by Katherine Leslie

Chloe Howard has gone from victim, to public speaker, to now published author—all by the age of 18. Her inspiring book, STAND BEAUTIFUL, is all about her personal journey of how she took lemons (getting bullied and assaulted at school for her disability) and turning them into lemonade (starting a movement entitled Stand Beautiful which advocates for self love and self acceptance.) Her story has touched many lives all across the world and she wants to share her message with you too! We had the privilege of speaking with Chloe about her new book (in bookstores now), her movement and how you can stand beautiful too. You don’t want to miss this book!

HOW BULLYING plus MEETING A ROCK STAR INSPIRED HER BOOK

“I was born with a severe clubfoot. My foot was upside down and backwards. I have had many operations to try and fix that deformity. I do live with daily pain. Growing up, I was told by my parents and those surrounding me, that I was beautiful and special. I was told God made me with a purpose and He made me just the way He wanted me to be made. I believed this truth until age  fourteen. During my freshman year in high school, on my Christian high school campus, I was assaulted because of my foot deformity. I was restrained and without my consent my deformed foot was exposed to a group of my peers. In that moment, for the first time, I became ashamed of the part of me that I was told always made me special. I felt used and dirty in a way I had never felt before and felt completely alone and betrayed by my own body. I became depressed, going through a couple of very hard months, before I had the chance to meet U2’s lead singer, Bono. I told him my story and he challenged me to speak out about bullying, injustice and about what happened to me. I took that message to heart and at 16 gave a TEDx Talk speaking about my now international movement, Stand Beautiful.

It’s all about loving ourselves, loving others and accepting those society deemed ‘imperfections’ that we all seem to have. It’s about believing the truth, that we were made just the way we were meant to be made. It’s a message of anti bullying, love and hope.

I got so much positive feedback from my TEDx Talk, that I started being asked to speak at schools, churches and events. So I wrote the book because I really want people to know that they are not alone, because I needed to hear that message following my assault.”

THE FIRST STEPS TO STANDING BEAUTIFUL

“For girls, we live in a broken world and there is so much negativity going on. These girls need to hear the truth, that they are beautiful, just the way they are and that they are loved unconditionally and are never alone in what they are going through. I feel like it’s important to really band together. One of the things I talk about in my book is how can we truly love and accept one another, before we can fully love and accept ourselves. I believe that issues like bullying will be solved, if we can first tackle issues like insecurity, self doubt and feelings of loneliness.”

If we can look inside ourselves, working on viewing what we see in the mirror as positive, beautiful and imperfectly perfect, we can better attune our eyes to see as others as beautiful, perfect and worth accepting and loving.

HOW STANDING BEAUTIFUL IS A DAILY PRACTICE ( TATTOOS HELP!)

“In the dark moments following my assault, I would go upstairs and I would write the word “beautiful” in sharpie over the biggest scar on my foot as a sort of reminder. I don’t really know when I started doing that or why, but i feel like its just things like that. On my website I sell temporary tattoos that say ‘beautiful,’ along with t-shirts! Only you have the power to determine what your labels are, you are not stuck in the label of ‘victim’ or ‘broken’ or whatever labels others have given you. You can decide to be beautiful; you can decide to be special and worth it and loved. I just tattooed mine on!”

You are so much more powerful than you know—what exists in us is this raw, unbelievable power to do good.

WHERE SHE’S OFF TO NEXT

“I just graduated high school and am going to Southern California for college for the next four years which I’m excited about. But I’m so excited about this book and I’m so excited about just the prospect of so many girls and boys reading this book. People hearing the truth that they are loved and special. I do plan on still speaking at schools and events. It’s hard to know where this whole Stand Beautiful thing is going. With my faith I believe that it’s bigger than me. I don’t really have control over it, but I will keep saying ‘Yes’ and seeing where it takes me. And I’m so excited.”