She’s won an Emmy, written columns for popular magazines and of course, is the weekend co-host and a correspondent for Access Hollywood, but when Shaun Robinson sat down to write her first book, she decided to not pen her manuscript about the glitz and glamour of the entertainment world.
“People are asking me, ‘Is there any scandal in the book?’” Shaun explained to AccessHollywood.com about the curiosity surrounding “Exactly As I Am: Celebrated Women Share Candid Advice with Today’s Girls on What It Takes to Believe in Yourself,” out today on Ballantine Books. “And I said, ‘Nope, sorry, no scandal. That’s a book somebody else can write.”
Instead, after receiving questions from young women across the country who desperately want to be like their celebrity idols in television and film, Shaun decided to write a book offering self-esteem boosting words of wisdom from her own life and with the help of a host of celebrities.
“Girls today are so influenced by what they see on television and in magazines, film and media across the board and I began to realize how those images affect girls and how they feel about themselves,” Shaun explained. “That’s really nothing new, but I think the topic has taken on more of an urgency because there’s becoming more of an emphasis on looks. With all these messages of female empowerment, girls are still feeling incredibly, incredibly inadequate.”
In Shaun’s book, she shares her own stories, as well as those from celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, Indie Arie, Meredith Vieira, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson, the latter who revealed a school play director once told her, her voice was the best, but the part went to someone else because of her weight.
“When somebody like Kelly Clarkson says [a director] was that honest or straightforward with me [about why] I didn’t get the part… the question is what do you do with those feelings? Do you internalize them? And do you say, I need to change my outer self? I need to be skinny to be successful? No,” Shaun stated. “One of the best quotes I like is from India Arie. She was saying, ‘Society told me I didn’t have a place so I made a place in this world for myself.’”
And while writing the book, Shaun received her own self-esteem boost from her subjects convinced it was the right time for this kind of message.
“Whenever I said I was doing a book on girls and self esteem, I can’t tell you how many people said, ‘Oh, we need that now,” Shaun said. “There are so many people that have daughters or know of somebody in their family who is struggling with self-esteem issues. Building self-esteem is a lifelong process. I think women of all ages will be able to get some information from this book and take a piece of it with them. Sometimes I come in and I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘Oh god, I don’t know how I’m gonna go on TV today.’ But it’s a lifelong process, you get to the point where you are comfortable with who you are, you are comfortable with yourself and you’re able to deal with these outside influences and make sure you can look in the mirror and say, ‘If I like the type of person that I am inside, I’ll like the type of person I am outside.’”
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