Ugly Ducklings Inc featured on I Am That Girl

UDI featured on I am that girl

We have been interviewed for I Am That Girl. Check it out! Ugly Ducklings Inc is becoming more popular :) Continue reading


Nicole Markardt – “The Tao of Freedom”


“Pretend to be the person you want to be until you finally become her.”

When I read this amazing blog by Nicole Markardt, I immediately thought of Ugly Ducklings and everything we try to promote and embrace in life. I just had to share it with you!

“We kick and scream, hold our breath. We resist. We hold onto our shadows.”

We’re all becoming the person we want to be. But how often do we resist that? How often do we hide away our stories, our journeys, and continue on as if they won’t shape who we are or who we’ll become?

“Be a mess. Screw it up.”

As Ugly Ducklings, we all know that life happens. When life happens, we need to remember we are all on our journey to becoming beautiful swans. The journeys can be so painful, and we can really mess it up sometimes. We can make bad choices. But Nicole has some good advice about that:

“Be where you are and know that you will be somewhere else shortly.”

This is great advice. This is the attitude that runs through the veins of Ugly Ducklings Inc. You’re on a journey. I’m on a journey. We’re becoming. We’re not going to remain where we are forever. Everyday is a new day and we can try again tomorrow.

I love this idea. The idea of second chances. Of each day being a new day. I’ve utilized many second chances in my life; and I try to go to sleep each day with the notion in my mind that when I wake up, it is a new day and I can try again at anything I’ve failed at the day before.

When I was a nanny, I used this tool a lot too. I’m pretty hardcore when it comes to unacceptable behaviour; but I never diminish the idea of a second chance. When one of my charges was acting up, there’s an immediate second chance to behave (I use “when/then”: “When you throw your toys, then I take them away. Do you want to continue throwing your toys?”). Sometimes, the stubborn toddler chooses not to take this second chance (don’t we all do this sometimes?). Then there’s usually a consequence: I once had to walk with a hysterical two-year-old, begging for a third or fourth or fifth chance, through a community centre when the consequence for his disobedience was leaving the play area.

I calmly knelt down to his level, wiped away his tears and explained to him that his behaviour wasn’t acceptable, that he’d had a few chances to correct it, and that we would try again tomorrow.

There’s always tomorrow. We’re always moving. We’re always becoming. Be free to do these things. Be free to become you.

Check out Nicole’s full blog here: It is really incredible!

swan out

Sitting Ducks with Robyn Hussa Farrell

Interview with Robyn Hussa, Mental Fitness Inc
Erin and I recently had the opportunity to be sitting ducks with Robyn Hussa, the CEO and Founder of NORMAL Nonprofit.

We just love Robyn and as you may know, Ugly Ducklings Inc has supported NORMAL from our take-off and we are so thrilled to have gotten this time with her so everyone can learn more about what her organization does.

We started the interview the way any interview should start… getting to know Robyn with a little “Swans Revealed”! She told us about Audrey Hepburn and how she got inspired by her.

Robyn runs a multifaceted organization. In part 1 of our chat, you’ll find out how NORMAL got started, how we got to know about them (thanks to Meghan Ory’s contribution), and what types of things they are combating in American schools.

We know that many of our Ugly Ducklings and Swans struggle with issues like self-harm, eating disorders, and bullying at home and school. We asked Robyn a vital question: what are healthy coping mechanisms? She had some really helpful things to say!

Finally, Robyn answered some of YOUR questions, and there was a touching moment, after we asked Robyn how Ugly Ducklings could contribute. Plus, a bonus part where she explains all about how to get the script of NORMAL the musical.

– Marie and – Erin

new contest donation | Normal In Schools
Josh Dallas photographGOODY DRAW: Mental Fitness Inc. (formerly NORMAL) is committed to helping all the Ugly Ducklings out there become Swans, and are currently focused on developing the first ever Mental Fitness Institute in the US.

Being entered in this contest is simple: make a minimum donation of $5 to Mental Fitness Inc’s new Indiegogo campaign.

  • For every $5 you donate, your name will be entered in a draw for the Charmers pack or the Ugly Ducklings pack!

If you want to be entered, just email proof of your donation (forward us the confirmation email, or do a sceenshot) to

S stands for Swan

banner the letter S for swan

A warm August hello to you, fair Ugly Ducklings.

Today’s blog is going to feature, not me, but a very special friend of us. Charlotte has followed Ugly Ducklings Inc closely since its very inception, and she was even one of the first people around here to turn into a Swan, after she opened her heart to us and told us her Ugly Duckling Story.

Very recently, Charlotte opened and started writing on her new blog and we’d love for you to become the first readers of this budding, great writer.

Here’s a tiny proof of that.

Charlotte dedicated the second entry of her blog to our movement, and, as a way to thank her for spreading the word on what we do, we decided to post it here as well. Can you guess what the letter S stands for?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013.

One of my all time favorite quotes by Maya Angelou is:
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.

