Follow Her Friday: Vallena Lipske

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, Vallena Lipske. Having overcome some serious adversity growing up, she’s grown into an inspiring woman who’s certainly worth your follow! Get to know more about her after this adorable pic of her and her pup.

 

Follow Her Friday: Vallena Lipske

Aerie: Hi, Vallena! Tell us a little about yourself!

I grew up in a small earthy town in Northern California. Growing up, I spent my time outdoors; playing volleyball, hiking, going to the beach, and hanging out with my best friends (we still spend all of our time together whenever we’re home from our universities for summer).

I think a lot of my values came from home; here we all respect and support each other for our strengths and differences. In fact, our most recent paddleboarding excursion resulted in myself paddle-sitting while our most athletic friend did the paddling (no judgments made).

I recently moved across the country to Pennsylvania (Villanova University) to pursue my goal of getting my Bachelors of Science in Nursing to become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse Practitioner. And I couldn’t be happier. I love everything about nursing, and helping others, it truly is my passion.

I’m now in the committee running one of the largest Special Olympics programs in the US and this next year, I’ll be the Vice President of Membership of my sorority, Kappa Delta. I can’t wait to welcome the next class of freshmen into Kappa Delta and share our values of respect, diversity , and confidence with them.

Aerie: What does #AerieREAL mean to you?

Vallena: To me, #AerieREAL means celebrating being authentic, unique, confident, and #unretouched, inside and out.

Aerie: What makes you #AerieREAL?

Vallena: At a young age, I was diagnosed with Stage Four Neuroblastoma. I underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and had an intense surgery that left me with a twelve-inch scar across my abdomen. I used to be embarrassed of my scar, but I’ve learned to love myself for all of who I am. My scar is now a source of liberation, pride and confidence constantly reminding me that I’ve been given the opportunity to thrive and help others.

As a college-aged girl, I know how difficult it is to be authentic and confident. But, living true to my values and surrounding myself with people who respect those values has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. In my opinion, that’s what being #AerieREAL is. Nothing feels better than being true to yourself, despite what others may think.

Follow Her Friday: Vallena Lipske

Aerie: Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

Vallena: In 3 years, I see myself working as a Pediatric Oncology nurse, giving the kind of care to children that I was so lucky to receive myself.

Aerie: What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
Vallena: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” This quote (actually a question) by Mary Oliver, my favorite poet, never fails to remind me to be grateful for the life I get to live, and that I have the opportunity to choose my attitude and future each day. Follow Her Friday: Vallena Lipske Follow Her Friday: Vallena Lipske

Aerie: What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Vallena: My biggest accomplishment this summer was becoming fluent in Spanish while in Spain. I got a glimpse of what it felt like to live in a foreign country with a different primary language. I know my knowledge of Spanish will make a great difference in the lives of my Spanish-speaking patients when I’m a nurse.

Aerie; Do you have a role model? If so, who is he or she, and why does he or she inspire you?
Vallena: One of my biggest role models is my “big sister” in my sorority, Brianna. She embodies what it means to be #AerieREAL. She’s proud of who she is and lives true to her values. She balances her academic life (she’s also a nursing student), social life (she was vice-president of our sorority last year and is an amazing dancer), and physical life (she exercises, always motivated by her health, rather than image). I’ve never heard her make a negative comment about her body, or anyone else’s. Her confidence and positivity radiate to everyone around her and make them more comfortable in being who they are. Follow Her Friday: Vallena Lipske Follow Her Friday: Vallena Lipske

Aerie: Favorite song to listen to in the car or working out?
Vallena: The song “Roar” by Katy Perry never fails to leave me with that I can do anything feeling.

Aerie: What’s your favorite part of the day?
Vallena: The morning 100%! I love having a cup of coffee, watching the sunrise, and thinking about all the possibilities the day holds.

Follow Her Friday: Vallena Lipske Aerie: Do you have a secret talent, skill or quirk? Do tell!
Vallena: I absolutely love dancing, but not your typical dancing. Not the kind of dancing where you take a dance class and you’re told what to do. Not the kind of ballroom dancing that I did in middle school. Not even the kind of dancing at our sorority mixers. I’m talking about around the house while doing dishes, dancing on the porch jumping up and down, scaring your brother in the other room dancing.
Follow Her Friday: Vallena Lipske

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Vallena! You can follow Vallena on Instagram and Twitter, too.

Share YOUR Aerie REAL story with us and tag your photo with #AerieREAL.

xoxo,

Aerie

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What Does #AerieREAL Mean To You?

What does #AerieREAL mean to you? Since the launch of our campaign: “No supermodels. No retouching. The real you is sexy.” we’ve been listening to your answer. Whether it’s the 42,000 tweets that celebrate body confidence and what Aerie REAL means to you or the 9,000 Instagram photos where our community has shared their “no retouching” moments” we have felt the support and positive response for women everywhere to feel comfortable in their own skin…not retouched.

