With her passion for pursuing Christ and her zeal for “living original,” Sadie Robertson is a role model for our daughters through and through.
As a part of remaining true to herself and her fans, the 20-year-old has always been an “open book” about the good, the bad AND the ugly in her very public life…but this week, she’s opening up about a topic that she has kept a secret until now.
“Many of you know I am an open book. I share most everything I walk through, but what I’m about to share with you is a particular topic I have always hidden,” she wrote in her blog post titled “I Woke Up Like This.”
Sadie intros her vulnerable post with an admission that she’s going to be “awkwardly honest” because the “‘I woke up like this’ lie is an uncomfortable one” for her to talk about.
The Duck Dynasty star started by sharing the experience she had at a recent photo-shoot that was supposed to be ‘all-natural,’ only to be told by the photographer that she didn’t have ‘the look’ to pull it off:
“I was a little shook by the change of plans the director decided to make by taking one look at me and stating his infamous comment, ‘Oh, no. This girl does not have the face for a no-makeup shoot.’ Ouch. Then, they sent me off for two hours to get my hair and makeup done. Yes, two hours to get that ‘all natural’ look so it could appear that I just happened to wake up like this…FLAWLESS.”
“Once they were finally content with the look they had created, it was time for the shoot—but I knew it wasn’t over there,” she added. “They would undoubtedly go in later to Photoshop and edit any and everything that didn’t fit their standard of beauty, such as all those mysterious red dots on my face some of us refer to as pimples.”
But Sadie had one big problem with them projecting her Victoria’s Secret beach-wave curls and perfectly satin complexion as ‘natural.’
“Number one it is not really ‘me,’” she shared. “It is just simply a lie giving everyone something to compare themselves to that they can never compete with. Shoot, I can’t even compete with it.”
She doesn’t want to be the “photo-shopped girl behind the window or the screen” giving girls yet another impossible standard to aspire to, particularly because she’s been “damaged by ‘that girl.’”
“Tbh, I woke up LIKE THIS!”…
“It was images like that with false advertisement that sent me down a spiral of trying to obtain an image I did not realize I was never going to be able to reach, because it was not real,” wrote Sadie. “I could have never imagined how much it would cost me to attempt to reach the standard of today’s beauty.”
The “Live Original” writer then transitioned into the meat of her message by exposing a personal struggle that she has “always hidden,” even from her own mother, until now:
“To be completely honest, it is because I did not know how to speak confidently about something that stole my confidence. I’m sure the media is going to love to run wild with this, but it’s part of my story and I feel led to share after recently finding out that 97 % of women have struggled with negative body image issues. It broke my heart, and I truly want to help change that statistic. Warning to all and as you are about to see me speaking from experience, it is not easy to jump to that 3%, but it is possible.
I struggled with an eating problem connected to a negative body image for about a year. It was dark. It was ugly. It was insanely difficult. It was done in secret. It was hidden. I did not even tell my own mother until recently. I thought I had everything under control. Maybe you have been saying that same thing? I didn’t even realize this small problem that I thought I had under control was creating a ripple effect, creating more and more problems, ones I certainly couldn’t control. I became angry with the person I was becoming. My self-worth was demolished, and I began to lose sight of my true identity.”
For a young woman who appeared to be so grounded in her identity, Sadie admits her struggles with fear and anxiety were still very real threats.
“My fear didn’t just stem from one particular thing,” she explained. “It was more of a [byproduct] of the battle happening in my heart and mind. I was trapped in a battle that took place 24/7, and it was one that day by day began to defeat me. My mirror, my pictures, my clothes, and my view were my worst enemies.”
But interestingly enough, during this year-and-a-half timeframe when Sadie was facing one of the fiercest battles in her life, she was helping others forge ahead to victory, making her silent war that much harder to detect.
“During this time I helped lead others into victory over their battles—but little did they know, I was staying behind on the battlefield,” she wrote. “I have heard it said that people develop eating disorders because it is something they can control in their life. That makes so much sense in my case, because during this particular time, so much in my life felt out of my control.”
Sadie then introduced the biggest “plot twist” to her story:
“It was the year after Dancing with the Stars. Shocker, I know. The girl who ‘did it.’ I went to Hollywood and didn’t go crazy for the world to see. I hear it said all of the time, ‘How do all of these young people go to Hollywood and just lose their minds?’ To be honest, I get it. I feel their pain. My struggles and confusion from it all just happened on the inside, rather than the outside for everyone to see—and that can at times make it even worse, because I was able to hide my ugliness on the inside, and that meant no one could call it out. There was no accountability.”
She continued that it’s often on the inside where “the enemy does his best work”:
“It distorts your view of beauty on the outside and the world around you. It distorts everything. Don’t hear me wrong, here—this isn’t really just another message of how your beauty on the inside is more important then the outside. This is a message highlighting how the extent of your ugliness on the inside is the very thing keeping you from experiencing the beauty on the outside.”
Sadie admitted that Satan’s biggest tactic with her was to get her to look at herself and her own imperfections more than her Savior. By getting her to obsess over her thigh gap, waistline and complexion, the enemy was able to take her attention away from the Cross:
“That was the enemy speaking, and when I came into agreement with those thoughts, it stole my perspective. I couldn’t see beauty in my creation, in exercise, in my sisters, in relationships, conversations, the weather, or in the GIFT OF FOOD for crying out loud. I allowed all of my ugly thoughts and insecurities to manifest a spirit of fear, jealousy and deception, and it stopped me from seeing the world around me clearly. My mom always says, ‘Sadie, if you are thinking everyone is looking at you, then you are thinking about yourself too much.’”
Because of this sobering wisdom, Sadie admits this is why she is now comfortable doing an all-natural photoshoot (even at 15 pounds heavier), because it is not all about HER:
“Here’s the funny thing—now I am happy to do an all natural photo-shoot, and the reality is, I am 15 pounds heavier then I was right after dancing with the stars. I literally cannot even wrap my head around how I was once able to get my hands to wrap around my thigh. Girls, hear me when I say this—you could search my heart and put me on a lie detector test, and I’d still tell you that I am happier, and have more joy than ever before. I drank a large mint mocha cooler this morning, while I worshipped and rooted myself in truth, and girls…I am feeling good. If it means being ‘less beautiful’ in the world’s eyes, that’s okay with me. As long as I still get to seek out real beauty—the kind that is found in God’s word, and is painted out in the world before me. I will gladly lay myself down at the feet of the Creator, not only to encounter more of the beauty He created in me but to experience the creation He surrounds me with.”
Sadie closes in charging girls everywhere to release their standard of beauty and embrace the one that God created by reading these Bible verses:
“Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14