Our Wildwood, Summer 2017, Volume 41

a l u m n i v o i c e

by Kelsey Weber ’09

Shaped by Wildwood

though, I needed resilience. Not every person wakes up ready for rejection, but that’s a huge part of modeling. The resilience Wildwood taught me helped me deal with rejection and encouraged me to take a multidimensional role in the body positivity movement. Now I work not only as a model, but I also serve as an advocate for acceptance and self-love. I recently developed a workshop for middle and high school students aimed at celebrating their individual beauty. It makes working as a plus-size model an extra- gratifying experience by teaching the newer generations that all bodies are different, all bodies are worthy and, most important, all bodies are beautiful. Self-love is a journey, and mine has not been a linear one. But each day brings a new conversation and ultimately a new goal to inspire change. My time at Wildwood was full of activities—I was in a spring musical, I was on nearly every sports team, I was in jazz band my senior year, I was vice president of the Human Rights Task Force, and I even had a short-lived career as a “mathlete.” Wildwood allowed me to explore and be multidimensional, and it never forced me to choose one identity over another. If somebody had told me when I was a senior that I would be working as a plus-size model, I would have laughed, especially because I entered college as a neuroscience major. Wildwood taught me to be a brave learner and a bold innovator willing to embrace change.

When I reflect on my time at Wildwood, I feel incredibly grateful. It is not just the fond memories that I am thankful for but also the skill set Wildwood gave me. Wildwood provided me with the tools to succeed that have allowed me to conquer obstacles and follow my dreams, and it led me to where I am today: I currently work as a plus-size model and body positivity advocate. Each time I received a rubric for a project at Wildwood, I loved reading the teacher’s feedback; it fueled me. Today, I look at my life with the same rubric structure. I am always evaluating myself: Was I able to collaborate 32/33 Our Wildwood /Summer 2017 { I am always evaluating myself: Was I able to collaborate effectively? Did I ask thoughtful questions? What were my strengths and stretches?

Leaving neuroscience behind and pursuing a modeling career was risky, but Wildwood taught me not to be complacent, to take risks, and follow my passion. Wildwood shaped me into the woman I am today. Wildwood taught me to be a critical thinker, an innovative doer, a global citizen, and a collaborative peer—all these are my tools to transform the world one body positivity workshop at a time.

effectively? Did I ask thoughtful questions? What were my strengths and stretches? Once I graduated and started working, I realized how lucky I am that Wildwood taught me this mindset. Not every teenager is afforded the opportunity to flourish among creative, intelligent, and caring peers at a school that never lets you slip through the cracks. Working in an industry that has only recently gained recognition meant being a pioneer. To be a pioneer,

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