By: Luana Mattos, Guest Blogger
We all love some fairy tales. And many of us have pictured ourselves as one of the characters of a fairy tale. However, for some reason none of us would like to play the Ugly Duckling, but since February of 2013 girls from all over the world have proclaimed themselves as proud Ugly Ducklings. Just like in the story, they found out that what makes them different is actually what makes them a unique being! I chatted with Marie and Erin, the founders of the Ugly Ducklings Inc to learn more about this amazing movement where ducks become swans.
Why 'Ugly Ducklings'?
We want this term to be something people can be proud of. Everyone is an "ugly duckling" at some point in their life: The ugly duckling was never ugly, he was simply different. He was lost in a group of people who didn't respect him for who he was, and he was on the journey of becoming a beautiful swan. We are all on this journey in life.
What the Ugly Ducklings stand for?
Ugly Ducklings Inc. is committed to creating a safe environment and building a community of compassionate, positive and motivational individuals. We strive to promote true beauty, healthy habits, positive self-image/self-worth, and healthy coping mechanisms. It is our goal that every individual understand that they are beautiful, valued and on a journey to becoming who they are.
When and why did you create the UDI?
Ugly Ducklings Inc was born a few weeks after Jennifer Morrison (from the ABC show Once Upon A Time) decided that the Emma Swan fans should be called The Ugly Ducklings. I waited for her to tell us what she wanted to call the admirers of the character to start working on the logo that now represents us. She explained it on Twitter: "The idea behind the ugly ducklings is truly about self identity and beauty. The story shows that sometimes life gives us challenges before we discover our true selves. Emma is named from the fairy tale because of the tough times she faced as a young girl. But in the end she finds her son and she begins to discover who she truly is and that transformation is what I find exciting in life. The Ugly Ducklings is meant to suggest beauty and love and fullness of life in the end. It's all about the journey.”
What does it mean to an Ugly Duckling?
To be an ugly duckling means that you are on a path. You realize that you are a piece of art that is slowly being painted and that time, and life will let you know how to use the brushes, and colors, until you become a masterpiece. We are all in a process to discovering who we really are, both mentally and physically.
In your opinion, when do the Ugly Ducklings become Swans?
I think once everyone recognizes that they aren't always going to be where they are... that life is a process and that we should focus on consistent growth, rather than perfection, I think then we are swans. Becoming a swan doesn't mean you're suddenly exactly in a perfect spot and know exactly what you want to be and who you are. I think being a swan is about recognizing that you are exactly where you are supposed to be on your journey, and owning your story, both your history and your future.
The UDI supports Mental Fitness Inc. How did this partnership happen?
We heard about Mental Fitness Inc. (formerly known as NORMAL in Schools) through Meghan Ory, another actress who worked on Once Upon a Time. One day she tweeted she was auctioning a signed script to raise funds for NORMAL In Schools. It was around the time when we were thinking about starting this movement, and we thought it fit perfectly with what we wanted to discuss. We reached out to Robyn Hussa, the CEO and Founder of NORMAL, now Mental Fitness Inc, and have had a wonderful relationship and partnership with her ever since!
The UDI is currently working on new t-shirt designs. In fact, to launch them, and to donate some funds to Mental Fitness Inc., they will hold a charity raffle of two prize packs that include goodies signed by Jennifer Morrison! Stay tuned on Twitter @UDucklingsinc! They also have a few extra t-shirts from their previous batch. If anyone is interested, don't hesitate to contact them!
Luana is Christian girl whose faith inspires her to be the best version of herself every day. Besides her work as an administrative supervisor, she is a freelance journalist and writes a column about real life experiences, focusing on topics relevant to social projects, volunteer work, and awareness campaigns for the Brazilian website www.hollywoodeaqui.com. She also had the opportunity to interview Nicholas Sparks, Wm. Paul Young and L. J. Smith