1. What are your best qualities?
I'm very compassionate and kind. I really try to put myself into others' shoes, especially when I don't agree with someone, and see it from their point of view. I also think I'm emotionally very strong too - I may mull over something for a day but then I'm back to my positive, upbeat self.
2. What are your worst qualities?
I can be uptight - it takes me forever to unwind and relax. I'm a hard worker so I'm usually in "work mode" all the time. It takes me a few days to transition from that environment to being relaxed or vice versa.
3. What do you love the most about your body?
My eyes. They're really light blue and unique. I think eyes reveal a lot about a person.
4.What about yourself do you wish you loved more?
My breasts - I've always struggled with the size. They are small, in middle school and high school, some of the boys would tease me about it. I would always brush it off and laugh, but deep down it affected me. I've learned to accept it. Whenever I feel self-conscious, I remind myself of all the things I can do that some of my friends can't do - I don't have to wear a bra, I can do a plunging-V shirt, and I can exercise and run more easily. A lot of my friends have back pain. I'm so blessed to not have to deal with any of that.
5. Tell us the story about how you earned your stretch marks…
I've always been tall and really lanky. I got into fitness in college after gaining weight in my freshman year. My stretch marks are from my hard work at the gym weight lifting and gaining more muscle - now I'm not tall and skinny, I consider myself fit and powerful..
6. How did those around you make you feel about them?
Most people don't believe that I have stretch marks because I've always been so small! But I'm proud of them.
7. Describe your journey with body acceptance.
It took me a while to feel like I "fit" into my body. I used to feel really disproportionate. I have long legs but I'm not curvy and I went through puberty later than all my friends. I wasn't filled out. In college, I began to put more weight on and fill in places - I began to get to a point where I didn't feel awkward or lanky. By now, I feel like I fit into my body - I am graceful and athletic.
8. What is one of your qualities you wish shined brighter than exterior appearance?
I wish my intelligence would stand out more. I can be quite goofy and silly-- as a blonde, I sometimes feel that people see me as pretty but not much else. If they take the time to know me they know that I'm smart and hardworking.
9. What about self-love are you continuing to work on?
I am still working on being confident and feeling sexy how I am. In the media, they portray a "perfect" woman as someone who is thin but still bodacious with boobs and a round butt. The truth is, most of us aren't built like that. As someone who has always been long and thin, I've struggled to feel "sexy" because I don't have what the media shows us is attractive.
11. How do women need to improve interacting with one another?
As children, it is instilled in us to be competitive with one another. Women see each other as threats - we need to work on lifting each other up. We are all fighting the same battles.
12. What lesson do you hope to instill to your children about self-love & body acceptance?
I hope that I teach my children to practice balance in their search for self-love. You only have one body - it's important to love it, appreciate everything that makes it unique, to fuel it with nutritious foods instead of junk, and to exercise. I also hope that they grow up around other strong, supportive women. I want them to have a world where we are all kind instead of competitive.
13. What is the best compliment you've ever received?
Someone told me I'm going to be a great mother someday. My Mother is the most amazing woman I know and being a mother takes a lot of qualities I strive to possess: strength, kindness, empathy, patience. To know that other people see those qualities and that potential in me, means a lot. I have never felt like I had a direct path in life, but I've always known that someday I want to have children. It was a great compliment.
10. Do you practice self love as often as you would like to?
I think that everyone could probably practice self-love more. I wouldn't say I practice as much as I want to but I practice it enough to where I love my body and, more importantly, who I am.
14. What is something you wish you could have told yourself at your most fragile state?
That it's okay to not be "strong" all the time. It's important to feel emotions, to be upset and to recognize how much something meant to you. It's okay to not be okay... but then it's time to pick yourself up