In The Pipeline: Book aims to show that we're all beautiful

"My dad looked over the fitness chapter because, you know, he knows a lot about that stuff."

That line drew some laughs from the full house upstairs at Barnes & Noble last week, and why not? After all, it was spoken by Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver.

Katherine Schwarzenegger was here to talk about her new book, "Rock What You've Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who's Been There and Back."

The third-year communications major at USC has been touring the country recently, delivering her blend of bright-eyed and enthusiastic pep talks to legions of young people. In particular, she details the challenges that many young women face today.

"It's incredible the effect that the media and popular culture has," she told me. "They promote these airbrushed, Photoshopped images of glamorous women on billboards, in magazines and on TV. False images that young girls then aspire to. Totally unrealistic dress sizes and styles. It's beyond dangerous."

Though she was raised in one of the most high-profile households in America, Schwarzenegger's book is refreshingly frank, informative and practical — a critical path for young women as they move through the tricky terrain of growing up in a society that's increasingly obsessed with false ideals.

Her inspiration for the book came while working at an internship in New York City.

"It was the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty," she said. "It exposed me to the fact that only 2% of women consider themselves to be beautiful.

"That got me thinking about all of the things young women go through, the pressures and the challenges of growing up and maturing. I thought of all the women in my family, how we talked about these things constantly.

"Then I got the idea that a book would be the best way to really reach out beyond that and help educate young women. I especially wanted to address these unrealistic representations of women in society today and remind women that they should never let those pressures affect them adversely."

The book includes chapters like "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall," "Doing an Inner Makeover," "Eating for Health" and "Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty," and it is a primer for growing up that deals with confidence, personal growth and coping with the day-to-day trials of young womanhood.

She also shared with me, "My goal was to have this book be very functional as opposed to something you read once and put away. Little things pop up in life each day, and I hope that the book becomes an active tool that women can use in everyday life."

Our 14-year-old daughter, Claire (who also had the honor of moderating the question-and-answer session with Schwarzenegger) thoroughly enjoyed the book and feels that it provides the reader with lots of great facts, tips, reminders and self-help pointers.

What did Schwarzenegger's folks think of the book?

"My mom has written a lot, so she's been very helpful in the day-to-day business of how you go out and talk about a book," Schwarzenegger said. "My dad, of course, had some great input on the health and fitness section, and overall, both of them have been supportive, helpful and encouraging. That's the kind of household my sister, brothers and I live in, and so we are very fortunate."

The customers in the store seemed genuinely excited to hear Schwarzenegger speak and then ask her questions afterward. It was yet another great event at the Barnes & Noble at Bella Terra and one more reason to always check out who may be visiting our city next.

Also, the Friends of the Children's Library are pleased to announce the Great Book Adventure Contest. It's a writing and illustration contest that runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 11, and as in years past, awards will be given out Jan. 25 at the Central Library at the Authors Festival. Entry forms with full details are available at the library, or if you write me, I will e-mail you one. Good luck, young writers and illustrators!

CHRIS EPTING is the author of 18 books, including the new "Hello, It's Me: Dispatches from a Pop Culture Junkie." You can write him at

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