Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Follow me on my new journey!

Hello all :)

You may or may not know that I recently won my second state title! Please follow me on this new journey at


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love your body day!

From ForbesWoman:

Today is Love Your Body Day. Here at ForbesWoman we love and hate our bodies each and every day, and so to celebrate, we’ve rounded up five great posts (and a video!) we’ve come across recently that celebrate bodies and what they can do.

To see the posts, click:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sheppard Pratt taps students' perspective on body image

In August, I talked about the Center for Eating Disorders' annual poster campaign.

Described as "great opportunity to intertwine art and outreach for students, youth, organizations and campuses," check out the Towson Times article featuring, Kate Clemmer community outreach coordinator at the Center!

Posters can be submitted to Sheppard Pratt through Dec. 16. Workshops can be scheduled until that time. For more information, or to schedule a workshop, call 410-427-3886 or email

For the article, visit,0,2556995.story

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eating disorders and the Exec Woman

I often visit Forbes Woman online for career advice, womens issues around the world and this week I was surprised to see an article by Meghan Casserly about eating disorders in professional women. As she says "for a growing number of professional women, food issues take center stage mid life."

For me it has been a life long battle and eating disorders in general have been long associated with teenage girls and tweens. In recent years, treatment centers are seeing increases in the number of women seeking treatment in their 30s to 60s.

Forbes talks about Alison, a middle aged professional woman and self proclaimed perfectionist who has struggled with the condition. She made a decision after completing treatment three years ago to leave her planned career path for a slow paced non profit. I can empathize-- my career was a major catalyst for the disease to take control of my life. In the young girls that I've talked to in recent months divorce, leaving for college, broken relationships and other high pressure situations have served as triggers for disordered eating.

"...asking for help was the most difficult thing [she] had ever done. “Especially in the finance world, in an office full of Type-A men, I never wanted to come across as weak,” Alison says. Rehabilitation experts concede that for older patients, admitting defeat and asking for help can be a major roadblock—but it can ultimately be their saving grace."

Asking for help at any age is difficult but I know my weekly appointments keep me on track and strong both physically and emotionally. It feels good to be in control.

Thanks Meghan for the great article!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Anaa-Rexia" Halloween Costume

Just when I was getting excited about picking a costume for Halloween this year, I came across several articles about a glittery skeleton costume titled "Anna Rexia" complete with a heart name tag and measuring tape.

Not funny.

The costume has now been pulled from Ricky's and other retailers (I'm sure you can still find it sold around the web). The description read “You can never be too rich or too thin."

Betty Confidential writes, " Emaciated, starving girls do not need to get the impression that other young women want to be them. And for women like me, this getup is a slap in the face –a heartless trivialization of a battle that took us so long to win...This Halloween, let’s choose what we wear wisely..."

For more from Betty Confidential:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

MBA Beauty Queens

Loved yesterday's article in BusinessWeek about titleholders with MBAs.

The article highlights a dozen women who have competed at Miss America and Miss USA and obtained MBA degrees and have gone on to work for Fortune 500 companies, non profit organizations and technology start ups.

I am so proud to be joined by such bright women who have used the skills they learned through pageants to become successful business leaders.

"The experience of participating in a pageant is in many ways ideal preparation for the business world, says Art McMaster, president and chief executive officer of the Miss America Organization, which runs the Miss America pageant. To impress the judges, the women must learn how to market and brand themselves." Couldn’t have said it better myself!

For more on the article,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Demi Lovato talks treatment

Set your DVR's to Tuesday's episode of the Ellen DeGeneres show! Demi Lovato stops by to talk treatment-- a year ago, she sought care for "emotional and physical issues."

According to she wants to become a role model for teenage girls. "There was nobody out there for me to look at and say maybe this is unhealthy," Lovato, who battled eating disorders.. "I want to be that for a 13-year old girl at home deciding whether or not to eat dinner, or an 18-year-old girl deciding whether or not to keep her breakfast down."

I was on a similar journey as Demi just 4 years ago-- when the the singer-actress finished treatment in January, she wanted to be "outspoken" and freely talk about her "issues" because when she grew up, she "was dealing with the pressures to be thin."

" changed my life forever," she says. And I would have to agree.

Kudos to Demi for sharing her story.,,20529349,00.html

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Teen Entrepreneurship

This past week I had the pleasure of meeting a young entrepreneur who started her business, Simple Sugars, at the age of 11. What an inspiring young lady! As a young girl with sensitive skin, she had trouble finding skin care products that worked for her. The solution? Making her own!

