I'm finally turning to my writing (AKA my saving grace) to open up about a subject that has weighed on my heart for quite some time. With summertime in full swing it seems extra appropriate. There's no doubt that social media has taken a toll on me, mostly in a positive way. However, to say that I don't often feel pressured to show more skin would be a lie. I was recently in bear camp with 3 Rivers Adventures when the subject came up, and I'll never forget when the guys looked at me and said, "Modest is Hottest." It made me feel so good. It was exactly what I needed to hear. It snapped me out of that moment of weakness and reminded me to be proud of who I am.
In general, I'm about as conservative as they come. Let me be very clear! I am not ashamed of my body; in fact, I'm quite proud of my body! It's something I work hard for every day, so it's not an issue of insecurities or jealousy. When I think about where I want to be in 10 years, one thing stands out - I want to make it to the top because of my knowledge, my sheer determination and drive, my transparency of failures, my hard earned success, my design/marketing/PR skills, and my heart. I have this goal of being at the top without anybody ever knowing what my body looks like. I'm smiling as a type this, because it means that much to me. It's a dream of mine. My audience can see I'm in shape with my clothes on, and I truly feel a million times sexier with my clothes on. Maybe I'm just extremely old fashioned in that way, but isn't there more excitement when you look at a woman and have to imagine what's under everything? Sure, I'm married, but lets not be naive. Men have imaginations, and in a male-dominant industry, I'll be damned if someone is going to tell me I made it further than someone else because I showed more skin.
When a company approaches me about a sponsorship, one of the first things I mention is that I will not show skin for more followers/likes or exposure in general. I have to draw that line immediately because many companies are looking for just that, and it's an absolute deal breaker for me! The following statement is bold, but it is so true: Those women will fade. They are a temporary source of advertisement until someone/something better comes along.
This isn't some passive-aggressive post to make others feel bad about their choices. This is me opening up about the fact that I DO struggle with it, and I mean REALLY struggle some days, because I get caught up in looking at numbers. How silly is it that I have occasionally felt pressured because the girl a few Instagram posts away has twice the amount of followers? It's like I'm channeling my teenage years, when everybody was going to parties because it's what all the "cool kids" did. Ha! If only I knew then, what I know now! Let's not confuse the term "pressured" with "almost" or "came close," because no matter how many times I've felt weak, it was truly never an option.
One thing that makes me feel better is looking at some of the most successful women in the industry - all BEAUTIFUL women, yet I couldn't dig up a "show all" picture if I tried. Maybe a fishing picture occasionally, but even then there's nothing sexual about it. When I'm fishing, If I happen to be in a bikini, I will almost always throw a tank top on before taking a picture. For a couple of reasons: 1) So that people will actually look at the fish and not my body and 2) Because advertising, duh! A tank top can have a sponsorship logo or my personal clothing brand on it. I cannot be missing those opportunities to grow individually or with other companies! I've also learned through talking with multiple sponsors that they truly don't care how many followers/likes you have. It's 100% about your content and the message you're delivering.
On the other side of that, I want to acknowledge that there are a couple of women that absolutely are some of my biggest inspirations, and they're in their bikinis at times and KILLING IT! They are real and I can assure you they're not trying to impress anybody with their "goods." They don't mind getting dirty, but they're certainly not trying to "look hot while covered in mud" either. You cannot deny their talent or passion. Social media is deceiving, but some girls truly live and breathe it, and don't use their skin to push them further. I just think it's important to acknowledge that their IS a way to do it successfully without the wrong kind of attention. Most of the time it requires being so good at what you do that people are more interested in the success than the lack of clothing.
The picture below is one of my favorite pictures EVER taken of me. It's raw, it's real, and it embodies everything I am: a hunter, a tomboy, a designer, a meat eater, a strong woman, a wife, and an adventurer. I feel sexier here than any bikini picture ever taken of me. Just remember to be true to who you are and who you aspire to be. There is only ONE you. THAT is your power.