Teen founds "Unbeauty Mark" campaign to promote self-love
CULVER, Ind. - A Culver teen is hoping to empower other young women to celebrate their beauty within with her new "Unbeauty Mark" campaign.
“16-year old Ava, I’m pretty happy with," said high school junior, Ava Viohl.
But, it took Ava a little while to get there.
“it started with a class photo...eighth grade...and I’m sure to everyone else I looked fine, but to me I was just looking at everyone around me and comparing myself to everyone else, and initially it started out as me just wanting to lose a pound or two, and I just started eating healthier, but it just escalated really quickly, and I became really obsessed with how much I ate," she said.
Eighth grade Ava wasn't alone.
The Nicollet Melrose Center found that 40% to 70% of middle school girls are dissatisfied with two or more parts of their body.
The center also reports that more than 50% of teen girls use unhealthy weight control behaviors to change those parts.
“Every single day, one of my friends will say something like oh I don’t like my thighs, or oh I wish I looked like this," said Ava.
So, she just kept shrinking, until something in her mind clicked.
“I was kind of just standing in front of the mirror, and I was like, Ava, why have you been so down on yourself for so long? You look fine," she said.
That mindset switch launched a website for empowerment.
“Unbeauty Mark itself is a platform that encourages people to embrace what society would consider their flaws," said Ava.
Right on her site, there's a chance to listen to her story, share your own, and talk to others struggling with the same body image issues.
“Obviously right now Unbeauty Mark isn’t very big, but I want to use it to be a reminder to people that...what you look like and what people think about you, ultimately none of that really matters. All that matters is what you think about yourself," said Ava.