Student project dedicated to those lost to eating disorders


by Trina Elam

“You are fine just the way you are.”
This is the message Shanice Whitney, senior, wants to tell people through her video project, Project P.R.E.T.T.Y.
Whitney became inspired after listening to the Beyoncé song, “Pretty Hurts”. In the song, Beyoncé sings about pageantry life, the idea of beauty in the media and how that affects women today.
“Blonder hair, flat chest / TV says, ‘bigger is better’/ South beach, sugar free / Vogue says ‘thinner is better’,” Beyoncé sings.
After listening to the song, Whitney felt inspired to do something. She decided to make a video showing how the idea of perfection can affect both men and women.
Whitney wants to include men’s body issues in the video because there is a standard for men that no one talks about.
The video will take place in a college setting. Recent graduate Steven Mildenstein wrote poetry that will be in the video.
One scene will take place in Kent. There will be a group of girls eating. One girl, who doesn’t really fit in, will come up and the group will ignore her.
Whitney dedicated the video to junior Stacie Kjellsen’s family. Kjellsen lost her mom five and a half years ago and cousin this past summer. Both suffered from anorexia nervosa.
“This is something that doesn’t get talked about enough, and I think people need to be reminded about body image and how it’s important to forget about all the stereotypes and things that we worry about and just embrace your body,” Kjellsen said.
She has always wanted to do something to help people, but she didn’t know where to start until Whitney created Project P.R.E.T.T.Y.
“This will be a good opportunity, like a good starting point,” Kjellsen said.
She wants to start talking about eating disorders and help educate people who are suffering or know people who are suffering.
“I think people should be educated on how to help people like that in their lives,” Kjellsen said.
Whitney hopes the video will be finished by the first or second week of March. She plans to reveal the video in a big event that will also include photographs of Simpson women without makeup and a speech from Kjellsen.
The makeup-less portraits are inspired by a Dove campaign to show women’s natural beauty. Whitney wants people to start talking about these issues after watching her video.
“I hope to get some dialogue going because I don’t want people to just watch the video and go ‘oh, that was a really cool video’. We learned a lot and we know how to get help,” Whitney said.
Whitney summarizes the purpose of the video into the fact that, “it’s very difficult being a women because we’re told all these things from all these different angles, and a lot of times we don’t have someone else to counter those and say, ‘no, you are fine just the way you are. You don’t need anything extra.’”

If anyone is interested in being a part of Project P.R.E.T.T.Y., contact Shanice Whitney at [email protected].