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Beauty & Fashion

How I Felt Ugly in My Teens- With Embarrassing Pictures!

I definitely considered myself “ugly” and geeky when I was 12-15. I had braces, my hair was cut short (I did a hair show for Paul Mitchell and they lied to me and cut my hair shorter than they said!) and I had acne. I felt so insecure, and I was super skinny and boys would call me “bean pole.” I still vividly remember this time, and I wish now if I only knew that God thought I was beautiful and perfect just the way I was, that would have helped me.

God doesn’t see what other people see! You are so beautiful and perfect to Him, don’t let others’ comments affect you. (I know it sounds easier said than done!) I got an email yesterday from a girl named Kayla, and she shared a story with me on how she felt ugly when she was younger. She said:

“This is a little bit of a long story, but it’s good, and I would love if you shared it! I am fairly competitive, and will take on any safe bet. When I was about 7, I was at my grandparent’s, and while I was swimming in their pool, my uncle “dared” me to swim at the bottom of the pool. I was not about to let him win, so of course I took the challenge. I went to the bottom and scraped my chin. This bummed me out because not only did it hurt (a lot), my mom, grandma and I had a movie and lunch date in about an hour. My dad took me into the bathroom and was cleaning the cut up, and the whole time I cried about how I was now “ugly”. My dad told me I was not ugly, but actually much cooler than the average person because I could swim at the bottom of the pool.

I remembered this story last night at swim practice while we were doing underwater sets and I hit my nose and chin and scraped them up. My reaction to the memory was “why did any 7 year old believe she was ugly for a tiny scrape?” Even at a young age, girls are taught what “beautiful” is, and it’s wrong. We need to stop this media atrocity that is telling girls that you need to be perfect looking in order to be beautiful. God made each and everyone of us perfect, and everything He makes is beautiful!

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I would love to hear back from you!

Sincerely, Kayla

Another girl also shared this video with me on Project Inspired Facebook, and it brought tears to my eyes. It’s a bit long, but watch it and it will touch your heart too. It shows a lot of girls sharing what they’re insecure about and how they don’t feel beautiful.

Here are some pictures of me when I felt I was “ugly” so you girls can see! I promise you however you may feel right now, when you accept yourself and realize you are more than your appearance, you will start to love yourself fully. And plus, when you’re a bit older, you’ll grow into your face more!

In this picture I was in 8th grade and playing volleyball. No boys liked me.


Here is me and my friend Tory swimming at a lake in Oregon. She covered up her stomach with hearts because she felt “fat.”


One of my early modeling photos for Candies, I was so shocked when I booked this job because I had braces!

Here is a billboard for a radio station in Portland, Oregon. I finally got my braces off and I felt a little better about my appearance:


Focus on your sparkling personality instead of your appearance. In the long run, people remember the ones that were kind and amazing, and not necessarily the “pretty girls” in school! You are amazing just the way you are.

Do you feel insecure about your appearance?

[Images Courtesy of Nicole Weider]

Image: Courtesy of Nicole Weider

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115 Comments

  1. faithfulgrl104

    Posted by faithfulgrl104 on November 27, 2012 at 11:20

    I have always struggled with the fact that I’m not a “girly-girl” by societies standards. I don’t know how to do anymore makeup then a little eye-liner, I’m not good at doing my hair fancily, I don’t dress in all the cutest clothes. I’ve wasted alot of time looking at girls at school, and my older sister and wondering why it seems to come so easily for them. While those thoughts still pop up from time to time, at seventeen, I am feeling more comfortable in my skin. I am just as beautiful to God when I’m in my sweat-pants and a t-shirt, with my hair in a ponytail, as if I spent the hours other girls do in front of a mirror. A thought, that really helps me is: Would I want my younger sister to be thinking these ugly thoughts about herself, when she is my age? What would I tell her? I’d tell her that the ugliest thing is those thoughts in your mind. Because when you are comfortable and confident, you become magnetic, people are drawn to you and from there you can shine your light on everyone around you.

