Far from “Average”
Photographer: Cliff Ingram
Model: Jacqueline Dente
When I was pregnant with my children I felt more beautiful than I ever have in my life. I felt like a goddess. I weigh 30 pounds more now than I did before I had kids.
I will never look the way I did before, even with diet and exercise. I was underweight for most of my life, and now I am “average.” Buying clothes is challenging because of my height and short legs; many of the styles popular now make me look short and wide. I actually feel more beautiful without my clothes on. – Jacqueline
Photographer: Molly Bartels
Model: Leah Voss
I have never been, and may never be, thin. I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. After accepting this painful verdict, a new mission solidified in my head — healthy and happy no matter my shape or size.
When I think back on all the experiences my body has carried me through, I am so grateful to be mobile, to be able to crawl around on the floor with my 3-year-old nephew, run the incline of a bridge that provides a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean or balance two heavy DSLR cameras on my shoulders every day for my job as a newspaper photographer.
I am strong, and I love myself. – Leah
Photographer: Molly Bartels
Model: Mindy Salvin-Fetterman
Beginning at 7, my body was used for someone else’s sexual pleasure. My identity and purpose was tied up in violence, destruction and deception since before I could even understand what sexuality was. I have been manipulated, used, drugged and broken causing me to be disgusted by my own flesh and reflection.
Now, 40, I’m a survivor. Molestation, abuse and rape are my past. I have reclaimed my body. I have reclaimed my power, and –finally – the last to come, I have reclaimed my sexuality! I am a strong, sexual, sexy, feminine and deserving woman. Through the work of The Inner Truth Project and strength of fellow survivors sharing their shame and stories and offering their unconditional support, I have finally come out of the shadows. I have released the guilt that doesn’t belong to me. – Mindi, founder/director The Inner Truth Project
Best Friend & Worst Enemy
Photographer: Erin McCracken
Model: Ashly Williams
Ashly Williams was in college, stressed and struggling. Her coping mechanism was to fixate on food. She began to critically watch everything she ate losing a lot of weight concerning family and friends about an eating disorder. Ashly got help and overcame the disorder and two years ago gave birth to her son Jensen. Ashly is reminded of what her body can do when it is healthy even though it’s changed.
“I realize that whether I’m 100 pounds or 150 pounds, I’m still going to struggle with my image and see a distorted view of what my body really looks like.”
Ashly’s goal though is to remain healthy for her family. With a degree in nutrition, cooking with her family and instilling healthy eating habits is her biggest joy. She hopes to teach others struggling with eating disorders to get help and appreciate all the things a healthy body can do. – Erin