You are Beautiful: Shelby S.

You are Beautiful: Shelby S.

Beauty is Much More Than What’s on the Surface

Shelby had it rough growing up, living in the shadows of her mother. She was often told that fat girls don’t get married, and that hindered her spirits a great deal. But as the years went on, Shelby realized that she was comfortable in her own skin. She learned to love herself and not live by the rules her mother had set for her. Shelby taught me, in her own way, that no woman should ever try to be something that she’s not. Being comfortable in your own skin is the way to go.

Maggie: Every girl learns something about beauty when they’re young. What did you learn about beauty as a young girl? Was there anything that you were taught or that you heard that may have stuck with you during your teenage years, and later, your adult years?

Shelby: [Yes. Actually. I learned things like] fat girls don’t get married, and you must never leave the house without wearing makeup.

M: How did you react when you learnt or heard that fat girls don’t get married and that you should never leave the house without wearing makeup? Did someone important in your life train you to think those thoughts?

S: [Honestly,] my mom was very hard on me when I was young. She tried her best for me to be more like her.

Growing up, I was raised in a town primarily filled with white people. I never had an interaction with anyone of color until I was 14. My first real boyfriend [just so happened to be] African American, and I tried to hide it from everyone.

When I was young, I was told I wouldn’t date anyone outside of my race. But, the more I was told this, the more I pushed back.

I later got pregnant with my daughter at age 21, and my parents reaction was to immediately have an abortion because “it” was going to be black.

[I didn’t listen to them,] and now, my daughter is 23 years old. She’s a mom, and I have an amazing granddaughter.

As my life went on, I had four other children, all boys. But I’ve never been married, and I constantly hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me that fat girls don’t get married.

But now, I choose to express myself by decorating my body in different ways with tattoos. I work really hard to lose weight, but I’m also very comfortable being who I am.

M: That’s amazing. You put your mother’s judgements aside and finally became comfortable in your own skin. How has that changed your definition of beauty? Is it now different from what you learnt growing up?

S: Absolutely. [I think] beauty is what makes you comfortable. Beauty is not just what’s on the surface; it’s what’s in your heart and your spirit. It’s your ability to love. Beauty cannot be measured.

M: Many women struggle with their definition of beauty, and it seems like you have a good handle on your personal definition.If you could share some words of wisdom to other women based on your own personal experiences, what would you share?

S: [I would say to] never ever allow anyone to tell you that you’re less than who you are. Every single thing about each of us is beautiful, and I’m determined to never let anyone take that away from me. [That’s the advice I would share.]

M: I see a strong and beautiful woman in front of me today. It seems like you’ve gotten through life’s trials and you continue to stand strong. How does being the woman you are today make you feel incredibly strong and independent?

S: I rose from the ashes from the woman I used to be. I used to be broken, wounded, and afraid. Now, I’ve exploded into this confident, fierce, and determined woman, and [I admire the strength and independence I’ve gained throughout the years].

Since we photographed Shelby in March, she has lost another 33lbs on her journey, and I will guess a few more since I received her update. That gives her a total of 63lbs. overall! Shelby is an all out Rockstar! What I LOVE about her is she’s fierce, confident and knows exactly what she wants in life. She’s not afraid to reach out and grab it either. We can all learn how to rise above our ashes from Shelby.

More You Are Beautiful Stories

Fearless After 40: Victoria C.

You are Beautiful: Cindy R.

You are Beautiful: Tiffany S.

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Interested in a glamour or boudoir shoot to showcase what makes you uniquely beautiful? Schedule a Call to Chat to be a part of the You Are Beautiful Movement.  

💄 Hair and Makeup by Kellie Outlaw with Sparkle Studios.

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