Kelly Hughes Talks New #ScarLove Challenge, and Balancing Careers


( ENSPIRE Feature ) Model Kelly Hughes Talks Motherhood and Business

ENSPIRE Contributor: Clarisa Crump

Kelly Hughes has been making impressive strides since her modeling debut over two decades ago. She is a successful entrepreneur, a loving mom, amazing model. Now, adding to her impressive resume, she’s the first model in Sports Illustrated’s 58-year run to show off her C-section scar.

With modeling work declining in 2009, the model worked part time for a restaurant to help with finances. It was here that she got the inspiration for her new jewelry brand, HÜES. HÜES is a new, more unisex, take on jewelry, and has been worn by both men and women. Some well-known wearers include J Balvin, Ricky Martin, Alicia Keys, Maxwell, and many more. 

With the birth of her son in 2018, Hughes found herself with two additional C-section scars. This was because of an infection that required reopening the first C-section. This did not discourage her, however, as she was more determined to show that her scars are beautiful. Following this, she partnered with ESTAS Beauty and started the new #ScarLoveChallenge. The challenge for any moms or individuals with scars is to see them as unique marks of beauty. The hashtag has almost 100 women under it sharing their stories. Safe to say that the message Hughes was trying to communicate has been received loud and clear. 

ENSPIRE recently spoke to Kelly Hughes about her successes as both a businesswoman and a model: 

Changing up the game plan is a common theme in life, do you ever find it difficult to stray from an initial plan?

I think it’s great to have a plan especially if you have certain goals for your future. However, if you aren’t willing to pivot or try new strategies along the way you risk limiting yourself or possibly never making it to your end goal. I learned this in a big way in 2009 when I got a job at a restaurant because work in the modeling industry was slowing down because of the economy. I didn’t want to quit my dreams, and it was hard because I felt I was taking a step back, but it was there I discovered how to make jewelry, a talent I previously didn’t know I had. So, if I didn’t stray from my plans and become open to working in a completely different field, I would have possibly never had my jewelry line. Thankfully, the economy came back stronger, and I continued my modeling journey but now I had gained a jewelry business as well. I think being open to new ways of doing something or a new strategy is totally normal and, most times, necessary for success. So many people feel if they don’t stick to their plan, they failed but your end goal doesn’t have to change as long as you’re going in the same direction. There are many ways to get there.

Adding to this, are there any times you have to switch the plan with your business, HÜES? 

When I started HÜES It came from a place of vulnerability and being open to switching up the plan, so I am very different with my business than I am with personal plans. I have had a consistent structure since I started but when the pandemic hit and stores that sell HÜES closed for a period, I quickly realized I had to shift my focus to direct to consumers instead of just wholesalers and I made the adjustments necessary.  

How do you balance motherhood, entrepreneurship, and modeling?

Some days it works out perfectly and other days everything needs your attention at once and you definitely feel the struggle. I think it’s very important to have a schedule and give yourself realistic goals with a lot of grace. It’s difficult to balance many things but I’m so thankful that all my jobs go hand in hand, so sometimes I’m able to do two of them at the same time. It’s also important to prioritize. This is something I have always been clear on but I’m still working on time management. 

How do you find the time to relax, and what does relaxing include for you?

I don’t take a lot of time to relax, however, when I have some time, I find sitting in a quiet room and meditating is the most relaxing thing. 

The #ScarLoveChallenge is all about self-love, why is this important to you?

I quickly realized after the photos of me in Sports Illustrated showing my c-section scar came out earlier this year that many women are struggling with body positivity and loving themselves the way they are despite any changes they have experienced in their bodies. When I had my son, there wasn’t a lot of info out there and I experienced many changes. A lot of these feelings come with a lot of stigmas in society. For me teaming with Estas Beauty to do #scarlovechallenge was because I loved their message of self-love and felt if people were encouraged by seeing my photos, how much more empowered they would feel by having a safe place to go to see a hashtag full of people embracing their scars and loving themselves. It wasn’t until I embraced my scar that I experienced the power in it. If we can learn to love our imperfections instead of hiding them, we will not feel shame or insecurities. Our true strength is in our stories, so it’s important we share them to normalize talking about and having these experiences.

What motivates you daily?

My son is my motivation. I have always been a very driven person, but it just put it in overdrive when I became a mother. 

The new #ScarLoveChallenge is about helping with self-love, it also helps children as well. Partnering with ESTAS Beauty, Hughes and the company agreed that for every photo posted, $1 will be donated to World of Children. World of Children is a 25-year-running charity that helps identify, verify, and invest in high-impact programs for disadvantaged children. This includes everything from clean clothes, to fresh food, and physical activity events for the children. With nearly $100 donated already, the individuals in these pictures help to aid those in need. If you have a scar that you feel proud of, we here at ENSPIRE encourage you to go take that picture. You may just help someone who really needs it. 

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