Photography by Catherine Lyle
Occupation: Product Manager
Describe yourself in under 100 words :
I am a dreamer and doer. I deliver results through hard work and passion. I want to inspire the world by creating content that means something; spreading art that feeds your mind, body and soul.
If you had to describe your RAW shoot in one word what would it be?
Beauty can be defined in so many ways. What is your definition of ‘beautiful’?
Someone who sees the beauty in life and allows that beauty to radiate out of him/herself and spreads it to others.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Right after a shower.
What part of aging scares you the most?
Regretting time wasted.
What part of aging is the most exciting?
Slowing down and being able to reflect on the life I’ve lived.
Have you ever felt pressure from men to look a certain way?
My entire life I’ve felt the need to look and act a certain way to please men. Interestingly enough, as soon as I gave up my insecurities and started doing things that make me feel happy/beautiful, more men than ever have started knocking on my door.
What kind of relationship did/does your mother have with herself in regards to beauty, confidence and self-love? Has this had any effect on you?
My mother was the head of her sorority and cheerleading squad. She defined herself in her early years by her looks and by the men she dated. I was chubby growing up and it was very hard for her not to have a daughter that followed in her physical foot steps. We now laugh about my awkward stage but there was a decade in my teens when I was very angry with her for telling me I needed to be thin rather than “healthy.”
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.
Have you ever struggled with confidence, body image or insecurities in your life?
I used to look in the mirror and suffer from vertigo. The mirror was my enemy. I was afraid of falling into it, afraid of allowing myself to be lured by what was inside. As a little girl, I was bullied – by my family and my classmates – for being fat. Now a 120 pound, size 2 woman in her mid-twenties, I still see the girl that was bullied when I look in the mirror. Emotions trump logic.
Until recently, I let beauty imprison me in every facet of my life. Romantic relationships were challenging because I was afraid to let someone else truly see me when I didn’t want to see myself. As a successful woman in the entertainment industry, I’ve often been discounted for being too pretty yet would be ignored if I was not pretty enough. Social media – from Tinder to Instagram to Facebook – is based on superficial likes and voyeurism. No one swipes right for someone they’re not physically attracted to. Ever.
I never doubted my mind but constantly questioned the worth of where it lived; my body.
This self disdain is draining. We all know this but most of us still choose self pain over gain.
So f*** it. The insecurities, the self-hate, the molds we try to fit into and the jealousy we feel for others.
I’ve decided that it’s time to fall in love with myself. In and out. With and without make up. My world is going to keep spinning no matter what so why not love the vessel I’m riding in? I am prioritizing the things I love about myself and putting effort into addressing (if I can change) and accepting (if I cannot change) my flaws. Examples below:
The Things I Love About Myself:
I am a passionate friend, lover and family member. I have a full heart and pour love into others.
I am a damn good marketer and a hard-working employee. One day, I will be a boss and a role model for my employees.
I’ve traveled the world and have experienced tragedy first hand. I understand what it means to be blessed.
My desire to control everything. I need to let myself fall and get back up again.
My need to please others before I please myself.
My thunder thighs. They will, however, come in handy in child birth.
The fake tooth I got from a fluke sharks and minnows game growing up.
This is what I’ve learned so far: The more you love yourself, the more others love you. When you become your own wingman, you become less reliant on the validation you get from others. I feel blessed to be a flawless mess and that raw confidence radiates. Now when I look in the mirror, I let myself fall in. I am finally seeing myself.
I have a fake tooth due to a fluke swimming accident but don’t plan to get any other forms of plastic surgery. I support plastic surgery as long as it’s a personal choice and not dictated by insecurities. I view it as a form of self expression, like a tattoo or hair color.
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?
We need to focus on telling women, girls, men and boys to focus on what they love about themselves rather than what they lack. None of us lack anything, our outlook is what makes us feel we lack something.
There are lots of women in music, television and on the big screen who are challenging Hollywood’s traditional definition of beauty and embracing a healthier, more natural look.
Do you think there is more or less pressure on the artists you work with to fit the mold?
I think that we are making steps in being ourselves in film and media. However, it’s going to be a long and ongoing battle. We must constantly focus on speaking our minds and challenging stereotypes.
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Twitter Handle: @clairebearcook