Follow Her Friday: Jenna Kutcher

This week we’re inspired by photographer, girl boss and overall badass, Jenna Kutcher. Read on to learn more about how she quit her corporate job to fulfill her dreams and the secret to her success.

Three years ago you left your corporate job to pursue a career in photography. What advice would you give to someone who is considering taking the leap?

Know that your fears aren’t really that scary. I had sat in that windowless office until I felt like the life had been sucked out of me. Leaving a salary, a 401k, and benefits behind wasn’t a decision I took lightly, I planned and made sure the net was there before I took the leap. I had enough jobs booked to match my salary and had a business plan in place for how I was going to hustle to make sure that I wouldn’t fail. Life is short, if you don’t love what you do, you are spending your life not living up to your potential. I knew that if it somehow didn’t work out, I could use my degree and experience to land another windowless office job but thankfully I have never even thought about doing anything else with my life. To me success isn’t a corner office or a six figure paycheck, it’s yoga pants, working from the couch, waking up excited to work, sunny trips with my husband, daily naps with my puppies, giving back to others and educating others to go after their dreams.

Follow Her Friday: Jenna Kutcher

Get Jenna’s Look: Hi Neck Sports Bra | Aerie Logo Boybrief (Similar)

On top of wedding photography, you’re also a watercolor artist, blog contributor, business coach, and inspirational speaker. How do you balance it all?

To be honest, I don’t. I think balance is never achieved but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying. I love each aspect of my business and life that I couldn’t imagine giving any of it up. I do set aside intentional rest time in each season to make sure that I am caught up on good reads and Netflix marathons but to be honest, I am happiest when I am working. I absolutely love what I do so taking time away is nearly impossible for me but I’m learning to rest, to enjoy it, and to never forget the things I love outside of work (like my adorable husband or rescuing puppies!) My schedule means a lot of travel (I’m the queen of sleeping on planes) but I am thankful to be able to see the world as part of my work! I’ve been living with a “less is more” strategy and really focusing on quality work, quality clients, quality experiences over quantity and that has helped me so much!

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. – James Keller

Oh man, this is so my jam. I think we live in such a world that talks about competing with others. We believe that we have to go it alone in order to make it and we are taught that her successes are our failures. That couldn’t be further from the truth! I seriously believe we rise in lifting one another up and when we start looking at each other as a community and not just our competition, our worlds will change. Some of my dearest friends are my direct “competitors” but I can tell you that this journey is so much better with them on the ride and when you start to believe that their success is a reflection of your potential, you start to see that the world is filled with beautiful moments and opportunities if you are looking!

Follow Her Friday: Jenna Kutcher We love your Immeasurably More Project! Can you tell our Aerie girls about it?

The Immeasurably More Project began when I was talking to a group of lady entrepreneurs. We joked that we never wear real pants or make up, that our lives look perfect and glamorous but the reality was we were living in yoga pants and feeling like we would never measure up. There is a nagging in my heart that tells me the world needs more rawness. I am not confident in my size 10 body, my face is getting wrinkles and zits at the same time (how confusing) I have cellulite and curves, my thighs always touch and I wonder if I will ever feel enough.

I am clinging to the truth that the Maker made no mistakes on me. I’m done tip-toeing around the fact that I look a lot like this everyday. I am done with the all the photos I see being retouched to perfection, bodies being changed, eyes widened, skin smoothed. I am done looking at them day in and out and hearing that little voice shout at me that I don’t look like them and I never will. The world desperately needs a movement, a reminder that the minute we open our eyes in the morning and draw our first breath of the day, we are enough. Whether we put on lipstick and heels for work or stay in our yoga pants in bed, we are worthy, beautiful, and capable. The Immeasurably More Project is a series of women who are changing the world, photographed with no make up, no retouching, and they are sharing their raw beauty and embracing the fact that their life is worth celebrating, no retouching necessary.

Follow Her Friday: Jenna Kutcher

Do you have a favorite Aerie item?

