"If we're open and honest with each other about what it takes for us to feel good about ourselves, it's only going to help everybody else," Schroeder says
Stassi Schroeder has no hesitations showing off her scars, specifically her scars from a November 2015 breast lift and reduction procedure.
The Bravo-lebrity reveals to PEOPLE exclusively that during a recent photo shoot she made it clear to the photographer that there was no need to cover up her scars.
“I was like ‘Don’t edit out my scars.’ They’re awesome. I like being myself and I feel that everyone should embrace themselves,” Schroeder tells PEOPLE. “It’s a scar! Scars are pretty! It’s almost like a birthmark or something like that where it’s something to not be ashamed of.”
In addition to her professional life, the former SUR server has proudly embraced her scars in her romantic life.
“Especially when I was single last year and started dating and then obviously you get intimate with someone and they’re like ‘What is that?’ and for a split second I remember being embarrassed and then like saying ‘F— that,’ ” Schroeder says.
“I’m so proud of my body because it’s mine,” she adds.
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Nearly two years ago, Schroeder chose to undergo the plastic surgery operation to reduce her breast size from a DDD to a regular D, which she calls “one of the best decisions of my life.”
“My nipples are seven inches higher than they used to be and it’s awesome. I refuse to wear a bra now,” the Straight Up with Stassi podcast host says. “I refuse to wear a bra because I’m so excited that I have smaller boobs and that my nipples are not pointed down to my knees. It is one of the best decisions that I ever made.”
In addition to proudly embracing her body, Schroeder hopes to empower others about their scars.
“We live in the world of the Kardashians right now, and we have to have waist trainers and boobs and a butt, and if we don’t have a small waist with that we’re not that attractive and everything is hush hush and I don’t like that,” she says about being candid about her body marks.
“If we’re open and honest with each other about what it takes for us to feel good about ourselves, it’s only going to help everybody else,” Schroeder says. “It shouldn’t even be something to be questioned, it shouldn’t even be something that’s Photoshopped out, it shouldn’t be a question to show it or not to show it.”
In fact, Schroeder’s “absolute worst fear” is not living her truth.
“If this is what my body looks like with these scars, then that’s what they are. I don’t want to pretend that I’m something that I’m not. That is my f—ing absolute worst fear. It drives me insane when other people act like that.”