When I was in middle school, I was bullied a lot, for being scrawny. That was what the bullies led me to believe, anyway. Now, years later, I realize that it was my lack of self-esteem and awareness that really caused the bullying. I didn’t embrace the way I was different, and I didn’t know that it was all about loving myself. Now I speak at schools through Hey UGLY (Unique.Gifted.Lovable.You.) to build emotional awareness and self-love in the kids. I am a singer/songwriter, and after being featured as “the singing waitress” on American Idol: Season 10, I am now able to share my story by giving students a mini concert and using song-writing and components of yoga as positive outlets for them!
What interests you most about what you’re doing now?
I LOVE what I’m doing now. This gives me a chance to combine all of my passions- singing, writing songs, yoga, and helping kids on their path to loving and becoming aware of themselves.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment? Biggest challenge?
Being featured on American Idol and becoming a national spokesperson for Hey UGLY are accomplishments that I’m really thrilled about. My biggest challenges always come when things don’t go the way I had hoped/expected (ie. getting cut from American Idol, trying to get the kids to like me in school). But what I think is interesting about this, is that things usually turn out better than I had expected them to. I think I’m learning that if I let go of my control-freak mentality, I can get a lot of positive things accomplished. I think it’s important to expect the best, but SOMETIMES we don’t have to define what “the best” is.
Who or what inspires you?
Kids really inspire me. And people who have goals that they are working to accomplish every day. People who have passion. I think that kids are the best example of “people who have passion”. They just go! They just do what they want and feel at the time. I think we tend to lose this a little bit as we get older and “more practical”. I’m a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters. My Little Sister, Kelsey, is one of the most inspiring people I know. She’s 14 now, and we’ve been a match for 3 years. She thinks outside of the box and has an incredibly beautiful mind.
Why is peace sexy to you? What does “Peace is Sexy” evoke for you?
Well, in order to be peaceful, you have to have self-confidence. Confidence is definitely sexy. You can’t give somebody something you don’t have- that’s what I tell the kids when I speak at schools. If you build up self-love, love is all you can give to other people. Building inner peace is incredibly sexy.
What is a simple thing you do to create peace? What is something you do everyday?
I practice yoga in some form every day (if I can’t get to a class, I usually do sun salutations, and I focus on my breathing all day, especially during stressful situations). I also sing every day. Yoga and singing create inner peace for me. Then I can create peace for other people!
How would you like Peace is Sexy to make a difference in what you are up to?
Where would you like to see your passion go in the next 10 years? 20 years? 100 years?
In the coming years, I would like to see a more peaceful, emotionally aware, and loving society. War completely contradicts what we are taught in school. There is a no-tolerance policy for violence in a lot of schools, and yet, as soon as a child turns 18 and graduates, he/she can go to war… And then wars end up in textbooks. What kind of message is that to send to kids? I’d like to see big changes, and I’m confident that I will.
Is there anything else you want to tell us?