Profile: Dani Lowder of The Body Project

Dani Lowder helps women resist societal norms about body image and thinness.

The UCLA sophomore, majoring in political science and international development studies, is passionate about many current issues. Though Dani is unsure of what she would like to do postgrad, she would consider something where knowing Arabic is relevant, as she is learning it right now. She recently returned from a trip to DC where she lobbied for Title IX, college affordability and DACA. Her involvement also includes The Body Project, a program that discusses body image and learning to love yourself. Read below to hear more about it!

Her Campus: What is The Body Project?

Dani Lowder: The Body Project is a nation-wide, cognitive-dissonance-based body acceptance intervention that was designed to help adolescent girls and young women to resist sociocultural pressures to conform to the thin-ideal and reduce their pursuit of thinness. The purpose of the Body Project is to improve personal body image.  We spend four hours total, two hours during two consecutive weeks, discussing the image ideal and how what we believe we must look like has shaped our perception of our bodies. And then we spend time combating that, learning tips to better love ourselves, etc.

HC: How long have you been involved in this program? What is your current involvement with it? 

DL: I’ve been involved with the program since it launched at UCLA in the fall. It’s not a club in the sense that it has officers or members or anything. I am one of six peer health coaches and we also have an advisor named Kaitlin Reid, who works with the Ashe Center.

HC: Why did you decide to join?

DL: I was actually invited by Panhellenic Greek Life to attend the initial training to become a coach. I was working with Shannon Jessen, the former VP Women’s Wellness, and Hannah Lambing, the former EVP, on a women’s health-related Junior Panhellenic Council event. Panhellenic was contacted to attend this training, and they reached out to me, so I went and was trained as a coach.

HC: What is one word you would use to describe this program? 

DL: One word to describe this program would be acceptance. Through it, I have learned so much and grown better at accepting myself and accepting those around me.

HC: How has The Body Project impacted you? What is the most important lesson you have learned?

DL: The Body Project has really changed the way I look at and think about my own body and talk about those around me. I think the most important lesson that I’ve learned is that literally everyone has so many nagging insecurities and a lot of them are based around our perception of ideal beauty, which is a completely commercial invention. If we can change the way that the media and society portray women, I think we can make a lot of ground in the discussion of body image.

HC: What has been your favorite memory so far with this program?

DL: My favorite memory was definitely training. It was my first time meeting five amazing young women and we clicked so quickly. This random program I was signed up to help out with became something really important and that had a huge impact on my life. That’s when I really fell in love with The Body Project and its mission.

HC: Any advice for college students?

DL: My biggest advice for college students is to take some time everyday to compliment yourself, whether it be about the work you’re doing, your body, your strength, anything. Taking that time every so often is so great for not only your self esteem but your general mental health and is the simplest, yet influential change you can make to your daily routine.

If you are interested in learning about when sessions are offered, sign up for the emailing list here.