The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty has positively impacted so many women, but for Stacy Nadeau, it was literally life changing. As one of the original models for the campaign in 2005, Stacy has gone on to share her message of self-love and acceptance all over the country. She’s making a living by sharing and connecting with amazing women, which landed herself on the cover of Cosmopolitan in November. Stacy shares her story with us, and talks about the importance of asking for help, putting yourself first and being passionate about what you do.
Twitter + Instagram Handle: @StacyLNadeau
Location: Chicago, IL
Occupation: Professional Speaker and Life Coach, StacyNadeau.com
University: DePaul University
Secretly Obsessed With: Jamming in my car with all of the windows down – dancing and all!
On My Nightstand: My kindle, eos chapstick, and a ring holder my husband’s grandmother made and gifted me when we got engaged!
Last Thing You Read: Mindset by Carol Dweck
How did you get started?
My experience with the Dove Campaign is what woke my passion. I am an original Dove Campaign for Real Beauty model. In 2005, I, along with five other amazing women, posed in my underwear – un-airbrushed and un-retouched – to widen the stereotypical definition of beauty and to encourage women to feel great about themselves. Through that experience, I was being asked to speak about my experience at organizations sporadically. I was meeting women everyday who were telling me their stories and how much their body woes got in the way of living their life. I realized how big of an issue this was – I realized women everywhere are dealing with this. I was in my first job out of school, selling insurance, and using all of my PTO to travel and speak.
I didn’t even care I had no time off, I was just loving traveling, speaking, and connecting with women. I had a goal to make it a year in my first job. I knew it was going to be a big change and I wanted to give it a real shot. In all honestly, I hated my job selling insurance but I didn’t think I knew what I wanted. One night I was talking to my dad (also an entrepreneur) about how much I disliked my job and he asked me: “if you could wake up tomorrow and do whatever you wanted, what would you do?” I said: “I’d travel the country and speak to women – but NO ONE makes a career out of that.” He said, “You can. let’s figure out how”. And so I did.
What key elements played into your success?
Asking for help. I used to think I could do everything on my own and wanted people to think that I could. Now I know there is no shame in asking! Life gets messy – showing others that doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human. Chances are, someone has been in your shoes and can offer advice or help. Every single time I’ve asked for help, amazing things have happened and my business grew!
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
Be yourself. My dad has always said, “There is no one else like you in the world – just go do what you do.” This is true for everyone. Every single person is unique and has his or her own story. NO ONE can do what you do in the same way you do it. Be authentically you – interviews, networking, clients, and sales will all fall in to place.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
One of my biggest struggles was not putting myself first as my business grew. My first year speaking, I went from 2 gigs to over 40 in just a few months. All of a sudden, I was traveling 6 days per week, sleeping very little, eating unhealthy food, and seriously lacking in the exercise department. The day after my last gig of the year, I got the swine flu – the legit one that made the news. I was in bed for two weeks straight and couldn’t even enjoy my break or time off. That experience taught me that I can’t help others be their best if I’m not walking the walk myself – I’ve since set boundaries that help me take care of me so that I can encourage others to do the same for themselves.
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?
Mentors and my coach have played huge roles but I have to say my dad is my biggest influence. He’s the first I call with a business question or thought. Being an entrepreneur himself, he has taught me how to be myself and run an ethical business people want to be a part of – I treat clients like I would want to be treated – it’s as simple as that.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
In November (2014) I was on the subscriber’s cover of Cosmopolitan magazine – distributed to over two million readers. We were celebrating the ten-year anniversary of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and all we have accomplished for women in the world of beauty and confidence. The photo shoot was a blast and a blur all in one. When I arrived at the airport, I got out of the car and burst in to tears. It all hit me at once. I had a huge “I’ve made it” moment – it was a culmination of everything I’ve worked for – to widen the definition of beauty, to create new visuals of what a “cover model” looks like, and encourage women everywhere to feel great about themselves. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to do work I believe in.
When do you feel most successful?
My success is in the messages, tweets, emails, and hugs I receive from men and women who have attended my programs/keynotes or coached with me. I work to encourage men and women to accept themselves. When I hear that I’ve helped do that or helped someone change course in a positive way – I feel like the most successful person in the world. So many people think that when they email or message me, it goes to a trash folder in my email, never to be seen again. I read and respond to every single one – they are what keep me going.
What advice would you give to girls looking to enter your industry/space?
Be passionate about your story. The best speakers and coaches I’ve ever seen are the ones that are giving everything they have and believe in what they do. You can’t fake that – people will see right through you if you do. Speak your truth; believe in it 100%, and no one will be able to look away.