Written By: Rose Fong
Photography By: @KarloGomez
Crystal Summers’ dream coffee date is John Wayne. They’ll share a pot of black coffee and enjoy a warm afternoon in the wilderness, wearing their cowboy hats together.
The spark that ignited Crystal’s journey was both a triumph and a deafening defeat. “I grew up in an area of the midwest where working out is not a priority.” After transplanting herself to California and working with a personal trainer for a few years, Crystal conquered a triathalon.
But the finish line, where she should have felt proud of her amazing accomplishment, she felt ashamed of her appearance. “It should have been one of the happiest moments of my life, and instead, I was just embarrassed of my body. [Finishing a triathalon is] something that a lot of people never do.”
She was embarrassed of one of the most natural things in the world: the cellulite and stretchmarks she’s worn for years. “I can outrun most people any day of the week. There’s this huge judgment that you have to look fit to be fit. I spent three days a week with a trainer, and I don’t look much different from beginning to end.”
As a teenager, Crystal sprouted stretchmarks and cellulite way earlier than she expected. “I looked forward to having kids, so that I’d have an excuse… now, it’s just stupid. I’m thankful for social media, and I kinda would like to be the one brave enough to put this message out there.”
“You don’t have to have kids to be okay with [stretchmarks and cellulite]. Because there’s a lot of girls and women who have stretchmarks and cellulite before you have kids. Our culture says you’re not supposed to have them, so it’s frowned upon when you’re a teenager and you have them. I didn’t do anything wrong to get stretchmarks at sixteen.”
In Nevada, with the support of her husband, Crystal has taken to the wilderness to embrace her confidence and natural sexuality. “There’s not one set standard of people. Body positivity is not just curvy one thing or another.”
“I set myself up with the motto that everyone is someone’s kind of sexy... Whether it’s a good thing or not, being attractive to other people is a huge driving force in everyone’s life. I don’t know if that’s healthy or not, but for a lot of people, that’s they’re motivating factor for feeling better and being okay with themselves. I think it’s okay to accept that.”
On their homestead, far away from social standards and naysayers, Crystal embraces her body as it is and celebrates it in the sunlight. Her instagram has photos of herself, natural and nude -- “I had a nudist streak in high school,” she laughs. “And I really like being outside.”
“There is no judgment at all in the natural world,” says Crystal. “I can go walk around in nature, and not a damn thing out there is gonna judge me... If I can walk around completely stark-ass naked and build confidence that way, there’s not a damn thing I can’t do.”