Read an Excerpt
I dedicate this book to all the budding teenage beauties out there who have not yet realized that true beauty is the love and light in your heart, the clear, positive voice in your mind, and the celebration of your unique loveliness. Shine on, my fabulous flowers, never give up on loving yourselves, and always be your own beauty revolutionaries!
Have you ever heard the saying “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”? Turns out that Shakespeare guy really was on to something. Ask any one of your friends what their favorite flower is. Now ask someone else. The more people you approach, the more varying answers you’ll get. Some people think daisies are awfully sweet, and others are crazy about pansies. Tulips, daffodils, peonies . . . to borrow another famous expression, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Everyone seems to have a completely different idea of what’s considered gorgeous. Try to visualize what kind of flower you would be. Just pick your favorite and think about what makes it special. Think especially about what makes it stand apart from the other flowers. Just like each of us, there are seemingly unlimited variations of petals, each with different qualities that make them appealing. For example, roses are always lovely, but some people are especially drawn to honeysuckle, which may not be as showy, but its blossoms smell so sweet! Daffodils are especially charming to others, because their lovely goofiness makes them totally endearing. The famous female artist Georgia O’Keeffe painted many, many kinds of flowers—sometimes she focused on ones that boasted unique shapes; other times, specific colors inspired her—and she managed to highlight the idea that there is spectacular beauty in every bloom, if you look closely enough. Then remember how, like your flower, you are also super unique, whether it’s the unusual color of your eyes or your adorable crooked smile. It doesn’t matter if you’re a delicate orchid or a wild cactus flower: This book is about celebrating them all. I see the beauty in each of you, and I want you to as well.
Here’s another botanical quote for you: “The grass is always greener.” I’m going to let you in on a juicy little secret that it took me years to learn. My curly brunette beauties out there, have you ever longed for super-straight blonde locks? Bold blue-eyed babies, do you think chocolate brown eyes are the ultimate accessories? It may sound crazy, but it’s true on every level: Women of all ages seem to have this weird idea that if only they looked different, they would somehow feel better about themselves. Kinda silly, right? But it gets crazier: Sometimes I work with famous models and celebrities, and many times they’re tall, have straight teeth, clear complexions—all the things the fashion magazines tell us is considered “beautiful.” And here’s the thing. They feel the same way. Tall, thin girls often say they wish they could be petite and curvaceous. Petite, curvy girls have spent more time than you could possibly imagine yearning to be more waifish and exotic. It seems everyone is sick with this envy disease.
The good news is, you don’t have to play the compare-and-despair game. Our differences are what make us awesome! Walt Disney (I know you’ve heard of him!) said it best: “The more you are like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.” So stop that negative voice in your head right in its tracks and know that each and every one of our differences is actually what makes us beautiful. Once you fully understand that, you will begin to bloom like a flower in such magical ways that it will blow your mind. Embracing your own individuality with total confidence creates energy around you that people will want to emulate. Confidence is the product of self-love and it is truly what gives us the power to shine, to love, to laugh, to fall down and fail, and get up again to become better.
Ready for your inner flower power to grow? Any time you notice that you, a violet, are comparing yourself to the petunia next door, think of these thoughts as weeds in your garden—if they take root, they make it a little harder to see the beauty surrounding your particular petals. So put on your imaginary gardening gloves and yank those weeds right out of the ground. Let’s get started!
True beauty comes from within. Here are a few ways to help you own it, ladies.
I know it can be hard to really see yourself as beautiful in your teen years. These are the years when you’re seeing a lot of changes in your body and appearance, and you’re still trying to figure out who you are. It’s not easy when we are constantly fed images of perfect models and flawless celebrities in the media who can make us feel insecure and inadequate because we don’t look like them. Reality check: All of those seemingly perfect images you see in magazines and ads? It takes a team of people—from stylists to hairstylists, makeup artists, set designers, and more—to make sure the subject in the image appears to be flawless. What’s more, I know you’ve heard of Photoshop and have probably used it for school or personal social media projects. Once the “perfect” picture is taken, then it gets fully Photoshopped! So obviously it’s super unrealistic for anyone to compare themselves to that whole situation. Besides, how boring would it be if everyone looked the same and only one form of beauty mattered? It would be like everyone thinking only roses are beautiful and no other flowers mattered. Now honestly, my blossoms, I know you are way smarter than that. Now is the time to realize your radiance and change things up. You are a true beauty! Whatever you do, don’t join Team Insecure and pluck out your petals. Take action and repeat after me: “I am beautiful and unique and we are all in this together.” You may not believe it at first, but trust me, if you continue to repeat this mantra to yourself on a daily basis, slowly but surely, you will begin to recognize your inner flower power. Just try it (give it time!), and by continuing to focus on what makes you stand out in a positive way, you’ll soon begin to bloom!
I wasn’t always this confident myself. In fact, at times I was like total “Insecurity.com” when I was a teenager. I was a bit overweight, I had braces, and my mother permed my hair, which just accentuated my already round face. Kids in school called me all kinds of names, like “thunder thighs,” “fatty,” “basketball head,” and “brace face.” While I guess it kind of sounds funny now, at the time it hurt my feelings very much, and I totally stopped feeling pretty. I was bullied and dealt with the typical “mean-girls syndrome,” and it began to really turn up the volume on that negative voice in my head—you know, the one we all have that tells us we’re ugly or not good enough. I felt so unattractive and insecure that it started to limit my ability to pursue my hobbies and goals. I lived at the beach, loved the ocean, and had always wanted to join Junior Lifeguards and spend my days swimming, surfing, and learning lifesaving skills. The only issue was I had to be in a bathing suit every day, and all the teasing and taunting from the kids at school mixed with the loud, negative voice in my head stopped me from doing what I loved and I never joined up. How much does that suck?