I would live in Aerie if it were possible! I am obsessed with the new swim line and am packing my bags with it for our trip to Hawaii! (I mean, c’mon, a one piece swimsuit that is adorable? Yes, please!) I also live in yoga pants and sport bras so their athletic line is my jam. I avoid putting on “real” bras and pants as much as I can get by with it so I love that Aerie focuses on comfortable, flattering, and fashionable styles that make me feel a little bit feminine and wildly comfortable.

What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?

Being #AerieREAL to me means accepting yourself for where you are at in this very minute. It’s seeing every day as a gift and a chance to be your best self (zits and all.) It is feeling worthy of being captured and documented in a way that is real and raw and in celebrating true beauty that radiates from the inside out.  #AerieREAL is a reminder that you were made to me you and that you are immeasurably more than the labels society gives.

Thank you, Jenna! 

xoxo

Aerie 

 

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Follow Her Friday: Jessica Hickman

This week we’re inspired by Jessica Hickman, NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) National Walk Manager! Read on to learn more about NEDA, how to get involved and what #AerieREAL means to her.

Follow Her Friday: Jessica Hickman

It’s no secret that Aerie loves NEDA! Can you tell our girls a little bit about the organization, how you got involved and your role on the NEDA Team?

That’s so nice – the feelings are definitely mutual! NEDA stands for National Eating Disorders Association, and we are the leading U.S. non-profit for providing support to individuals and their loved ones affected by eating disorders. NEDA advocates for prevention, early intervention, research, and access to quality care for eating disorders.

I became involved with NEDA after overcoming an eating disorder. I was a two-time volunteer NEDA Walk coordinator in my college town. I wanted to give back to an organization that was there for me, and to spread awareness on a subject that was once even hard for me to talk about. It was an experience that challenged and thrilled me and also inspired me to do more. Now fast forward, and I am the National Walk Manager at NEDA where I am overseeing 65 city walk campaigns and supporting the dedicated walk coordinators who make it all possible! It’s a dream.

New NEDA walks are being added all the time! Where can our girls go to learn more and get involved?      

Yes! We are in so many new cities this spring too, and I’m very excited about that. You can go to nedawalk.org to register for a walk near you. You even have the option of forming a team – so don’t forget to invite all of your friends! Follow Her Friday: Jessica Hickman

We know how important early intervention & screenings are. What is NEDA doing to help educate affected individuals & their families?

This year’s theme for NEDAwareness Week is “3 Minutes Can Save a Life: Get Screened, Get Help, Get Healthy.” We have an online screening tool that takes just a few minutes to complete. This tool can direct users to the right resources for getting help and getting healthy. This initiative doesn’t end with NEDAwareness Week, though. The online screening tool, Information & Referral Helpline, and our other programs, resources, and support networks (like Proud2BMe and NEDA Navigators) are readily available to provide education and support.

We heard you use to work at Aerie! What was your favorite part about the job?

I loved doing the floor sets! I thought it was so fun transforming the store into something totally new overnight. Plus, what’s cooler than hanging out at the mall after hours and getting the first peek at new arrivals?

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What is your favorite Aerie product?

Right now, I’m loving my Aerie Sport-ish Crop Legging– but I have an online shopping cart full of some soon-to-be favorites for spring.

What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?

#AerieREAL is not just a hashtag – it’s also movement for girls to support other girls in a world that has made it hard at times to do so. Being #AerieREAL means accepting, owning, and loving your individuality. For me, this was something that once took practice and a daily, conscious effort. Now that I’ve captured feeling of self-love and security, I’m not letting go. I will work to protect it and through working at NEDA I hope to inspire others to find it.

Thank you, Jessica!

xoxo

Aerie

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Follower Her Friday: Dana Falsetti

This week we’re inspired by yoga instructor and #AerieREAL girl, Dana Falsetti from Nola Trees Yoga! Read on to learn more about how yoga helped her discover self-love and what #AerieREAL means to her.

