As I head into my senior year of high school, I have a mental checklist of what needs to be done; school shopping, scholarships, applying for college, college visits, and, because I live in the USA, I must have my senior portrait taken. As most students dread the college affiliated things, I only dread the photos.
Being the fashion queen I am, I never have a problem picking out an outfit or doing my hair and makeup, the problem solely lies with my confidence. During the shoot, I felt confident and beautiful but when I saw the photos I felt fat and ugly. I broke down for an hour afterwards and just bawled. This is everything I never wanted to be.
We live in a society where beauty is a size zero in a bathing suit. And being a size zero in a bathing suit is beautiful but so is being a size twenty-two in a crop top. This is what our culture has to come to accept. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes so we cant shame one or the other for not being their counterpart.
I want to teach girls and boys, women and men everywhere that it is absolutely ok to be confident, to love yourself. That you don’t have to be society’s definition of beautiful to feel beautiful. Scratch that, you don’t have to be a magazine’s definition of beautiful. I say magazine because if you asked the people that make up society, their definition of beauty would be very different from their neighbor’s.
I want to break a norm that has been set into the minds of the youth and stuck with them into adulthood. I want to change the way girls and boys view themselves. This is where you come in. A few years ago I started a photo/video project called “Beauty is…” The project includes a photoshoot and a short videoclip of you stating what beauty is to you. It only takes a few minutes to help someone learn that they are beautiful so come be part of something big. I am searching for models of all ages, genders, races, shapes, and sizes.
As I look back on my senior portraits, I realize I look really beautiful in some of them and it is okay to think that. Loving yourself is so important and if you do, you are indirectly teaching someone else to love themselves. Not only plus size girls and men can break the societal norm, EVERYONE CAN. Love yourself and change lives.