First selling to friends and family, she went on to sell them as presents during the holidays. 6 years later she has become the CEO of a full blown, all natural skin care company. I've got my eyes on the lavender body scrub!

Follow Lani Lazzari's road trip on her website as she travels across the country and back promoting her company.

Photo by SheCounts.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mind, Body and Purse Empowerment Conference

I was reading the BBJ at lunch this afternoon and couldn't help but notice an event for middle school and high school girls, hosted by She Counts on the calendar. This conference offers over 20 workshops on domestic violence, teen dating, sex, self-esteem, food and nutrition, physical fitness, workforce development, entrepreneurship and other teen related topics.

The event will be held at Loyola University (Timonium Campus) on Friday October 21, 2011 from 8am to 5pm. A $20 fee includes breakfast, lunch and snacks. The deadline to register is October 15.

Featured speakers include Lani Lazzari and Deborah Owens.

At 17 years old, Lani is the CEO of Simple Sugars. Having been featured in CosmoGirl, Forbes, Self, Entrepreneur and more, Lani is both a role model for young women and an ambassador for female entrepreneurs.

Deborah is an author and on a mission to engage others in a conversation about financial empowerment. She has appeared on CNN, ABC, PBS and Essence magazine.

Sounds like a can't miss event to me. Now, if only I were young enough to be an attendee!

For more information on SheCounts and this event, visit

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finding Body Confidence with Susie Orbach

Mark your calendars for a keynote address and reception with internationally acclaimed author and body image activitst, Susie Orbach.

This free event will be held at the Conference Center at Sheppard Pratt on Sunday October 2, 2011 from 2-4pm. Pre-registration is required-- call (410) 938-3157 or email to reserve your seats today!

Susie Orbach is a psychoanalyst and writer. She co-founded The Women’s Therapy Centre in 1976 and The Women’s Therapy Centre Institute in New York, in 1981. Her interests as have centered around feminism and psychoanalysis, counter-transference, psychoanalysis and the public sphere, the construction of femininity and gender, globalisation and body image and emotional literacy. Her numerous publications include the classic, Fat is a Feminist Issue, Hunger Strike and her latest book, Bodies, which was published in January 2009. She is the convener of Anybody campaigning for body diversity.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Does Exercising Help Teenagers Feel Better About Their Body Image?

This week, Livestrong is talking about teen body image and the impact exercise has. Our body image is influenced by biological, psychological and social factors as well as media imagery. As a teen with poor body image, I understand that it can lead to a variety of problems down the road.
“According to the Center on Media and Child Health, a teenager's body image is closely related to her self-esteem. If a teen doesn't feel good about her body, this will translate into a lack of confidence in other areas of her life that have little to do with health and fitness.”

Exercise is an effective way for teens to both improve their body image and boost self-esteem but too much exercise, however, may be a sign of a disorder called compulsive exercise—an addiction to exercise that is fueled by poor body image.

To read more, visit:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Colleges fighting eating disorders

This month many students are returning to their classrooms. I was happy to read this week that many colleges and universities are shedding light on eating disorders, working to promote a healthy body image and provide support for students who are struggling with body image.

Here are 11 examples of special projects colleges around the country are doing their part to ensure students are getting the support they need to maintain a healthy body image:

1) Life size barbie: In April I talked about the Real Barbie Campaign. One student in New York actually made a life-size Barbie doll to illustrate the icon’s ridiculous proportions.

2) Alternative treatments: Yoga and relaxation solutions are integrated into other on campus activities to help those at risk to learn to develop a healthy sense of self and self-care.

3) Healthy body image fashion shows

4) Healthy Living Awareness: i.e. Body Appreciation Weeks

5) Removing calorie information: Harvard University found that those at risk for eating disorders were placing so much emphasis on calories and food values they removed nutritional information index cards from dining halls.

6)Sorority Body Image program: In order to challenge their stereotypes and change the perception of the thin ideal, students and sorority sisters at Trinity University in Texas have come together to share eating disorder prevention on their college campus and beyond.

7) Recovery art: The University of the Sciences's "The Art of Recovery" art display is therapy for the women who create it, and inspiring for those who view and appreciate it.

8) The Body Project: Inspired by Dove’s campaign for Real Beauty, Bradley University students posed for photos shared on campus and posted on the Body Project website

9)Fighting the thin ideal

10) Project Heal: The project is designed to give those who are suffering from eating disorders the money they need to complete the expensive treatment.

