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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Body Acceptance with Jenelle

The point of my blog is to create a positive conversation about women, mental health, and body acceptance. I wanted to add another element to this conversation and bring in powerful women to talk about these topics. That being said, I was able to interview Jenelle (pictured above). Jenelle is a mom, creator of Burk & Co, ambassador for Aerie, and much more. Her lifestyle blog is something to talk about. She discusses stories from her life and hopes to have this give people hope and encourage grace. I wanted to interview her because I absolutely love what she stands for. Jenelle also happens to be an ambassador for Aerie. Aerie is an extremely popular company for girls. I know, for me, I absolutely love their clothing and what they stand for. I wanted to ask her about being an Aerie partner and also her thoughts on body acceptance. I hope Jenelle sharing her story will create a positive conversation.

1. Why did you decide to partner with Aerie? 

Actually Aerie approached me. When I receive the email I couldn’t say yes quick enough. I have been shopping with American Eagle for years and with aerie since they opened in 2006. I’ve been following along with aerie in recent years and have fallen in love with everything they are about.

2. What do you feel is the most important part of what Aerie does?

I love that aerie includes everyone. When you shop on their website you feel welcomed because the models look like you or someone you know.

3. What are your thoughts on body acceptance? 

That’s a big question. I can really only speak to my own body but the road to body acceptance can be a long one. As women we have been trained to think we need to look a certain way. Which can cause you to constantly talk yourself down. Now that retailers and media are starting to promote with all types of bodies. It will start to be easier to accept ourselves as well as help the younger generation to accept their bodies sooner.

4. Have you ever struggled with accepting your own body? If yes, how have you handled that? 

Absolutely. I just turned 30 and have been pregnant 4 time’s and have two kids. I really have only just started feeling comfortable in my own body. There were years I hate my body for failing me with miscarriages, gaining weight because of depression and then completely changing during postpartum. For years I would try and find a quick fix to lose weight and try different programs ( I’m guilty of trying to do one this year even) I would lose a little end up going off track and then be down on myself.

5. If you could tell your younger self one thing what would you say? 

Be brave, this doesn’t last forever, enjoy yourself a bit.
Honestly I hated school, once I graduated was when I started to thrive. I was bullied when I hit puberty and in high school I was the “fat friend” to the pretty girl. I was probably a size 12 through high school. I convinced myself I was invisible because if I was invisible then no one would call me out on my size. I wouldn’t socialize for fear of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I missed out on a lot. Sometimes I wish I could go back and be a little more outgoing or find a better group of people to hang out with or wish I had more positive self talk. If I could have known how self talk can be you’re own worst enemy I would have been so much more social. Thankfully over the years I have reconnected with classmates only to find out I wasn’t invisible and all of them made comments to the extent of “I wish we could have been friends in school but you were so quiet”. But instead of looking back I look forward and I am very happy with where I am now.

6. What advice would you give a young girl struggling with body positivity?

Oh girl! You will move mountains. Don’t let your body define you, you need to define your body! For every negative thought you need to say at least two positive things. Put post it notes of positivity around your mirror and read them to yourself every morning or before bed. Sounds cheesy but it works. Find a mentor or big sister to walk you through the hard parts and celebrates the wins with you. One of the things that has really helped me get to the space of positivity and body acceptance is talking to a counsellor or therapist. Making it okay and to encourage young women to talk to professionals or find someone they can confide in is important. My hope for the younger generation of girls is that this silent fight that we are in with media and retailers to be inclusive will help to create a mind set that every body is different and that’s okay. I hope that one day it will be just a little bit easier for women to accept their bodies big or small.

If you would like to check out this amazing woman, Jenelle you can find her on Instagram @burknco


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