Book Review: ‘Exactly As I am’ reveals celeb insecurities

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While mentoring young girls in journalism, I hear time and time again that they wish they could look like this celebrity or that celebrity. They think they have to dress like them, mimic their hairstyles or talk like them to fit in at school or to be like

While mentoring young girls in journalism, I hear time and time again that they wish they could look like this celebrity or that celebrity. They think they have to dress like them, mimic their hairstyles or talk like them to fit in at school or to be liked even outside of school. So many girls feel that celebrities are born perfect and have no flaws or insecurities. That’s far from the truth, as explained in “Exactly As I Am” by entertainment journalist Shaun Robinson. Robinson used her friendships with celebrities to help hammer it into girls’ heads that they are each beautiful exactly as they are. Before I finished the first chapter, I decided the book would go in my arsenal as reinforcement when the girls and I have our sessions. Everyone, including your favorite actress, singer or athlete, at one time (in this book) felt inadequate or was talked about, but they realized how they felt about themselves was more important than what others thought. While many parents, including myself, can tell our young loved ones the same things their favorite celebrity says, the message seems to have more validity when it’s heard elsewhere. Examples of celeb confessions are through famed singer Janet Jackson and actress Gabrielle Union: “I had a very difficult time looking at myself in the mirror. So often I would cry because I didn’t find myself talented or attractive at all. I didn’t have Naomi Campbell’s legs. I didn’t think I was pretty. I didn’t like my body. My level of confidence was very low. I struggled for years — I mean years!” -Janet Jackson “There have been so many times in my life that I’ve not felt as good as others. My whole life has been a struggle of feeling less than everybody else.” -Gabrielle Union Other favorites, including actress Tichina Arnold, singer-actress Queen Latifah and athletes Laila Ali and Candace Parker also share their feelings. If I could buy a few cases of the book and hand one out to every young girl I come into contact with, I would. This book is a must read for all girls. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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