CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - It all starts with Carolina blue glitter and ends with 20,000 screaming fans.
Meet Glitter Girl, formally known as Alex Koszeghy.
The recent University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate begins her game day look by first coating herself in a layer of paint, followed by a layer of glue. Then comes the glitter. She pours bags of sparkles ranging from light to dark blue over every inch of her skin. Lastly, to seal the deal, she hair sprays it in.
To many, Koszeghy is just a die-hard Carolina fan. While her love for the Tar Heels does run deep, Koszeghy’s reasoning behind sparkling up for home sporting events goes far beyond her interest in sports.
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The Glitter Girl is an embodiment of self-love and the fight against eating disorders.
“I went through an eating disorder as a teenager, and through that time, it was just very rough," said Koszeghy. "Throughout the recovery process, I really started to find myself and my identity and started to embrace the awkward… and just learn[ed] to love myself and accept myself as I am… So having that mindset kind of allowed me to become Glitter Girl.”
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Although she’s been painting up since her sophomore year, Koszeghy didn’t add glitter to her look until last fall.
“I went to the FSU game, and I saw the garnet and gold guys who were glittered in yellow and red. And I just thought, ‘Yea, I’ll try that! Let’s just make it part of it!’ So I went and bought glitter," Koszeghy said. "Once I realized how much people liked the glitter, I thought, ‘Well, there’s no going back now!’”
Although Koszeghy says she doesn't care what other people think, her look and dance moves at games have attracted positive attention.
“I’ve gotten to be in Sports Illustrated and ESPN…and Justin Jackson on the first day of class, he knew that I was the girl who painted up, which was pretty cool.”
But when Koszeghy is sans sparkle, people often don’t realize she’s Glitter Girl.
“People don’t really recognize me. I kind of wanted people to, so I made these little Glitter Girl stickers… It’s kind of like, ‘Hey, I’m Glitter Girl!’”
While the stickers alone show how dedicated Koszeghy is to her persona, her commitment can best be seen during the glitter removal process.
“It’s not the most comfortable thing. The glitter texture doesn’t feel good… You have to layer and condition to soften it up. And then it starts to peel off, and then you shampoo your whole body and then condition again. And then you have to scrub it out of some of your pores cause it gets stuck in there," Koszeghy said.
"So it’s about an hour-long shower after, and blue is all over the bathroom. I’ve given up on even trying to get the glitter out of the carpet in my room.”
Even after all glitter is washed away, Koszeghy is loved for who she is underneath.
“I've been really blessed to get to know Alex before the ‘Glitter Girl’ craze hit,” said Anna Cooke, a former resident on Koszeghy’s hall.
“It's inspiring to see someone be herself and stay so humble even after becoming a UNC celebrity," Cooke said. "Even now when I see her, I'm not thinking, ‘There's my RA,’ or even, ‘There's Glitter Girl.’ I still see her and think ‘Hey, that's Alex.’"
The 23-year-old spent much of her college career serving others, both as a resident assistant and psychology major.
She also volunteered at the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders as a mentor to young women with experiences similar to her own, a job more vital than what some may think.
According to the Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association, 20 percent of college students say they have or have had eating disorders.
Koszeghy’s mentee Brooke Wheeler, who says she looks up to her like a big sister, falls into this category.
“As someone who has experienced and am currently recovering from an eating disorder, I know how much strength she has. I feel as if we both support each other because we understand what the other is going/will go through. She is so inspiring to me,” said Wheeler.
“Alex has helped me blossom into who I am today," Wheeler said. "I still have a long way to go in my recovery, but she is definitely a shining light at the end of a dark tunnel."
With or without the glitter, Koszeghy leaves some sparkle wherever she goes.
You can follow Koszeghy's game day look on instagram @alexkosz.