Wow, where to even begin. As someone who can trace their body image issues back to, oh, I don't know..... 1st grade...... this was a big deal for me. We as women are bred to hate our bodies. Hate our faces. Hate our fat. Hate our bones. Hate our hair. Hate our skin. Hate our body parts. HATE. EVERYTHING. Women are constantly burdened with society's version of what they SHOULD be.
I think the first thing I learned to hate about myself was my thighs. I remember being in elementary school, lean as can be, and already hating my thighs. I wanted to be one of the twiggy little kids whose thighs didn't touch (back before we coined that endearing term as "thigh gap," and made it an ideal in society). And it only got worse from there. My athletic build never matched that of the people I admired on TV or in the magazines. No one EVER dared utter the words "I wish I could be STRONG like her" or "I wish I had big hips like her" .... all anyone strived for was to be skinny. Skinny was the ideal. Your strength didn't matter -- the things you could achieve with your body didn't matter -- unless you were skinny. I dieted my little heart out, bringing tiny ziplock bags of dry Special K to work (I'm really dating myself here, yikes) and counting my calories down to the bite. Portioning out berries, counting out exactly 32 pretzel sticks, and trying to make a tsp worth of salad dressing cover a full plate of lettuce. And it was working, the weight was coming off! I was finally going to be skinny! ..... I should've been happy, right? If only. My obsessive thoughts were at an all time high, I was weighing myself 3-4 times a day, and I still did not see that skinny person in the mirror that I expected to see. In fact, I felt worse about myself than ever, despite fitting in that size 2 pair of jeans (I remember it vividly, Aeropostale, 2006, my light-washed, flare-cut trophy). And soon I learned, it didn't matter how much weight I lost, I would always find something to hate. My brain was trained to hate, and hate it would do, no matter how I looked.
So, here I give you, Dana. Dana is dominating an industry that is associated with a body type that doesn't look like hers, shattering stereotypes, and just generally kicking ass. Dana embodies empowerment, self appreciation, and ultimately respects herself and her body, more than anyone I have ever had the privilege of meeting. With that said, she was clearly the perfect candidate to help me bring this vision to life.
Dana, me, and our amazing makeup artist Alison, set out to create a series of images that represented strength, authenticity, confidence, and positivity. A stunning woman, completely in love with herself, and accessorized only by nature (and a little bit of gold glitter).
So, as you look at these images that I poured my heart and soul into, I challenge you to let go of all of the things you wish you could change about yourself -- if even just for a moment -- and begin to learn to love yourself, your body, and everything that nature has given you. Today I want you to not count your bites, not weigh yourself, and just for once feel that what you are, right in this moment, is enough. Life is too short to indulge negative thoughts. And if you ever need help seeing yourself in a different light, come into my studio and let's make some magic. // let's chat xo