Hey there guys!
So…todays post is going to be a little bit different. Last week, I wrote…well, basically I laid my heart out to you guys about how I don’t have a “passion.” (Seriously, that wasn’t easy to talk about.) Well, I have passions, but, don’t know how to execute them into a career. It was freaking me out so much, that I began having severe anxiety attacks, and just feeling seriously down, and not myself. I’m working on that.
But today–I want to take a step back, and talk about someone who inspires me. Because, when you’re in a situation like mine, sometimes you need to look around for a little inspiration. &Sometimes, that inspiration comes from a friend. That friend is, Emily. Emily and I have known each other since grade school, but never officially really hung out. (I can promise you next time I make it back to my hometown, that will change. 😉 ) But Emily and I started getting close, when I opened up my Relay for Life team, to anyone who wanted to join. Emily–being the sweet, incredible woman she is, hopped right into it, helping me brain storm ideas for fundraising, and was right by my side the entire time. The two of us have been trying to come up with a way to collaborate together, and with our crazy schedules–and me moving 6 hours from home, it got a little difficult. But, I wanted to tell her story. Because, if you’re looking for a little inspiration, this girl is it.
Meet Emily. She’s 20 years old, and currently the title holder of Massachusetts National Miss 2016 for ANTSO (America’s National Teenager Scholarship Organization) Now I’ll explain to you the importance of that later. But for now, lets rewind, and take a look back at Em’s early life.
Emily had a bit of a rough start as a child. From young age of 7 years old, until she was 14–her father was unable to be around. Emily was living with her mother who was an abusive alcoholic, and in and out of DCF custody. “Bounced from Grandmother to Nana to my cousin Nikki, all of which helped raise me into who I am today. I really had to figure everything out on my own. How to be a good person, how to stay out of trouble, how to not fall into my mother’s footsteps.”
Coming from a childhood with such trauma, you would expect to hear me next talk about how she maybe fell down the wrong path. But Emily, being the incredible girl she is, took only the good from the bad. On top of all of that, her Aunt Julie was killed six years ago. Julie always encouraged Em to go into modeling. (I mean, DUH, she’s beautiful!) &She did just that!
“At the time I was a size 3, TINY and healthy. Every modeling agency I applied for bluntly told me I was too big and that if I was to lose weight I could try again… So I started eating VERY little… Salads, lean protein. And I was working out two hours almost everyday. My face was sunken in, my skin lost its natural glow and pink tone, I looked AWFUL… Sure enough the agencies wanted me… LIKE THAT mind you, I was 14 at the time.”
I mean, you all know the stories, beautiful, YOUNG women, driven to succeed in their passion, told by society, and the industry that they just aren’t good enough. Next comes an eating disorder, and all types of depression, all from the big man telling women how to look and feel.
But again, Miss Emily pushes through that negativity, and down right DISGUSTING, societal ignorance and changes her attitude. “They wanted a 14 year old girl to lost weight and look unhealthy before they would accept her into their agency… Well it just so happened that my mom ‘didn’t have the money’ to have me sign with an agency. All this time I had been thinking “what is wrong with me?” Instead of ‘what is wrong with THEM?'”
Emily got herself back to a healthy weight, and two years later, at age 16, decided to get into the pageant world and entered the Miss Massachusetts Teen USA pageant. Emily was so excited to participate. They told her she was perfect and beautiful, and that she wouldn’t need to buy an over priced gown, or over spend on professional hair and make up. She was under the impression, that Teen USA had a mission to “empower women.”“All the system was doing was knocking young women down. You only made top 15 if you were extremely slender and had a flat stomach. Had an EXPENSIVE wardrobe, had professional looking hair and makeup, etc. They were all in it for the money.” After competing in Teen USA, Emily became very anti pageant. She truly believed that all pageants were rigged like that one.
In 2014, after all the pageant glitter had settled, Emily decided to do something HUGE.
[I decided that it was] “time to advocate for young girls and women and get it through their heads that there is NOTHING wrong with them but there is EVERYTHING wrong with the way society portrays “beautiful.” Beautiful is ALL of us. Thick, slender, curvy, athletic, tall, short, physically disabled, mentally disabled, black, white, Spanish, Asian, and everything and anything in between! Too many females have physically and mentally harmed themselves because of society’s strict standards of what ‘you need to look like.'”
So, that’s where Project Positive Role Models was born. “I founded Project Positive Role Models as a support group almost… a way for women to come together on social media and encourage each other’s body images instead of putting them down. I started photographing women of different shapes and sizes to show them just how beautiful they were. Sometimes when we look in the mirror all we see is “BLAHH” so I felt by showing them photos of themselves, it could break that negative thought process of how we see our bodies!”
WHEW! I mean…seriously Em? Why you gotta be so AMAZING?
NOW, lets talk Emily’s current title. Massachusetts National Miss 2016 for ANTSO. Some of mine and Emily’s Facebook friends reading this are probably like, “Oh yeah! I always wondered why her name said ANTSO.”
“It wasn’t until last February that I learned about the ANTSO (America’s National Teenager Scholarship Organization) pageant system. THIS system is TRULY empowering to all girls and women. You will find ladies of ALL shapes, sizes and ethnicities placing top 10 and further. This system really focussing on your INNER beauty along with outer beauty. They score you on your community service achievements, academics, goals, future plans, etc. THIS is when I became a pageant girl! Last April I was crowned the Massachusetts National Miss of ANTSO and got to compete Nationally in Nashville this past summer. This May, I have been given the opportunity to be re-crowned and compete for the National title one last time this upcoming summer!”
So, there ya have it! ANTSO Emily. My inspiration for today, and for life. I truly feel so blessed to have Emily in my life. Even if right now we’re only able to be social media buddies. She’s such a special lady, and now you know why.
Good luck this summer Em, although you don’t need it. YOU’RE GONNA KILL IT BABE.
“Too many women want to be models. Not enough want to be role models.”
ANTSO Emily’s Links:
Project Positive Role Models Links:
For more information about America’s National Teenager Scholarship Organization, please visit: www.nationalteen.com
MY SOCIAL MEDIA:
PS- So, I’m pretty stoked about this blog post, and I hope you liked it. I am having a tough time right now with everything going on personally..and it REALLY was amazing to get some inspiration from another woman, and one so near and dear to my heart. Emily–I am TRULY honored that you allowed me to tell your story. ❤