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Beautiful, draft two

Nonprofit Rewrite Beautiful, which urges women to look past body-image stereotypes, will host art show at Island Hotel.

November 25, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Rewrite Beautiful student intern, Julia Schaeffer, left; founder and executive director, Irvina Kanarek, center; and Morgan Goldstein, beautiful actionista.
Rewrite Beautiful student intern, Julia Schaeffer,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

It wasn't too long ago that Julia Schaeffer consumed only 300 calories a day.

She also refused to spend time with anyone, gave up on sleep and skipped classes to make time for exercise. Dance to gym to rehearsals to work and back to the gym — that was a typical day in her life.

Social gatherings were another no-no because they included food and allowed people to notice and comment on her abnormal choices.

"I couldn't concentrate in school, and I could barely hold a coherent conversation with my friends," Schaeffer, 22, recounted. "I would wake up in the morning and not want to get out of bed because I felt so stuck in my disorder."

Bulimia nervosa — that was the disorder that dominated her life, trapping her somewhere between restricting her meals, overeating and purging. As her conditioned worsened, Schaeffer began basing her sense of control on the scale. Dissatisfied with losing 10 pounds, she shed another 10, weighing herself repeatedly every day.

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"I hated myself," she admitted. "My head kept telling me how ugly and disgusting I was."

Although still in high school, Schaeffer was overrun by a feeling of worthlessness until she first encountered Irvina Kanarek at Rock Harbor church in Costa Mesa.

As the founder and executive director of Rewrite Beautiful, a nonprofit that educates youths about eating disorders, Kanarek drew Schaeffer out of her self-imposed isolation. She soon went on to be the group's public relations intern.

Established in 2010, Rewrite Beautiful is poised to host "Transformation," an art show at the Island Hotel Newport Beach on Saturday. Attendees at the third annual event can participate in a silent auction that benefits eating disorder education at middle and high schools and colleges.

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'I saw a couple of them die'

Jeannette Encinias, 32, of Laguna Beach, is an artist who has not only contributed work every year, but was also Kanarek's editor for her recent book, "How To: Rewrite Beautiful." Her pieces feature the words "brave," "wisdom" and "from within" painted on canvases.

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