Last night ABC’s 20/20 aired a segment on 29-year-old Kjerstin Gruys, a sociology PhD candidate who managed to avoid looking at herself in a mirror for an entire year. Gruys, who didn’t even look in a mirror on her wedding day, decided to embark on one of the craziest personal experiments that we’ve ever heard of to bump up her self-esteem and help inspire others to focus less on appearances.
During the segment, Gruys explained that she had struggled with body image and anoxeria as a teenager, which she eventually overcame after years of therapy. Once she got engaged and began planning for her wedding, though, she realized that many of those same teenage insecurities about her figure began surfacing again. She made the decision six months before her big day to embark on a year-long journey of avoiding her own reflection—which Gruys documented on her blog, Mirror, Mirror OFF The Wall. Here’s a snippet from her interview with 20/20:
"This idea of living your life experiencing the world for itself instead of constantly reflecting, you know, pun intended, on how you looked…. It was a life where you could get away from yourself," she said.
"I just kind of kept coming back to this pattern of perfectionism, and obsessing about my appearance, and I thought, if I can’t think myself out of it, then maybe I need to change something about my environment to force me to change," Gruys explained. "The project was to get rid of mirrors with the intention of focusing on everything else in my life."
It sounds like the experiment went well for Gruys, and definitely helped improve her self-esteem. For the rest of the interview, watch the whole segment from 20/20’s I’m Obsessed With… episode on ABC News.
How long do you think you could go without looking in a mirror?
Perhaps counter-intuitively, another confidence-boosting practice is going totally makeup-free.