A few days ago I came across an article from People’s magazine that showed how Demi Lovato celebrated her stretch marks with glitter and then showed them off as a way to mark her recovery from an eating disorder.


As a person who has watched eating disorders take over the lives of people that I love, I can attest to how damaging and utterly destructive eating disorders can be.

You watch perfectly healthy and beautiful people waste away and get consumed in their own toxic thoughts of their imperfections – right before your eyes.

Because of this, I am also a witness to how unimaginably difficult and how much courage and strength is required to overcome an eating disorder. And not only that.

Ending unhealthy eating patterns is one thing, learning to love yourself again is an entirely different thing.

Then you have to figure out a way to do that while facing all the stigma, criticism, and victim-blaming that our society puts on us is absolutely indescribable.

And this woman did it all in front of all of us.

So in order to raise a glass to Demi and also to celebrate her win, I wanted to dedicate today’s blog to writing about Demi’s life and upbringing – while teaching you guys how to write a killer scholarship essay of course! =)

I based much of today’s story on the YouTube Originals documentary, “Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated.”

Now before we get started, a few disclaimers.

DISCLAIMER: I based the majority of this hypothetical scholarship on research I conducted on Demi Lovato’s life.

But since I wasn’t able to directly interview Demi (maybe one day I will though!), I don’t know how accurate everything is. So take everything for a grain of salt! I am only writing this for educational purposes.

Now I got all the boring stuff out of the way, take a close look at this essay prompt. This is what we’re going to tackle today.

Essay Prompt

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Most people don’t think of accomplishments this way, but I’ll let you in on a secret. Every major accomplishment is marked by an equally significant challenge.

I know that’s a lot to take in all of a sudden so let me write that out for you again. Every major accomplishment is marked by an equally significant challenge.

So a good way to start brainstorming for your essay is to not only think about which accomplishment has marked your transition from childhood to adulthood but to also think about what challenge(s) you had to face in order to complete that transition.
This is actually more difficult than it sounds because no challenge in life ever happens in a vacuum. A significant challenge often happens in a perfect storm and is more of a combination of personal challenges, external pressure, some inciting incident, and often many little challenges that build up to something explosive.

In a perfect world, you will have all the time and space you need to explain every major challenge that you faced. Unfortunately, a 500-800-word essay is not the same as a 2-hour documentary or a written biography, you just don’t have that luxury.

So instead of explaining all the elements of your “perfect storm,” you have to make a really difficult decision to figure out which details to omit and which central challenge you want to focus your essay around.

In Demi’s case, instead of writing about her unique struggles as a celebrity since that isn’t very relatable to your average scholarship committee, I would advise her to talk about this story of how she was bullied in school when she was growing up.

When I was 12, I was bullied.
Then, one day, this girl who was popular started saying,
“Demi should kill herself. She should slit her wrists.”
And it resulted in a suicide petition that got passed around.
And she had other classmates sign it.

Demi Lovato in YouTube Originals documentary, “Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated”

Now that you picked out a key challenge that you are happy to write about in your essay, it is time to figure out what the main themes are that you want this challenge to help demonstrate in your story.

Think of it this way, a good story has multiple layers and each layer builds one on top of another.

The theme of your story is similar to the moral of the story or the life lesson you are trying to teach and usually forms the the most basic but fundamental layer of your story. It is something that should shine through in every single word that you use in your essay.

Then on top of that, you have the plot-line of the story. So you have characters, scenery, context, and the challenge that helps carry your story. Everything in this layer is used to help demonstrate the main theme and drive home your main message.

Since Demi’s story is about her childhood bullies, I think her theme can be about handling this type of abuse as a child versus an adult.

In fact, she can make the case that the ability to take control of your own emotions in challenging circumstances is what defined her transition from childhood to adulthood. The moment that she managed to confront her childhood bullies was the moment that she became an adult.

When I look back at my life,
I feel like, if I didn’t have music, I don’t know what I would have.
I have my friends and my family, but music gave me a purpose
when I was bullied in school, it gave me the motivation to keep going,
and proved to everyone that didn’t believe in me that I was gonna be something someday.

Demi Lovato in YouTube Originals Documentary, “Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated”

Now we just have to find a way to have it interwoven into her story. But before you start writing, you should put together an outline so you understand how your story is highlighting your main theme. This is the general outline I would use for Demi’s story.


Start off your essay by introducing the main topic and theme of your essay, but do so in a way that grabs your reader’s attention and creates some suspense and a desire to keep reading.

I had a friend that once told me that the best way to start a story is just to start it. So don’t be afraid of starting your essay by diving right into the meaty parts of your story like this:

“For as long as I remembered, I always thought that as long as I become a successful singer, I would never be bullied again. Now that I have achieved that, I realized that no amount of fame and attention can prevent people from directing verbal abuse at me, the same type that I endured in my own childhood…” 

Back Story

After the introduction, Demi should go right into talking about how she was bullied as a kid. Remember, you don’t have a lot of space to write your essay so you don’t want to spend too much time explaining to the audience the context of the incident(s).

So give sparing details about when it happened, where it happened, and who was involved unless it is crucial to your entire story arch. Just give enough information so that the audience can follow along.


Once you explained the bullying that Demi had endured, use this next part to go into detail about how it has tormented her up to now. Focus on explaining how she felt, how it changed her, and the lingering impact that it has on her life. This part should also be really descriptive. You can use statements like these in this section.

Road to Recovery

This is where you make that argument about the difference between being a child and an adult. In other words, use this section to capture the internal dialogue that Demi probably went through in order to transition from being a child to being an adult.

For example, Demi can talk about how she eventually came to realize that a child internalizes the abuse and blames themselves. An adult takes back the power and is able to exert control over their emotions.

A child feels powerless in the situation and just accepts whatever outcome is brought upon them. An adult on the other hand directs the narrative and gets to decide what and how much they are willing to put up with.

And in Demi’s case, she refuses to ever be that vulnerable child ever again.


In the conclusion section, it is important to highlight some major progress that Demi has made since starting her road to recovery. It can be showcased through acts of self-love, working out regularly, or monitoring her eating habits.

It just needs to further highlight how far she’s come in transitioning into being an adult.

Last Sentence

Finally, end with a punchy last liner. It should be something like this clip but ideally, it should be more relevant to the scholarship she is applying for.

Thanks guys! Hope you guys enjoyed it! If you liked this video, please subscribe. Once I get to 500 subscribers, I will start taking submissions from you guys and giving you guys direct feedback on your essays.


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    “Demi Lovato performing in San Antonio, Texas (2016-09-10)” by RalphArvesen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    “Demi Lovato performing in San Antonio, Texas (2016-09-10)” by RalphArvesen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    “Demi Lovato performing in San Antonio, Texas (2016-09-10)” by RalphArvesen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    “Demi Lovato performing in San Antonio, Texas (2016-09-10)” by RalphArvesen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    “Demi Lovato performing in San Antonio, Texas (2016-09-10)” by RalphArvesen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    “Demi Lovato performing in San Antonio, Texas (2016-09-10)” by RalphArvesen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    “Demi Lovato performing in San Antonio, Texas (2016-09-10)” by RalphArvesen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0