Moral of the story is: EVERY PERSON is going through something. No one’s health should be determined by their appearance.
“Right now, can you make an unconditional relationship with yourself just at the height that you are? The weight that you are, with the intelligence that you have, and your current burden of pain?” – Pema Chödrön
Jessie J’s Personal Story:
I think a lot of people are surprised at how cool I am about talking about weight. It’s something that I’ve dealt with my whole life. I came out the womb, plus size (9lb 2 oz baby, over heee-uh.) Being plus size has become so much a part of my identity and as I have gotten older and more comfortable in who I am, I have actually loved that quality about myself. If I can use that to help others to become more confident then I feel like I have done my job.
For a little perspective, I’ll say that even when I was at my smallest and seemingly healthiest from playing tennis and cheerleading around 11th-12th grade, I still felt insecurities. I look back and say “Wow! I looked so great,” but I was still bigger than all the other girls on my cheer squad and tennis team and I was well aware of that. It really effected me during school. I told myself that I was never cute enough for guys to date me, when truth is, I was blessed with a woman’s shape very early on and hadn’t accepted that it was completely normal
Reality is, that same year , I may have looked my healthiest and being active was great for my body, but I couldn’t even say that I was actually that healthy! I had my heartbroken 1 too many times and I look back at it now and question how healthy I actually was because I know that I was mentally beat. I probably had a mild form of depression. I had little to no appetite and when I was working hard in school and in my athletics, I just got smaller and smaller. People may have even thought I was getting healthier as a result, but in reality I was not. If anything, I was mentally sick and exhausted.
I say all of this because not many people would’ve guessed that. I put on a front that I had it all together. Many people may have looked at me and been like, “wow, she’s lost so much weight so she must be getting healthier.” Moral of the story is: EVERY PERSON is going through something. No one’s health should be determined by their appearance. If they look athletically built or morbidly obese – when it comes to a person’s body, you don’t know if that person has lost a loved one or had a baby or lost 50 lbs or is beating an eating disorder! If you don’t know a person’s battle, you have no right to judge based on appearance. Love everyone how they are now and that is encouragement for everyone to be better in whatever they may be going through.
What does girl power mean to you?
Girl Power is the understanding that being a girl/human makes you powerful, not power less. You will begin to feel empowered to help other girls feel powerful too. Being a girl is an awesome thing… not a weak, unhappy, bad, catty, annoying, helpless thing. You experience life differently than guys – this is true. Girls get to bring humans into the world by holding them in your belly, which is pretty dang amazing, but that doesn’t mean you are any less of a person than a man… or any other woman for that matter.
Have you always been confident? Absolutely not.
Was there a time you felt more confident on either the outside or inside?
Sometimes, I may feel insecurities with my appearance or something I’m fighting inwardly. Those times will always come and go. One thing I’ve come across though is helpful when I start to feel insecure in either of those things is, “Fake it ’til you make it”. You may not always feel confident in your appearance, but when you still can hold yourself together with grace and show confidence on the outside, you will begin to feel it more on the inside.
How did you find confidence?
I truly find confidence in my qualities that I have aside from my appearance. I remind myself how smart I am and how quickly I can learn new things. I remind myself that I am a kind-hearted person and how much that quality is appreciated by others around me. I also place myself within a group of friends that when I feel insecure, they will totally lift me up. I know that I can always ask any one of my friends and be like, “I’m feeling insecure now about this situation,” and they can help me turn it around and reason it out. Thats how you empower women. Friends remind friends who wonderful they are, regardless of their situation.
Is confidence something you have to work on everyday or does it just come natural to you?
It is definitely something that I work at every day. There are days where I don’t feel as confident and that’s when I need to do things to get me out of those times!
For anyone who isn’t confident in who they are, inner or outward, what advice/tips/tricks would you give them?
First, you will have to start with yourself. When I have those days where I don’t feel as confident, that’s when I put on some music that makes me dance or sing. I talk with a friend who may need advice. I put on cute underwear. I exercise. I write. I pray. These things are just little things that I can do that make me feel happier and you have to find things your thing that make you feel sexy, smart, and important, in whatever means works best for you. If you feel confident when you bake, go make a cake for a friend. If you feel confident in wearing all black, then go put on all your black things and strut around the house. Whatever works for you and boosts your mojo.
Second, you need to share that to other girls. Tell other ladies when they are pretty or smell good or when you like their shoes. But also take note of admirable qualities like, “I admire how you are a hard worker”, “I love how big of a dreamer you are”, “You always know when to give me the best hugs.”. Those little encouragements may make you feel a little vulnerable at first, but overtime they go such a long way in making others feel stronger and you will feel more empowered too.
As your friend, I know you are constantly making everyone feel loved/taken care of/ beautiful/ etc. how do you do that?
I think it’s just me being a generally happy person that loves to radiate happiness and positivity to others. It also may be my lack of a filter when it comes to giving compliments. (There’s been way too many situations that I could’ve saved from awkwardness, had I not given the compliment, “You smell nice.” ) But if you smell nice, I’m going to tell you. And If I love your shoes, I’ll tell you how much I like them. If you did something super cool, I will tell you how incredible I think you are. On the other hand, if you are feeling sad and weak, I think it’s appropriate thats an important time to remind you as your friend, of a time when you were strong. I love that being nurturing and thoughtful comes (somewhat) easy to me, but I think everyone can get better at it with practice and being intentional doing those encouraging things.
What motivates you to motivate other people?
