This month is all about celebrating women and their contribution to the world. However, Drew Pruzaniec has made a career out of celebrating women every day. She created a movement, named The Beauty Project, that calls women to live their lives fully and unashamed. Drew said that, “My heart is to see women fully embracing who they are, coming out of hiding and living their lives with confidence.” She uses her personal experience to inspire women to live an authentic life, so that they will have the ability to teach future generations to do the same.
Drew grew up on a farm in a small town in Arkansas. She later moved to Conway, AR to earn a BA in Public Relations and was the first person in her family to go to college. It was at this point in her life that she recognized her capabilities, and her mentality towards life started to change. She began what she refers to as her “journey of authenticity”. In regards to this journey Drew said, “When I personally let my walls down and let myself be myself, that’s when everything changed for me.”
Drew is an inspiration to women. She has been on her own journey of navigating how to live life fully and unashamed and now encourages all women to do the same. Here are the steps that she has shared to help women embrace who they are with confidence:
- Embrace self-love and self-acceptance
I believe that living a life fully and unashamed is possible when we learn to love and accept ourselves first, without having approval of others. When we’re constantly consumed with people’s opinions and expectations for us, we lose who we truly are. It’s hard to love yourself when you’re not sure who you are to begin with.
Self-love doesn’t mean that nothing needs to change in your life; it’s simply the state of mind that you’re a work in progress, and you’re giving yourself full permission to do so without shame. “You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.”
- Be vulnerable and authentic
We live in a day where this idea is idolized, but in my opinion, not practiced very often. It can be intimidating to let our guards down, and allow people to see the real us. I believe that living a life fully and unashamed is grounded in the ability to be authentic and vulnerable with our stories. When you are the real deal 100% of the time, you have nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to hide.
We all want to be seen, known and heard for who we truly are. Sometimes fear tells us that what we bring to the table isn’t good enough, which means, we’re not enough. But that could not be further from the truth. Our growth is dependent on our ability to allow ourselves to be seen, known and heard authentically. “Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” – Morgan Harper Nichols
- Take risks
The only way you fail is if you don’t try at all. Taking risks has probably been one of the hardest things for me. I was the kid that tried to do what everyone else did, so that I wouldn’t stand out or draw attention to myself. I didn’t start taking risks until I was in college. After I recovered from having thyroid cancer, something inside of me just snapped and I realized that life is so short (cliché, I know…) and that I wanted to really live my days, not just exist. From there, I started wearing what I wanted, coloring my hair the way I wanted, openly jamming to all my old school music that wasn’t necessarily popular with people my age, and I even started letting people see my big quirky personality – like the kind of personality that only your family members know and joke about to embarrass you.
My latest risk was quitting my career and starting, The Beauty Project. My career was my identity, but I’d been feeling this push to quit and start something from scratch, so I did! It’s been the best ride – hard work, meeting new people, being pushed beyond all my boundaries, financially risky, and learning to trust and lean on the people around me more than ever. “Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.” – Unknown
- Don’t take yourself too seriously – learn to have fun
This is something that I am currently still practicing daily, and I’ll probably practice this for the rest of my life. When you’re completely engrossed in something like a career, dream, hobby, or even building your family, it can be easy to become narrowly focused.
To me, living fully and unashamed is not just about the hard things we overcome like body image, insecurities, fears, and doubts. I think it’s about releasing the idea that every second of your life has to be delegated to something that’s going to be financially profitable, or put you way ahead. If you’re super scheduled and don’t have a lot of spare time, put “fun time” in your calendar and plan it out. “Success is not dependent on what career you choose. Success is dependent on you choosing you, then bringing all you are into all you do.” – Dr. Lauren
Regarding the steps that Drew shared above she said that, “I want people to walk away knowing that they are not the only ones on this journey and that they have permission to practice self-love, use their voice, take risks, and have fun!” She has created a space for women to express themselves and celebrate what makes them unique. The steps shared above are only the beginning. The Beauty Project is a way for women to continually share with one another how to live life fully and unashamed.