02/24/2014 01:23 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Love Yourself First

Living in a society filled with social media, reality television and beauty magazines at your fingertips 24/7 can bring a sense of insecurity and vulnerability as we try to be copycats in search for perfection. As a teenager myself, I see so many girls competing with celebrities and models who are airbrushed to the point of their bodies being recreated and it is very clear their ultimate goal is to mimic these false characteristics. I believe it's great to have role models to look up to, however young girls today are losing sight of what's most important, and that is loving yourself first.

As I travel the U.S. giving speeches and "girl talks", one of the top points of discussion is the pressure to look and be perfect. I tell these girls "There is no such thing as perfect, but there is such a thing as being confident." We all have insecurities and trust me, those famous models and celebrities young girls idolize have them too. I've had some wonderful modeling opportunities I wouldn't trade for the world. Today's model standard is a young girl who is a size zero or sometimes even smaller. A model is something I never really aspired to become. I fell into the industry on accident due to my natural body type. I have never dieted and have come to realize the modeling industry is very much like a "genetic lottery," allowing girls who fit a certain size and type access to this not-so-glamorous "club".

While many girls wish themselves to be my size, I often times wish I had more curves as my body type tends to make me look much younger than I actually am. If I was a little larger and dissatisfied with my weight, I could easily exercise, eat healthy and lose the pounds. That doesn't work so well with my situation. Last time I checked, eating healthy doesn't increase your bra size. With that said, I am not saying I am not happy with my body, but oftentimes we want what we don't have.

One way I learned to love myself for exactly who I am was to boost my confidence. I'm a huge advocate for taking a really good look at ourselves, finding our positives and rocking our quirkiness. None of my friends are perfect....(like I said, that doesn't exist) and I truly love learning from them and enjoying their imperfections. If all of my friends were cut from the same mold, life would be pretty boring. I found focusing on my positives made a difference in the way I feel about myself and my ability to love others. Gaining confidence can give you the GIRL POWER to rock who you are, make a difference, finding the motivation and determination to be anything you want to be.

Girls are always focused on the outside with little dedication to what's on the inside. Loving yourself from within isn't easy sometimes but WOW, what an amazing feeling when you can take all those insecurities and negative thoughts and toss them out the window. If you don't like something about yourself work to fix it but don't carry the "fix" to an extreme. It seems in today's society, girls are resorting to dangerous alternative quick fixes. Also, being a kind, generous, compassionate and genuine person gives you a glow that no amount of makeup can mimic. Having friends to laugh with and tell your secrets to is important, especially for young girls. If we all took off our makeup and picked friends based solely on what we could hear, I guarantee you I might not choose the girl with the flawless face and amazing figure. I would probably choose the genuine voice that cared about what I had to say. That is true beauty and having these qualities makes loving ourselves so much easier.

Once you understand what loving yourself really means and how positively it can affect your life, you will then be able to share this "power" with others and make a difference. When I stop and think about it, loving yourself can mean something a little different to us all. It can mean believing in yourself or accepting your insecurities, or it could mean being confident enough to ignore the haters and walk your path of choice. Whatever it means to you, know you are amazing and have the ability to use your "power" and become your own Superhero.

I love this quote by Emma Watson. She sums it up in one sentence.

"What gets scary is when your self-worth is tied up in what strangers think of you" ~ Emma Watson