A Virtual Chat with Nicole Weider, Founder of Project Inspired
Hello, Tirzah girls! Today we're hosting Nicole Weider, a former model who founded the online community Project Inspired, a popular teen Christian website which focuses on helping girls find inner beauty. Nicole is married to Eric, and lives in California with their son. We're so excited to chat with Nicole about her modeling days, her advice for young women, and some of the amazing things God has done in her life. //
I actually first started by sharing scriptures on my facebook wall. For me, that was my first step as a sort of online acknowledgment that I was a Christian and going to share my faith in Jesus. After doing this, I started sharing little notes on my Facebook wall to let people know how much I loved God. After that, I realized I wanted to really journal and share my experiences along with articles to young women out there who loved God, or were just starting a relationship with Jesus.
In your book you talk about how you came to know Jesus personally, but could you give us the Cliff Notes version of how God found you for those who haven’t read your book yet?
Well, I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, or went to church really ever. I moved down to Los Angeles when I was 16 to pursue modeling and acting. I didn’t realize how cutthroat the modeling industry really was, and I didn’t have faith to guide me. I started doing lingerie and swimwear jobs, and although it first seemed exciting and glamorous, it slowly hurt my self esteem and self worth. I was surrounded by bad influences and it was a really dark time in my life. After dealing with many blows in my career, relationships and more, I struggled with depression. I realized that “making it” in Hollywood really doesn’t bring lasting happiness or satisfaction. I wanted more for my life. But I didn’t know what yet it was.
How old were you when you started modeling, and what were some of the struggles you faced in your modeling career?
Technically I was 6 when I got my first job, but it was during middle school that I started booking more work. However, it was when I moved to Los Angeles that the extreme pressure set in. The main struggle I faced was the never ending scrutiny over my body and appearance - I always needed to be skinnier, have clearer skin, or have better pictures. I was never good enough. Many girls aspire for a career in Hollywood, whether it’s acting, modeling, or performing.
As a former model, what is one truth that is rarely discussed about the modeling industry and lifestyle that you would want young women to know?
I would say one truth that young women need to know when pursuing modeling or acting is to make sure you are deeply rooted in God, and that your identity comes from HIM as opposed to what job or shoot you’re doing. If you don’t have a strong foundation of faith, you can be easily swayed by sacrificing your morals, your convictions, or anything else to get ahead. It’s also tough to be involved in an industry where your appearance or talent matters most, and not your heart or mind.
What is your favorite Bible passage/verse/story?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, seek His Will in all you do and He will show you which path to take. -Proverbs 3:5
What does a set-apart young woman look like to you?
A woman who chooses to focus on what God wants for her life. A woman who is kind, caring, and lifts others up.
What advice do you have for young women striving to live a Godly life in the modern world, especially in light of the media’s and society’s pressures to conform in our appearances?
To stay focused on living a life for God and not to get overly carried away with appearance. It’s so important to surround yourselves with like minded believers, a boyfriend or husband who loves you for YOU and not just how you look, and to stay in God’s Word. Whenever I might feel insecure, or afraid - listening to good worship music helps me focus my attention back on God. I also have a prayer room and a faith bulletin board in my closet where I go to when I am praying or asking God a question.
What is God currently teaching you?
To be the best and most loving mother I can be for our son Elijah. Every day I love him more and more, and he also teaches me so many things in the process!
If you could tell your 18-year-old self something, what would it be?
To not get caught up in worldly fame, because it is an empty life - or think being successful in Hollywood would make me feel complete. It was only when I focused on God and what He wanted me to do, that I felt complete peace and acceptance. Because God loves us for us, and by seeking worldly validation only will always leave people feeling empty.
You share a lot of your beauty and skincare tips on your social media. What is one of your current favorite budget finds in beauty products?
I love L’Oreal double extend mascara, I’ve been using it for years! I also love Elf makeup wipes to take off my eye makeup. They’re only $3 and they work without hurting my eyes. I also love Vaseline for my lips at bedtime.
// all images courtesy of Nicole Weider