11) Healty Dining halls: Penn State has banished fried food and simple carbohydrates including white bread.

For more information, visit

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A children’s book about dieting?

“Maggie Goes on a Diet” aimed at 4-8 year olds about dieting for kids hits book stores in October.
Paul Kramer’s tale follows Maggie on her journey from being an overweight teen to a normal sized teen turned accomplished athlete. Known for writing books that address the issues children face today, this read is not without controversy. The premise is promising—the development of self confidence and positive body image through exercise and hard work.

But does it send the wrong message—emphasizing DIETING instead of healthy food choices?

Carolyn Becker, a professor of psychology at Trinity University in San Antonio who developed Reflections Body Image Program says the book misses its mark. "They are trying to promote healthier behavior, but at the same time they're likely promoting weight stigma," says Becker.

And not all reviews have been negative-- Fox News contributing psychiatrist Keith Ablow, commends the character for "taking charge of her nutritional status, her weight and her life.

For more on this debate, visit Time magazine online at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Royal Thin-spiration

Last March I brought up the topic of pro-ana sites.

I was accused of having information that was out of date but I stand by what I have come to understand about these communities. A spokesman for UK eating disorders organization Beat concurs. "They frequently encourage people to believe that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice and not the serious mental illness that they truly are.”

Now the websites are making waves as Kate Middleton has emerged as an unlikely “role model” on the websites… “thin-spiration.” And the press isn’t helping—their angle on the Duchess has quickly gone from fairly tale to weight loss.

They’re eeeeverywhere—split screen photos of Kate in college (at a size 8) and at her wedding to now (at a size 2). Ok, as a friend to a few newlyweds, I’ve seen the diet and workout routines ‘regular’ brides endure to get in the best shape possible for their nuptials. But once life returns to normal, it’s likely these brides will gain the weight back.

While this doesn’t mean that Kate has an eating disorder, it does suggest that those who do look up to her. She is being heralded as a “success story” on these websites.

The Herald Sun reports that “she’ll be horrified that she is on these sites. Yes, she has lost weight but that’s largely down to the stress she has been under and all the travelling she has done recently.”

For the story, go to

For more information on Beat and the support services they provide in the UK visit them at

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Innovators of the Year

During my reign, I had the pleasure of working with a number of organizations throughout the state, most notably the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland and The Children's Guild. I was thrilled to read in the Daily Record that the CEOs of both companies, Traci Barnett and Andy Ross are being honored as the 2011 recipients of the Innovator of the Year award.


"Innovators are people with vision. With the ability to see a need and fill it. With the courage to make change and the stamina to await the results."

Join the Daily Record on October 26, 2011 at the American Visionary Arts Museum honor Maryland to celebrate these individuals and more who have had a positive effect and tremendous impact in Maryland.

For more event information, visit the Daily Record online at

Monday, August 22, 2011

“Being Pretty Powerful is Much Bigger Than Beauty”

Another reason to love Bobbi Brown other than her fun cosmetics line? She is answering a claaaaassic pageant question-- how do you define beauty? – with a campaign she launched last year called “Pretty Powerful.”

Brown believes that “beauty comes in all ages, colors, shapes and sizes. It's not about looking like someone else or trying to be someone you're not. It's about figuring out what works for you...It's about confidence and the path you take to achieve it.”

Ultimately, she encourages women to be who they are—it’s simple advice yet too often I even have a hard time remembering it. It took years to stop fighting the body I had and appreciate it.

To learn more about Bobbi’s work visit Pretty Powerful online at She is asking 30 women to share their stories behind their one-of-a-kind looks and sense of confidence.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Parenting Magazine article: Tweens and Anorexia

Margaret Renkl of Parenting Magazine writes that the “average age for the onset of anorexia used to be 13 to 17. Now it's 9 to 12, and children as young as 7 have been diagnosed.” Considering I was not yet 12 when I started showing signs of disordered eating... I can’t say that I’m surprised by this trend.

“A 7 year old announces that she's become a vegetarian... Then she starts eating less and less of her food. When her parents bring her into treatment, she is emaciated but pinches a tiny amount of flesh between her thumb and forefinger to illustrate "how fat" she really is.” Guilty.

The article goes on to comment that “Our culture serves up such a vast smorgasbord of body judgments, is it any wonder that so many kids are unhappy with the way they look?” If only it were that easy.

