My name is Ashley Olafsen, I am 19 years old, and I literally just published a book!
I’m really excited for you all to read it – It’s called Survival of the Prettiest: The gender, mental health, and sexualization crisis as told by a teenager. I wrote it because it’s the book I wish I had when I was younger, and I basically just talk about body image, media, mental health, relationships, competition, and a bunch of other issues that kids and teenagers face while trying to grow up. I tell my stories and share my friends, and what’s even cooler is that the book is interactive and filled with reflection questions!
Let’s back track:
When I was 15 years old, I became angry about the things my friends and I were going through. We were dealing with low self-esteem, poor body image, mental health issues, unhealthy relationships, and so much more. For example, I was really struggling with my body image. I hated the way my thighs, stomach, eyebrows – pretty much everything looked. My insecurities were truly affecting me and keeping me from speaking up during class discussions, and becoming my authentic self. It seemed like NO one was talking or even cared about what we were facing, and it felt like there was this unresolved crisis going on right in front of my eyes!
I decided that I wanted to get a conversation going. And more than that, I wanted to play a role in helping my friends and myself live up to our full potentials.
So, alongside three friends, I gave a self-confidence empowerment workshop to a group of 8th grade girls. My friends and I shared our personal experiences with the girls, in hopes that it would inspire them. And it did – so much so, that one of the girls decided to create a MOVEment with me.
Her name is Lexie Phipps and the two of us have joined together to create MOVE (Motivate. Overcome. Value. Empower) – Together, Lexie and I spread our MOVEment across the world. MOVE is a program designed to help empower girls into body positive, confident leaders and role models. We also focus on the importance of getting help as well as preventing unhealthy relationships. We give workshops at schools and even direct a 5 day summer program. This year, we had 70 girls!! To check out a video of what happened at the summer program, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
In addition to MOVE, I’m also a TEDx speaker (https://www.youtube.com/watch
And here we are today – with a published book! I worked on Survival of the Prettiest for a little under three years. I researched, wrote, edited, revised, revised again, cited, cried over, drank lots of coffee over, and lost sleep over this book…It was a tedious yet fun, passionate yet LONG process.
I would love for you to be part of the conversation, and I'm hoping that the book will leave you inspired, empowered, and more vocal.
Check out my book, and let me know what you think
Thank you for reading & wishing you all the best!!