When Stacy Nadeau and five other brave women were seen on a billboard in Times Square posing in nothing but their underwear, the world responded.
The billboard was an advertisement for Dove as a part of its new campaign, which would feature “real women,” rather than Photoshopped models, and encourage women to celebrate their own beauty.
On Oct. 11 Nadeau visited Eastern Washington University to speak to students at Showalter Hall. The PanHellenic Council sponsored her visit to celebrate its first Inner Beauty Week. The event urged students to recognize what makes them beautiful.
“I loved it,” said Marissa Gomez, a freshman who attended Nadeau’s presentation. “Listening to [Stacy] speak was totally different. She was real. She had a real story that real girls could relate to.”
Chelsea May, a senior who was also in attendance said, “She had a great story to tell and was very inspirational.”
In addition to Nadeau’s presentation, students took part in several other events throughout the week. On Monday students were asked to recognize a woman who helped empower them. On Friday women were encouraged to wear minimal make-up, such as just mascara or blush, to truly embrace their inner beauty.
Nadeau told EWU students that the world’s reactions to her Time Square billboard in 2005 were mixed. Mostly they were positive and supportive, but some people were ashamed that Dove would use “fat” and “gross” models in their advertisements. “To me, the most surprising comments were those from women,” Nadeau said. “I couldn’t believe it. I came from a place where women support other women.”
Nadeau, an organizational psychology major at DePaul University, hadn’t modeled before. Neither had she ever dealt with the wrath of bullies on such a large scale.
She credits her parents for making her the strong and confident women she is today. “[They] were an amazing support system,” she said. “They would help me have an attitude of gratitude and be thankful for my healthy and able body.”
“We found Stacy through Campus Speak,” said Reanne Charuhas, PanHellenic Council member. Eastern has utilized this website in the past to find keynote speakers who present on the collegiate level.
“I believe in building strong women,” said Reanne Charuhas. “The independence, the character of a women is huge.”
According to Charuhas, Eastern has attempted something similar to Inner Beauty Week in the past and she hopes that it will continue in the future. “The ultimate goal is that women are empowered,” Charuhas said, “and that they’re not focusing on filling voids within themselves. “
Gomez has had friends who severely struggle with body image.
“I think it is so important,” she said. “What people don’t understand is how serious this topic is. This is not just being oversensitive to our surroundings.”
Nadeau still has her days in which she is not fully happy with her body. However, she lives her life knowing that no one can shake her confidence because she has accepted her body. So, what is her advice to other women? “Make small changes. Stop comparing yourself to other women.”
Since her billboard appearance in 2005, Nadeau has spent her time guest starring on shows such as, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Tyra, Dr. Phil and Oprah. She is a full-time keynote speaker, writer, blogger and wife.
“Life,” Nadeau said, “is pretty amazing.”