Truth is…the majority of young people will probably never develop an eating disorder but there is cause for concern in the increase in dieting and caloric restriction across the country that is unhealthy and a trigger for eating disorders.

And while I can't wait to be a parent someday I realize that for this reason, helping a child build self esteem and being a healthy role model, and so many others it is the most challenging and important job I'll ever have.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Good fortune

I'm not sure how or when this game actually started but everytime I get a fortune cookie, I shoot a picture of the message on my cell and forward it on to my friend Derek and vice versa. Considering I had bought a whole box of cookies last week, I saved him the barrage of text messages and sent him just one. TMI. Anyway, tonight I opened my last fortune which said "be happy, you have overcome many challenges."

JUST when I was feeling stressed, overwhelmed and just not good enough, I was reminded (albeit by a silly cookie) that yes, I have overcome many challenges, and even on my worst day...there is always something to smile about.

Looking forward to a serious spa day this weekend. :Sigh:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Love Your Tree Call for Posters

The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt invites Maryland middle school and high school students to participate in the 6th annual Love Your Tree Call for Posters until December 16, 2011.

Original poster designs should respond to the statement "Like a Tree, My Body is..."

Love your Tree is a creative arts program that promotes positive body image. It is based on the work of writer Eve Ensler. In her Play, "The Good Body" Eve speaks to a woman that compares the natural beauty of trees to the female body. She urges Eve to stop hating her body and appreciate the diversity of all body shapes.

Last year's winning poster was created by Katherine Dunklee of Mount de Sales Academy and unveiled at the Love Your Tree art exhibit and awards ceremony this past February. During the ceremony the artists and their teachers were recognized for promoting positive body image through their art work.

For more information, visit the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt website

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tune in to Foodnetwork!

And when my two loves combine (pageantry and sweets) you have... Miss USA at Cupcake Wars. Tune in tonight at 8!

There was a 60th birthday in Vegas the weekend of Miss USA and the Foodnetwork enlisted the bakers at the Cupcake Wars to outfit the celebration with their best treats.

In the first round, the contestants had to use traditionally Lebanese ingredients to honor Rima's heritage-- including rose water, sesame, honey, pistachios and other middle eastern flavors.

The round two challenge required that the bakers make and decorate their cupcakes in All-American way.

And in the end, an inventive display featuring the Miss USA logo atop 1,000 treats won over a more predictable table (although in their defense, it had a spinning crown on top that was well executed).

Sweet dreams!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Birthday thank you!

Thank you for the birthday messages everyone, I am so lucky to be surrounded by such caring friends and family!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Must read for pageant girls!!

Hey pageant girls: please write a response to this author, as well as her editors: and kmrogers@utep. edu

Talk about ANTIQUATED-- Anoushka Valodya's article "Women Still Being Objectified (with their compliance)" and her ideas about pageantry are just that.

I can comment for PAGES about this article but what it boils down to is...why do beauty and brains have to be mututally exlusive?? Clearly this is not a concept Valodya can get her head around.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rosario in the news

Rosario Dawson has been everywhere this week!

The actress shared her thoughts on the expectations about women and their bodies with After losing weight for a role in "Rent" 6 years ago, she got endless compliments and people inquiring as to how she got so thin-- Dawson recalled looking emaciated.

And on the cover of my newest issue of Shape magazine, there she was again. In a candid interview she talked about sleepless nights and the passing of her grandmother. "Whether you're getting a divorce, or you lose a job, or your child gets sick, change is going to happen... It's how you process it that makes all the difference. With the right tools you can really feel like you're turning a page and starting a new chapter."

I get it...

School, work have always been the most rewarding (but stressful) parts of my life-- I am blessed to have a great support system that continues to help me move forward.

Rosario goes on to say that the smartest advice she ever got was "to savor the feast of life." I never would have imagined what my life would look like today, but if I spent all of this time in front of a mirror or on a scale, the less time I would have had to really enjoy my life. Boy was I missing out all of those years!

Kudos to RD for finding positive outlets to heal her heart and using her celebrity to speak out about unrealistic portrayals of women in the media.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Miss USA 2011

Congratulations to the newly crowned Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella. And I couldn't be happier for Allyn, Heather and Courtney who represented MD, DC and SC so well this year. xoxo

A few shots from our weekend in Vegas.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vivaaaaa Las Vegas!