Follower Her Friday: Dana Falsetti

Get Dana’s Look: Romantic Lace Racerback Bralette | Boyfriend Jogger

We love that your passion for yoga has taught you self-love and given you the strength to believe in yourself now more than ever! What are some of your other interests or hobbies?
I’ve only been practicing yoga for about a year and half, and in that time my reality has shifted so much. Before yoga existed in my life, everything was about music. I’ve been singing since I could speak. There were times that I felt music was the only thing that understood me. You know when you listen to a song and it just sounds exactly like how you feel? I pretty much always felt like that. And on the flip side, singing and making music with my friends did and still does bring me more happiness than almost anything else. Just like my personal yoga practice, music is a way for me to express myself and to better understand myself. I also love to travel, especially road trips, and I even love to do them alone. 20+ hour drives with nothing but me, beautiful sunsets, and my favorite music. I always loved spending time alone more than most people. I find it comforting.

Aside from the physical changes, what other benefits did you experience from yoga?
The physical changes were pretty unexpected, so were all the others. When I started practicing I never dreamed my practice would look like it does now. Yes I’ve gotten strong and more flexible in my body, but the most dramatic changes are the unseen. Yoga showed me how to believe in myself after years of feeling like nothing. Growing up as the fat kid isn’t easy. I felt unworthy. I didn’t understand why I had to be different when all I wanted was to fit in. I came to my yoga practice after years of binge eating, and after a year of focusing on my health. At the time I had lost a significant amount of weight, but absolutely nothing changed. My body changed, but I brought myself with me to my “new body.” I still felt unworthy, I still felt limited, I still felt stuck. When I started practicing yoga I thought my body would limit my practice. But when you show up everyday and put in the work, things change. This is where the magic happens. I started getting poses I convinced myself I could never do. When those moments happen, it’s a huge paradigm shift. I started wondering what else I was telling myself I couldn’t do that I could have been doing all along. I started realizing that limitations are in the mind. Slowly over the last year and a half I have learned to love myself, to believe in myself and my worth, and to work for the things I want and deserve. Yoga does not look like a handstand or a backbend, it looks like love. Self-love first, and then it starts showing up all around you. But you have to show up for it, too.

Follower Her Friday: Dana Falsetti

Get Dana’s Look: Hi Neck Sports Bra | Boyfriend Jogger

What advice would you give someone who is interested, but never tried yoga before?
Just go. You have to just go. I know how intimidating and scary walking into your first yoga class can be. I couldn’t hold a down dog when I started. I felt like (and was) the fat newb in class. We all have insecurities and you’ll bring them with you into the room. But honestly, that’s kind of the point. Most of us come to yoga from a place of darkness when we are looking for healing. At the end of the day, you show up on your mat for you. You have to decide you’re worth it despite anything else. I promise if you can dedicate yourself to the practice, or to anything really, you’ll get exactly what you didn’t know you need.

What is your favorite yoga pose?
This answer changes all the time, but right now it’s probably Pincha Mayurasana, also known as Forearm Balance. This is a tough posture, one I never dreamed I would be able to do, and I put in a lot of work to find a place of ease in it. When I’m balanced upside down I kind of feel like I’m flying or defying gravity. It’s pretty amazing what we are capable of.

Follower Her Friday: Dana Falsetti

Get Dana’s Look: Long Sleeve Bodysuit

You offer trainings and workshops ALL over the United States! Where can our Aerie girls go to find more information?
Yes! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world most days. All of my workshops are on my website, nolatreesyoga.com. I also occasionally host retreats and team up with other teachers on trainings, so look out for those. I’m about to launch some online content as well, so we can practice together even if we never get to meet 🙂 I’m also on Facebook as Dana Falsetti, and Instagram as @nolatrees.

What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?
I’m all about knowing your worth, so to me, that’s being #AerieREAL. My worth isn’t defined by my body, my stretch marks, or my yoga practice. And honestly, knowing your worth brings immense freedom. Mostly freedom from your own mind, but it will permeate throughout your entire life.

Thank you, Dana! Be sure to check out her site and follow along on Instagram.

xoxo,

Aerie

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Follow Her Friday: The Curvy Blogger

This week we’re inspired by blogger, photographer and model, Mandy Holesh from The Curvy Blogger. We sat down with her to talk about blogging, style and learning to love your curves. Read on to learn more about this bold and beautiful powerhouse.

We love your blog! What inspired you to start the Curvy Blogger? 
“I stand for style at all sizes, when I started my blog in 2010 there weren’t many bloggers who were in between straight and plus sizes. So my goal was to inspire girls who were a bit curvier to wear what they want and disobey the rules.”

