I’m seventeen, and I attend high school just like any other girl my age, but I also sit in my bedroom with a camera in front of my face and film videos of myself for millions to see. In these videos, I talk about beauty and confidence – but in an honest and open way. That is my life.
Posting videos of myself online doesn’t scare me. What does scare me is the fact that five years ago, before I uploaded my first YouTube video, I had zero confidence. Why? Because when I turned on the television, opened a magazine, or watched a music video, I didn’t look like any of the women I saw.
In retrospect, I realize that I wasn’t alone. Countless young women were dealing with the exact same emotions that I was – but no one would know it because we were all silent. Sure, many of us didn’t appear to be very confident, but none of us looked the way that we felt – and none of us felt positively about the way that we looked because we were all trying to look like anyone but ourselves. With a goal like that, how is anyone supposed to succeed?
Entering high school, I thought that everything would change. It didn’t. The girls were the same except for the fact that their mental lists of all their flaws had grown exponentially. This shocked me because I had always looked at high school girls and thought, “Wow. One day I will look like them! They’re all so beautiful!” It’s too bad that few of them think that of themselves.
By my sophomore year in high school, I was done being one of those girls. I didn’t try to hide my insecurities. If anything, I shouted them from the rooftops. I spoke openly about them in my YouTube videos and found that I was not alone. Hundreds of thousands of young women, just like me, had their own unique insecurities, and hearing me admit mine with no shame, made them feel like they could admit theirs as well. The admitting of our insecurities was incredible. Speaking about them was almost like letting go of them completely. But there was still a problem.
My viewers and I were learning to define our own beauty, but we weren’t discussing the more pervasive beauty standards defined by pop culture, the standards that had made us feel so poorly about ourselves for so long. Kayla Jackson, my business partner, and I wanted to do something big. In a world where shaming others is so prevalent (fat shaming, slut shaming, etc…), we wanted to turn the tables, and say “shame on these impossible beauty standards!”
Kayla and I launched our #QuitTheBS Campaign on YouTube in late July. The goal of the campaign is to redefine beauty and, as the hashtag says, quit the B.S. (Get it? B.S. doesn’t just stand for bull s—, it also stands for beauty standards). A few thousand social media posts later, and we are well on our way. Join us!