Thank you Dove for sponsoring this post. How do you define #RealBeauty?
College is a time of self discovery.
Between choosing your major, potential future career field, significant others, and lifelong friends there are a lot of decisions to be made and discovering to be done in so little time.
Every experience and every year forms and shapes who you are, and the time that you are in college is no different.
The Dove Real Beauty campaign recently launched a new project working with director Shonda Rhimes and an all-female crew to shift the power of storytelling from Hollywood into the hands of real women – sharing tales of how real women are discovering and embracing their real beauty. They just published the second video in this series, featuring Kylee Howell and her message of non-conformity, self-assurance, and shedding expectations of beauty that didn’t fit her. This video is truly inspiring – watch it now here!
Around 69% of women say that they don’t see themselves reflected in advertisements, movies, television, and media today. The definition of beauty has been rapidly changing, and with that women are succeeding in discovering what their real beauty is and finding empowerment in inspiring other women.
As I step into my final year of college I’ve been feeling very reflective lately. It’s crazy to see how I’ve grown and changed, become more confident in myself and those around me, throughout the past 3 years. Today I’m very excited to be partnering up with the Dove Real Beauty campaign to share with you my story about discovering empowerment and real beauty in college – as well as ways you can become empowered and discover your own real beauty.
When I started college, I had a hard time.
I was struggling to make friends and to find where I belonged. I was in an unhealthy relationship that I was too scared to leave. I was anxious and depressed. I was trying really hard, but I wasn’t where I needed to be.
Then I discovered what I was missing: a support system of strong women.
I had been a Girl Scout for 13 years – from Kindergarten all the way to graduating high school. I had been the first female head of a technical department at my high school’s theatre and I had trained 3 amazing young women to take my place once I graduated. My entire life I had been surrounded by strong women – and starting from the bottom, all alone, in college was hard.
I didn’t know who I was yet.
I created this blog – the first day of my first year of college. It started as a hobby and has grown into an amazing community focused on inspiring and empowering college women and millennials around the world. I have formed some unique and fun friendships with other college bloggers who I never would’ve been able to connect with if it were not for this blog.
Shortly after creating this blog, I received an email telling me all about Her Campus chapters from someone at Her Campus who had read my blog and noticed there wasn’t a HC chapter at my school. They asked if I would be interested in starting one up. At this point, my first year was halfway done and I was looking into options to transfer out of school. I launched my school’s Her Campus chapter as a last ditch attempt to find some place I belonged and I told myself I’d give it another year – if this became something I liked, then I’d stay. It became something I loved and changed my college experience forever.
This chapter grew, starting at 12 members and grew to over 120 at our largest. Strong women, supporting women in finding ourselves and growing our future careers. Through my time with Her Campus I learned a lot about myself and what I wanted for my future.
I learned that I feel my most beautiful when I’m up at the front of the room leading a meeting of over 100 people (no matter how my appearance looks that day.) I learned that I feel powerful and smart when I’m thinking up creative recruitment strategies or organizational systems. I learned that I feel strong and excited when I hear the success stories of the difference that my chapter has made in the lives of it’s members. I learned that I feel loved when the strong and intelligent women in my executive cabinet come together to hangout and create fun ideas. I learned that I feel amazing because I created the place where I belong, and a home for so many other people as well.
I learned that empowering and inspiring other women to recognize their real beauty within their passions is a real focus of mine – in every aspect of my life.
What makes you feel beautiful? This definition is changing, and is different for every person.
If you are struggling to recognize your real beauty, consider these tips to get a start on the right track.
1. Find an Inspiration
Ask yourself: When you look at somebody, what stands out about their beauty to you?
To me what stands out is their confidence, creativity, determination, and positive attitude.
Find somebody in your life, real or fictional, who embodies those essences of beauty. Who you look up to.
To me, this is Nancy Drew.
My best friend since kindergarten and I grew up reading the Nancy Drew books and playing the Nancy Drew computer games. Nancy Drew became a very prominent figure in both our friendship and our lives. As a role model Nancy is: honest, strong, curious, determined, creative, unique, and smart. She taught us that women could be all of those things, and more. To commemorate how much Nancy Drew has meant to us and how much she has inspired us, my best friend and I got matching tattoos of magnifying glasses. together.
2. Become a Mentor
Ask yourself: How do you want others to feel?
I want others to feel powerful, confident, happy, and fulfilled.
I love helping people. When I help people, I feel great.
Becoming a mentor, an inspiration to another person, or a leader is one way that I started to understand my real beauty.
Through leading my Her Campus chapter – which changed the lives of so many women at my university who have shared they were unhappy and wanted to transfer schools before they joined, through starting this blog – which inspired many young women like me who have sent me wonderful letters, through training 3 strong and smart women in technical theatre – who are now pursuing it professionally.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Find yourself in the way you treat others.
3. Try New Things
Ask yourself: What am I yearning to do, but am scared to do it?
For me, this was starting my blog.
I had been interested in starting a blog in high school, but I had no clue what to write about and I was scared nobody would read it. When I finally took the plunge, created the blog, and started to get readers – I felt confident in my writing, strong in my ideas, and creative.
Another new thing that I did that I was scared about was modelling in a fashion show. I’m not a size two, I’m not able to walk in heels, I’m not coordinated to walk down a runway… yet when I was offered the chance to walk in College Fashion Week LA I took it and loved every single second. Walking down that runway as the crowd cheered (even when my shoe slipped off at the end and I stumbled!) was so much fun and exhilarating.
4. Get Creative
Ask yourself: What is my creative outlet?
For me my creative outlets are my blog, organizing my HC team (yes, organization can be creative!), and stage management.
Getting involved with something creative can help a person feel more fulfilled and confident in their own abilities.
Not an “artist”? Don’t worry – creativity isn’t always what you think it is. If you don’t feel like you belong with painting, photography, acting, writing, or other things like that – consider these “non-conventional” creative activities: Running, building, coding, fixing,cooking, public speaking, or inventing.
5. Do What Feels Right
Ask yourself: What am I comfortable doing? How can I take care of myself?
For me this is napping when I need to in order to take care of my body, taking mental health days off work, planning out my schedule, and spending time with my boyfriend.
Comfort is beauty and self care is beauty. Taking the time to treat yourself right, to do what feels good, to take care of yourself – is so important to your everyday life and health.
Feeling empowered, inspired, and discovering your real beauty is incredibly important as a college student. That is why I am so excited to be partnering with the Dove Real Beauty campaign and all the amazing things that they stand for.
My real beauty is my intelligence, my strength, my confidence, and my passion for what I do every single day.
What is your real beauty?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.