Sadie Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" fame has opened up about her experiences with body-shaming and encouraged young women to remember that in an image-obsessed society, their identity ultimately lies within the hands of God who "fearfully and wonderfully" made them.
The 20-year-old model and actress recently shared a "makeup-free selfie" on Instagram with a powerful caption.
"A few months ago I showed up for a photoshoot that I had thought was going to be a natural no makeup photo shoot," she said. "The director of the shoot took a quick look at me and said 'nope this girl does not have the face to pull off a no makeup shoot' so they proceeded to spend around 2 hours making it look as though I had no makeup on. Let's be real I did NOT wake up like that."
Robertson said she's never thought of herself as a model, but dipping her toes into the industry has exposed her to "shocking" things.
"[I've] had my stomach 'fat' pinched to make sure I knew which part I needed to get rid of," she said. "I've been told if I would lose 10 pounds then I may look like an actual model, yet all the while I just smile, laugh, eat and dance my way through the shoots."
Willie and Korie's daughter said that at one time, these negative comments would have hurt her. Now, however, she's able to smile because she knows her identity doesn't lie in her looks, pictures, people's comments, or even her Instagram.
"My identity lies within the hands of my God who I believe created me to be fearfully and wonderfully made," she said.
Everyone has the face to pull off a "no makeup shoot", Robertson said, because God made them unique and perfect - in His image.
"The makeup is the extra. It's the fun, but when it becomes your everything that's when you began to lose everything about what makes you... YOU," she said. "My friend and I went out at sunrise yesterday to remind ourselves of real beauty and went without makeup. The beauty surrounded us, and was flowing from within into our conversations."
Her final words of advice: "Pursue the essence of beauty within you today, and ask yourself where your identity lies."
As of Monday morning, the "Live Original" author's post received over 200,000 "likes" and hundreds of comments from women thanking Robertson for her honesty.
"May his Glory shine so brightly in us that we don't need makeup! Thank you for shedding light on this industry's darkness," wrote one woman.
"Love this as a woman and a mother. Thank you for leading our young girls," wrote another.
According to national statistics, more than 90 percent of girls - 15 to 17 years - want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest. Additionally, 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships.
This is not the first time Robertson has opened up about her struggles with body image and faith. In 2015, she appeared in a viral YouTube video wearing no makeup and explaining that she sees so many people "comparing themselves to others." The former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant said she wanted to help fans by hitting them "with a reality."
"I am 5′ 7", I weigh 122 pounds, I wear a size 26 in jeans - a small or a medium top ... I wear a size two in a dress, and I eat all the time," she said. "I'm not toned. I don't have abs."
Robertson admitted that she, like many other young women, struggles with jealousy.
"I struggle with comparing myself to other people. I struggle with worry and I'm really hard on myself," she said. "I'm just like every other girl. I look in the mirror and I pick out the flaw."
She went on to explain that she decided last year to start speaking publicly about confidence: "My point is, don't look at somebody and say, 'That's what I want to be,' because in reality, if you're seeking self approval or human approval you're never going to reach your goal," Robertson said. "You can only reach it by God."
Robertson continued, "This is what the Bible says about jealousy. It says it's cancer to the bones."
Ultimately, she encouraged women to remember that there will always be people who are taller, tanner, skinnier, etc., but that there is absolutely nothing good that has ever come from being jealous of others.
"You're never going to be content with who you are unless you allow God to come in," she said. "I'm not saying that's what you have to believe, but I'm saying that's the best option I've ever found ... Humans have never given me a better comfort zone than what God can give me."