You Are Beautiful: Ashley J's Story

You Are Beautiful: Ashley J’s Story

Ashley thinks that many of us are self-conscious about our image. We think that we can’t be beautiful if we don’t have the perfect, skinny body. We think that we can’t be pretty unless we have this eye color, or that skin tone, or this shiny hair. 

Well, it’s all wrong. Every woman is beautiful. Every woman.

Ashley knows that, even if her mind tells her otherwise from time to time.

You see, Ashley never felt beautiful as a young girl. She thought her curves meant she didn’t deserve to be called beautiful. But, as she got older and more mature, she started to realize what those negative thoughts did to her. She started to realize that viewing beauty this way could really hurt her. 

Keep reading to find out a bit more about this gorgeous lady.

Maggie: What was it like growing up for you? From my experience, every woman has a different upbringing, a different family raising them, different friends supporting or not supporting them. 

As you know, these interviews are all about me making you feel beautiful, before and after the photoshoots. So, I like to start off with asking a little bit about your childhood. What was it like for you when you were young? Did anyone ever call you beautiful, pretty, or cute?

Ashley: Seeing myself as beautiful when I was young was a difficult thing to do.

I grew up during a time when curves weren’t necessarily beautiful. And I had and still have curves. I think that’s what really impacted me.

My dad used to always tell me that I was the most beautiful girl in the world, but I didn’t listen to him, like most children didn’t listen to their parents.

Yet every time I looked at my reflection and thought to myself that I wasn’t pretty, my father’s voice was there to try and convince me otherwise. 

Now, I’m grateful that people like Jennifer Lopez, Ashley Graham, and the Kardashians exist, because I think that they’re making curves more acceptable in society.

M: You do have a point there; I remember back in the day when being curvy wasn’t popular. Now, things are different. Women are being acknowledged for their beauty and their beautiful bodies. 

What about you? Now that women like Jennifer Lopez, Ashley Graham, and the Kardashians are making curves more acceptable, do you feel more beautiful? Do you think your definition of beauty has changed since you were a little girl?

A: I think I always knew and believed that beauty was the ability to feel comfortable in your own skin. It’s just difficult for me to vocalize that.

I don’t think a specific eye color or hair color or body shape should or does define beauty. 

Like, the most beautiful ladies in my life are extremely comfortable with who they are and they embrace their strengths everyday. 

I wish I could say that about myself. I wish I could look in the mirror everyday and feel beautiful, but I know that I can’t because of the way I critique myself based on what society seems to value. 

It’s honestly been a lifetime struggle to feel beautiful in my own skin. 

M: The trick that I made myself adopt over the years is this: Always try your best to feel as confident as you possibly can. 

You mentioned that a lot of ladies in your life are comfy in their own skin, and that they embrace their strengths daily. Well, that’s great! What’s even better is that you can do that, too. 

How about you share some words of wisdom from that beautiful brain of yours? I find sharing words of wisdom can often boost confidence in a lot of the women I meet and talk with.

A: Hmm, I would say, that every time you find yourself saying negative words or having negative thoughts about your body or yourself, stop and say something nice. 

It can be a struggle, but remembering that beauty comes in all shapes, colors, and forms is very important.

M: See! That’s inspirational. Stop the negativity and say something nice about yourself. If we all did that more, we’d be much more confident and comfortable in our own skin – and that’s for every woman to know and understand.

Is that why you’re here, doing this interview and getting ready to take these gorgeous photos? Are you taking the beautiful photographs to make yourself feel more confident and comfortable?

A: I’d have to say that yes, I want to continue to shut those negative thoughts out of my mind, and I think this is a good first step in doing that. 

I’m turning 45 soon, and I find myself struggling with the changes that this age will bring me. I have to remind myself daily that I am beautiful and that I am more than just my physical appearance.

M: Amen! Beauty is everything that encompasses us; our heart, our soul, our personality. Everything. I think that’s extremely important to remember, and to pass down to future generations.

What do you think?

A: I think it’s very important to pass that information down to future generations, yes, because somethings in this life make me sad.

Like, what really makes me sad is that I have a daughter, who, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful young ladies I have ever seen. Yet, I watch her struggle with her own self image just the way I did when I was young. 

I’ve tried so hard to get her to see past the physical stuff, and to base beauty on more than her appearance, but there is so much in our daily lives that tell us otherwise. Even if there has been slight changes since I was young.

It seems to me that Ashley started to realize for herself how important it is to see inner and outer beauty. She’s transitioning and acknowledging her beauty and trying her best to make her daughter do the same. Which is great!

I do want to mention that a lot of us ladies out there don’t give one another enough credit. We should all be lifting one another up, making one another feel confident and comfy in the skin that we were born in. 

What do you say women of the world, let’s start!

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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