We’re inspired each day by the stories you share that show how you’re #AerieREAL. This week we wanted to highlight an incredible story from Aerie girl, Kelsey Miller. As the Senior Features Writer at Refinery 29, we loved reading her funny and very candid musings each day. Her honest approach, especially when it comes to body image is refreshing. Read more below about this fantastic Brooklyn-ite below!
Aerie: Hi, Kelsey! We are so excited to chat with you. Tell us a little bit about yourself! How did you get started in writing?
Kelsey: I’m an out & proud late-bloomer. I began my writing career a few years ago, fiddling with personal essays and some humor pieces. When I got my position at Refinery29, I found that my most personal work is what hit home for readers and I decided to take the plunge with one very personal issue: food. I’ve struggled with disordered eating, body image, and yo-yo dieting for my entire life, and of course, I’m not alone there. But I finally quit dieting in the fall or 2013 and began chronicling my journey with Intuitive Eating and sustainable fitness in a column called The Anti-Diet Project.
Now, I’m working on a memoir called BIG GIRL: How I Gave Up Dieting & Got A Life, exploring my journey into the morass of disordered eating and, at last, out of it. It’s a story of struggles many of us have faced, and the rocky path toward freedom from food obsession and self-loathing. But, it’s funny! I hope!
Aerie: What does #AerieREAL mean to you?
Kelsey: It means knowing that you’re pretty great, right now, this minute. You’re you, and trying to be or look like someone else is what gets us into trouble. We all need growth but no one needs “fixing.” So, just be the most YOU, the most honest and forthright, even if you right now feel uncomfortable, ridiculous or fallible. Because, that’s everyone — that’s just the deal with being alive.
Aerie: What makes you #AerieREAL?
Kelsey: I know that I’m not finished as a person, and I give up on the concept of “finished.” I struggle with self-esteem some days, and other days I feel like a rockstar. But, no matter what, this is who I am, and I refuse to sit out on life because of that. Why should I? With all my flaws, both physical and personal, I’ve still managed to do pretty well. I have friends, love in my life, and a career I’m sincerely thrilled about. I also have lousy days, bad habits, and a laundry pile the size of a grown man. Nothing is ever going to be perfect or even close to perfect. Screw perfect.
Aerie: What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
Kelsey: This question is killing me. Every time I go searching for THE inspiration quote I need, I end up losing two hours on Pinterest. Well, I don’t know if this is my favorite, but it’s one I never forget from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Aerie: What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Kelsey: I want to say something very zen and mature here, but really I’m just so pleased and proud of my book. Every time I sit at my laptop and fuss over a tough paragraph, I have to remind myself that getting a book deal is a pretty incredible accomplishment and I should take the time remember that. Plus, the whole reason I’m writing a book is because I made a radical decision to change my life and embrace myself. So, high five, me. And, then I get back to work.
Aerie: Do you have a role model? If so, who is he or she, and why does he or she inspire you?
Kelsey: Every time I feel overwhelmed or ridiculous I think about Tina Fey. She’s made a career based on refusing to see herself through anyone else’s lens and I think we can all agree it’s working out pretty well for her. She’s always unapologetically herself, and she’s a seemingly tireless creator. Her brilliant work aside, I admire her creative energy, her bs-free attitude, and the fact that she manages to somehow have a life on top of everything — but never puts forth an image of perfection. She seems to have it all while acknowledging the myth of “having it all.” She’s open about struggling and the importance of missteps. She’s a wonder, to be sure. But, she’s the real deal, too.
Kelsey and her handsome boyfriend, Harry Tanielyan!
Aerie: Do you have a favorite Aerie item?
Kelsey: Aerie bikini undies have been my favorite since college, so it’s hard for me to say I love anything more. But, I think the Aerie Real T-Shirt is pretty tough to beat. I might love it a little bit more. I STILL LOVE YOU TOO, UNDIES!
Aerie: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, All, or Nothing?
Kelsey: All, but it’s mainly Instagram and Twitter these days. I feel like I’m able to be funny and smart-mouth’d on those platforms, whereas on Facebook I feel like I need to watch my mouth lest my grandfather happen to log in that day. Plus, Facebook keeps giving me ads about how to lose a hundred pounds and I’m like, hey, Facebook, I got this.
Aerie: Favorite song to listen to in the car or working out?
Kelsey: Right now? “Carrying The Banner” from Newsies (the movie, not the show). I refuse to be embarrassed by my enduring love of musicals. If you were a theater kid like me, then nothing gets your heart pumping more than a cast recording. Whatever gets you through the workout, people.
Aerie: Do you have a secret talent, skill or quirk? Do tell!
Kelsey: I can do the entire rap from TLC’s “Waterfalls.” And, I absolutely will do it if you give me 2.5 glasses of wine.
Thank you, Kelsey! Follow her on Instagram here and on Twitter here!