When you look in the mirror, do you love what you see? Sadly, 98% of women surveyed do not believe they are beautiful. After nearly 30 years of listening to women berate themselves for the wrinkle on their forehead or the extra ten pounds on their bodies, I woke up one day and said, “I want to create a company that allows women to be ok as they are. That is why I created Authentic Beauty. To change that statistic one woman and girl at a time by creating a safe and fun environment to provide my clients with the knowledge and the know-how to create an external look that reflects her interior, Authentic Beauty NOT because they are trying to imitate an unrealistic standard of beauty.
Sadly, the beauty industry, the media, and the advertisements in films and on T.V. send very dangerous messages to women and girls and project unhealthy and unsafe images of beauty. As Americans, we are body image obsessed and at one point in my life, I fell prey to the unhealthy standards, too. Fortunately, I came in contact with Alison Cross, the co-founder of Project Authentic Beauty and founder of the Body Beauty and Bravery Project, and with EDIN (The Eating Disorders Information Network-an organization that is committed to healthy body image and self-esteem in women and girls) and things started to change.
After being made aware of how disordered we all are by buying into unrealistic standards of beauty, I began to realize I had an unhealthy obsession with being thin for my sport (if you didn’t know, I was a personal trainer and competitive cyclist for nearly 10 years). I used to measure every single morsel that went into my mouth. That was my normal, but I realized how not normal this was.
Alison, who is an expert eating disorder specialist and LPC, told me I had a lot of warning signs. How could this be? I was a health advocate and former personal trainer and athlete. When starting Authentic Beauty, I measured in at 12% body fat which is incredibly low for a woman. Within two years of not living that lifestyle, I gained 30 pounds. It has taken a lot for me to find a healthy balance in my life where I am not obsessed with my clothing size and what goes in my mouth.
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In 2011, I was asked to participate in EDIN’s Celebrity Dance Challenge. I avoided saying yes for a while. As an advocate for healthy self esteem and someone committed to promoting healthy standards of beauty, I had to say yes. Do you remember the quote about doing something once a year that scares you? This scared me. I can jump out of planes, go over 55 mph on a bicycle downhill, open a business in a bad economy, but ask me to dance on stage? FORGET ABOUT IT! So, I thought about really understanding and knowing the power that comes from breaking through personal and physical limitations.
More importantly, EDIN is my sister non-profit. I visited them when I first launched Authentic Beauty and their focus aligns with the focus at Authentic Beauty. EDIN informs girls about the danger of obsessing over their bodies and gives strategies and information to women and girls so that they can make healthy choices, in addition to giving all kinds of support and information to anyone who is dealing with an eating disorder.
In the course of my training for the dance challenge, I observed my obsession with my food. It took a while but I definitely had a breakthrough. I promised myself I would not become obsessed. Thanks to this dance challenge and the incredible things I learned from EDIN and from Alison Cross, I reframed my position on losing weight.
BECOME HEALTHY. BECOME FIT.
It is not about the scale. This dance challenge reminded me to go back to the basics and have fun! It also reminded me to be very aware of the negative aspects of the beauty industry and that we all need to support and love one another just where we are.
Thursday, April 14th, 2016 at the Buckhead Theatre.
This year, on Thursday, April 14th, we would like to invite you to EDIN’S Celebrity Dance Challenge at the Buckhead Theater. Authentic Beauty will be on hand to provide makeup and hair services for the dancers at this incredible fundraising event. (We have provided makeup services every year since it’s inception).
Fashioned after hit shows like So You Think You Can Dance™ and Dancing with the Stars, Atlanta celebrities will partner with professional dancers and choreographers to compete by dancing for your votes. It is awesome to watch all the local celebrities give it their all and become dancers some better than others. More importantly, this event is all about having fun and dancing passionately for a great cause.
This year’s dancers include:
- Maryan Aiken, Paperglass Media, with dancer Matthew Gann
- Ted Blum, Greenberg Traurig, with dancer Natalie Pruitt
- Ann-Marie Campbell, The Home Depot, with dancer Myron Abernathy
- Jessica Dauler, Jessica Shops, with dancer Evari Pickett
- Nyssa Green, The Green Room Agency, with dancer CiCi Kelley
- Andra Hall, Camicakes, with dancer Aaron James
- Evander Holyfield, champion boxer, with dancer Desiree Nathanson
- Nancy Keenan, Harris Park Homes, with dancer Stevan Novakavich
- Brian Moote, the Bert Show, with dancer Jaclyn Helms
- Christi Paul, CNN, with dancer Terry Herron
- Dr. Louis Prevosti, VEINatlanta, with dancer Asiya Khasnutdinova
- Lisa Senter-McDermott, Jet Senters Aviation, with dancer Christjohn Batters
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My own personal experience was one I will treasure forever. I was not a professional dancer and I worked very hard to pull off a three minute routine. I did end up landing my cartwheel in platform boots. I was certainly not the best one out there, but I did it and went for it as all the dancers will be this year. Please consider donating on behalf of all the women and men, boys and girls who struggle with eating disorders and body image.
This is also the perfect time to enjoy Authentic Beauty’s signature service, The Image Journey, a transformational, one-of-a-kind makeover experience invented by Alyson Howard-Hoag that gives you the gift of loving you- from the inside out because when we love what we see when we look in the mirror, we feel confident, beautiful and ready to take on the world. Schedule your Image Journey at Authentic Beauty here.