Theresa Hayes on Her Self-Talk, Therapy, and Finding Support in Community In COVID-19 & Racial Unrest

“As a child I went to an elementary school where the students were predominantly white, like I could count all of the people of color with 2 hands. I remember thinking, “why does my school get to have a gymnastics class apart from regular gym class, and a drama class when all of the other schools I attended before with predominantly African American students didn’t have that at all.” I didn’t really understand why things were the way they were just because the people lived in different neighborhoods, but I began to understand as I grew older.”

Victoria Secret Model & Mental Health Advocate Ali Tate Cutler On Mental Health from Childhood to Adulthood and Replacing Stigma with Hope

“I struggled with my mental health as a child a lot. It was in regards to my own body. I always felt fat, and believed no one would like me or date me because of it. It was only in my 20s that I let that belief go, and then I discovered anxiety about other issues. But the main struggles in my life were always about my sense of unlovability. I just didn’t feel worthy of connection or love and if I don’t keep on top of that, it comes up in my life today.”

Renée Simone, Model: Grounded in Liberian & US Roots and Pursuing Her Now & Future In South Korea

“I was interested in South Korea before I came to live here so it made me eager to keep learning about Korean language and culture. This curiosity, openness, and desire to culturally assimilate makes certain things easier in adjustment as a foreigner. But it’s not always easy. There are times I feel like I have to have my teacher hat on– needing to politely correct racially/ethnically ignorant comments, looks, or gestures, but I understand that comes with the territory of being and looking different in a country that has been a reflection of homogeneity for decades…
Somewhere down my childhood, I learned that being a “strong” woman was a great honor. However, in my world, the virtues people praised in the “strong woman” were things like suffering and carrying on dutifully in self-sacrifice for her family, or the collective. I grew up being taught that the strong woman was defined as one who put others first, always. Always, always, others before oneself. With this in mind, I did not feel I had access to the full understanding of mental health nor the freedom in evaluating, validating, and responding to my needs, which is what I needed as an individual and woman. For a long time I separated myself from pursuing the whole of mental health– it was more of something I read about in textbooks, heard from friends, maybe saw in a few good relationships that surrounded me.