Stacy Nadeau, one of original six models in Dove’s campaign for real beauty spoke Tuesday, in the HUB auditorium, in support of mental health and wellness week. Her story was empowering and inspirational. She spoke about her own transformation from a self-conscious student who loathed her body to a confident woman who found her true beauty.
Nadeau was once a busy college student just like Penn Staters are. She committed herself to countless extracurricular activities, spent hours on her studies and worked a part-time job. When first approached by a modeling agent at the salon where she worked, Nadeau was reluctant to take the offer seriously. “Why would anyone want her size 12 body modeling for a brand?” she thought. Luckily, her friend and mother convinced her push her trepidations to the side and take the opportunity.
Six months later, Nadeau was in the full swing of Dove’s groundbreaking campaign. She and five other women, all of different shapes, colors and sizes, appeared on a massive billboard smack-dab in the middle of Times Square, New York City. In a city that never stops moving, walkers were paralyzed in disbelief of the billboard. The women portrayed in the billboard were not only “real-sized” women, but they were showing off their bodies wearing nothing but underwear.
This campaign raised a whirlwind of positive feedback. The Dove models appeared on countless talk shows. Fans were lined up on ten city blocks just to get a chance to thank the models for what they had done. Nadeau hadn’t realized the impact she was bound to make. She had started a revolution empowering all women to believe in their beauty. Gone are the days where only size 0 and 5’11’’ is acceptable.
Nadeau currently travels all over the country telling her story and preaching Dove’s message to make women feel beautiful every day. She aims to debunk stereotypes the media portrays about who is and who is not beautiful. Practices like airbrushing “16-packs” on men advertising a fragrance, or photoshopping women so much they wouldn’t be able to stand in real life, are common in today’s society – making “perfection” truly unattainable. Nadeau says such activities needed to be recognized as wrong and dangerous.
Nadeau preaches, “You have way more to offer than your pant size.” She wants every woman’s physical health and mental health to be at a happy medium. Nadeau says that achieving this balance has to start with small steps. “Begin with being friendly to yourself.” Negative self-talk must be reduced. And bonding over negative self-talk with your girl friends is useless. Instead, commend each other on accomplishments. Lastly, Nadeau recommends surrounding yourself with people who will build you up, not bring you down. Real beauty is what you have to offer to the world.
Photo credit: University Park Undergraduate Association, www.facebook.com/events