What do Mayor Sharon Gaetz and Miss Canada Tara Teng have in common?
They're both women, for starters, and G.W. Graham Grade 12 student Brittany Clough figures that means they've both battled self-esteem issues around body image too.
"I think every girl does, really," Clough told the Times. "I think because they're girls they've gone through their own self-esteem problems. I obviously don't know for sure, but I figure everyone has a tough part in their life."
So Clough has invited the mayor, Miss Canada, recording artist Marika Siewert, other speakers and a whole lot of girls in Grades 7 to 12 to her school's gym on Feb. 22 for Beautiful, You-an all-girl sleepover seminar on self-esteem.
The event will wrap up a weeklong "no makeup or hair product challenge" from Feb. 16 to 23 that Clough has organized to raise awareness and funds for the Dove Self-Esteeem Fund.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with makeup," she said. "I just think that you should also be able to feel beautiful without it."
Throughout the week, girls who sign up for the challenge will eschew makeup, hairspray, curlers and straighteners while completing daily self-esteem challenges, like thinking of 30 things they like about themselves or giving a set number of other people authentic compliments.
"This is about building your self-esteem and helping others with theirs as well, because if you're in an environment that has good self-esteem it'll wear off on you as well," Clough said. "If you help others change theirs, yours will change as well."
This is especially true for girls, she said, who tend to tear each other down when they lack self esteem.
So far 80 girls have asked Clough for pledge forms, and local businesses have gotten on board to feed the girls during their sleepover, with Panago and Dairy
Queen providing pizza and sundaes, respectively, and Save-on Foods pitching in pancake-breakfast supplies.
Clough decided to organize the self-esteem challenge and seminar because of all the negative comments she hears girls making about themselves at school.
"I go through the hallways and I hear so many girls, starting even in Grade 7, where they're tearing themselves down and being like, 'Oh, I'm fat. Oh, I'm ugly,'" Clough said. "In Grade 7, I was still wearing sweat pants and I didn't know what makeup was. It's starting so young nowadays."
She made an appointment with the mayor and got her onboard and was able to get Miss Canada and Siewert to come out because her mom knew their agents.
She hopes those women's stories will inspire girls at the seminar. "If they talk, hopefully they'll be able to at least change one girl's outlook on herself," she said.
Beautiful, You is open to all girls in Grades 7 to 12 (not just G.W. Graham students). For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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