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The Glee Project’ contestant speaks about true beauty

Christin Kloski | Thursday, February 23, 2012

The cast of The Glee Project presented True Beauty at the Carroll Auditorium in Saint Mary’s Madeleva Hall last night. Members of the show discussed their definition of beauty and self esteem as a part of Love Your Body Week.

The Glee Project’s contender, Hannah McIalwain, said the True Beauty Program promotes confidence in women’s self-image.

“Everyone is going to struggle with some insecurity, but come back to yourself and say, ‘Yes, I am good enough,'” McIalwain said.

McIalwain said she struggled with self-image in her younger years but gained confidence before entering high school. She said she became active in school plays and felt happier.

When her parents divorced during her junior year, she ate for comfort, McIalwain said.

“I felt alone and I continued to gain pounds. This was a low point,” she said. “I had no one else who knew the real me and I portrayed myself as happy and bubbly.”

In her senior year, auditions for MTV’s Made arrived at her high school, she said. McIalwain auditioned and landed a spot. The show changed her life, she said.

“I went for everything in the show. I turned around and I felt beautiful and confident,” McIalwain said.

McIalwain said she attended college at Queens University with a fresh perspective. Though a heartbreak set her back, McIalwain decided to audition for The Glee Project as well. She was chosen to be in the show with eleven other contenders.

“This gave me more self-confidence than before, but I still felt like I was not good enough, but each week I kept growing,” McIalwain said. “Eventually, I gained a strong self-confidence out of the show.”

The most difficult task in The Glee Project was the week of vulnerability, she said. Contenders wrote their insecurities on a white board and held their sign in front of strangers.

“My insecurity was simply, fat. I felt embarrassed before the cameras were on and broke down,” McIalwain said. ” But … It does not define me; it does not matter.”

McIalwain said she remained in Los Angeles for two months after the show ended for auditions, but no jobs were offered. She left Hollywood and moved back home with her mother.

“I felt like I was being left behind,” McIalwain said.

McIalwain said she worked minimum wage jobs until she had enough money to move back to Los Angeles. She is currently looking for more opportunities there, she said.

“You have to keep going. All of us are beautiful and perfect,” McIalwain said.

Through the True Beauty Project, McIalwain speaks to women about the influence the media, peers and parents have on the definition of beauty.

“You have to know your confidence. You have to realize what is beautiful and redefine what beauty is,” McIalwain said.