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

I think its important for women to strip down, be vulnerable, and share how much love they have for their own naked body. It’s so hard to figure out who we are, spending so much time trying to fit in and belong. Women have so many masks to hide under that its exhausting. This project can help raise our awareness and help people break out from their masks and shells and celebrate who they are. I mean you only get one body and if you can’t learn to love it, it's going to be a long exhausting journey. 

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

I think being able to love my current self even while pushing to be better or build myself up more. Have you ever seen those posts on Pinterest that say “Remember how you thought you were fat 5 years ago? Don’t you wish you looked like that now?” I feel like that is so true. No matter where I was in life - what I looked like, etc - I would always be focused on how I thought things could be better. But over time, I learned that my current self is beautiful and am working hard to better it every day. 

How do you nurture and celebrate your beauty?

I stand in front of the mirror naked, look at myself and celebrate what is in front of me no matter what. I practice a lot of verbal, vocalized self love and try, anytime I see my reflection when I walk past a mirror throughout the day to say ‘hell yeah, that’s me”. I have learned that I have the right to be comfortable being Melissa and don’t have to try to package myself as anything different.