Erica Ehm Exposed!


She Taught Me the Meaning of Beautiful

My Nomination for the Dove Celebrate Mom Contest

by: Erica Ehm

Promoting self-esteem is incredibly important to me. It's the foundation we base our self-worth on. And it's what we, as mothers, ultimately pass on to our daughters and sons.

That's why I jumped at the chance be an ambassador of the Celebrate Mom Contest just launched by Dove. Piggy-backing on their very important Self-Esteem Fund programs, Dove reminds us that positive female role models play a powerful role in nurturing self-esteem (more so than friends or the media). The Dove Celebrate Mom Contest is our chance to nominate a mom role model who inspires women and girls. Four inspiring women will win $2,500 for herself and $2,500 to be donated to the charity of her choice.

Of course, I thought about who I would nominate. What mom has instilled a strong sense of self, of empowerment and morality into their daughters? The first person to jump to mind is my mother, Evelyn Hannon, the person most responsible for giving me my fierce sense of self.

I come from a family of matriarchs. My grandmother, aka Bubby Bea, chose to take over her late husband's clothing business when she was 50, growing it despite no prior business experience. I remember my grandmother sitting behind her big wooden desk at her small storefront, meeting with clients (mostly men), loving her job and then coming home to be our beloved bubby. Sure, my grandmother always was "put together nicely," but she was never a victim of fashion. Nor did she change personalities when she spoke to men. She was just herself—smart, loyal and hard working.

Clearly my mom was cut from the same cloth. While my mother reinvented herself every seven years in her career and constantly redefined her next dream to conquer, she was consistently there for my sister and me. Watching my mother create her life based on her passions is obviously the reason I have achieved so many of my own dreams.

But there is something deeper than loving your career that my mom has instilled in me. She has taught me to trust my instinct, and when necessary, to stand up to authority. She reminds me to this day that my voice and opinion is important. Her confidence in me gave me confidence. She modeled it. I copied it.

Erica Ehm and Evelyn Hannon

Beauty for my mom was never skin deep. She always pointed out the difference between being superficially pretty and deeply beautiful. In our family, we continue to strive for inner beauty; to be helpful, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, to be honest and dependable. Wearing the "right" name-brand clothing was so unimportant when I was growing up. Instead, my mom encouraged us to create our own unique sense of style which stays with me today. I was also taught to be an independent thinker and not depend on looks for success.

According to research done by Dove, only 9% of Canadian girls between the ages of 10-17 are most comfortable using the term "beautiful" to describe their looks. However, a positive role model can make a world of difference by helping a girl develop a positive relationship with beauty and encourage her to achieve her full potential. When girls feel they have a role model, they are less likely to let anxiety about looks hold them back. This continues to be true for me.

One incident which really sticks out for me happened in my twenties while working at MuchMusic. While I received a ton of fan mail from admirers, there were also a contingent of "Erica Haters" who pummeled me with angry letters about how ugly I was, especially my big nose. On several occasions I was told to "get a nose job" from my adoring audience. I actually considered it. I checked in with my mom who simply said, "Do you want to look like you or someone else? As soon as you change your nose, you'll look like everyone else." BOOM. This resonates with me even today. I cherish my individuality and celebrate all that makes me unique, both the good and even the bad.

Because of my mom's inspiration, I don't waste my time striving for the illusion of perfection. I love myself for being good enough. And this is what I'm passing on to my daughter. And it's what my mom continues to pass on to her granddaughters.

And this is why I'm nominating my mom for the Dove Celebrate Mom Contest.

Know an amazing mom who’s an inspiration to women and girls? Celebrate her!

Visit by September 4th to nominate her for the Dove Celebrate Mom Contest.

She could win $2,500 for herself and $2,500 to be donated to the charity of her choice. But more importantly, you’ll be introducing young girls to real role models who inspire them to reach their full potential! Nominate her now!

Check out more stories about inspiring role model moms.