And it’s so true, because it is our own personal stories of failure and triumph that can help others.

I have two very dear friends that literally live continents apart, yet they have started a movement that has eclipsed their distance and it has traveled to all the corners of the world.

Their website provides a safe haven for anyone young or old to tell their story. The website was inspired by Jennifer Morrison’s character role of Emma Swan in ABC’s Once Upon A Time, as she gave her fans the moniker The Ugly Ducklings, and thus the website was born.

If you haven’t seen the show or are unfamiliar with it, PLEASE lie to me and say that you have. It’s a show that encompasses all of the complexities of family, love, and loss while set against the backdrop of every fairytale story you’ve ever read.

 swans and ducks cleaning feathersSo, what makes an Ugly Duckling? It is someone who despite what life has thrown at them, they have succeeded. It is someone who has not let life harden them, and instead they have taken their own personal tragedies and used them to help others. We all have a story and when we start sharing, then that’s when the healing begins.

I was very fortunate to be able to share my story with Ugly Ducklings Inc. It is a story that is reminiscent of a phoenix rising from the ashes. I had every opportunity to be filled with hate, to be angry with the world, to repeat the cycle of abuse.

However, why not turn those horrific events into something beautiful? Why not take my anger and turn it into love for others who have also been hurt?

I am hoping to obtain my Master’s degree in Psychology so that I may further help those whose paths have been littered with broken pieces.

Being an ugly duckling means that not only do you empower yourself, but those around you as well.

Your story just may be someone else’s story too. And you’ll see that you don’t have to play a superhero or a story book character on TV to maybe save someone.

I thank Jennifer Morrison for inspiring Marie and Erin to create their website which has given a family to so many little ugly ducklings out there.

So, today’s blog is brought to you by the letter “S” because, eventually, all ugly ducklings grow up to be Swans.

PS. We cannot thank Charlotte enough for such beautiful words. They just make us work even harder to help and offer our encouraging words with more people.

– Marie,

The Tail Shaker.
The Ugly Ducklings Inc's swan

Ugly Ducklings UNITE!

Ugly Ducklings Inc Unite

Last week, two of our lovely Ugly Ducklings met up for a traveling vacation and wrote us, deciding to share about the trip!  1146536_496113143808353_1078531511_nHow cool is that?!  We are so excited about the community that is being built here!  I’ve already heard whispers of other Ugly Ducklings Reunions happening all across the world.  Check out Maaike and Maressa’s notes below about their Duckling Vacation and stay tuned for more great stories of this awesome community!

Is it possible to find friends via an online community? That could be an excellent research question for researchers who are specialised in the development of modern culture.  Well, may we, Maressa and Maaike, two proud Ugly Ducklings, make use of the opportunity to serve as the example that it indeed is possible to make friends via social media.

This crazy idea to do a roadtrip in Maressa’s home country came into view some months ago. As a passionate traveler and Switzerland fan, together with the opportunity to finally meet a dear friend I (Maaike) had been talking to via Twitter, Facebook and Skype, I just couldn’t let that pass.

It seemed like forever until it finally was Thursday 25th July, the day I would fly out to Basel. Luckily, we planned many things in advance, which definitely was part of the fun I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on.

Today, Sunday 28th July, we’re almost halfway our trip, and we’re having such a blast! We’re travelling from campsite to campsite with our tent and visit famous areas like Ticino in the south, Zermatt (where the famous Matterhorn mountain is), Luzern and Zurich. In the meantime we’re just chatting, laughing, and having fun like we’ve been friends for years. It truthfully feels that way. (And yes, we fangirl too. Like, a lot!)
I hope everyone gets the chance to do something like this. Take the risk, and see what it’ll bring you. If it feels right, and you’re able to make clear mutual agreements with each other, why not? What’s holding you back? It’s a life experience I’ll certainly treasure for the rest of my life.



I think I can safely say that everyone who is in a fandom has their friends they’ve never met but really really want to. I met some really great friends of mine on twitter and I talk to them often. It’s always a big wish of me to meet these people.

About 2 months ago Maaike and I had this idea of meeting each other. She said she has been a lot to my home country, Switzerland, and always loves to visit. We managed to find a date where she and I could have a week off from work and started to organize our roadtrip through Switzerland.1081767_10201256354683712_1847421606_n

At this point we didn’t know each other that well like we do now after one week.  We started to skype at least once a week for several hours and now she’s one of my best friends.

I seriously would’ve never thought that I’ll meet such good friends who are almost like family on a social network site. Everyone of my friends (in Switzerland) and also my parents were a bit concerened that we would be fighting all the time because I’ve never met her before. But our meeting happened and I regret nothing because we had so much fun (and of course also fangirl moments) this week. It was just a blast and I’ll never forget it for sure. We went for it and took a risk and  it was one of the best weeks of vacation I ever had.



Check out some special Ugly Ducklingish photos from their trip below!  What fun!

Switzerland collage