Role Model or Real Model?
If you have read any of my other posts or know me personally, you know I am a huge advocate for being a role model to those around me, especially young females. We have all been in that awkward stage of our lives where we can be unsure of ourselves, our changing bodies, how we feel and look, and what we believe in or stand for. At that age, we can be easily influenced and we tend to seek advice from those we idolize, whether it be a professional athlete, a pop star, or our own mom or dad. However, sometimes those we look up to, although being placed in a spotlight to be praised, do not take on the responsibility of role model in the right way.
This past week I stumbled upon an interview with Zendaya Coleman, a young female Disney star. She stated that as a young female celebrity, she sees the position she is in as a true responsibility. She however flipped the switch and said she is “like Tupac Shakur…a real model”. She has taken a refreshing look on what a role model actually is and truly believes she would rather be a real model instead. She said that often times people in positions of power or fame feel they have a role to fill because people look up to them. However, she believes, as do I, you should keep it real and honest, and show the world exactly who you are. When we are real models, it teaches those who look up to us the hard work and responsibilities that come with life, instead of playing the part to fulfill a role. Whether you are a celebrity, athlete, older sister, or parent, we all can play a part in being real models for the younger generation by practicing acts of kindness, respect, and hard work.
On that topic, my latest book I have been reading, Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose, has focused so far about recognizing the power you have in certain positions and using that power to create purpose. Take a moment to appreciate the position you are in. From there, recognize that there is a greater purpose in life beyond your day to day goals and responsibilities. American psychologist, Martin Seligman, defines the meaningful life as one in which you are able to use “your signature strengths and virtues in the services of something much larger than you are”. If we can all appreciate the responsibilities we have and be real models to those around us, we will find a greater sense of purpose by giving from ourselves to benefit others.
In a world that is phony and false from the outside, especially with photoshop, filters, and social media, I always try to stay true to who I am and what I believe in. As a fitness instructor and personal trainer, I often get asked what I eat to look how I do or what exercises I have done to make my arms look the way they are. I lead a healthy active lifestyle because it is what I love and enjoy. However, I am honest when people ask. For the most part, I eat healthy but I love sweets and do enjoy the occasional day off. I also struggle sometimes with figuring out which outfit I will look and feel best in – we all have insecurities every once in a while! By sharing these honest moments with others, it helps to remind them that we are real too and experience the struggles anyone else may go through.
Before this busy week ahead begins, take time to reflect on your own life and how you can serve as a real model. Be honest, truthful, vulnerable, and real. Everyone can learn a lot more from that than from people pretending to be something they are not.
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.