myself to the other girls in my class. I covered my eyes in makeup and totally plucked my eyebrows to try and look just like them, but never felt I measured up. It continued into college when I had my second knee surgery and began to quickly gain the freshman 30. It has taken years to accept what I look like and change how I treat myself.
Past advice you would give yourself regarding body image or self-love?
My advice to my past self would be "don't compare yourself to those around you. You are perfectly beautiful the way you are. You are unique." I never knew what self love was. I wanted to always be better so I would try to eat less or push myself harder at volleyball or basketball practices to boost my confidence. My confidence was so low and I didn't know that I needed to be nice to me too.