Before You Judge Me, Get to Know My Story

Holly at age 14.

Holly at age 14.

I recently commented on a  Huffington Post piece about the science of beauty and attractiveness. I said that I had always been attracted to men who have brilliant minds. Looks have never been what attracts me.

One of the comments I received in response was in regard to the photo I have up on my Huffington Post account for Speaking of Beauty.

My picture from my Huffinton Post account

My picture from my Huffington Post account

Saidas responded by saying, “If that is your photo, I’m sure you take full advantage of your looks.”

I wanted to address this comment and frankly, all the comments I receive about why I don’t have any right to, not only comment and share my opinion about beauty, but to believe I have the understanding to host a show about beauty. It has been pointed out to me that I am beautiful and that I represent the unattainable few. Why should I be the person who would best understand what women go through? How can I understand what an overweight girl went through in her teens? Or a woman struggling with issues that she doesn’t look “pretty enough” to ask for a promotion?

I have been an actress for over 25 years and I have spent the better part of my life trying to become what the media deems “beautiful.” I have had my nose fixed, my hair colored, exercised obsessively, nearly died from an eating disorder, felt guilty, felt ugly, and always, always –  I have never felt good enough or pretty enough. I grew up in Ohio and I was painfully shy, painfully skinny and gawky, and painfully homely, with a mouthful of braces.

I always believed that if I could somehow look pretty enough, my life would begin, and I have spent years trying to attain that. All I wanted was to be a famous model knowing that, once famous, I would then be accepted and recognized as beautiful and, ultimately, enough.

In my mind, I was never enough. I was never a famous model. I was never known for my great beauty. For a brief period of time, when I was acting in the theater in Chicago, I didn’t need to be a certain beautiful type. It wasn’t about my looks it was about my soul. And then I was offered a role on a television show and it all began again. I became a television actress and with it came all the seduction that goes hand in hand – the money, the attention, and the scrutiny of having to look a certain way. At least that’s how I interpreted it. Instead of trusting that I was an actress and I could find roles that were suited to me, I tried for years to become what I believed a “movie star/television star” looked like.

Around the time I was beginning to see that I was on a deadly path, I met a man who was recently widowed. He had a 3 year old daughter and a 5 year old son. The 4 of us got together, fell in love, and have never been apart. My family has become my inspiration and they have truly saved me. My son is now 18 and my daughter is 15. They are the loves of my life, as is my husband, Ron. This part of my life has allowed me to heal.

Every one of us has a story. To make assumptions about another person’s life, without knowing anything about them, is just wrong. All of us have challenges and difficulties in our lives that are ours alone to experience and overcome.

One of the challenges that I have faced is believing that I am good enough just the way I am. I created Speaking of Beauty because of this. We are all presented with an incredibly skewed way of looking at beauty and what it means to us. This is especially true for women. It is my belief that every woman is beautiful. I want to live in a world that is accepting of all types of women, all ages of women, and all nationalities of women; celebrating them equally.

Because the media is constantly putting ideas in our head about how we should look and who we should be, my focus is on confronting and changing that. I believe we can change the beauty conversation and the consciousness surrounding it. This show is my contribution. If I can show women that what makes them beautiful lies in being themselves, I will have accomplished a great deal.

My husband, Ron Bottitta

My husband, Ron Bottitta

I will continue to make comments on The Huffington Post. I just wanted everyone to have a little background information about me. And yes, my husband is balding, a bit overweight, brilliant, wildly talented, and the sexiest man I know.