Miami Living Magazine

Jennifer Esposito

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Page 21 of 189

Making a Difference Sam Sisakhti launches Believe in Yourself Project A new charity called the Believe in Yourself Project ( is helping to replace the poor body image that afflicts many girls and women. This image is heightened by what the traditional fashion industry deems as beautiful: Women are expected to appear a certain way and live up to a manufactured and unrealistic notion of what beauty is. At the same time, strained finances can prevent many girls from keeping up with what's trending or cool, making them feel isolated among their friends for not being able to afford clothing that is "in" socially. In an attempt to promote a positive body image, Sam Sisakhti, founder of online fashion site http://, has created the Believe in Yourself Project ( Over the past few years, Sam has grown increasingly concerned with the cyber bullying and body shaming he has seen online. At the same time, he realized the enormous social pressure that many young girls feel to be socially cool by wearing clothing that is seen as stylish. Many girls are unable to afford these fashions and can often feel ashamed. These observations inspired him to launch the Believe in Yourself Project, a foundation that will provide needy girls with dresses for upcoming dances and at same time promote a positive body image through speakers and mentors. Over the past year, Believe in Yourself has given formal dresses to underprivileged high school girls and college students across the country, for them to wear to their school dances. Believe in Yourself reports that many of the girls in the program have had the self-confidence to attend their first school dance. "The aim is to help women feel better about themselves and their physical attributes and to promote healthy self-esteem among young girls at an early age, empowering these young women to take on active social roles within their school communities." The Believe in Yourself Project is part of a broader initiative and is currently in talks with various influential women who currently or at one time have struggled with body image, encouraging them to serve as speakers and mentors to the various girls within the program. This summer, Believe in Yourself will roll out a national mentoring program, which will hold weekly mentorship meetings in various cities across the country, and online seminars available to all girls throughout the country. The mentorship programs and online seminars will be interactive and there will be open table discussions, where influential women will mentor and discuss topics like positive body image and anti-cyber bullying with the girls. "We hope to dispel the notion that you need to be a size 0 in order to be beautiful," says Sam. Ultimately, the Believe in Yourself Project seeks to make people feel comfortable in their own skin and not let physical or financial insecurities or limitations affect their confidence. ML For more information, visit

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