Jordan Leonard

APOP Studios Feature: Lucy Smith

LSmith1Name: Lucy Smith Age: 26

Original Goal: Getting rid of her Imposter Syndrome. Lucy describes it as that feeling when you are applying for a job and think to yourself, “Oh that has a few things I might like, but I can’t do all of it so I shouldn’t apply for it.” The constant feeling of someone else being more qualified than ourselves.

Today’s Goal: To get rid of Imposter Syndrome all together.

Advice: “You are never alone. You are going to find support no matter what, but support really starts within yourself.”


As human beings, the way that we are raised says a lot about the problems and insecurities that many of us face as adults. For Lucy, growing up as the daughter of a very southern conservative father, and a liberal mother was a constant challenge. As a self-proclaimed hardcore liberal, Lucy and her father clashed heads a lot growing up. However, this tug and pull relationship with her father is what she credits a large part of her finding such self assurance and confidence in her young adult life.

One of the biggest hurdles that Lucy faces day to day is her body. With a smaller, more petite frame but not falling into the “slender” category, she has faced a lot of negative backlash for her silhouette and body type.

“People are like, ‘oh you’re fat’ because I’m not slender. People automatically think it’s a bad thing-- but I mean, being fat is an adjective. To me, it’s just a descriptor.”


One of the ways that Lucy has come to accept her body image was through a stint of time that she spent burlesque dancing. Being able to go up on stage and improv was something that really helped to build Lucy’s self confidence. People really supported her burlesque dancing, and one of the more defining highlights of her time spent dancing culminated after one of her performances. “A woman came up to me and said, ‘ I didn’t know people like you could be sexy. You showed me that.’ It was great, it was wonderful.”

Using social media as a platform to discuss fat positivity and Imposter Syndrome has also been very cathartic for Lucy on her journey to loving herself. Lucy uses her social media pages to help bring awareness and draw community together around those dealing with their journeys to self love and worthiness. The internet is a massive tangle of people, so finding others that are in need of support and hope is not something that is hard to find. Although it’s certainly a cathartic experience for Lucy, to be able to help others on their journey to beating their own versions of Imposter Syndrome.

In my opinion, it’s more important to be proactive and stand up for yourself and say the unpopular things, because somewhere along the line someone else agrees with you.”

LSmith2One of the defining moments in Lucy’s journey came several years ago when a family member slipped her an informational pamphlet about Cryosurgery. Cryosurgery: surgery using the local application of intense cold to destroy unwanted tissue. In most instances the unwanted tissue are localized fat cells.

Lucy was having trouble fitting into the clothes that she wanted to, and her silhouette was not what she wanted it to be. Working hard in the gym was having no results on the lover stomach bulge that she wanted to eliminate. When in theatre school, a professor encouraged her to get into good cardiac shape to be able to make it through a two and a half hour show. Even after doing forty-five minutes on an elliptical every day, she was seeing results everywhere on her body BUT her lower stomach.

After doing all of her research on Cryosurgery/Coolsculpting she decided to go and do the surgery. Lucy describes the process like having your skin sucked into a high intensity vacuum. After her treatment, Lucy had bruises where the coolsculpting had been performed.

I wanted to improve my silhouette because I knew that this was stubborn fat. Because of my circumstances, I was eligible for this treatment because when they touched my stomach...when they grabbed it...they said that it was really soft so the treatment would work.”

The surgery was a real turning point in helping to motivate Lucy to begin to exercise more. Before she underwent the coolsculpting Lucy had been having no success with working out to help achieve the look she wanted. With the fat cells removed, she was starting to see tangible success with working out.

It’s worth saying that I loved and will continue to love my body no matter what my stomach looks like- but I got my silhouette changed because of my own preference. It is not anyone's prerogative to judge anyone else's body based on their own individual preferences...My shape is more appropriate for my body now. I don’t feel like anything is out of shape, or place. That’s what motivates me to get out and exercise.”


Lucy has learned a lot through her journey, but one of the best things she has gleaned from her ups and downs has been just how important being more assertive is for her well-being.

“Getting rid of that little voice in the back of my head telling me that nobody wants to hear what I have to say. Being more positive and extending that generosity to others. If negativity can’t be influenced by positivity, it might be best leave that conversation or that person behind.”

Now Lucy is exercising two days per week in addition to light walking around the city of Philadelphia. She has achieved her own personal preferred silhouette and has changed her outlook on life to reflect a mindset of happiness. In addition to her physical and mental health achievements, Lucy is also on her way to academic and entrepreneurial success. Lucy is a graduating senior illustration student at Moore College of Art & Design, running her illustration business Lucy Smith Illustrations, and a weekend business venture “Snow Princess Parties.”


Can you explain more about Cryosurgery?

I guess the technical term is coolsculpting, because it freezes the fat cells. When it freezes them, it kills them. The fat cells don’t grow back unless you really go all out with your diet/lifestyle, but for the most part they never come back. On average it takes about one hour per section for treatment. They cover your skin in a gel, so that the sucking of the vacuum doesn’t really hurt.


How do you stay active?

I love walking all around the city. When I come back at night, I’m like “that was really fun AND I walked all around the city AND I got to pet dogs in Rittenhouse Park.” I can do all of those things now while exercising.


How did this surgery change the way you look and relate to your body?

It has really motivated me to exercise. Before, my body would look the same after three months of real exercise and I would just feel like, “What’s the point?” I feel more free. I can walk around and not feel self-conscious about my lower stomach. I can walk around with so much more confidence.


When you find yourself in a negative mindset how do you get out of that?

Start thinking of all the things that I am grateful for. My family had a house fire last year, and we are still hanging in there and plugging forward.  People ask me, “How can you be so confident?” I say it’s because I love myself, and a lot of people don’t. What are a few things you’re grateful for?

My health, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I’ve lost four pounds. My family. My dog Ruby, she’s my daughter.



20140514_163943This feature was sponsored by APOP Studios’ Creative Stress Management Workshops. Schedule your group stress management workshop today! Great for work and school events. Email or find more information at