Real Women of Rochester | Erin

Erin is one of the strongest, warmest,  get-shit-done kind of women I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Her laugh is infectious, and I am so glad she has come into my life. She spent a great deal of her adult life helping others, and was eager to be a part of this project.

Erin - 37, Residence: Rochester, Product Associate

HER WHY: I have found that often women don't support other women, and to me that is one of the biggest mistakes that we can make. It's not a competition, we all can be winners. Whenever there is an opportunity to elevate women and who they are as their true selves, not what someone else makes them to be, that is a home run. That's what makes me so excited about this project. I think that when you take the time to reach out and connect other women and you're empowering other women, you're also doing something for yourself. There's a gift in that.

HER THOUGHTS ON BEAUTY: I'm not a hair-and-makeup girl. So to be able to be that, even for that brief moment of time, was a lot of fun for me. Do I look like that everyday at my desk? Absolutely not! However, I saw myself in a way that I know other people do, and to be able to see that and appreciate it in a way I don't think I ever had before was a big deal. Whether I'm wearing a sexy nighty or a dress, I think that's irrelevant. It was the actual experience in itself and how that allowed me to view myself in a more positive light.

WHAT IS SHE NERVOUS ABOUT: In my head I had this image of what it had to be; garter belts and corsets. I was nervous because of that feeling of not knowing what you don't know. And then that slowly eroded over time as I learned more and became more comfortable with the process, and sat down with Natalie. And then I was like, “this is a piece of cake." It was just the fear of the unknown and that I would not be able to be authentic to who I was.

HER MISSION: I'm beyond 10 pounds overweight. Although I jokingly refer to myself as a plus-size model (I haven't modeled anywhere!) but I am comfortable in my own skin. I feel like being able to participate in this experience makes you aware of your body in ways you never were before, definitely in a positive light and not a negative. I can go to the pages of Vogue and I'm not going to see someone who looks like Erin Julian. But now I will have a book where I can see myself in a way that is both beautiful but also something I am incredibly proud of. Why wouldn't you want to do that for yourself?

PARTING WORDS: I don't know exactly why it's so hard for women to feel like they're “enough." I could give you a laundry list but I don't think it's adequate. I'm definitely someone who has struggled with my weight my whole life. I weighed 85 pounds when I graduated high school, and I thought I was overweight. Frankly, how f*cked up is that? I never grew up in a household where I felt like I was inadequate or not pretty or not the right size. I have loving, amazing, super generous parents that never made me doubt that. But I do think there's something in the outside world where we're often compared to people, where it's a competition. It doesn't matter if it's men or women, it just breeds an unhealthy atmosphere. It's like, “I'm not tall enough.” Well guess what? You're 4'10”, you're never going to be tall. Then it's “my hair would look so much better if it was blow-dried straight today."You say all those little things to yourself and it may not even be one particular outside influence, I think we're just inundated. Sometimes it's well-meaning friends. I have definitely experienced it in the corporate world also. I think it's epidemic - maybe that's a strong word, but I do.