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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

My entire life, everybody has told me, “you’re going to be so pretty when you get older, you’re going to be able to do anything you want and get anything you want”. Growing up, I thought, wow that’s amazing! I get everything I want by simply doing nothing. I literally just have to sit pretty.

However, as I grew older I really started to think how this compliment actually kind of sucked. The idea that I can get anything I want based on my appearance wasn’t really the problem here, it was more of the idea that I could do anything I aspired to do, solely based off of my appearance as opposed to my abilities.

I remember telling people before I left for school, that I was planning to get my personal training certificates and try to train people at our school gym. Majority of the responses I got were “Wow, that’s really cool! People are definitely going to want to work with you since you’re so pretty”. While I’m flattered by the compliments I get, I feel as though people see me more for what I look like than my actual talent and knowledge of being a personal trainer or any other professional field for that matter. I appreciate that you find me appealing to look at, but my beauty says nothing about my future success in personal training or any industry for that matter. Being told my success will be based off more off my appearance rather than my talent would be great if I was going into the modeling industry, but I’m not, and even then, models are extremely talented.

The worst feeling is knowing somebody is considering you for something because of the fact that you’re attractive than your capability of doing the actual job. I was offered a job for the summer of 2024 at a gym, the boss told me all I had to do was pass a test and get my CPR training certificate and he would handle the rest of the logistics. I was super excited. I love the gym and have a huge passion for fitness, so the opportunity to be a personal trainer excited me. However, over time and throughout the summer it became obvious why he had offered the job. The flirting increased, the favors heightened, the constant want to hit a workout together became a consistent thing, and eventually he simply invited me over to “chill”. I told him I’m not working next summer and I’ll continue to be a hostess.

I know part of him believed that I was capable enough to be a trainer, but there are also plenty more experienced people my age who are just as fit as me (and honestly know what they’re doing more than I do) who workout at the same gym, majority being males. I was immensely disappointed. I felt insanely objectified. I didn’t want my future boss wanting me to work for him because I was simply pretty. I wanted him to actually believe I’d make an exceptional trainer and be good at what I do, and that goes for any future profession I pursue as well.

Unfortunately, in the society we live in, this happens too many women across the globe, but there’s one thing to remember that I personally lost sight in. While it is true we are all such beautiful women, which at times can help us get a free meal or some easy favors here and there, professionally we are all capable of pursuing our profession. We are all absolutely talented, and that talent does not come from our beauty, but through our intelligence and capabilities. We have other pieces of us that lead to success, which sometimes other people fail to see, but it is there. We couldn’t have made it this far without it.

Nya Mason is on the writing and social media team at the Virginia Chapter. This is her first semester with HerCampus. She's also from Northern Virginia. Beyond Her Campus, Nya is involved with a national mentoring program called College Mentors for Kids and the Active Minds club. She is currently a first year at the University of Virginia with an intended pre-law major. In her free time, Nya loves to go to the gym, go on walks, get coffee, grab food, and watch movies with her friends. She also loves to read all different types of books. Nya also loves to binge watch her favorite shows like Grey's Anatomy, Friends, New Girl, and Suits.