Emma Howie (@EmmaCBikini on Twitter) is one of several young women whom I’ve had the great honour of mentoring for confidence and self-esteem.
We met in January 2012.
On that occasion, I was on stage (naturally), speaking at the Web Heroines conference at the British Library. Emma was in the audience.
Emma approached me after the conference and asked if I might be interested in mentoring her. At that time she was an undergraduate in Fashion, Media & Promotion at Brighton University (Northbrook College).
In summer 2012, Emma was awarded a First Class degree. Very shortly afterwards she began her first professional role in the fashion industry.
However, this is not when the story ends. It’s not even the end of the beginning.
Shortly after starting her professional career, Emma developed an interest in bodybuilding.
Despite never having never done any bodybuilding before she set herself a goal: to win the UKBFF Stars of Tomorrow 2013 competition in the Bikini Tall category.
On Sunday 3rd November 2013, I watched Emma take to the stage as a bodybuilder for the very first time.
Beautiful, statuesque and elegant, she joined the stage as one of 14 competitors.
The field was then narrowed to just six. Emma was among them.
The field was then narrowed to just three. Emma was among them.
She undertook her ‘t-walk’ with grace, courage, confidence and strength.
And then she won.
Just over a year from start to winner. Doesn’t it make you think…
If we all committed ourselves to our goals with as much courage and determination as Emma, what might we achieve?
Of course most of us don’t and the prize goes to someone else.
I share this story with you because I want you to understand something very important. Eighteen short months ago Emma did not have high self-esteem. Now she is a champion and a role model for other young women. She has plans to start her own business and her message is not ‘be skinny’ but ‘be strong’. What better role model for other young women could there possibly be?
I could not be more proud of her if she were my own daughter.
It’s time to stop making excuses and admit that success – at anything – is a matter of choice.
Emma Howie (centre)