Love the Swim You’re in with Jenna Kutcher

The adventure begins with you. #AerieREAL girl Jenna Kutcher shares her journey to finding rest, achieving self-love and body acceptance on the island of Maui.

“For the past six years I’ve spent hour after hour hustling after my dreams! After leaving my windowless corporate office, I’ve never looked back. Now a full time photographer, educator, public speaker, and podcaster, my life is filled to the brim with things that set my soul on fire. While some look at the life I’ve built and consider it a “success,” I measure success in terms of rest and presence. For so long I’ve worked from a place of hustle, a place of stress, and I knew that going into this year I wanted to focus on incorporating true rest into our lives.”

Love the Swim You're In

Shop Jenna’s Look: Super Scoop One Piece Swimsuit

“What did that look like for us? Well, it looked like a month long sabbatical in Maui. I’m sure you’re thinking, wait, what? A whole month? Yes. We spent 33 days on the island and it was as magical as it sounds. What people didn’t see behind the scenes was the work that went into making it all happen: my husband left his job of five years to start his own business, we worked double time in January to prepare, we had to kiss our furry pups goodbye, but it was our dream and we made it happen.

This trip to Hawaii was a redemption song for us. Just one year ago we found out we were expecting our first baby while in Maui and celebrated those blissful days on the island. One month after returning home we experienced a miscarriage and had to say goodbye to that life we loved so dearly. As a woman, it was such a painful experience. I hated my body, I felt outside of it, I felt like it had failed me – though I had this peace that there was a bigger story for us.

As we packed for our trip this time around, my suitcase filled with Aerie. I had to smile because just a year ago I was a part of this campaign and my images were from when I was pregnant. As I slipped into my one piece and hit the beach, I finally felt back at home – both in Hawaii and in my skin. I felt stronger, healthier, more emotionally present. Body positivity isn’t just about our outer appearance, it comes from within.”

Love the Swim You're In

“Our month on the island was a time for us to reconnect, to disconnect from work, to dream bigger, to sit on the beach, to explore each corner. It was a time for me to come back to this body that has carried me for 28 years and to celebrate all of the amazing things it can do. Aerie embodies all the things I stand for and in sharing my real, not retouched images I was reminded how important it is for people to take a stand for what they believe in.

I am always shocked at the response when I post things about my body. So may days I would see the images Drew took of me, my eyes would well up with tears about my size ten bod, I would change swim suits, be tempted to cover up, and would vow that I wouldn’t be caught dead at the pool…. But then I would think of you and why I couldn’t hide. 

You see, these images don’t do well because of me, it’s because of you. You see yourself in my jiggly thighs, you feel your fears in my cellulite, you hear the voice in your head when you see my extra loving love handles, you feel more at home in my wide hips, you relate to one boob being a bit perkier than the other, you feel the shame in oversized arms… BUT (and this is a BIG but) we are all so much more than all of that.”

Love the Swim You're In

“Maybe it’s simply refreshing to see a double digit sized body baring it all or just a body that isn’t retouched. Whatever it is, I am loving myself a little harder and praying that you’ll do the same! I am not a number on a scale or a size in my clothes, neither are you! 

Our time was incredible, SO incredible we ended up purchasing a second home on the island. It’s become a sacred place to us – a place of healing and rest. We are thrilled to get to spend more time in our bathing suits on the beach and are even more thrilled to open our doors to our friends, family, and followers and let them into our little slice of heaven. Oh, what an amazing redemption song it is.”

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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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