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by Wings of Love on November 25, 2012 at 16:06

    I love this article. After a long process, I have learned to love the skin I’m in and love the way I look. In the 4th grade, I wore a sweater constantly even in the heat because I was teased for having hairy arms. I finally came to joke around with it, “Hey, I don’t have to wear long sleeves when it’s cold.” It’s what makes me different. Same goes with my pale skin. I joke, “I’m a human lightbulb.” But I honestly love my skin color and I wouldn’t change it. I try to remember what my mom told me, “All girls want what they don’t have. Those with curly hair straighten their hair. Those with straight hair curl their hair. Stick with what you’ve got because it’ll be in later.” (: Hope this helped. xoxo

  3. Michiif14

    Posted by Michiif14 on November 20, 2012 at 08:48

    Oh My!! You’ve always been soo stunning GORGEOUS!!
    I love you Nicole! 😀
    Thanks for all the nice advices!

  4. brittney

    Posted by brittney on November 15, 2012 at 18:03

    aww this is so tuching to me nicole <3

  5. knkd_l0v3

    Posted by knkd_l0v3 on November 14, 2012 at 19:17

    I also felt soooo ugly in school – ever since 3rd grade. Looking back, I still can’t believe there was actually such a thing as “the popular girls” in 3rd grade, but there was. I was so insecure in who I was because the Popular Girls were so pretty – perfect hair, designer clothes.. you name it. I was also used by one of these “popular girls”.. they made me think that I was “one of them”, and the joke ended up being on me the whole time.

    Because of my insecurities, I started wearing make-up in the 5th grade. Looking back at pictures, I have to laugh because I so did not know how to put it on (haha). Even though the popular kids never made fun of me directly, I got the dirty “up and down” looks quite often. I hated it. To me, those looks were worse than anything they could say to me verbally. I wore designer clothes that came from thrift stores because my parents could not afford those kind of clothes at the time. I was so desperate to fit in. My confidence was at ground zero and I was sure that no man would ever want to marry me.

    Finally, after my 8th grade year, my parents decided to homeschool me. I was so relieved!!! I met my current husband at the time and he always complimented me on how beautiful I was. I would always say “Yeah well, I’ve seen prettier girls” and he would say, “I haven’t.” Every day he told me I was beautiful, but then one day he finally explained to me why he thought I was so beautiful. He said “Not only are you pretty on the outside, but your Spirit is so sweet and your personality is so vibrant. You are God’s definition of beauty!” That’s when I realized it doesn’t matter what others think of me – God thinks I am to die for.

    Now, I see all those girls I was jealous of on facebook and they are sooo not all they were cracked to be in school! I don’t mean to sound judgemental, I just sometimes think to myself “Why was I so jealous of them??” Now I am married to the man of my dreams who treats me like a princess every day, I am living my life for the Lord and I actually have purpose in my life! I am beautiful because I am created in His image and I won’t let anybody tell me otherwise! 🙂

  6. Project Inspired

    Posted by DaughterofGodLoves on November 14, 2012 at 19:04

    I don’t think you looked ugly in any of those pictures! You were beautiful! (:

  7. bethluvstheafters

    Posted by bethluvstheafters on November 14, 2012 at 18:29

    You were so pretty! I have braces and acne and I’m in the 8th grade!

  8. jessicarose

    Posted by jessicarose on November 14, 2012 at 14:26

    oh my gosh!! I know all the people in that video! There all my friends. They filmed this video at Youth With A Mission in L.A! <my families a huge part of that organization! SO COOL. The girl at 0:55 name is Jessica. Here's her blog: jessicahover.blogspot.com

    sorry, i'm really excited. and i didn't even share this video on fb!

  9. loveaubrey

    Posted by loveaubrey on June 4, 2012 at 17:17

    you were SO not ugly!

  10. Project Inspired

    Posted by EllieSelwood on January 22, 2012 at 11:23

    I have braces and yeah it’s rubbish but if you have a great enough personality then no one cares about something temporary on your teeth.
    I went through a very bad stage when i was 14 and was hospitalized because of an eating disorder, but through that experience i grew stronger and realised looks really arn’t everything. I got a stronger faith and a stronger mind through that experience but at the time i was just so low thinking ‘why me’ but everything happens for a reason. God put me through that so that i could come out as a stronger person on the other side :0 im now 16, fully recovered and fully living life!! 😀 x

  11. Project Inspired

    Posted by luvJesusInHeavn on December 27, 2011 at 23:44

    My friends say that I’m pretty, but out of modesty I just say, “Not really.” Is this modesty or putting myself down, because I don’t feel like I’m putting myself down, just modest.

