THE DAILY STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

Pitt alumna has one mission, ‘Operation Beautiful’

Lexie Bond | April 1, 2010    

Pitt alumna Caitlin Boyle’s message to the world is simple: you are… Pitt alumna Caitlin Boyle’s message to the world is simple: you are beautiful.

Her mission to spread that message evolved into a movement called Operation Beautiful that has women across the country posting anonymous Post-it notes with positive and encouraging messages on the mirrors of public bathrooms.

Fans of the Operatiton Beautiful blog post messages like, “Hi there beautiful,” “Never forget to respect and love yourself” and “I KNOW you are beautiful in every way.”

“The goal of Operation Beautiful is to transform the way you see yourself, one Post-it at a time,” Boyle said.

And Operation Beautiful certainly has transformed many things — including Boyle’s own life.

According to Boyle, who graduated from Pitt as a nonfiction writing and political science major in 2006, Operation Beautiful began as a random act of kindness and has since evolved into a popular blog and a book, almost unintentionally.

“One night I was inspired to write ‘You are beautiful’ on a Post-it and stick it to a mirror in a public bathroom,” she said.

She took a picture of the note and posted it on her blog, HealthyTippingPoint.com, and asked her readers to participate.

“Within a few days, my inbox was flooded with similar pictures. I knew right away I had something special on my hands and launched OperationBeautiful.com within two days of posting my first note.”

A Miami native, Boyle currently lives in Orlando where she is her own boss.

Her Operation Beautiful book deal allowed her to quit her 9-to-5 job. She now runs her two blogs, Operation Beautiful and Healthy Tipping Point, which together receive over half a million hits per month. She also writes freelance articles for Unigo.com.

Boyle didn’t receive her book deal until three months after she launched her website, however, which left her to juggle two blogs, a full-time job, community college and a “serious running habit.”

“I was so overstretched workwise that I was making myself miserable,” she said. “I landed the book deal so I could quit my job.”

The book, which comes out this August, will feature 125 Operation Beautiful notes and interviews with the women who posted them. The book will also include Boyle’s tips on how to lead a more positive and fulfilling life.

“I would love to see women, and men too, thinking more positively about themselves and how they can help other people,” Boyle said. “I think that, by posting notes, we’re spreading positive self image. Also, I think the posters are really writing notes to themselves, and it gives them confidence, too.”

Since starting the movement, Boyle has received many unique Operation Beautiful notes. Her favorites are the ones written in the snow or in sand at the beach.

Operation Beautiful also helps Boyle see the beauty in others. She said the movement helped her learn that “people are so much nicer than you think they are.”

“I really believe most people want to help others,” she said. “Some women stay up all night writing hundreds of Operation Beautiful notes to post. It’s amazing how dedicated people are to the idea of random acts of kindness.”

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