I can hardly contain my excitement...looking forward to being back in Las Vegas for Miss USA 2011!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

LIKE Mercy High School, Baltimore

I wish there was a LOVE button on Facebook!

...until then, log onto FB, search "Mercy High School, Baltimore," and LIKE it-- stay on top of school news, hear what our students and alumnae have to say about our programs and life after Mercy and more!

If I cannot shamelessly plug my own alma mater on my blog, where else can I do it :)

In a way, the school is exactly as I remember-- or more accurately, the feeling I get when I return for an event or Executive Board meeting is the same as it was when I first entered their doors over ten years ago. Educating me was only part of the job-- I learned to speak out and find my own voice. As a former Miss Maryland, this was a critical component of my success on stage and off. "Mercy girls learn how to espouse their brilliance with tact and dignity."

To experience the MAGIC OF MERCY, schedule a visit! Contact Ms. Stilling at

To learn more, feel free to e-mail me or visit

Nicole Ortiz, '01

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Commission on media images launched

It was announced late last week that a new "Healthy MEdia" commission would be launched to promote positive images of women and girls, founded by Geena Davis, former FCC commissioner Deborah Tate and the Girl Scouts

"...Healthy MEdia: Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls will lead the national conversation about how to ensure we are creating a positive media environment for all our children."

As someone who has worked very closely with the local branch of the Girl Scouts in Central Maryland, I am proud to be aligned with an organization that continues to be an authority on supporting girls development nationwide. I look forward to participating in a movement that will:

•Host the national discussion on best practices to promote positive and balanced images of girls and women.
•Convene industry leaders, subject-matter experts, youth representatives, media leadership, and the creative community to develop a blueprint on how to create a positive media environment for kids.
•Produce concrete recommendations to media and policy leaders.
•Champion media leaders who are promoting positive content and balanced images of girls and women.
•Work to secure industry-wide, public commitments to take steps toward positive change.

For more information, visit:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mercy High School Students Against Destructive Decisions

"There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

Mercy will always be just home-- there is nothing like being surrounded by red plaid and black buck shoes and the infectious sensation you get when you enter our doors. It has been a decade since I had walked through those doors for the first time, and yet it was as if I had never left. I sunk into my seat in the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Auditorium, turned around and inserted myself into the girl talk that was ensuing behind me just moments before my presentation.

Historically, SADD has been dedicated to helping young people say no to drinking and driving. When I was contacted to speak today, I was happy to find that the organization had expanded their mission to provide students with positive strategies to prevent all types of destructive decisions. And this is where my eating disorders come into play.

Despite today's incredible opportunities for life and career development, my chance for personal and professional happiness was nearly cut short by the choices I made, putting physical image ahead of health.

I talked about being a minority in the middle school I attended-- bullying has made national headlines in recent months, but it is by no means a new phenomenon. After the assembly, I was approached by a young woman who had been singled out during her own childhood because of her dark complexion. Boy can I relate! The moment I was identified as being different was the moment I began to wish I were just like everyone else.

From a 14 year old girl who was living a lie to a 27 year old woman who embraces what makes me unique and encourages others to do the same… I shared my evolution as a Mercy girl. We all have our own journeys to take, but what is great about this institution, is that it fosters an environment that gives all individuals the opportunity to succeed and discover their best selves.

Thank you Uma Schroeder, SMAS, the officers of SADD, the faculty and students at MHS for your time and support today.


Photo below is of myself, SADD officers and SADD moderator Ms Schroeder.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Maryvale Preparatory School

Thank you to the Director of Counseling Cathy Cunnane at Maryvale Preparatory School for extending her congratulations to me and requesting that I speak with an outstanding group of young women about my history with eating disorders today. There is always a little trepidation about stepping into unfamiliar territory. Would they listen? Would they care if I wasn't an alum? Could I relate?

As promised, I was welcomed by a captive and extremely receptive audience. I was inspired by the courage they had to voice their concerns and ask questions. Thank you for making me feel right at home!

It made me realize that the issues regarding body image are not unique to the school we fact, they may be the universal thread in the fabric of just being a young woman in today's society.

These sessions are always just as powerful for me as they are for those I am speaking to. I find myself evolving and my lectures more engaging as my confidence builds and I see that what I have to say, truly resonates with them.

Today was especially powerful because I had disclosed something I had not shared before. A few months ago, I returned to Sheppard Pratt. I saw a few old habits creep their way back into my daily routine-- calorie counting in my head, restricting the foods I was eating and turning to coffee to curb my appetite. Now, I have regularly scheduled conversations with my psychologist and frequent meetings with my nutritionist that keep me on track.