  12. sharonyuyu

    Posted by sharonyuyu on November 1, 2011 at 03:25

    ur so slim…..i wish i was u………

  13. Posted by on October 28, 2011 at 21:26

    Hi Nicole, my name is Emily, I went to Leslie Middle School with you. We had many of the same classes together. I find your website REALLY comical considering back in middle school you were a complete snob and treated me and others like crap. I will never forget when we were in class one day and for some reason the teacher had you and I and a few others working on a project together. You were talking about your modeling jobs and I tried to talk to you and say how fun that sounded and try and make a conversation with you and your reaction was looking at me like I was a bug that needed to be squashed and ignored me. You certainly never acted like you felt ugly; you were one of the most popular girls in school, and a teachers pet. Guys DID like you and you were very popular. Your whole “Christianity persona” is very fake in my opinion. It’s very easy to believe in God and quote him when you have everything you could ever want or dream of. You got your dream life! You have a wealthy man who is marrying you, you have a beautiful house that most people could only dream of having, especially at your age, you have an expensive car and you get to travel to all kinds of places. Not to mention you get to do what you love, have your butt kissed and get pampered and have your picture taken. Of course it’s easy for you to be a Christian. I would like to see how Christian you would be if you lost everything and had to work at Bath & Body Works or be a receptionist or be a maid at a motel. That would be very interesting to see how well you would handle that and what kind of an attitude you would have. I have a good feeling you would be in total shock and be a snob. You are so spoiled and you flaunt it and I think you are very insecure because you thrive on having people leave you nice comments about how pretty you are. It’s so fake! I just really dislike Christians like you. The ones that have money and love to flaunt their bible scriptures and act like they know the bible inside out and love to act like they are just like you when you and they are not. You don’t have money troubles, or worry about how you’re going to feed your family or make your car payment. You don’t have any worries or stresses. You have the perfect life and so many others like you do as well. It’s very aggravating to read and see because to me, you are not acting like a Christian. You are showing off and you’re very materialistic. I don’t think you have changed at all. Just thought you should know how some people back in Oregon feel about you. I am not a hater and I am not jealous. If you had been nice I would be very happy for you. But the fact is you were not nice, and treated others poorly and I don’t think you are representing Christianity very well.

    • cupcake99

      Posted by cupcake99 on January 20, 2012 at 14:01

      people really can change

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by Fiel on December 10, 2011 at 18:58

      Emily…I’m kind of sad you feel that way!…I know how it feels to be treated badly and see “fake” Christians walking around.( they annoy me also) I was friends with 4 girls in middle school. One of them I had known since I was like 2. She was a very sweet girl when we were little, but then all of a sudden in middle school she became a snob. I was the girl she made fun of and treated like dirt! It was a hard time for me and not just because I was being made fun of. It was because she had been a professed Christian! I couldn’t believe she could treat me like that when God says not to! Now we are currently in high school with each other and I have to say she has changed a lot! She and I don’t hang out but she has never treated me like that again. Now I believe this change was because of Jesus’ intervention in her life (I know it is because she is currently a leader in our high school youth group and her efforts to live for Jesus are evident)(she is not just faking it)but I just wanted to say! Just like there are different stages in life there are different stages in your relationship with GOD (Jesus Christ). The first of course is when you accept him and are completely in love with him.(and living his way seems easy) The second is where you are asked to truly start living your life for him. (this one I have to say is the hardest and sometimes it takes people a long time to finally surrender their life and follow GOD)(I’m one of them-still struggle with it)but maybe Nicole wasn’t at this stage yet?! Maybe she hadn’t experienced God’s love for her yet or wasn’t aware that there was a savior that loved her no matter what and that LOVED/LOVES you just the same!!! I beg you don’t hold this against Jesus or Nicole (and not just saying this because this is her website or just because she is rich or something- whatever excuse came into your head)…if you want someone to blame for your hurt feelings (which everyone does) please blame the top liar of them all Satan. (I know you probably will roll your eyes at me but please try and listen) Sin is a sad depressing thing and is constantly in us! I know I have to remind myself every day that I’m not perfect but am made spotless because of Jesus and that because of that I shouldn’t judge others since they are under a huge burden called sin!! That separates us for perfection(JESUS) I hope you will at least read this….Thanks if you did( that’s all I ask) 🙂

      • Posted by Nicole on December 11, 2011 at 23:20

        thank you for saying this, and Emily it’s true- I definitely didn’t have God in my life then, and I DID feel very awkward at that age and uncomfortable. (Even if it didn’t seem so.) I apologize for being mean then, I can assure you I am a totally different person now. If you ever want to personally reach out to me, email me on facebook! God has big plans for you, don’t you worry. God loves you so so much.