This is an interesting question because I have questioned that myself. No one ever HAS to be nice, but for my it comes more easy than being mean. I will easily give the credit to God for being in my heart and helping me to make the choice to be kind even when it’s not easy. It truly makes me happy, to make other people happy.
As far as style goes, what are your go to confidence building items of clothing/ something you always feel good in?
I always feel super confident in all black. There has to be some science behind it, like looking like a spy or cat woman. That will always make you feel strong and sexy. If I ever wake up not really feeling well, I know I will feel so much better by wearing all black. I also love really light, flow-y things because I love really feminine pieces too. It’s like “hard-core spy” or “soft angel bby” are my go-to confidence boosting looks. hahaha.
How would you suggest someone else find clothing that shows his or her confidence?
Remember the days that you were most happy and confident and think about what it was that you were wearing. Maybe you had a dress on and someone noticed how happy you were that day. Then, maybe that is something that you feel extra confident in! And on the flip side, if you ever feel uncomfortable in anything, (makes you hot/ squeezes your stomach too tight/ shows too much/not enough skin/causes blisters or bad hair days) don’t wear those items. Those bring on distractions from keeping you from living and loving your life, which creates more insecurities. Although, I fully think that you shouldn’t only place your confidence in your appearance. Some days, I feel the most confident when I’m wearing yoga pants with no makeup. Some people say I may look tired, but when I’m enjoying my day with a smile on my face, no one can argue with joy.
Find a feature about yourself that could bring you insecurities. Fall in love with it. I have super thick thighs with cellulite out the WAZOO. I used to dislike them, but now I absolutely love my hips/thighs area. Whenever I wear clothes that accentuate them, I now feel more confident. They are large, but they are so strong. They are soft, but they are feminine and womanly. Choose a feature you have and love it because thats what you have been blessed with.
How do you feel our peers/media/society/etc. influence the way we feel about ourselves?
I think we have this natural tendency to compare ourselves to other people. If you see someone that seems to have it all together, you’ll want what they have. It’s science. However, there’s a point in that reflection and admiration towards others that you have to realize every single person is human. Every person has their own issues. And when you see others who seem to have it all together, keep in mind that there is a difference in looking at them and admiring them, then letting them inspire you. Do not let your admiration for someone turn into saying you are nothing compared to them. Every person has something they can unique about them and every person has issues, even that person that you admire.
What can we do to change this?
We individually should focus on the things that truly matter and support one another. Create goals and achieve them. Surprise yourself and others around you with doing something new. Experience and learn about new cultures. Don’t let your insecurities hold you back from living your life and being a light onto others.
For me, I know that I am beautiful by having a good heart and an open mind. I know that I can get better everyday by setting goals like eating healthier and exercising more, but not because of appearance reasons; making healthier choices allows me to be able to experience life to it’s fullest and thats the big picture here. I care about my body and I want to treat it right. It is a beautiful machine that needs to be given proper care.
Jessica’s Final thoughts:
When it comes to taking care of yourself, love your body and who you are today. You’re body is an incredible machine that allows you to do anything you’ve ever thought of doing. Today, you are always good enough. Tomorrow, you will be a different person – whether its for the better or for the worse. Always try to be better and take baby steps of change if you need too, but don’t change because you hate you you are now. Love yourself enough to always strive for better.
Secondly, there is really nothing more awful than girl-on-girl cattiness. In the grand scheme of things, we are ALL.THE.SAME. Every single one of us has battles we fight and insecurities we deal with everyday. You have to be love others for who they are. You may disagree with how they live their life, but keeping an open mind, giving every person a chance, and keeping a fresh perspective on other peoples’ lives will only make you a happier person and a more overall enjoyable person for others to be around. Show kindness because it’s only reciprocated through that.
It is totally normal to not feel 100% confident in themselves at all times. So on days where I struggle, when I’m like feeling down on myself, I have a go-to playlist of songs that are a guaranteed mood booster. I even did it this past week when I was feeling insecure in the work that I was producing for a client. I felt really defeated… but then I was like, “Jess, Perk up. You rock. You have been pushing yourself to hard to be perfect and you are doing the best you can. That’s the best you can do. Now go listen to Beyonce.” And so thats what I did. It pushed me through the hard time to have a nice day.
“I have learned how to love myself by how I treat myself, how I talk to myself, and by building a community of love around me.” – Tracee Ellis Ross
Jessica’s must follows:
@gabifresh – for wonderful plus size fashion and travel goals
@iamiskra – for her constant reminders that #EveryBodyisBeautiful, but also that working out is so good for your body too.
@cleowade – for pretty things and little encouragements
@theashleygraham – I like following her because I feel like we literally have the same body type and she is freakin gorgeous. Oh. And she is the plus size model who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That kind of confidence makes her a daily inspiration for me. (Note: you can totally find models that have the same body type as you from Lily Aldridge to Tess Holiday – It’s a plus ( pun intended) that these models are so confident in who they are and set a great example of how you can show off what your momma gave ya, no matter your size.)
@manrepeller – daily inspo for kicking butt as a lady.
@rowanblanchard – seriously this girl is a kid genius. Power woman since age 12 and I love her.
@amyschumer – I look to this funny lady because she had the great saying, “I’m like 160 pounds right now and I can catch a dick whenever I want.” Not that I’m personally trying to hook-up like that, but this is her comedic way of saying, whatever the world standards are for guys to be attracted to you, don’t listen to them. You are sexy when you are at your most confident. She’s also just super funny and worth following regardless. She’s real and honest and I love her.
@refinery29 – gives great encouragement on living a more creative and confident life, with a few pop cultural news as a bonus.
Girl Power Playlist by Jess: