Shelby Walerzak, 21, from Ocean Township, NJ, is an aspiring elementary school teacher with innovative views on who we as women look up to in society.
YHM: Who do we put on a pedestal and why?
Shelby: In our culture in general, I think that celebrities are put on a pedestal, but some of them have no talent. For example the Kardashians have TV shows and are on the cover of magazines, but what do they do? We’re enthralled with their lives, but the reason they are famous is through their father and a sex tape. The wrong people are the ones we are most interested in.
My first thought when you asked me this was Kate Middleton. She is involved in charity work, is a classy lady, and is always pictured with children. She has a lot of money like the Kardashians, but she uses her money wisely. J.K Rowling is also a good example. She’s not a millionaire anymore because she donated so much of her money.
YHM: Who should really be our role models?
Shelby: The people we should really be put on a pedestal are people that we know. Our moms, teachers, grandmas, cousins, aunts, or best friends. They should be on the covers of magazines. Like in 13 Going on 30 when Jennifer Garner speaks about how “real women who are smart and pretty and happy to be who they are” should be on magazine covers. If you’re brought up by your family with not a lot, but a lot of love, then that is what will be most important to you and affect who you look up to.
Appropriately enough, Shelby’s mom also spent more than 35 years teaching elementary school Art and basic skills. Ronnie has been looked up to for years by her daughter and her students. She told YHM who she looks up to and who women as a whole should look up to.
Ronnie: I put my father on a pedestal. He worked hard as a Russian immigrant in his new country, starting at the very bottom during World War II and worked his way up as a very successful business agent. He raised three children and although he worked long hours he always had time for his family. He kept the extended family close. Our role models today should be anyone who supports you in your dreams and helps you achieve your goals. It could be a parent, older siblings, or teachers.
The connection between mother and daughter here is very obvious, which just goes to show us that our upbringing is important in shaping our values. And we as women have the opportunity to shape the values of young girls who will ultimately look up to us.
By Maria Lattanzio / Courtesy Photos