  14. Posted by on October 26, 2011 at 08:59

    Wow! Glad I read this! I have something to say too (its a long story!) So when I was in 6th grade, I hated myself. I wasn’t popular (I thought I needed to be)and I wanted to fit in badly. I started wearing my hair like the other girls, got the cool shoes, talking like everyone else(no swearing!). I thought everyone would accept me if I was like them. Well I was wrong. I had acne(and still do but I’m over it)and thought i was fat. My 6 friends that I had been with since 1st grade ditched me for the boys, it was just me and my 2 other buddies. We were referred to as the “awkward trio.” It really hurt me a lot. When boyfriends were gone, the girls from the popular group acted like it was going to be a month before they would see them again. When a couple of the girls were gone and they had no one to hang out with, they were obviously really desperate…so they hung out with me for the day. I thought “Sweet! They like me!” but later I would ask were Ashley or Emily was, and they would say oh, theyre not here today. Thats when I realized I was their backup friend. I was totally being used. This dropped my self esteem even lower. We moved and had to switch schools and the next school was even worse! I made a few good friends, but I was picked on and trash talked. They were constantly talking about sex when we were all ONLY 12 years old! We then dropped out to homeschool *best thing that has ever happened to me* and moved to MN(from CO)and we are still homeschooling!:) I’m a sophomore and now when I look back, I realize that I was an idiot to think I needed to change my looks and personality to fit in! God loves me the way I am, we are told there is no other person on earth like us! So why do we try to change ourselves? I still have days when I’m feeling down, but I always remember that God loves me and will never leave me:)

    • Posted by Nicole on October 26, 2011 at 22:15

      That makes me so happy to hear that you decided to home school!!! Praise God! You are very loved 🙂

  15. Posted by on October 18, 2011 at 19:00

    Um yeah, i do…no matter how hard i try to improve my self conifdence and self esteem, it just seems to get worse and worse… 🙁

    • Posted by on October 20, 2011 at 13:50

      aww don’t worry forkz spoons is on the way!!!!!!!!!!! lol…

  16. Posted by on October 17, 2011 at 18:28

    You look cute in the braces! I used to have some! And your eyes are positively gorgeous!

  17. Posted by on October 15, 2011 at 06:44

    thanks nicole, this reallyhelped me! im 12 and i look almost exactly like how you did when you were twelve. seeing how you went from kinda ugly (no offense) to one of the prettiest people i have ever seen really helped me.I have braces and a gap between my tow front teeth. the gap is there on purpose and my orthodontist made it last week so a bunch of people at school have been making fun of me about it which really annoys me. it really helps me to remember that i am beutiful in God’s eyes and that its the character that counts, not the appearance or the reputatiion. It still is nice to feel beutiful and where cute clothes but its good to know that thats not all that matters. Thanks Nicole!

  18. Posted by on October 3, 2011 at 17:15

    Wow, Nicole, you are gorgeous, then and now!! You have the nicest smile!! 🙂

    • Posted by Nicole on October 4, 2011 at 23:40

      aww thanks Katie! 🙂

      • Project Inspired

        Posted by on May 13, 2012 at 20:46

        Nicole, I only wish I could be as beautiful as you!!