I was embarrased to admit it and nearly cut it out of my presentation-- I felt like a complete fraud. I had spent the past two years, parading around the state, telling everyone I had overcome these terrible diseases. But there I was. Back at the Center for Eating Disorders. But there is great strength in asking for help. This is my reality-- it has been a long process and without continuing professional help, who knows where I would be today.

These struggles will always be a part of who I am, and I am OK with that.

The sunflowers are beautiful and have brightened up my apartment quite nicely! The fiery blooms remind me of the passion and joy I felt today, despite the downpoor heard roaring during the assembly. "After a hurricane, comes a rainbow."

All my best and I look forward to hearing from you!

Maryvale Preparatory School is an all girls’ college preparatory school in the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Visit

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two New Eating Disorders?

In preparing for this week's speaking engagements, a friend of mine (ahem, Latoya) turned me to an article featured on today that explores two new types of disordered eating. Turns out... I am quite familiar with both.

1) Selective Eating-- individuals allow themselves to consume a small range of foods. Everyone gets into habits of eating certain foods, I know, but for those that have heard me speak before, you realize I took it to the EXTREME.

As a student athlete in high school, I would run upwards of 8 miles a day after having only coffee (for breakfast), and a pear and half a bag of mini pretzels (for lunch), and water throughout the day to fill an empty and noisy tummy. Today I have a strong distate for both items.

As you can imagine, this will lead to significant deficiencies. This past fall, I was hospitalized for chronic anemia. Over several days, I was given 4 units of whole blood, potassium and other essential nutrients. My body had become so accustomed to running on "E" that I showed little sign of fatigue, light headedness, shortness of breath, etc. In fact, I had run 5 miles the morning I was admitted. It's amazing what your body will do to survive.

2) Orthorexia-- it is a term used to describe a fixation with healthy eating. I.e. those affected may avoid procesed foods, animal products or other ingredients considered to be unhealthy.

My junior year in high school I decided to be a vegetarian. Much to my family's confusion, I eliminated all meats. Malnutrition ensued.

Although this idea has not been recognized as an official mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association, practioners continue to document the damaging results of these habits.

Thank you for the tip and topic of a great blog post. For the original article, visit

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Get Real Barbie Campaign"

College student, Galie Slayen, made a life-sized Barbie look alike to highlight the unrealistic proportions of the doll as a part of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The model she created had the following measurements: 39in breasts, an 18in waist and 33in hips.

Having fought a battle with anorexia herself, this was her way of letting others know how distorted the perception young girls have about themselves and women around them.

For more information on the Get Real Barbie Campaign and Galie, see her interview with HLN’s Dr. Drew posted today on cnn:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Baltimore Prep School Tour

I will be wearing a lot of red this week as my visits to the Baltimore Prep schools continue-- next stop... Maryvale Prep and Mercy High School.

I'm looking forward to hosting conversations with some of the most honest and oustanding young women in town. We'll be tackling issues such as media messages, cultural awareness and acceptance, self esteem and others.

See you then!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

D.A.R.E Commencement

Thank you to Claude Nelson, Maryland State D.A.R.E. coordinator, Maryland D.A.R.E and the Immaculate Heart of Mary school in Parkville for inviting me to be today's keynote speaker for this year's commencement ceremony.

Congratulations to all students completing their curriculum and special award winners!

During the year, these students were provided tools on how to deal with peer pressure and make healthy decisions regarding drug use. No, I have never used drugs but the students found out that I did encounter something in my life that was just as destructive-- and that is eating disorders.

Not everyone has to face the physical barriers I did in their day to day lives, yet all too often we live with other, less obvious barriers that hold us back from finding and realizing our dreams like our inner thoughts and feelings.

The road to Miss Maryland began with me and my dream of winning the title. My message to them, D.A.R.E. to dream and don't let anyone, especially yourself, prevent you from getting what you want out of life!

Photos courtesy of IHM.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Last week's article in the Catholic Review has generated so much buzz around town I can hardly believe it!

When my reign ended I was fearful that few would want to hear from a "has been"-- a term widely used in pageantry to refer to former titleholders. If I wasn't wearing a banner or crown, would they listen?

The answer is yes.

I was invited to be the keynote speaker at a number of events around the state and am just delighted at the opportunity to reach so many youth in the coming months.

