Maria

What made you want to be a part of the #ReclaimBeauty project? 

"I really want to feel better about my body image and how I see myself, hopefully get back to the kind of confidence I had when I was younger and more fit.  My body has served me well over the years and I'd like to show it the same respect it has shown me."

How has the cultural perception of beauty influenced how you see yourself?

"I think I've been lucky being a part of the lesbian culture because I haven't felt quite the pressure to fit into the skinny pretty girl image of the media world but even in lesbian culture youthfulness is still held in higher esteem, so that as I've aged I've felt more uncomfortable with my body, especially since the medication I have to take cause serious weight gain."

How do you nurture and celebrate your beauty?

"After finding out I had diabetes I really got serious about becoming healthier and began eating really healthy and starting a sound exercise routine that helped me lose twenty pound and move away from being diabetic.  Being more in control of my health as I near 50 makes me feel real good about myself and makes me feel like I'm finally taking care of the body that has for so long has taken care of me."