what’s beautiful?

A flowing taffeta wedding gown. A bouquet of perfectly red roses. An actress on the cover of a magazine.

These are all things that are considered beautiful in today’s society. But what does the word beautiful even really mean? By these examples, it means soft, feminine, young, pleasing to the eye.

Can something be beautiful if it isn’t these things?

I feel like there is so much beauty in the world outside of the standard definition. I’ve stopped to admire interesting graffiti in a dark and dingy alley. I’ve smiled at an old couple holding hands on the street. And I’ve been enamored by the beauty that I see in the strength and power of female athletes.

That’s why I was so excited when the people at Under Armour asked me to participate in their What’s Beautiful campaign. At the center of What’s Beautiful is a competition to find real-world women to be the face of their brand.

Under Armour is helping us redefine what it means to be female athletes. I’ve always been a big fan of UA gear, but I am now proud to be a partner with them in spreading this message of strength and acceptance. It’s really refreshing for a fitness company to step away from the ideal of fitness models and focus on real, strong, beautiful female athletes.

To get involved, folks like you and me pick a fitness goal and then document our progress on the What’s Beautiful website. By sharing videos, uploading photos and competing in challenges, we all help to elevate the perception of the beauty of the female athlete. Together, we all push one another toward achieving our personal goals.

At the end of nine weeks, Under Armour will choose the women that best embody the spirit of athletic beauty, power and strength to be the face of their brand. Winners will get showered with awesome gear, workout with celebrity trainers, and be invited to exclusive events, all while serving on the Women’s Advisory Board and helping UA spread the message that strong is beautiful.

It’d be a pretty cool gig, if you ask me.

So what’s my goal? Well, you’ll see a lot of ladies setting goals like finishing a triathlon, running a 5K or competing in a figure competition—but my goal, true to form, sends me back to my roots.

My goal is to complete 100 miles of hiking by the end of 2012.

I grew up hiking and have recently sparked my love for it again. I feel like there is a pretty big stigma that women hikers are dirty and unattractive, but I want to prove that hiking can not only be great for your body, but also help you feel great about yourself. Hikers are beautiful, too! Even when we’re sweaty and covered in mud and bug bites.

One of the things I adore about Under Armour is that they cater to all kinds of athletes. I can find gear that will work beautifully on the trail and have done almost all of my past long-distance hikes clad in my beloved Under Armour capris (four years old, wear them almost everyday, still good-as-new). I’m really excited to branch out during my What’s Beautiful challenge and try their new Perfect Pant. Hiking through the hills of Southern Indiana in the summer means I’ll be prime food for mosquitos and ticks, and having long, breathable pants will help me keep those critters from feasting on me.

I’ll keep you all up-to-date on my charge to my goal, but for now, I encourage you to head over to the What’s Beautiful site and sign up. It’s free, and I promise we’re going to have a ton of fun over the next few weeks. And who knows? You might land yourself the gig of a lifetime.


As part of the first push in the What’s Beautiful campaign, the nice folks at Under Armour are giving away a $500 (!) gift card to a lucky reader from one of the participating blogs. I wish I could be eligible for that kind of freebie. Man, I could do some damage with $500!

Here are the deets you need to know and how to enter:

  • You may receive two (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

○ Leave a comment answering this question: “What Under Armour item would you like to try?”

○ Tweet (public message) about this promotion, including exactly the following unique terms in your tweet message: “#whatsbeautiful” “#sweepstakes”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

○ Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post. To comply with FTC Guidelines (see http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm), entrants’ blog posts must disclose that they are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post.

○ For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

  • No duplicate comments.
  • This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
  • The Official Rules are available here.
  • This sweepstakes runs from 5/10-5/21.
  • Be sure to visit the Under Armour page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


As you probably guessed, this blog post is sponsored by Under Armour in conjunction with BlogHer. All views expressed are my own.