When I started No Body's Perfect in 2009, it was not my goal to eradicate the prevelance of eating disorders, but simply to increase awareness, host forums about the matter and invite those who were directly or even indirectly impacted to the discussion. Mission accomplished.

But it's important to share that my abttle is not entirely won yet. There is a choice to be made every day to be healthy; small victories are had at each meal. And because of that, the topics I share now are broader than just eating disorders and include such things as body image and decision making.

I've missed speaking and very much look forward to these events! Thank you for the well wishes and continued support.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Get a copy of the Catholic Review NOW!

I had the pleasure of meeting with an absolute legend Chris Gaul to talk pageants, faith and of course, eating disorders over lunch a few weeks ago. The product of which is one of the loveliest profiles written about me. If you are a Catholic Review subscriber, you will see a feature in the health section "Former Miss Maryland reaches out to girls with eating disorders." If you aren't, go get a copy NOW! Or... just follow this link to the article and feel free to forward along. Thank you for reminding me of how far I have come, the young girls I have encountered and my faith that has continued to guide me on this journey.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Photos from St Vincent de Paul Souper Supper

What a way to kick off the weekend-- volunteering at the St Vincent de Paul Society Souper Supper. I knew that both the lunch and dinner seatings for the event were sold out but wow, what a turn out. And I was thrilled to be surrounded by so many youth and educators!

Shout outs to my new friends below: Courtney L and B (both students at Seton Keough High School), Sara and Rita (teachers in Baltimore County and City), the fab Richard Williams of St Vincent de Paul for coordinating this appearance, Baltimore City Council President Jack Young and some attendees scoping out the handcrafted bowls.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

St. Vincent de Paul Empty Bowls Souper Supper

St. Vincent de Paul is an independent, faith-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people who are suffering from the effects of poverty meet their basic human needs and achieve a better future for themselves and their family. Their progams including Beans and Bread and Headstart provide 220,000 meals to individuals in need annually and tools for educational success for pre-schoolers.

I have been invited once again to be a Celebrity Ladler at their Empty Bowls Souper Supper event to be held at the College of Notre Dame in Maryland on March 12! Enjoy a selection of gourmet soups prepared by local restaurants, listen to live music and choose a hand-crafted ceramic bowl created by local artisans and students.

I will be attending the lunch seating from 11a-1:30p. There will be an additional seating for dinner at 4p. Tickets are only $15/person

For more information about the organization and the event, please visit their website:

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder."

I was back at the Eating Disorder Center at Sheppard Pratt today. What a great institution, providing much needed health support services to the community.

Prominently displayed at the entrance was a flyer for the kick off event to Eating Disorder Awareness Week Febraury 20-26, 2011. I will be out of town Sunday but do consider attending or refer a friend to hear featured author and Executive Director of the Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness as she shares insights into the daily challenges of recovery.

I will be picking up a copy of Johanna Kandel's novel "Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder" for my plane ride to Phoenix!

Admission is FREE, RSVP with

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

GSCM Women's Leadership Forum

In a chance conversation with a board member at the Children's Guild, I was reconnected to an organization that I've continued to advocate for long after I gave away my Miss Maryland title, the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland.

I am thrilled to be attending the 5th Annual Women's Leadership Forum on March 9, 2011 featuring 4 local authors, Elizabeth Chandler (Kissed by an Angel and Dark Secrets), Ginny Gong (From Ironing Board to Corporate Board), Jerdine Nolen (Raising Dragons) and Mia Redrick (Transform Me-- 5 Essential Strategies for a Mother's Self Care).

The forum provides an opportunity for women and girls of all ages and stages in their career to discuss the challenges and successes of professional and civic engagement.

Join me at the Women's Heritage Center from 5:30-8:15p for this can't miss reception and panel discussion!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New You?

Happy new years all! Admittedly, I stayed in for the holiday. But for the first year in recent memory, I did resolve to do something: to spend more time traveling. With trips to California, Arizona and Nevada already on the calendar, it would seem I am well suited to stick to it. Not surprising though, it is among one of the top 10 most commonly broken resolutions per Time magazine.

"Lose weight and get fit" also made the list. 3 days into the new year, this is most evidenced by the lack of available treadmills at the gym..Who are all of these people that I've never seen before and why are they running on my machine!?

In any case, good luck and best wishes for a healthier you. 2011 marks my 4 year anniversary of being eating disorder free. Now that is cause for some celebration!