Photography by Chris Thorn
Occupation: Actress/Business owner
Describe yourself in under 100 words :
I am seeker…. A self-driven entrepreneur trying to figure out how to lead the most meaningful, joyful life, and impassioned to inspiring others to do the same. I love working with people, whether it’s on set or in the studio as an actor, or in a workshop where people are striving to be better and make a palpable difference in this world. Helping people achieve their personal successes is one of my greatest joys and I am willing to do whatever it takes to help them make that happen!
Why did you decide to participate in the RAW photo shoot?
I whole-heartedly agreed with Erin’s observations of how women are portrayed in the media and how women are taught to strive to reach the most unrealistic of standards. I think the more women who own their raw beauty—inside and out—the more empowered women can be, especially the young and impressionable ones.
What surprised you most about the experience?
What surprised me most was that all the women (those going before and after me) still looked so stunning. I said to a few, “Are you really not wearing any makeup?” They were shocked. Everyone has their own “thing” they are self-conscious about, but no one else ever notices or cares.
What is your definition of ‘beautiful’?
I associate this word with someone’s essence—their spirit. A beautiful person is someone who radiates joy, who is loving with themselves and others. That beauty radiates through their eyes and can light up a room. I have seen traditionally “beautiful” women with nice bone structure, or whatever, who have a super negative attitude, or are mean or something, and that initial “beauty” seems to fade instantly.
Have you ever felt like you weren’t beautiful? If yes, when does this feeling usually come up?
I definitely struggled with that as a teenager. I was super awkward and had braces, and big glasses. I could never get my bangs to do “the wave” in the ‘90s. I was trying to fit in and failed miserably. I think now that I am more grounded in myself and self-loving, I don’t have that same drive to impress others. Sometimes I will feel physically unattractive with a huge pimple or something, but it doesn’t limit me too much.
What things (if any) are you most insecure about?
Sometimes it bothers me that my boobs aren’t exactly the same, or when I get dark circles under my eyes.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Usually when I get out of yoga or when I finish an intensive where I do a lot of personal, introspective work. My face looks softer and I feel very grounded and connected to myself.
Has your appearance ever held you back in life or conversely helped you?
Yes. As a teenager when I went through what I thought was my “ugly duckling” phase. I definitely didn’t put myself out there as much as I would now. As I grew up and “came into my own,” my looks did the opposite where I could get shit for free, being a pretty, young woman. That seemed liked a bonus at the time, but this was really just the flip side of the same issue where I learned that being attractive seemed to get you stuff, but really it just lowered my self esteem because I didn’t strive as hard to earn things properly, but just to be attractive (hence my choice to fix my nose).
What part of aging scares you the most?
Having my skin change—getting wrinkly and saggy.
What part of aging is the most exciting?
Becoming wise and worldly, to be seen and valued for my knowledge as opposed to my body or face. Oh! To stop dying my hair! To go grey and own that.
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.?
I colour my hair at least once a month, which is about 90 bucks.
I also thread my eyebrows every 2 weeks. That’s $12.
And pedicure every month in the warm months. About 45 bucks. That’s $147.
I RARELY buy new makeup, and never self tan. But I do spend a lot of money on awesome face cream—all natural, plant-based, blah blah blah. I have no idea how much for that! A few hundred dollars twice a year I am guessing.
Have you ever had cosmetic surgery or treatments?
Yes! When I was studying theatre in university I had a breathing issue that I discovered in a voice class. The teacher recommend I see an ENT (Ears, Nose, Throat) doctor who suggested I fix my deviated septum AND change the shape of my nose at the same time. While I had never liked my nose (since I got punched in the face at summer camp when I was 12, which is a whole other story!), I had never considered changing it. But after the doctor suggested that, I became obsessed with noses, and how mine could be better and how that was probably the root of my unhappiness. I ended up getting the surgery. I try to not have regrets in my life, but sometimes I see women with a really distinct nose and wish I hadn’t changed anything. My only advice to anyone considering something like that is to really dig deep and do some personal work first. I did this surgery when I was so young, I barely knew myself. I would hope that women could understand that changing yourself to fit a mold will not only NOT fulfill happiness but will also draw the wrong kind of attention (ie: with a boob job) and not the kind of relationship that I think most women ultimately want. That’s just my personal opinion and have many friends who have done all sorts of things, and don’t love them any less… I would just encourage more women would love themselves for who they are, naturally.
Who is the most beautiful woman in the world to you and why?
I know this is cheesy, but my mother. She has undergone so many physical challenges in her life and never ceases to work on her self to be the most consistent, compassionate, principled person she can be. She gives the best hugs and always seeks to see the best in people. Her bravery and inner strength is true beauty to me.
If you woke up every morning feeling confident, content and proud of your natural appearance (before putting on make-up, doing your hair, getting dressed etc.) how would your world be different? What would that feel like? Would your day unfold differently?
Well, I would certainly have more time, and more mental space to work on deeper issues rather than to strategize outfits in my head. I think I would also be able to connect with other people on a more meaningful level instead of focusing on superficial content with them.
If you could give a 16-year old girl a piece of advice in regards to beauty, confidence or self love what would you say?
In addition to my thoughts above on plastic surgery, I would advise young women to make a commitment to not read trashy gossip magazines and to find a reading/news source that’s inspiring and positive. I would encourage a 16-year-old to only surround herself with people who are kind and supportive. No time for “mean girls,” perhaps by finding a community of like-minded women who are more introspective and can teach her tools to discover and know herself. Ultimately, I would want her to be able to love herself and enter adulthood as strong and as potent as she could be. I also think building deep, meaningful friendships with other women, is far under-valued in our society. We need to come together as women to support each other, and uphold the profoundly unique and necessary traits we have to offer the world. I truly believe women have the power to nurture and inspire the best in humanity, but we have to drop our petty comparisons and competitiveness first. I’m part of a wonderful women’s organization that seeks to explore and evolve precisely these issues, both on an individual and global level.
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Twitter Handle: sarahjedmondson
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