For Shelly Proebstel, gaining self-confidence has been a lifelong journey.

This year she wanted to prove she could still love herself without the thing that gave her security — her long, dark hair.

So she shaved it all off.

Emily Cribb cuts of a section of Shelly's hair with the help of mum Nicola Cribb (left) and Bronny Proebstel.Photo / Bethany Rolston
Emily Cribb cuts of a section of Shelly's hair with the help of mum Nicola Cribb (left) and Bronny Proebstel.Photo / Bethany Rolston

"We live in a world where what a person looks like has become too important," Shelly says.

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"I believe that that media, especially social media and magazines, often put out the wrong message.

"You never learn about how to be beautiful on the inside. It's always about how to lose weight in 30 days, not how to love yourself in 30 days."

"I'm on a mission to change that, and the change has to start with me."

Shaving her hair off was a huge act of bravery for Shelly, who had always relied on her hair to feel confident.
Shaving her hair off was a huge act of bravery for Shelly, who had always relied on her hair to feel confident.

Shaving her hair off is Shelly's way of raising awareness about the importance of having a positive body image.

She wants to spread a message that empowers individuals to see their inner beauty.

Shelly, a team leader at Future Kids Ōhaupō Preschool, shaved her hair off surrounded by family and friends on Saturday.

She sold raffle tickets, with the prize being to cut off a section of her hair.

The money raised goes to Everybody is a Treasure Charitable Trust, a charity that runs positive body image workshops throughout New Zealand.

Shaving her hair off was a huge act of bravery for Shelly, who had always relied on her hair to feel confident.

"I've never cared what I look like because I've always had hair," Shelly says.

"But when you have no hair it's really obvious — especially as a woman."

"Shaving my hair off meant letting go of that security and choosing to see the beauty inside me. I'm making a statement that beauty is not in your hair — it's in your heart."

"I feel hopeful that this has inspired people to love themselves for who they are inside."

Shelly is documenting her journey on her Facebook page Bald and Beautiful and continues to fundraise for Everybody is a Treasure Charitable Trust on her Givealittle page.