Your style is so fun! What three words would you use to describe it?
“Eclectic, bold, fun.”

Follow Her Friday: The Curvy Blogger

You have been very open about past insecurities and learning to love your curves. What advice would you give to girls who are struggling with body image?
“Ignore what everyone else is saying. I know, easier said than done. Many people will try to make you feel bad about how you look or who you are, and 95% of the time it is because they have no confidence in themselves. I find that liking the way you look is sort of a rebellious thing to do, which is the best way to be a rebel in my opinion.”

Follow Her Friday: The Curvy Blogger

Do you have a favorite quote or motto that inspires you? 
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” -Maya Angelou

What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?
“It means to be fearless, to be who you are and not apologize for it. Be you.”

Follow Her Friday: The Curvy Blogger

 Thank you, Mandy! Be sure to check out her blog and follow along on Instagram.

xoxo,

Aerie

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Follow Her Friday: Rosie Clayton

This week we’re inspired by our friend and photographer Rosie Clayton! Her creativity and passion for bringing ordinary objects to life with bold, bright colors continues to amaze us. Read on to learn more about this social media maven!

Follow Her Friday: Rosie Clayton Tell us about yourself! What got you interested in photography?
“Hi everyone! I’m Rosie Clayton (@rclayton) and I’ve taken some photos that you might have seen on the @Aerie Instagram feed this Summer. I grew up and currently live in Chicago and am opening an upscale, craft cocktail bar with my husband next year. I studied Textiles and Apparel Management at Cornell University and went on to work at some brand name retailers, as well as my own women’s clothing boutique, Roslyn, of eight years before deciding to pursue a career in hospitality. As we’re working on our bar concept and location, I have been able to dedicate some time to a passion of mine, photography. Being able to curate my Instagram feed has given me a wonderful creative outlet that has led to some incredible collaborations!

I first got interested in photography after taking an introductory course on film photography and dark room techniques in high school. My passion was to travel the world and capture moments on camera. I love that photography helps me look at the world in a different way, and how seemingly ordinary places and objects can be interpreted so beautifully in a photograph. Anyone at any age can start taking photos and it’s such a personal experience, a chance to tell a story without uttering a single word. My Instagram gallery features bright, bold photography with an emphasis on color. I feature design, fashion, and travel photos, as well as a lot of creative flatlays in my feed. Social media is such a wonderful outlet to be able to share visual experiences and I’ve been fortunate to meet some incredible people in the creative community.”

We love your bright, fun aesthetic. Where do you draw inspiration from?
“I love how a pop of color can lighten your mood and brighten your day! Overall, I’m inspired by clean spaces, bold graphics, and interesting color combinations. I love finding and shooting abstract and colorful street murals in various cities, especially Chicago! I’ve included some fun, fashion photos to my feed to incorporate my love of retail and showcase my personal style. A lot of my flatlays feature candy and Summer themed objects like flamingos and watermelons.”

Follow Her Friday: Rosie ClaytonDo you have any tips you can share on how to take an amazing Instagram photo?
“I honestly don’t think there is such a thing as the perfect Instagram photo. Being true to yourself and what makes you happy is the best way to really convey a specific mood or thought.  Sure, there are editing apps that are fun to use, but post what makes you happy and hopefully, it will resonate with others! The most important thing is to have fun and never let the photos become a chore, that’s when you can start feeling uninspired to post. In terms of specific apps, I like using VscoCam, Afterlight, and sometimes Snapseed but there are a ton of great apps out there. I would say to take a moment to review and edit your photo rather than hastily posting- each post is like a visual signature and a way people can get a glimpse into your personality through your Instagram feed. Make sure lines are straight and you’re happy with the colors and brightness of your photo before posting.  Consistency is also really important to your overall feed- try to use the same filter or editing tools so there’s a common thread to tie all your photos together.”
Follow Her Friday: Rosie ClaytonWe know you love to travel! Do you have a favorite destination?
“I am obsessed with travel! There are too many wonderful places in the world to pick just one favorite destination but some of my favorite countries that I’ve been to are: Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Thailand (my family is originally from there), Scotland (my husband’s family is there), Morocco, and the Maldives. In the U.S., I love New Orleans, San Francisco, Palm Springs (color heaven!), New York City, and of course, my hometown, Chicago!”

