Athelia Woolley Lesueur - Shabby Apple Founder and CEO -

Confident, intelligent, driven, nurturing, mother.

What made you want to start Shabby Apple?

About ten years ago, I had a boyfriend break up with me by saying, “Anyone who wears a t-shirt under a sundress just doesn’t see the world the same way”. He was right. We didn’t. I loved dresses. I loved to look and feel feminine. But, as a woman who has been many different shapes and sizes, I didn’t always love revealing too much of my body. I couldn’t easily find dresses that covered enough for me to feel comfortable. This breakup gave me the idea to start my own line of dresses. I wanted to create clothing that made women feel empowered instead of embarrassed.

When do you feel most beautiful?

Okay, this is totally cheesey! When I’m dancing.

Have you ever struggled with a lack of confidence? If so, how did you get through it?

Of course! I think most women have. In my early 20’s I had a string of relationships that ended because I didn’t fit the physical mold that the guys wanted. This was frustrating. Two things really helped. 1) In my time as a dancer and choreographer, I learned that beauty does not come canned. It’s found in the differences. I learned that this can apply to physical beauty as well. 2) I learned that spending too much time thinking about myself in any way brings down confidence. When I think about things outside of myself, I’m a happier person.

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

I almost always like people.
My freckles.
My mothering.
I love that I can find beauty in many things.
I’m a really good friend.

What made you want to be a part of The Stripped Project?

The project embodied something in which I really believe. We women need to show others our real sides. We need to show others so we can all celebrate reality.

How did you feel being in front of the camera with no make-up on?

Really vulnerable. Really self-conscious. At first, I felt positively idiotic. Jordan was really great about distracting me. It’s amazing how life gets so much better when you stop thinking about yourself!

How do you maintain positive self-esteem while being involved in social media?

I think there is a difference between comparing and appreciating. I just did a photoshoot in LA last week. The models were all really, really lovely. I don’t look anything like any of them. I am not, nor could I ever be a model. That’s okay. I also know that I will never have exactly the same house, vacations or life that others on social media have. I try to appreciate others without feeling like I have to look or even be exactly the same. Not perfect at it, but I work at it.

How do you feel social media can be used to empower women?

Social media can be one of the best ways for women to encourage one another. Sadly, there are some negative comments out there. The vast majority of comments, however, are usually really positive. I see women encouraging one another in every facet of their lives, their work, their play, their mothering, their style. It’s inspiring.