Live Fearless & Filter-Free with Mariah Clayton
This week I am joined by the beautiful and always gracious, Mariah Clayton — Miss Louisiana USA 2020! Mariah is a champion of self-confidence and self-love, as she understands how important that is in today’s overly comparative society. After being crowned with her title, Mariah knew she wanted her reign to focus on teaching women how to love themselves and be comfortable in their own skin.
So she took action, and founded the movement “Girls in Real Life.” The goal with this brand is to encourage women to live fearlessly and filter-free — accepting themselves for who they are and being proud of it.
“For so long, I did not do that [love myself], and I did not have that self-confidence that I have today, so I really just wanted to create an atmosphere where women could feel uplifted, get advice from other people, and just know that they’re not alone in what they’re feeling. There were so many times when I was younger that I thought I was the only one going through something. I’ve grown up and realized that so many girls go through the same thing, so I think it’s just comforting to know that you’re not the only one going through something.”
Mariah quickly found that her message hit home for many girls, and what she thought was just going to be a few virtual workshops during her year as titleholder, has blossomed into a full-fledged organization with a dedicated Instagram page and podcast. What has made Mariah’s content so well received is her authenticity. She speaks to her peers right where she lays — there is no sugar coating feelings or experiences.
One of the most popular topics she has touched on is “post-grad depression.” Including herself, many people struggle to find their identity and purpose after college graduation. You’ve accomplished what you were working towards for four years… now what? These feelings are only amplified when your friends are getting exciting jobs or getting married — and you’re stuck feeling lost without any real sense of direction. Does this sound familiar to you?
“I think the one thing that helped the most was getting back into a routine. As an athlete, I had people constantly telling me all the time what to eat, what to wear, where to go, what time to do it, and I didn’t have that anymore. So I kind of had to be that for myself and I found that once I got back into a routine and I filled my day with things to do, I was able to get out of that rut and started doing things that made me happy again.”
When we are at our lowest, and really lacking self-confidence, for whatever reason, our minds can start to play games with us. Telling ourselves that we’re weak, not good enough, a loser, etc. These negative thoughts swirl and lead to tremendous self-doubt. Mariah knows how difficult a battle it is to fight off these thoughts. But she draws on advice from her former coach that there is more strength in us than we believe.
“She was like no! You have to keep pushing yourself and your body and your mindset past the point that you think you can go. I think that has stuck with me throughout my career in athletics and throughout my career in pageantry. Even when I don’t think I can go anymore, there’s always a little bit more left in you.”
Mariah hopes to maybe have a future career in motivational speaking. I think she’s well on her way to inspiring countless lives. Some of her most impressionable words are going to stick with me for times when I’m trying to overcome a negative mindset or period of life.
“Let me tell you that I am in that rut right now… I think it is okay to give yourself those days to do nothing… But I also feel like those days where you’ve rested and you’ve spent this time thinking and writing and reflecting, after that point you’ve got to find it within yourself to get up and go and do it. I always tell people the hardest part is getting up. But what we all know from science class is that an object in motion stays in motion.”
In the words of Mariah, all we need to do is take that first step. Ready? Let’s go.