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!