You can’t. You shouldn’t. You won’t.
These are words that take away your
power. They’re also words DeLores
Pressley has heard.
When she was about 7 years old,
Pressley wanted to be a ballerina.
“As a child, I was constantly dream-
ing,” she says. “I had the determination
to be a ballerina. And when I heard
that a dance troupe was coming to my
school, my mother said she was going
to sign me up for classes.”
But when her mother returned
home, Pressley was signed up for tap
“I couldn’t understand how my
mother could do that to me,” she recalls.
It wasn’t until four or five years later
when Pressley learned the full story.
The school wouldn’t let her mother
sign her up for ballet because she was
“Then, as an adult, I wanted to start
a modeling agency,” she says. “Here I go
hearing the same thing—that I’m too big.”
But the naysayers aside, Pressley had
the confidence to start a plus-size mod-
eling agency. No matter what anyone
else said, her mother told her she was
beautiful—and she listened to her
mother. Her models were beautiful and
successful, appearing in newsstand mag-
azines like Essence and Glamour.
When Pressley speaks, she has one key
message that resonates with men and
women alike: Do not let others determine your own self-worth.
“The naysayers were saying there
was no way I’d ever start a modeling
agency,” she says. “But I wouldn’t let other
people determine my self-worth. It goes
back to my mother saying I’m beautiful
and that I can do anything.”