When she was shopping for a wedding gown, bride-to-be Kjerstin Gruys realized how she was stressed over her body image. So the 29-year-old PhD student in sociology decided to embark on an experiment of sorts: to go mirror-free for an entire year to boost her self-esteem.
In her 20/20 interview, Kjerstin said:
"I thought I was going to find a dress that somehow fulfilled every dream, and that I'd enjoy the process of shopping for dresses, I'd feel my most beautiful. I'd find this perfect dress that complimented my body."
But instead, Gruys says dress shopping was a source of stress.
"I saw myself in the mirror and was being critical," she says. "I thought, Well, maybe I should lose a little weight before the wedding, always a bad thing to focus on when you have a history of an eating disorder.... I wasn't afraid of relapsing into my eating disorder, but I felt like a hypocrite because of how far I'd come."
Then Gruys read a passage in the book "Birth of Venus," describing an order of nuns in Renaissance Italy who had severe restrictions against vanity. "They didn't have mirrors in their lives. They were forbidden to look at each other when undressing. They were actually forbidden to look at themselves while they undressed."
For the first time in her life, Gruys said she was tempted to follow suit.