Inside CM: Free to Be Jennie Patrick

We meet a lot of amazing and inspiring people in producing Cary Magazine. Many of their stories are told in our pages, but others stay behind the scenes. So we developed the Inside CM profile series to share even more about the great people of Western Wake.

We met Jennie Patrick for the first time when she volunteered to work as one of the models for our Wild Elegance fashion photo shoot.

When we posted a request for models on our Facebook page, she responded — enthusiastically. After working with her, we found out why exactly she was so excited about the opportunity, and what the experience meant to her.

Growing up, Jen wanted to be a model. However, her body type didn’t quite fit the mold. She describes herself as “short and athletic — and the media tells us that that’s not a model.”

As a consequence of this disappointment and other self-esteem issues, Jen struggled with an eating disorder for more than 15 years, beginning when she was just 13.

After treatment, she began a new and healthy lifestyle, working as an aerobics instructor. She also developed a nonprofit organization, Free to Be, dedicated to promoting positive body image and self-esteem for people fighting eating disorders. She now devotes a lot of her time to mentoring and helping others with similar struggles.

Modeling for the Cary Magazine photo shoot was literally “a dream come true” for Jen. “I finally had the opportunity to do something I’d always wanted despite the fact that society had ingrained in me the fact that I couldn’t do it,” she said. “All body shapes and sizes need to be included in the media, and Cary Magazine is doing that.”

Her experience of being able to fulfill her dream was deeply connected with the message of hope and positivity that she’s trying to send through Free to Be. She shared her excitement on Free to Be’s Facebook page to inspire the organization’s followers with the message: “Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something — because you can.”

For more information on Free to Be, visit



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