Follow Her Friday: Rosie Clayton

Do you have a favorite Aerie product?
“Ooh this is a tough question! I love the fit and feel of the Sunnie Pushup Bra as well as all the Aerie swimwear. Everything seems to always hit in the right spot, sizes are consistent and true, and the fabrications are so comfortable!  I also live in the Aerie Skinny Skinny Jogger pants– -the fabric is the perfect thickness and they’re super soft. I wear them to sleep, around the house, and throw on filp flops, army boots, or converse to walk the dogs.”

Follow Her Friday: Rosie Clayton

What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?
“To me, being #AerieREAL is being true to yourself and “owning it!” It’s about having confidence, being comfortable in your own skin, and creating your own definition of happiness and beauty. Being #AerieREAL is a state of mind that you exude physically.”

 Thank you, Rosie! Be sure to check out her photography and follow her on Instagram!

xoxo,

Aerie

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Follow Her Friday: Rachel Hollis

This week we’re inspired by the courageous, career-driven, body-loving blogger, Rachel Hollis! Her proud bikini photo received tons of media buzz and we couldn’t help but want to learn more about this beautiful, mother of three.

Aerie: We love your body positive message – what inspired you to share this photo with your readers?

Rachel: So many reporters asked me this and the answer is kind of silly. I theme my Instagram every month to a color and that month’s color was orange… the exact shade of my cute new bikini top. We were in Cancun and I thought it would be a cute picture and so I had hubs snap a bunch. I am no kind of model and being in a swimsuit feels especially awkward so the one I chose is the one where I’m laughing at how silly I felt. When I saw it I noticed my stretch marks right away but I figured plenty of my followers are moms and have them too so I just decided to post it anyway. I couldn’t have anticipated what would happen with that picture, it still blows my mind.

Aerie Follow Her Friday: Rachel Hollis - Body Positive message

Aerie: How did you get started with The Chic Site?

Rachel: I was an event planner for ten years in Los Angeles and initially I started The Chic Site as a virtual way to house all my ideas. At the time I thought people would want to see pictures from fancy parties but what I quickly learned was that they were much more interested in recipes and parties from my own real life. When I started to focus on my personal style (down home with a little fancy thrown in) that’s when the site really started to gain a following.

Aerie: What’s your favorite part about running a lifestyle website?

Rachel: There are a lot of things to love. I’m my own boss, which is a great feeling. And I work with an incredibly talented group of people that I got to hand pick. In the words of Confucius, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Also, I truly love the idea that we’re being helpful to women who read our site. Whether it’s a recipe, a makeup tip or a tutorial on how to decorate your bedroom I want our readers to come away feeling inspired and encouraged.

Aerie: Do you have any advice you would give to girls interested in starting their own blog or business?

Rachel: Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Seriously, there are so many businesses and blogs out there and the only way you’re going to make a splash is with a genuine message that is authentically you. Also, if you want to start a business you can’t treat it as a hobby. A lot of new bloggers decide to throw up a post here or there without structure behind it. Build an editorial calendar, collaborate with people smarter than you, take yourself seriously and others will to.

Aerie: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?

Rachel: There is no such thing as luck, there is only preparation meeting opportunity at a moment in time.

Aerie: What’s your favorite Aerie product?

Rachel: I love a great t-shirt but I am such a sucker for a summer sweater! Haha, only in LA would someone consider the term summer sweater but it’s a real thing! You know the kind with a loose weave or the ones that are so light it’s like wearing cotton? I love them! It’s a way to feel cozy even if the weather is warm.

Follow Her Friday: Rachel Hollis

Aerie: What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?

Rachel: #AerieREAL is the idea of not just being comfortable with but grateful for who you are today. I love the idea of wanting to better your self, to become a better person inside and out. But that doesn’t mean that who you are right now (at this exact weight, with that exact hair, with your nose and your smile) isn’t awesome. Celebrate where you are, the real you because the real you is fabulous!

 Thank you, Rachel! Be sure to check out The Chic Site and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

xoxo,

Aerie

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