Photography by Chris Thorn
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Describe yourself in under 100 words.
I’m a perfectionist. A freelance graphic designer. I love my job. I got married this year to the most wonderful man. I have 3 sisters who are all smart and amazing. I love crafts and clothes and pretty things. I love food – particularly french fries, bread and cheesecake. I recently realized that I’m an introvert. I really, really enjoy puns, to the extent that it’s a bit weird. I’m excited to be a mom one day. I adore reading and watching movies (ideally reading a book and then watching the movie). My list of places to travel seems endless. (Ha! 99 words. I did say I was a perfectionist).
Describe your RAW shoot in one word:
What surprised you most about the experience?
I forgot that I wasn’t wearing makeup! I thought I would be more self-conscious.
What is your definition of ‘beautiful’?
Be kind. Smile. Be quick to laugh. Put others before yourself. Don’t dwell on what others think of you. We all agree that people who radiate confidence are beautiful. I don’t think this is because they are satisfied with their physical appearance (which they may or may not be), but because they possess an inner peace and joy for life. These are the things that make other people beautiful to me – but it’s much harder to believe that these things make me beautiful to others. I’m working on it J
Have you ever struggled with a lack of self-confidence? If so please describe this time and share any advice you may have for other girls going through the same thing.
Definitely! It wavers a bit even now, but my least confident time was my middle teenage years. As a result of delayed puberty my most physically awkward year was age 16 (WAY later than all of my peers). So while they were all beautiful, blossoming women with numerous suitors, I looked about 13: pimply, scrawny and brace-faced. Not so much by choice, I focused less on boys and more on the things I was good at, like school (nerd alert!). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think I Iearned to focus on my strengths of character, rather than my physical attributes. Young girls are taught very early (sometimes directly and always indirectly) that being physically ‘beautiful’ is not just important, but is the most important thing. Newsflash: IT’S NOT! I remember in kindergarten wishing desperately that my 12 year old big buddy was prettier. I was 5! In retrospect I am horrified. I really hope I was a particularly shallow 5 year-old, but I fear that this is an all-too-common phenomenon. My advice for late-blooming teenage girls: Be patient. Use your teenage years to develop as a kind, interesting, intelligent person. The boys (or girls) will come later; trust me. Recognize your insecurities but don’t let them define you. Focus on the things you like about yourself, physical or otherwise.
From The Great Gatsby: Daisy, talking about her new born daughter: “I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
What insecurities (if any) have you struggled with?
As mentioned above I had plenty of insecurities as a teenager, but let’s just talk about the ones that carried over into adulthood. Thankfully there are much fewer. I’ve struggled with body acne for about 13 years. Even though most people would consider it mild, I find it very hard to feel confident in the midst of a breakout. I usually wear clothes to cover it up – even my close friends have rarely ever seen a break out on me because I am diligent about hiding it. I also used to be very self-conscious about my arm hair and underarm hair (so trivial I know!). As a result, I’ve been waxing my arms since I was 15. Last year I had laser hair removal treatments on my underarms. I think it was a great decision for me as it wasn’t exclusively about being self-conscious, but also about convenience; less time spent shaving! But man was it painful. In certain lighting, I can see some cellulite on my upper thighs and butt. I know I need to make peace with this; almost all women have cellulite! Easier said than done for a perfectionist. Lately I’ve been trying to strengthen my glutes – hoping that the cellulite will disappear as a bonus. I used to feel a lot of envy when I met women who were (in my opinion) undeniably more attractive than me. The older I get, the less it matters. I find myself better able to appreciate the beauty of other women without it compromising my own self-image.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Usually it’s when I’ve had a good sleep, eaten well, and am doing something I love. When I’m being my best self: my true self. Every-so-often when I look in the mirror after washing my face, I think I’ve never looked better.
What part of aging scares you the most?
General deterioration of health: aches, pains, sagging muscles, sagging skin.
What part of aging is the most exciting?
With age (usually) comes wisdom and perspective. I want to stop coveting what others have and to stop caring what people think about my appearance. I am definitely on this path, just not quite there yet.
On average how much do you spend each month on cosmetic items such as make-up, hair cuts/colouring, waxing, clothing, nails, tanning, creams etc.
Including makeup, averaging out the costs of 2 to 3 haircuts per year, 3 pedicures per year, night cream, body moisturizer, shampoo, hairspray, Veet wax strips… I would say approx. $75/month Clothing approx.. $150/month. Total: $225/month
Have you ever had cosmetic surgery or treatments? Why or why not?
Does laser hair removal count? I am a big advocate of workin’ what you got. Beauty is subjective anyway so why kill yourself to fit some kind of ‘norm’? Insecurities are mental (not physical), so for many, plastic surgery is like applying a bandaid to a bullet wound.
Let’s talk Photoshop. What are your thoughts on this cultural phenomenon? Yay or nay? Or is there a place for it sometimes?
Like all technologies, Photoshop is not intrinsically evil, but in the wrong hands it has indeed become dangerous. It should simply be a wonderful tool for experimentation and creativity. The problem arises when we mistake the fantasies for reality. And the beauty industry is intentionally devious in this regard. It leads us astray, establishing impossible ideals and passing them off for truth. I think it would be great to have some kind of regulatory system for the use of Photoshop in advertising, but logistically it would be difficult. For now all we can do is educate and keep from being duped ourselves.
How do we ensure that the next generation of girls grows up with confidence and a strong sense of self when they receive so many messages telling them that they are not enough?
Girls need to know that their greatest assets are absolutely not physical ones. Let’s tell our girls how smart and capable they are. Let’s focus on how they treat others. Let’s be honest and open about the pitfalls of idealizing actresses and models – about how we only suffer as a result.
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Instagram Handle: @britt_markle
Twitter Handle: @designspectacle