  19. Posted by on October 1, 2011 at 19:34

    I used to struggle thinking I wasn’t pretty. I used to compare myself to the other people around be, and since I’m an immigrant I felt like because I looked different from everyone else, I must not be pretty either. I remember the “popular” girls in school weren’t very kind to me and they gave me dirty looks. I used to pretend I was strong and none of that mattered to me, but it did. I felt very insecure. Then one day I looked at myself in the mirror and just saw me. I didn’t think about all those other people that were more beautiful than me, I just looked at myself, and I realized I am beautiful. I have to be. After all the God of the universe created me and He doesn’t make mistakes. Know I know that every person is beautiful; you just have to decide whether you’re going to see that or not. Most girls don’t realize that when start criticizing the way you look, you’re really criticizing the way God made you. You’re basically telling God, the One created the entire world and you, the One who loves you enough to die for you, that He made a mistake. I still have insecurities too, like when my face breaks out or whatever, but I realize that “these things are all vanity.” And I choose not to let other’s opinion of me and my physical appearance dictate my own internal happiness or how I feel about myself. Besides, a positive, confident, happy attitude is much more attractive than a face that you’ve seen a million times before on a million different people on tv or in magazines.

    • Posted by on October 1, 2011 at 19:36

      I also realize now that the reason those girls were mean to me had nothing to do with me or my looks. That was just their way of hiding their own insecurities. I bet if I talked to them now, they’d say the same thing-about how they felt like they weren’t good enough.

  20. Posted by on October 1, 2011 at 08:23

    I am fifteen and have plenty of insecurities. My skin isn’t good, I have acne, my eyelashes, while relatively long are virtually invisible, my body isn’t in shape, and I have a tiny gap between my two front teath; but I’ve tried to look beyond those things and try to look at myself in the mirror and find why I’m beautiful.
    I wear makeup on a semi-regular basis, whenever I go out I brush on some foundation and put a little mascara on, but I’ve come to realize that its a lot my own self confidence or, on the flip side, insecurities to do a whole lot versas a little makeup.
    I’m also very artistic, so when I go for a little more drama with shades/colors I do it to express myself artistically. I like accenting certain features, but I try not to overdo it so that I can look back and know I wasn’t appearing as if I was trying to be older than I was, etc.
    I’m also very into photography, and like to give friends a little time in the spotlight by giving them a little photoshoot, and it’s a great way to get some one on one girl time too. I can also use it to encourage them that they are gorgeous because God made them gorgeous, and I try to bring that natural beauty out when I photograph them.
    I think that no matter how awesome we feel or how awkward we feel growing up, we’ll all look back and sort of laugh at our insecurities, or laugh at how cool we thought we were. As a fifteen year old, people often think I’m older because I always look at situations and events at different angles, but I hope that by being able to do this, I will be able to help other people.

    • Posted by Nicole on October 8, 2011 at 13:18

      thankyou Elizabeth for sharing your testimony!! you ARE helping other girls! God Bless you. 🙂

  21. Posted by on September 30, 2011 at 18:00

    I love this so much! 🙂

  22. Posted by on September 29, 2011 at 22:00

    I have a daily struggle with how I look, and trying to not be negative on myself. It’s hard not to be critical of yourself, but I’m trying.

  23. Posted by on September 29, 2011 at 20:46

    I always feel insecure about myself i never feel like like im pretty enough.

  24. Posted by JamieDorman on September 28, 2011 at 22:04

    Nicole you are so beautiful; even in your adolescence! No wonder you booked that Candie’s campaign; your joy shines though in photos! I would love to have you as a model on a shoot!

    • Posted by Nicole on September 29, 2011 at 00:54

      aww thanks so much Jamie- you are such a sweetheart! and thank you for all the wonderfully amazing articles you contribute to Project Inspired! you are a blessing!

  25. Posted by on September 26, 2011 at 23:21

    I love how you shared this! I reminds me that ALL girls go through this awkward stage in their life when they feel that they’re aren’t living up to what they expect themselves to be, especially with what the media is showing nowadays.

    Thank you so much! <3

  26. Posted by on September 26, 2011 at 18:47

    Wow. This really helped. No guys like me, either… though that’s not entirely a bad thing 😉

  27. Posted by on September 26, 2011 at 18:04

    wow you look really pretty in that vball photo……………. that’s my FAVRITE sport

    • Posted by on October 18, 2011 at 19:01

      hey forkz 🙂 i know u luv volleyball

      • Posted by on October 20, 2011 at 13:49

        haha and im spoons not forkz!! ur forkz!!

    • Posted by Nicole on September 27, 2011 at 14:03

      aww thankyou! you are so sweet!!

      • Project Inspired

        Posted by on May 13, 2012 at 20:32

        nicole, in that vball pic, u look better than I did at that age. Beautiful!!!!