"Like every one, I struggle with common day anxieties and stresses but, unlike every one, I was chosen to tell my story and to overcome those problems. I was chosen because I was brave and I felt moved to apply to be a part of this beauty campaign; to be a part of something that showcases the light for which all of us have inside."
"My name is Alexsis Gladstone and I have pretty long tresses and big green eyes. These are attributes for which I’ve been given; things that make me pretty in our society. Certainly, I am grateful for what I have been blessed with but I also know that it can leave at any time. I didn’t have to work to be pretty on the outside but I have to work to be pretty on the inside. I don’t take pride in being told silly nothings about my looks but I do when they are about what others see in me; about when people comment on my kindness, gracefulness and caring heart. These make me happy because these are what I work hard to for. I work hard to be a genuine woman in a time of wishy-washy people. I work hard to be proud for standing strong for my God, myself and my family."
"Standing strong and being positive isn’t always easy. I’ve have been through—and overcome—many obstacles in my 21 years that have taught me the value of searching for light in a dark place. Someone that I love, care for and hold dear has been diagnosed with mental illness which has made me feel heartbroken and insufficient; has made me realize the truly important things in life. Within the last couple of years, I have struggled with pain in my abdomen and doctors who don’t wish to help; misdiagnosing me which, in turn, has left me to deal with it on my own. I’ve since lost my medical coverage so it’s been an uphill battle of good days and bad days. In the midst of this, my father was hurt on the job which then made him loose it; we then lost our home and
were technically “homeless” as we lived in a camper for over a year and a half at a local camp ground. During this time, I went to school (during both my Sophomore and Junior year at USCB) with a smile on my face and no one the wiser. I was a member (and a director) of a sorority on campus (and have since left because of the way it made me feel), inducted into a chapter of an English Honor Society at my school and maintained a job at Kate Spade for almost three years."
"This past summer has been a very uplifting time as my family and I finally moved to a home (in Savannah), was accepted as a writing-intern-turned-freelance-writing-position at a communications company and began my senior year. I also started a women’s bible study with a group of ladies at my school for which has given me an outlet to connect with other women who might be struggling, too!
Naturally, as a smiley person, I have come to realize the importance of a smile. I have come to understand that, though someone might seem to be happy on the outside, you never truly know what’s happening on the other side of that smile."
"This inner-beauty campaign has allowed me to take a look at who I am, to write it into words and to spread it out. I’m not pretending that telling my story will heal my wounds nor that my heart isn’t completely rubbed raw and open for all to see. But I am putting one foot forward in the hopes of allowing others to view what I’ve been through and then put their own stories into words so that they can see they are beautiful from their struggles, too; that they have overcome and will continue to without fail because they are strong of heart, mind and will."
Beautiful photos by The 2654 Project, Bluffton SC