How a DIY dress helped one woman reclaim the power words had on her body.

'We should all be able to celebrate and love ourselves without fear of criticism from others, whatever shape or size we are.'

News flash: Words have power. This is something Jojo Oldham knows all too well.

Whether you're a soap star hearing lewd comments made by a politician 10 years ago or the average woman getting catcalled on her way home from work, what other people have to say about your body leave a lasting impression.

Over Oldham's 31 years of existence, she's received countless comments about her body — both good and bad.


After years of letting these words affect how she sees herself, however, Oldham was finally ready to release them and embrace herself.

She took all the comments she's heard about her body over the years and painted them on a dress. Posing for pictures, with a smile on her face, she took the power those words had over her and refused to let them dictate her self-worth any longer.

Photo via Jojo Oldham/Lovely Jojo's, used with permission.

"The love I have for my body these days is something I've had to learn. And it requires constant maintenance," Oldham wrote on her website.

Photo via Jojo Oldham/Lovely Jojo's, used with permission.

Like so many of us, Oldham says she's been in a love-hate relationship with her body for as long as she can remember. There are days when she's thrilled with how she looks, and then there are days when she wants to delete every unflattering photo ever taken of her. The comments she would receive fanned the flame of her own insecurities.

"I had 31 years-worth of other people’s comments about my body swirling around my head and popping into it on a daily basis, and I wanted to do something positive with them," Oldham explained over email.

The dress is a badge of honor, symbolic of the fact that, while Oldham may have been called these things, she is not defined by them.

Photo via Jojo Oldham/Lovely Jojo's, used with permission.

"The comments that made the final cut have all stuck with me for different reasons," Oldham wrote. "Some because they’re really weird, some because they’re really lovely, some because they’re funny, and some because they’re particularly nasty and they really crushed me at the time."

Photo via Jojo Oldham/Lovely Jojo's, used with permission.

"Once I learned how to be happy with myself as I am, the negative things that other people said about my body just stopped mattering to me," Oldham explained.

Photo via Jojo Oldham/Lovely Jojo's, used with permission.

Comments can do serious damage to even the strongest, most self-confident people. Oldham hopes her dress will help curtail some of that damage.

"We should all be able to celebrate and love ourselves without fear of criticism from others, whatever shape or size we are," she wrote on her website.

She hopes the work will inspire women to remember they are not the sum of the comments made about their bodies; they are so much more.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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