Despite what anyone says, you are going to gain the Freshman 15. I was lucky enough to gain the Freshman 20. (Shout out to the UMD dining halls for that one). Growing up, I constantly had body dysmorphia, always believing I looked bigger than I actually did. And then when I gained weight in college, I refused to believe it. I tried to squeeze in my jeans from high school with no luck.
At the time I was insecure, I felt fat, gross, and angry that I had let my body from high school go. This went on for months, and it didn’t help when unnamed family members tried to put me on diets and extreme calorie restrictions, resulting in me binging, and feeling even worse. I’ll never forget the day I stumbled across Iskra Lawrence’s Youtube videos about body positivity and how to practice gratitude if you are feeling unworthy in a clothing store.
From that point forward I began my self-love journey, I remember realizing, hey, yes, you are curvy, but embrace it, you are beautiful, healthy, and strong. It was funny, because after I started feeling this way, randomly an Aerie Ambassador application fell into my inbox. I applied, not thinking I would even get an interview, and surprisingly, I got the job. My passion for uncovering unjust marketing practices and wanting more inclusive ad campaigns stood out.
I eagerly awaited the beginning of my position and was given star treatment like getting flown out to headquarters, receiving free bralettes constantly, and even meeting my idol, Iskra Lawrence. But at the end of the day, this wasn’t why I loved my job. I loved it because it taught me how to love myself.
As a brand ambassador, it’s your goal to sell the brand to your campus and educate them about the company’s mission. And in my opinion, to be a successful salesman you must truly love or believe in what you are selling. It was my job to sell the idea that every girl is perfect and beautiful, imperfections or not. I interacted with hundreds of girls this school year and loved getting the chance to speak about the #AerieREAL mission. And, after months of events I learned that I was beautiful and worthy too, despite my stretch marks, curves, and chubby cheeks.
I quickly became an advocate for body positivity, always telling my girlfriends how beautiful and empowering they are, and hyping them up when they were down. Although some people might have seen my position as annoying, because I was required to post lots of social media content weekly, I didn’t mind. I truly believe the #AerieREAL mission is invaluable to our generation of young girls and women.
However, I made the decision that I am not going to reapply for the program. It helped me jump start my self-love journey and I want another girl to have a chance at that as well. This process has not just been about loving my body, but truly loving myself. I let go of toxic friends, stopped worrying about boys that would never value me, and it even led to me becoming a writer for Make Muse.
My suggestions for the girls reading this is to look in the mirror and pick out five things you love about yourself. They don’t have to be physical- they can be personality traits as well. I then suggest you going through your list and saying to yourself,
If you are hesitant about your journey or even about yourself, feel free to reach out to me @lidijajurovich, I would love to provide any help I can.
Author: Lidija Jurovich
Lidija is a rising junior at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in Marketing with a minor in Non-Profit Leadership. Growing up on the West Coast, Lidija has learned that traveling and meeting new people is one of her favorite things to do. She hopes to create her own non-profit clothing company with proceeds benefiting victims of child abuse or pursue a career in marketing for empowering and inclusive clothing or beauty companies. Currently, she is a brand ambassador for Aerie, where she works to promote body positivity and empowerment on UMD’s campus.