A Phoenix native, I was born to a Vietnamese mother who immigrated to the US in the 70s, and an American father born in Delaware, Ohio. As a child I was fascinated with people: meeting them, talking with them, knowing more about them. I would keep a tally in my head of how many new people I talked to that day (this actually is a habit that stays with me to this day). I would be remiss if I did not include that I became a black belt in hard form kung fu at 10, classically trained pianist by 15, a leader in multiple groups and organizations throughout high school, Bible Study leader at 16, cheer captain at 17, and West Point candidate by 18, a reality tv reel filmed and pitched at 22, and a pretty little picture of a life from the outside looking in.
...All of these "achievements" did not keep me from the over spilling of intense emotional and physical hardship in my 20s. Without going into details here, I can say that I had to wander quite a few dark valleys before I was pulled up to see the light of day, by His grace. It is through these challenges (to put it lightly), that I was able to TRULY know my God and His grace and healing. I am still in this process now, and I understand this sanctification will last until the end, so I'm in no rush.
It is also through these challenges that I grew into the Ciara that is writing this today: confident in vulnerability, healed and still healing, and an encouragement and confidant to women all over the world through my blog. Thanks internet.
There was a time about 3 years ago (2013) when all my social media accounts started growing at a rate I couldn't believe. I started seeing over 1K new followers a day on my Facebook fan page, started selling more posters, created a "sexy" website that had over 39K subscribers. I was able to leave my full time job and work only from home. After about a year, however, I gained over 100K Instagram followers that cared primarily about my body. That was about it. I had a bunch of people that "supported" me, but only if it was of sexier pics that floated their boat. This left me realizing, after I reached the peak of that "fame", that I was almost as lonely as when I set out in 2010.
Over the past two years, I've been actively pushing against the "empire" that was built purely around my sex appeal as that was never my intention. My Husband and I have been actively fighting to remove images from the internet that were continuing to be published and shared out of my "control" and continue to keep our minds focused on the present and not on the past.
Furthermore, I want whatever images & posts of my body to be shown in a way that truly gives encouragement to women, to promote a better understanding that skin does NOT equal sex, and some other reasons that I'll focus on in blog posts to come. I've really been harnessing all that I have in me to help women, share what I've learned openly so that it can save others some struggle/pain, and do so in a way that can continue to reach people...just in a more lasting and meaningful way.
Truth is. We all will hit our own hurdles, that does not mean we stop.
I've been a pretty big target for quite some time. I believe it comes with the territory (having a more public social media presence), but lately, God has redeemed all these things that were once an overall cause of harm and pain in my life and has brought my website & all of my social media into a pretty clear example of the way God wants to redeem ALL things. I am not what people label me/have labeled me: I am not a fitness model, I am not a porn star, I am not even a role model. I am a Believer. A Precious Child of God. That is my identity. And that's great.
If you are someone that still has a difficult time seeing me as "new" because of the public parts of my past, I totally get it. It's difficult to believe that God can change course for us how He does, but He did. Be excited, because if He can do it for me, He can do it for you.