Jasmine Frink, author of Behold My Beauty, tells the story of her writing journey to make all girls feel beautiful.
By Sloane Wick, Photos courtesy of Behold My Beauty
Becoming the Writer
Long before Jasmine Frink was “Jasmine Frink, author of the inclusive children’s book Behold My Beauty,” she was “Jasmine Frink, author of Mr. Pumpkin.”
“It was for a contest in my elementary school,” Frink says with a smile. “That was the first short story that I remember writing that really made me feel like, ‘Hey, I actually like this.’ And it was just a fairy tale about Mr. Pumpkin and how he lived in a patch.”
Frink’s family encouraged her as a writer and helped her enter numerous writing competitions.
“My mother has always been super influential,” Frink says. “She has been an advocate for [my writing. [She told me], “If you can’t say it in words, and you can’t necessarily get it out, write it down.’
“She’s always bought me tons of journals. So that is a nasty habit today. I have so many journals,” Frink says with a laugh. “She always encouraged me to continue writing and got me different books so I [could]read from several different perspectives, and [she]really, really pushed me in that direction.”
Her mother’s endless support paid off. Frink graduated from Claflin University, a prestigious, private university, in 2014 with a B.A. in mass communications and broadcast journalism.
“I thought I was going to be a journalist for a long time,” she says. “But I realized it’s not really my calling. I love doing it. It just wasn’t really where my imagination was. I wasn’t really where I felt like I could be creative. But that journalism degree has allowed me to just think critically and just think of things from a different perspective. That has helped me create Behold My Beauty.”
Creative writing is not Frink’s only calling. She is also a skilled dancer who opened her own nonprofit dance studio. This is where inspiration struck for the body-positive Behold My Beauty.
“I love those girls so much, and I did not like to hear them talk down on themselves,” Frink says. “I did not like how their self-esteem would be extremely low. [They] admired other things and other people, not realizing their own beauty that they had right within themselves.”
Frink wanted all kinds of body shapes, heights, ethnicities and disabilities featured in the book. So, she looked around her and drew inspiration for many of the characters in Behold My Beauty from her dance students, friends and family.
“A lot of the characters are inspired by multiple people,” she reveals. “So I really sat down and I was like, ‘Hey, I want her to be darker-skinned with curly hair, freckles. One of my girls, she wears Bantu knots. I found an image of Bantu knots and I was like, ‘Can you draw this? Can her hair look like this?’”
Frink’s own childhood insecurities also influenced the theme of self-love presented in Behold My Beauty.
“I started just thinking about my dark skin, my curly hair, my height, my shape,” Frink recalls. “Those are all things that I appreciate today. But as a young girl, I did not understand or appreciate those things.”
After working with her publishing company, Behold My Beauty went from an idea to an actual book featuring illustrations of all young girls of all shapes and sizes.
“I just smiled from ear to ear [because]I couldn’t believe it was in my hands,” Frink says, gleaming with pride. “Couldn’t believe that it had my name on it and it had my beautiful characters on there that looked a lot like my cousins and friends and my dancers. I just was in total disbelief. It feels good to actually have my dream physically in my hand. This is something that I’ve wanted to accomplish, and it was right here in front of me.
“We’ve sold over 150 books, and now we’re going into stores in Austin and Grand Rapids and in Myrtle Beach,” Frink continues. “[We’re] just growing and growing everyday. We recently launched on Amazon. It’s truly a dream come true.
“Even though I’ve made some mistakes along the way, I’ve learned different things,” she reflects. “I bask in mistakes, because I know that I’m going to learn and thrive from [them]. Behold My Beauty has just been a wonderful journey. I love everyone that has supported thus far, who continue to support the dream and the goal. I’m really thankful.”
Embrace Your Beauty
Frink made the bold, empowering decision to end Behold My Beauty with a free write asking the reader to describe one unique thing that makes them beautiful.
“I wanted the book to be an inspiration for young girls to realize that though I may be different, though I may look unique, what about me do I love?” Frink reveals. “What makes me say ‘Behold’? Write that down. [I want them to] develop a love for themselves as a writer as well. Maybe this book will be the kickoff for someone’s inspiration to write their own.”
Learn more about the Behold My Beauty movement on the official website.