When Nancy Amanda Redd won the swimsuit competition at the 2004 Miss America pageant, she was very conscious of her body. While her shape, weight and hair "down there" were all concerns, Amanda says she learned to get past her body issues and feel confident on stage thanks to her coursework in women's studies at Harvard University. Nancy talks with Gayle about her college and pageant experiences and her goal to help other women get over their body image issues with her book Body Drama: Real Girls, Real Bodies, Real Issues, Real Answers.
As a women's studies major, Nancy says she and her classmates discovered that talking about cellulite, vaginal secretions, pubic hair and other female body issues—and finding out the facts on these topics—was a great way to overcome negative feelings about their own bodies. "There are so many young women who, unfortunately, allow their body issues to consume them," she says.
In Body Drama, Nancy says she is giving women facts and images that will help them better understand and overcome their own body issues. The book is filled with pictures of women's bodies, with up-close images of genitalia, stretch marks and even third nipples. While the images in the book may be shocking to some, Nancy says they are not pornographic or "dirty" in any way. Instead, she says they are meant to give women realistic images of what the female body can look like, so they can embrace what makes them unique and beautiful. "We are tired of all these pictures of perfect bodies [in the media] when imperfection is just as perfect," she says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Monday, December 9, 2013