Meet Stephanie (@stephywray). This superhero mama is an Executive Administrative Assistant and #swimsuitmodel.
Why did you choose this career path?
I have my social work degree and expected to find myself in the Addictions Counseling path; however life had other plans for me when I ended up working in politics for the BC Government. I have worked my way over to being an Executive Assistant and I love that I can still help people (in a different way, of course) but also have the energy for my family once I get home for the day.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a mother of one, step-mother of two, wife, and so much more. I’m loving, caring, compassionate, honest, real, fun, and easy going. I love animals, the outdoors, being active and connecting with others.
What are three words your best friend would use to describe you?
Strong, caring and compassionate.
How do you hope to connect with and inspire your followers?
I try to be as open as possible about my recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. I have been sober and clean for over eleven years now and I want others to know the reality of addiction. It doesn’t always look like the homeless person you see on the streets. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t look like that at all. Addiction affects all different types of people- male, female, doctors, lawyers, employed, unemployed, mothers, fathers, teenagers, the elderly…the list goes on. I want to break the stigma surrounding addiction. It is not a choice; it is a disease. We need to educate people about this and start treating it for what it is. There is no cure for the disease of addiction, but there is a solution. There is recovery! My life is absolutely amazing today. It’s a life I never imagined possible for myself. I have seen many people around me experience the same thing from being down and out, to finding recovery and creating a beautiful life for themselves. It’s time we start talking about the solution and I want people to know it’s okay to reach out and admit to needing help. I didn’t stay sober by myself. I had many people help me, and who continue to help me. In turn, I get to help others now through their journey and that’s a beautiful thing.
We selected you for this campaign because we believe your life is aspirational. What do you feel makes your life aspirational?
For the above reasons! I am open about my recovery and also about my body image issues. I used to hate myself and my body. I was always uncomfortable in my body and thought that competing would make me feel better – if only I could look like those fitness girls on stage. It ended up backfiring for me and I worked really hard at learning how to love and accept myself. Thankfully, I got to a good place before getting pregnant. It was only after giving birth to my son that I completely fell in love with my body. I hated on my body for years, but it loved me and kept me healthy. It grew a healthy baby boy for me, delivered him into the world, and fed him for months. I am so appreciative of it now, loose tummy skin and all! There’s so much more to me than my body, and I’m so glad I finally got to that place in my life. I want others to know that it is possible to love themselves and their bodies at any weight, shape and form.
Why did you decided to participate in this campaign?
I love that Swimco is all about loving yourself and the body you’re in. This is a campaign that I can participate in and be PROUD to be a part of. The message they are putting out there aligns with my values and I am so honored that I was asked to be a part of it!!
What does being a #swimsuitmodel mean to you?
Putting on a swimsuit and taking a picture! Anyone can be a #swimsuitmodel, no matter their age, weight, or height. You can put on a swimsuit and rock it!
What makes a body beautiful?
Every body is beautiful. Our bodies are amazing. They keep us alive, breathing, moving, thinking, and creating life. That is a beautiful thing!! I think every different body deserves to not only BE beautiful, but to feel beautiful.
Can you describe your self-confidence journey?
My journey to self-love has been quite the journey!! I went from hating myself as a teenager to wanting to love myself and trying to navigate through the pressures of feeling like I had to look a certain way to be accepted. It took years of me exploring that and finally getting to a place of being fed up with all the pressures to realize, I’m just fine the way I am!
If you could say one thing to someone who may not be confident with their body, what would it be?
I know it’s easy to focus on the outside and wanting to look a certain way to feel better about yourself. I think the real answer is focusing inwards and working on self-esteem and learning to love yourself despite your weight or what you look like. Also, taking care of yourself is key. If you’re working out and eating healthy foods to nourish your mind, body, and soul, that’s self-love!!! If you’re eating pizza and chocolate because you’re craving it, that’s self-love too! To me, it’s all about balance and moderation. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you love, but focus on nourishing your body and spirit.