A lot of my friends and family have asked me why would I grant someone the right to use my vulva as a model for their jewelry and sculptures. The answer to me is simple, but there is a story behind it.

I chose to be a model for Vulva Love Lovely because I know that my vulva and the woman attached to it is a beautiful woman inside and out. It took me a few years to realize this as an adult and this was something that I wish that I had known when I was much younger.

I was teased relentlessly at school because of my outward appearance and I was an early bloomer, so the girls and boys in my classes would call me “whore” or “slut,” even though I was not sexually active at the time. The boys never found me attractive so sex was the last thing on my mind. Throughout middle school and high school I had struggled with my outer appearance and to make matters worse, my mother made me hate my body. I was much heavier when I was younger and even though my mother meant well, the things she said would make me hate my body even more. It got to the point in which I would cut myself because I hated my body and my outward appearance so much.

I was in a relationship with a man for nearly three years who appreciated my body for what it is, but did not appreciate the fact that I was sexually inexperienced and he wished that I had slept with more people. That made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for anyone and for him sexually. I had begun to accept my sexuality and myself as a sexual being and myself as a whole and to have someone that I loved to say that to me was like a knife in my heart.

In essence, these little moments made me hate who I was.

I am grateful that he left me because I deserve to be with someone who will love me as a complete person, not just as a sexual being. As I got older, I learned to take care of myself a lot better on my own and grew to accept my body and my sexuality for what it is, a beautiful piece of art. I used art as a form of therapy to release my pain and sadness and as a result, it helped me discover who I am and accept who I am.

Am I perfect? No, far from it actually and that is what makes me beautiful.

I am sharing my story with the world because I want the world to know that they are all beautiful no matter what the rest of the world tells them. There is nothing wrong with your body and there is nothing wrong with your sexuality or your sexual experience (or lack thereof). All I’m trying to say is that there is nothing wrong with you, you are beautiful.

Never let anyone define who you are as a person. You define who you are.

As for my mother, she still complains about her body to me, but I just simply reply, “Mama, there is nothing wrong with you. You are fine just the way you are.”

-Maricruz imagesh