It’s no secret that young girls and women are under tremendous pressure to look and act a certain way, nearly everywhere they turn. Yet it seems like for every realistic or body-positive role model that comes along, someone else shows up with a corresponding “it’s what’s on the outside that really matters” message to undercut every step of progress.
Enter, Diana Wright, the subject of a new short film by Dove’s Real Beauty campaign called “Meet Diana,” who shares a powerful story of strength and resilience that ultimately redefines what “real beauty” truly means. The video, which was produced by an all-female crew in collaboration with Shonda Rhimes, is a must-watch for girls and women everywhere. Actually, scratch that — it’s a must-watch for everyone everywhere.
Wright is a wife, mother of two daughters, and school teacher who lost her leg in an accident a few years ago. But through her passion and strength, Wright has shown time and time again that while the accident may have changed her body, it did not shake her spirit. She’s hit goal after goal when it comes to her recovery, not only learning how to walk again, but also to run; and her infectious positivity is nothing short of inspiring.
“I knew that when I started walking, I had to set the next goal and the next one, and I wouldn’t stop until I’d regained everything I was capable of doing before,” Wright says in the video of her rehabilitation journey.
While the accident that took her leg may have been tragic, it’s impossible to watch Wright share her story and feel anything close to pity. Admiration and a mad girl crush? Absolutely yes; but pity? No way.
Because she’s more than just a woman with a prosthetic leg, who’s making the best of what life has dealt her — she’s a woman who’s straight-up kicking ass at life. She’s a woman that you’d want to be friends with and want your daughter to look up to. And she’s using her story — and Dove’s Real Beauty platform — to spread her message far and wide.
“Look at your physical difference as a minor reflection of you,” Wright tells others, in an interview with Babble. “Your real beauty is within and you release on your time and your terms. I lost my leg, but I am still a wife, a mother, and a teacher who loves working out and I’m getting it done all on one leg. My terms, my time!”
Wright models her strong sense of inner confidence and belief of what it really means to be beautiful to her two daughters every day — but she’s also an inspiration to her students every time she walks in the classroom.
“Teachers wear so many hats,” Wright shares in the video. “One of them is to build self-confidence. I’m constantly letting them [students] know that beauty is pushing forward and not giving up.”
Beauty is pushing forward and not giving up — I’ve never heard beauty described this way before, but she’s right; there’s an undeniable beauty in having tenacity and determination and a drive to inspire others. Shouldn’t that be everyone’s definition of the word? If “Meet Diana” reaches the masses, maybe there’s hope that it will.
Now this is the message that really needs to be reaching young girls: The confidence to love yourself, be your best, and the commitment to inspire others is beautiful. We’re probably never going to stop the media from presenting unrealistic expectations of beauty, but we can celebrate and share this new, more powerful message.
Because, as Wright says: “If you believe you’re beautiful then you truly are.”