5 Questions We Ask Everyone: ‘Operation Beautiful’ Founder, Caitlin Boyle

It’s almost impossible to get through a meal with a group of girls and not talk about body image. And we’re not talking girl power sessions where everyone sits around pumping each other up. We’re talking about those conversations (that Mean Girls so brilliantly mocked) where everyone takes a turn pointing out a personal physical flaw. So now matter how good your body self-esteem may be, it’s hard to leave the table without questioning if you have a muffin top or cankles or too-short eyelashes.

That’s where Operation Beautiful and its founder, Caitlin Boyle, step in to the picture. Caitlin began Operation Beautiful to remind all women that they’re beautiful. She’s didn’t do it through a blog and she didn’t do it through a Today Show interview. She did it by leaving Post-it notes with positive messages in public places. What started as a one-woman mission turned into a grassroots movement with thousands of women leaving thousands of anonymous notes to remind women everywhere that they are beautiful, loved and perfect the way they are.

It’s inspiring and heart-warming and we just knew we had to talk to the woman who started it all.

5 Questions We Ask Everyone:

1. What is your favorite college memory?
My favorite college memory includes pulling all-nighters in the Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh’s 42-story Gothic-style centerpiece.  It felt like I was in Harry Potter!

2. What are 5 things you can’t live without?

My iPhone, Greek yogurt, running shoes, sunglasses, and coffee.

3. Favorite song to belt out in the car/the bar/for karaoke?
I’m ridiculously obsessed with Katy Perry lately.  I love “Teenage Dream”!

4. What is the motto/piece of advice you live by?

Love should come first. It should be the beginning of and the reason for everything.

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d love to own a home and have children by then.

5 Questions Just for Caitlin:

1. What inspired you to start posting the anonymous self-empowerment notes in public places?
I was feeling very negative and wanted to do something nice for a stranger.  I wrote “You are beautiful” on a sheet of paper and taped it to the mirror of a public bathroom.  I know how much a kind word can uplift someone, and it makes the note-writer feel better, too!  We need more kindness in this world.

2. Why do you think these notes make a difference to people? I mean, it’s just a little note.
Finding the note in an unexpected place or way is what makes the difference – people feel like it’s a “sign” meant just for them!

3. Has anyone reached out to you after being affected by an Operation Beautiful note?
I’ve heard from high schoolers struggling with bullying, women in treatment for eating disorders, men going through divorces… the impact that one note can have on someone is astonishing.

4. What advice would you give to college-age women dealing with negative body image?  Do you have any campus-friendly tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and positive body image?
My advice would be to treat your body the way it deserves – respect it with healthy exercise and wholesome food.  Remember your body is a machine and needs to be fueled to perform in the classroom and in life.  Focus on being healthy more than being thin.  Specifically, when you’re in the cafeteria, start off your meal with a bed of leafy greens – you’ll get an extra dose of vitamins and fiber!

5. What has been your personal journey through an inner-monologue makeover? How have your life and your self-perception improved from Operation Beautiful?
Operation Beautiful has made me more positive and kind.  It’s been surprising to realize how much other people care about strangers – it’s a beautiful thing!

[We’re joining the revolution and giving away two copies of ‘Operation Beautiful’! To enter: share what you love most about yourself below and we’ll randomly choose 2 winners on Wednesday, September 15th at 3 p.m. ET and announce them on Twitter and Facebook.]

Read more interviews with interesting and inspiring people right here!



  1. mary says:

    I read healthytipping point everyday and I love it and Caitlin. I really respect her project and was so excited to see that collegecandy choose her to interview!

  2. Jennifer Sternecker says:

    I most love my determination. At times this can go too far and turn into perfectionism but overall it is an especially lovely characteristic of me. Through my eyes, one can see the level of desire I have for things, especially my recovery from Anorexia Nervosa.

  3. Vicki says:

    I love my body. It's certainly not perfect, but now I'm finally at a place where I can accept both the good and the bad while still working to improve my overall health. I've gained the confidence to try on clothes that I never even would have considered a few years ago, and rock whatever I'm wearing with all I've got.

  4. Ami Lovelace says:

    I came across Operation Beautiful at the end of July, just in time to order the book for a bride whom I knew was having a difficult time with her body image leading up to the wedding. At the time I didn't think to order an extra copy for myself, and I should have. I've struggled with my body image my entire life. I've finally harnassed the self-doubt, ceased the harmful fat talk, and embraced myself- my entire self. I AM beautiful. And, I went and had a personal (tasteful) boudoir photo shoot to remind myself of it, when those moments hit, or just after those oft times difficult ladies' lunches. I have a full blog post about my experience coming into and recognizing my beauty at called "Bene Noire: Bared & Beautiful" at

  5. Kay says:

    I love that I am always ready to be in wonder of the world… in a class lecture, walking down the street on a sunny day, talking to a close friend or a stranger.

    And I remember seeing these notes all over my freshman dorm (which seems like a long time ago now). At the time, being at a new school, knowing no one, and feeling out of place, the notes people left–although simple–made a big impression. Operation Beautiful is a cool thing =)

  6. […] 5 Questions We Ask Everyone: 'Operation Beautiful' Founder … . of anonymous notes to remind women everywhere that they are beautiful loved and perfect the way they are. It's inspiring and heart-warming and we just knew we had to talk to the woman who started it all. 5 Questions We Ask Everyone: . 4 Comments on "5 Questions We Ask Everyone: 'Operation Beautiful' Founder, Caitlin Boyle" mary says: Thu, 9th Sep 20105:47 pm. I read healthytipping point everyday and I love it and Caitlin. I really respect her project and was so . […]

  7. Dove says:

    I love that I'm a mom to the 3 greatest kids and that I won joint custody of all of them Pro se (without an attorney), after I lost custody & all the attorneys I spoke with told me I didn't have a chance in hell in winning. My internal response was that I'm not in hell – so watch out. I guess it's my tenacity that I'm speaking of… somehow I manage to keep going no matter what the situation & I rise above it all. I love that I am strong enough to keep going under all circumstances & that I remain positive through it all, using my experiences to help my clients that discover me, working to uplift those I encounter along the way.

