Big Girls Cry Project by Mere Smith via In the Powder Room

Big Girls Cry (and Heal)

“When was the first time you ‘realized’ you weren’t as pretty as the other girls?”

If someone asked you that question, how would you feel? What would you say?

If someone asked me that question, I’d probably chuckle and crack a joke such as, “Well THAT’S no way to get into my pants. Just kidding—DO ME NOW!”

And then after we laughed, I’d most certainly excuse myself and privately burst into tears. Because as anyone who’s ever been made to feel ugly can attest, you never forget when someone calls you a dog or a “big-nosed bitch,” or makes a “helpful suggestion” like “You should get contacts,” or “I’m dying to flat-iron your hair!”

It doesn’t really matter how long ago it was, or how accomplished or loved or content you are today; if at some point in your life you received messages that there was something wrong with your appearance, those hurtful words could very well be the self-talk you hear at times today.

I’m 44-years-old, and I thought I had gotten to a place where I was finally OK with how I was lovingly made by God. I’ve purposely edited people out of my life that used to criticize me constantly. I’ve been married for nearly 18 years to a man who thinks I’m beautiful and tells me so on a regular basis. My friends and kids love me for who I am and think I’m a babe. (I assume. Because that’s how I feel about my friends and kids, and I have to believe that healthy people just naturally see the beauty in people they love.)

But then I read that question above and a wave of negative memories washed over me…

The multiple times various crushes leaned in and whispered, “Do you think you can hook me up with your best friend?”

The roommate who told me I looked “disgusting” in my bathing suit.

That guy in college who told me that if you stuck my best friend’s head on my body, we’d be “the perfect woman.”

Don’t worry, I told him if you put his personality into a donkey, he’d be the perfect jackass.

(Unrelated: they never did catch the person who ripped that guy’s genitals off and threw them in the Monongahela River.)

But back to the original question . . .

“When was the first time you ‘realized’ you weren’t as pretty as the other girls?”

That’s exactly what artist and author Mere Smith asked a handful of REAL women on camera and the results are breathtaking.

So many of us harbor the scars of feeling unworthy because we didn’t or don’t fit the typical beauty standard: we’re not thin enough, or fair enough, or fill-in-the-blank enough. As someone who has walked this walk, Mere knows we have to “feel to heal,” and until we address those feelings, wash away the mask of inferiority, and learn to appreciate our own unique gifts, we will never break free of that monkey on our backs . . . the monkey of not-good-enough.

Are you ready to be inspired by women who are brave enough to feel those feelings and break free of those ugly thoughts before your very eyes?

Click here to read more and watch Mere’s Big Girls Cry Project video (#BGCP). You will never forget it.


Featured photo via Big Girls Cry Project from Evil Gal Productions on Vimeo.

Mere Smith is a recovering Southerner, as well as a longtime TV writer (Angel, Rome), author (Cowface, The Blood Room, “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth”), and blogger. She can be found at, or on Twitter @EvilGalProds. 

For a good time, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Leslie Marinelli is a writer, wife, mother of three, toilet humor aficionada, and transplanted Pittsburgher trapped in the suburbs of Atlanta. She’s the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of In the Powder Room, the creative force behind the award-winning tell-all mom blog, The Bearded Iris, and the editor and co-author of In the Powder Room’s hilarious bestselling anthology, “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

Keep the conversation going...



  1. Alyssa says

    Amazing project. I’m a middle-aged girl who never got over this stuff. Never got comfortable with me. And I tanked a lot, A LOT of things because of it. This work goes so far in showing what we do to ourselves instead of living. So beautiful.

  2. Sarah says

    So accurate. So important. It’s a shame that we can possess such extraordinary qualities, yet without feeling attractive, those may not even count.

  3. Sara W. says

    I’m very glad I waited until I was home from work to watch this; I’m not sure how I’d have explained why I was crying at my desk. Moving, powerful, and cathartic. I sit in awe of the strength of the women who appeared in the video. Amazing stuff.

  4. A says

    The question–and the women in the video–will knock the air out of you. But the video will also fill you with joy and hope. Thank you to the women in the video and to Mere. Here’s to healing.

  5. Linda says

    This is an intensely powerful piece. I too used to worry so much about my appearance and being accepted as “pretty” and it took getting older and becoming invisible to realize how worthless it all is, but sadly now I’m seeing history repeat itself with my daughter. She is 12 and wants to have her eyebrows waxed. She wants to purchase makeup and wear it to school because her friends, 12 and 13 year old girls are going to school with their face fully made up. Because they feel the need to look pretty for who exactly? I want to share this with not only my daughter, but all of her friends and help them to see how harmful these standards are to their self esteem.

  6. Moxie S. says

    Oh, thanks for writing this! I cried when I saw the video. The emotion on the faces of the women is just so real and raw…

    You know, I don’t think there’s a day that’s gone by in my life that I didn’t feel ugly and not good enough. It was only a few years ago that I finally understood that this is common among women no matter their appearance or social standing.

    That’s why the well-crafted message in the short is so important. You aren’t alone and anyone who makes you feel ugly or unworthy is the worthless one.

  7. Erin D says

    Beautiful video and beautiful ladies. If it could only remove the scars of middle school from my soul…

  8. Tara says

    Super proud of all the women who participated and Mere for coming up with such a conversation worthy creative endeavor.

  9. nypinta says

    I’ve never felt comfortable in my skin. I don’t like having my picture taken. Because I’m not my face. And yet it’s ridiculous the amount of time and energy I’ve wasted on trying to look different then how I do. Buying clothes because of how they change my shape rather than because they’re comfortable. Ever play the magic genie game? What would you’re three wishes be? I think one of them would be to have back all of the time I worried about my appearance and spent trying to look different back so I could read more, or play more, or do anything else more.