What is your level of self-esteem from 1-10?
I would say if I’m going out in a crowded place, a seven. If I’m with friends, it’s a 10. Depends on the situation.
Are you nervous?
Yes. Mainly because I want this to succeed and I want to help you in any way I can.
Why did you want to participate?
I think that a lot of women have issues with how they look or how other people view them. It’s going to help a lot of women, and men too, view themselves in a different way.
What do you struggle with most about your body?
My thighs. It’s the one area I retain fat at, that I notice.
What is your favorite part of your body?
My eyes. I guess because I get complimented on. It’s the one thing I get complimented on.
How do you feel about the way the media portrays beauty?
I think the saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The media doesn’t nessecarily portrait that 90% of the time. Not as much as they should.
Are you happy with your body?
Yes, if I HAD to pick something that’s what it would be. It’s not like I would change it, it makes me, me.
What was your middle school experience like?
I was called brace face, I had braces and head gear. I was a little gangly scrawny kid. I got made fun of a lot.
How did that translate into your self-esteem when you that age?
It lowered it a lot. I had two sisters, I would tell them what happened and they would tell me not to worry about it. So I had a female to reinforce that I was beautiful. That’s why it hurt, but it wasn’t one of those things where it damaged me. It didn’t damage me.
Let’s talk about feminism. Are you a feminist?
I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist, no.
I think there should be equality in wages, yes. But do I go into the streets and march? No. I’m not going to write letters to every group and organizations that I need the wages like everyone else. But, I do believe in equality.
Why do you think so many people are turned off by feminism?
Some people don’t fully understand what it actually is, like we were discussing. Some people might even be afraid if there are equal rights that they’d be out of the job. It’s a lot of being afraid of change, there are a lot of people who are afraid of change.
How did you get the scars on your legs?
It was the Aurora shooting. I was shot through both my legs.
How do you feel about those scars?
They’re a reminder that I am alive, a reminder to live my life to it’s extent. I was told I would never walk again and I was walking in three weeks. I’m kind of stubborn in that way, so they’re just a reminder for me.
Do you think the media pushes an unhealthy expectation onto women?
I do actually. They push a certain image, that you have to be a certain way whether it’s to be popular or pretty…it’s a certain ideal. I don’t want to push this but the suicide rate goes up every year and it’s because people don’t feel like they can fit in. It’s a crappy thing to go through, male or female.
Have you ever suffered from mental illness?
I have PTSD from Baghdad. I have not had any yet from the shooting. But I have nightmares. That’s my form of PTSD. I have very vivid nightmares. I no longer have them, very rarely anymore.
Do you think there are enough resources for veterans with PTSD?
What resources helped you get past your PTSD?
I just talked to a doctor. A therapist.
If someone walked up to you, told you your life was easy, how would you respond?
I don’t think anybody has it easy. It’s just a matter of walking a mile in anyone’s shoes.
Any last words to the readers?
Just because you don’t think you’re beautiful, doesn’t mean you are not. What you see in the mirror might not what everyone else sees. Everyone has beautiful things about them.