From ordinary girl to one of Dove’s campaign’s “Real Women”—Stacy Nadeau empowers women to embrace their real beauty
In the summer of 2005, six women made national news when they appeared on a Times Square billboard, dressed only in their underwear. While other nearby billboards featured actresses and supermodels, this one, promoting Dove brand products, promoted “real women with real curves.”
And the nation went wild.
Six women, six different shapes. None typical models for the fashion and beauty industry. Yet women from coast to coast applauded an embrace of reality and its signal to American women that “real beauty” comes in a variety of sizes and packages.
Dove’s mission was “to make more women feel beautiful every day by widening the stereotypical theme of beauty and by inspiring women to take great care of themselves.”
Suddenly, Stacy, an industrial organizational psychology major at Depaul University, was thrust into the national spotlight. As one of the real women featured in the ad campaign, Stacy quickly became a media darling, emerging as a spokeswoman for healthy body image. She appeared on the Today Show, CNN, Ellen, Dr. Phil, Tyra and Oprah (twice).
Thousands of appreciative messages poured in, but so did a couple of critical newspaper columns. While most applauded, some validated the idea that no one wanted to see “real women.”
Stacy loved being at the center of the debate, even if it meant millions were looking at her nearly naked body.
“If I can be a part of changing the media’s view on women’s body types, then that’s fantastic,” Stacy said. “I have always been a curvier girl and always will be. I am proud of my body and think all women should be proud of theirs too.”
“A Harvard study revealed that only 2-percent of American women felt comfortable calling themselves beautiful,” Stacy said. “That’s a statistic that saddens me. Women need messages that reinforce a more realistic concept of beauty.”
Stacy admits that there are some days when she’s not entirely happy with every part of her body. But, she said, she was fortunate to grow up in a family environment where healthy body image was encouraged. Most young women don’t have that advantage. Instead societal prejudices and popular media reinforce the opposite. While Stacy knows that one media campaign isn’t going to change society’s habits, it can be a great way to start the conversation. This conversation is now taking place on campuses across the nation as Stacy speaks to collegiate audiences.
I think she really makes her audience think. I’m sure that many of the students (and community members) in attendance will remember – and truly think about – her message for a while to come.
– Donald Painter, Polk State College
“I think her story really had an impact on everyone there, both guys and girls. Her message of just loving yourself, how you really are affected a lot of people and people came up to me afterward thanking me for bringing her to our campus, which has NEVER happened in my 2 years as Panhellenic president.”
– Jordan Caldwell, Clarion University
“The students were very impressed with Stacy. There were some student with tears and many students waited after the program to meet her and share their personal stories.”
– Leah Tolliver, Marshall University
“Stacy handles a very difficult and sensitive topic in a positive and inspirational way. I also appreciated that she effectively engaged men as well on a topic where most of the focus tends to be on women. Both men and women alike came up to talk to her afterward to share the profound impact she had on them.”
– Doug Everhart, University of California – Riverside
Embracing Real Beauty
In her keynote, Embracing Real Beauty, Stacy speaks to men and women about the role they can each play in incrementally changing the message that young women receive. It begins at an individual level, she tells audiences.
“Only when we start reinforcing positive body image in our groups and in our communities, can we start a real wave of change.”
Stacy is a fantastic choice for eating disorders and body image awareness week observances. She is also a popular choice for women’s conferences, Panhellenic education and awareness events, new student orientation and current ideas and issues series.
“This is my time to encourage and help women feel great about themselves no matter what they weigh or look like,” she said. “Women have surrendered to diets and insane eating habits to live up to social stereotypes for too long. It’s time that all women felt beautiful in their own skin.”
As a result of attending this program, students will learn:
- How the media is changing the view they have of themselves.
- How negative conversations and pressures affect their campus or organization’s culture in a negative way.
- To develop a want for action to change the conversation they have about their own bodies.
- Tools on how to positively impact and to create a warm, safe, open environment within their organizations and communities.
Shattering the Fairy Tale
Prince Charming and Snow White. Aladdin and Jasmine. Callie and Arizona from Grey’s Anatomy. Mickey and Minnie. Stanford and Anthony, from Sex and the City. Perfect fairy tales, right?
We are all shaped by the messages that society sends us, and oftentimes we are set up for disappointment when things don’t turn out exactly how we thought they would. To make matters more difficult, we are fed from a young age an ideal of what a man should be doing in his relationship, or how a woman can’t succeed without the perfect marriage. It’s a lot of pressure!
Real relationships aren’t fairy tales. Real relationships have bumps along the road. Real relationships consist of men and women, or two men, or two women, or even two individuals who don’t relate as either. Real relationships aren’t cookie cutters—each has its own distinction and its own way of fitting the needs of the couple. Even if it doesn’t look like a “fairy tale”, based on Disney movies and prime time television.
In this world of rigid expectations, Stacy Nadeau educates men and women on how to respect their minds, bodies and souls, in order to reach relationship contentment.
“It’s hard to let others in when you don’t feel good about yourself,” Stacy says.
This empowering program will allow students to open their eyes and minds to the beauty a successful relationship can bring into their lives, as well as the beauty that inner peace can provide. Even more, Stacy will address the liberation and empowerment that being single can offer, and she’ll offer tips to focus on self-improvement during those times. With proper nurturing, acceptance and self-knowledge, we all can find a healthy relationship, whether it’s with on your own or with a partner.
As a result of attending this program, students will:
- Gain an understanding of the pressures society and the media lay on men and women about relationships.
- Learn tools to overcome these pressures and strategies to better their organizations.
- Develop and action oriented attitude towards changing the media and their own communities to avoid these pressures.
Stacy is a brave Dove “Real Woman” who stood proudly with five other women in her underwear in the summer of 2005 as part of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. This campaign and the “Real Women” ads which celebrated the diversity of body shapes and sizes generated national attention when they hit billboards from coast to coast. Stacy and the other women truly brought the mission of the Campaign for Real Beauty to life which is to make more women feel beautiful everyday by widening today’s stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to take great care of themselves.
Stacy is a proud graduate of DePaul University who lives in Chicago, IL with her Wheaton puppy, Dyson. She works full time speaking and writing full-time, encouraging women all over the country to focus on the positive and feel great about themselves.