  8. Megan says:

    I love that I have a job that helps kids that are in shitty situations, it leaves me with a beautiful perspective on life these kids are braver then I could ever imagine being and they push me to be stronger and braver every day. I love that I'm one of the few people who can handle a career this emotionally taxing because its also very rewarding

  9. Alexis S. says:

    I love most my eyes. It's something I've always received compliments on but just recently started to like. Other than that all of me comes in 2nd, because it's undoubtedly what makes me, me and I like me. I talk about myself like most others, but my problems are things you can't fix, like I feel like I have big feet. Other than that I feel like I could lose weight. You just take the problems you can fix and fix them, as long as it's for yourself, then get to a point where you're comfortable with that.

  10. Mary says:

    I love my legs they do so much for me everyday even if they do have cellulite

  11. Victoria says:

    I love how I care about anyone and everyone and will help out in any way I can. Also, I have always been a fan of blonde hair (I have brown), so during the summer when my frizzy hair goes all over the place it gets the most sun, so I end up with blonde streaks of hair that last all winter without having to dye my hair. :]

  12. Angela says:

    I love my dimples. At first they were a teasing point, but they are and will always be a part of me. Their size and points are unusual and make my small smile stand out.

  13. Anna says:

    I love my athleticism. I have struggled my entire life with both extreme exercise-induced asthma and hypoglycemia, which means being physically active requires a lot of focus and will-power. I have to keep an extremely close eye on my diet and my health level, but with a lot of effort I have become an officer on my school's ultimate frisbee team. I can run several miles, play three or four complete games in a day, run a practice, and my body is exactly where I want it to be. I love it because I worked for it and conquered my obstacles.

  14. Raya @ Raya Runs says:

    I love my smile!! And I never smile unless I mean it. So if you get one, you know it's real :)

  15. Lauren @ Team Giles says:

    I've recently lost 30 lbs and I LOVE my collar bone. :) I feel sophisticated and sexy when I notice it in the mirror. On the inside, I love my determination. Quitting is not an option.

  16. Amanda D says:

    I love my eyes (they are the exact same shade as my fiance's which I think is cool), and my freckles! My mom teases me (lovingly) about my freckles popping out in the summer, and I love when they show up!

  17. Dee L says:

    I love my smile. Its one thing that I can share with friends and strangers alike and it doesn't cost me anything. As Dolly Parton says "If you meet someone without a smile, give them yours."

  18. Brie says:

    I love my strength. My body may not be "perfect," but it fits me perfectly. That it can endure a spin class, hold a yoga pose, and get me to class on time? The ultimate sugar-on-top.

  19. Ashley says:

    I love my eyes. They express so much and allow me to see all the beauty in this world :-).

  20. […] Beautiful is a project I’ve mentioned before. College Candy asked founder Caitlin Boyle five questions about herself and the […]

  21. […] has become so committed to defining the true meaning of beauty that she started a whole movement to promote positive body image. The Price Of Beauty was one of the most underrated shows in a long time, and I think it really […]

  22. […] The best thing about Glee is that despite the spontaneous song-and-dance routines, the unbelievable quirkiness of some of its characters (Brittany S. Pierce, you’re just weird), and the fact that trips to the dentist result in scene-for-scene recreations of pop music videos, it feels authentic.  Ryan Murphy stays committed to this ideal: despite the fact that the characters are all attractive (albeit in a way that is relatable) they struggle with the same things as actual teenagers do: financial woes.  Unrequited love.  Body issues. […]

  23. […] Green, Vegetarian Casserole Machine (from the Operation Beautiful side project Healthy Tipping […]

  24. I love my legs : really long, they need nothing done to them and never let me down !
    I always get compliments, not only from my friends, but also from random strangers.
    I can run long distances, but even before that they were in tip top shape.
    So I would like to thank my mum for one of the prettiest parts of my body. :)

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  26. […] 7. Hating your body. Let’s chill out with all the phrases like, “I hate my butt” or “I have flabby arms.” Dudes don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but when you keep telling yourself how gross you look, soon enough you’ll believe it. Leave the competition for the grossest physical attribute to the ladies of “Mean Girls” and their “super sucky nail beds.” Now, morning breath is a totally different story… (Need help with this one? Check out Operation Beautiful!) […]

  27. Kalp says:

    Bappy Smurfday, Soxbutters!I was actually iirvdng right past the former site of Channel 10 in Nunawading just as Dave was talking about the Jethopper competition on The Early Bird Show. What I remember from when I was about six, was passing by that studio when it was still called Channel 0 with a big, fat zero on the side of the building. Across the road from Wobbie’s World, which is also no more.As a six-year-old, I was only allowed to watch the ABC and SBS, so my Early Bird watching wouldn’t come until a few years later. So, my single-digit years were spent watching Dr Who, The Goodies, Monkey, G-Force, Astroboy, Bananaman, Four Corners and Danger Mouse.I did get to sit inside KITT once, but unfortunately not in California, he was at the Royal Melbourne Show.John Richards I thought I hallucinated that 3D episode of Blah Blah Blah. Now I can take a small step towards sanity, knowing that it might have actually happened.

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