We feature your Aerie REAL stories and moments everyday on Aerie.com, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram! Today we are featuring 4 girls that truly wowed us with their confidence, drive, and empowering stories.

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Meet Julia, Amy, Cecilie, and Shanni!

The girls were brought to our headquarters for the ultimate Aerie experience: a tour of our lab store, a meeting with Aerie’s Chief Merchandising Offer and Director of Brand Voice, a $200 shopping spree, a private consultation with our Fit and Style Expert, Jenny Altman, and more!

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Watch the video above and read on to check our their personal style and read their stories that inspired us and that we hope inspire others.

P.S. The girls in these images below have not been retouched.

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What Does #AerieREAL Mean To You?

“Being real is accepting your flaws and all. This is something I have struggled with my whole life. Whether it being my height, hips, thunder thighs, and unruly hair. I’ve learned over the years that insecurities are not flaws, but strengths. They make you unique and tell a story. My thunder thighs help me kick butt in sports and show the hard work and early morning training I’ve pushed myself through. My height has made me stretch – literally and figuratively. (Being 5 foot, me and top shelves aren’t exactly best of friends.) It gives me enjoyment when I see the perplexed faces of people who underestimate me because of my size. My hips, that don’t like, show my heritage and make me proud of where my family came from. My unruly crazy curly hair shows me life is unpredictable and beautiful. It’s my trademark no matter how hard I try to change it. I’m better off rocking it and accepting it. No one is perfect, no matter how hard we try to mask it. Our flaws tell a story that we should embrace. It makes us unique. Embrace your flaws. Share your story and be real because imperfections are a beauty to be seen. #AerieREAL – Amy

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Shop: Three Tassel Necklace | Aerie Striped Cover Up (In Store)

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SHANNI_18971Show me someone who’s got no baggage, and I’ll show you someone who’s got no story.” This is a line by my favorite musician, George Watsky. I was always a storyteller; in elementary school I would be asked to give shorter answers with less detail. But now is time to tell my story. I am not normal. I never have been. But my differences make me shine. I am an author; when I was in high school I wrote a book about quantum physics with my father while still studying for history tests and stressing over term papers. I am a feminist; I teach my little sisters that they are equal to their male peers and talk to my friends about rape culture. I am a nerd; I hold Doctor Who marathons, have books spread all over my floor, and spend hours playing computer games. I am a fighter; I have spent the past year fighting my eating disorder and spreading awareness about mental illness. I have baggage, stretch marks, scars, stories, and my purple hair. I am a girl, a sister, a daughter, a feminist, a fighter, a nerd, an author, a storyteller. But most importantly, I am real. Aerie Real.” – Shanni

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Shop: Dolman Open Knit Sweater | Silky Pants (In Store)

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Growing up, my family members would always call me Cindy Crawford because of the birthmark I have on my face. To others, no one really understood why it was there, why it was so big, and would actually give me home remedies to get rid of the mole. I used to dream of getting it removed and would find a way to hide it in public. Once I got to college, everything changed because everyone told me how unique I looked and to embrace what gifts I’ve been given. I love me and my birthmark and we’re not going anywhere! I still get the occasional stares, double takes, and comments, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping it real. I want to show people around the world that it isn’t a bad thing to have an unusual mark on your skin. Everything about you is beautiful and shouldn’t try to hide it like I used to. Embrace it! – Cecilie


julia2JULIA_18326This is Julia, she’s my cousin, my roommate, and my friend. And on top of being all those things she’s talented, driven, and passionate about her dreams. She recently just took a trip through school to Italy for a photography excursion, which is one of her passions that I always find myself in awe after seeing what she creates because they are always so beautiful. I think she knows that she’s good at it because she is so passionate about it. But what I don’t think she ever knows enough is how beautiful she is inside and out, and that is why I am doing this (also because her whole closet is Aerie and I may or may not like to borrow her clothes from time to time. :))  But like I said, Julia is a beautiful girl and I don’t think she quite knows that or embraces that with confidence and that is why I am submitting this little story about her because she would never do it herself. Julia may not find herself to be perfect, but what I see in her is more than what she sees in herself I often think. And that is why I support your #AerieREAL campaign and its aim in promoting natural beauty rather than the unrealistic body images that too many of our girls idealize. Like this photo captures my thrilling Julia’s beauty, free spirit, and zest for life, I think it also has the ability to capture her complete confidence with herself in this moment just as #AerieREAL should do with all women. – Julia was nominated by her cousin, Katelyn

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Congrats once again girls!
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What makes YOU Aerie REAL? Tell us with #AerieREAL on Twitter or write us at social@ae.com.

xoxo,

Aerie

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