Photography by Chris Thorn
Occupation: Student, Model, Actress & Miss Charity BC 2014-2015
Describe yourself in under 100 words.
I am a determined girl who is motivated to achieve goals I have set forth for myself. Ambitions and dreams are what help me push myself further. Facing struggles in life has made me a stronger person. I find happiness in the simplest of things and take every single day as a privilege. I don’t take anything for granted and appreciate what I have. Spreading positivity and making people smile is what I aim to do each day. I love life, love my family and love to be loved.
If you had to describe your RAW shoot in one word what would it be?
What surprised you most about the experience?
This experience was unique and authentic. Unlike my other photoshoots, I was allowed to be completely natural. I was accepted for who I am and the way I truly look. It was heart warming to hear the photographer admire my shots and tell me I looked perfect. I wasn’t told what to do or how to pose. I was able to express myself in my own way. It was surprising to feel so free, comfortable and un-intimidated, which is the complete opposite from how I feel when I’m at other photoshoots. It was a pleasant feeling to be surrounded by people who were accepting, non-judgmental and uplifting.
Beauty can be defined in so many ways. What is your definition of ‘beautiful’?
Happiness, smiles, and laughter are beautiful. When I see an act of kindness, I find that person beautiful. People who choose self-love over self-judgment are beautiful. Embodying self-confidence and empowerment is beautiful. Anything that calms your soul and clears your mind, such as the sound of the ocean or watching the sunset, is beautiful. Beauty can be found everywhere.
When do you feel most beautiful?
I honestly feel most beautiful when I simply tell myself that I am truly beautiful inside and out.
What part of aging scares you the most?
Losing my loved ones and being alone.
What part of aging is the most exciting?
You gain more wisdom and life experiences each day. The thought of getting married and having kids one day is exciting too!
Have you ever felt pressure from men to look a certain way?
Yes! I do feel pressured at times because men usually look for an attractive woman and their perception of an attractive woman is usually of what they see on media. I’m always under the assumption that if I chose to be comfortable in my own skin in front of men, they would find me plain or unattractive because they already have an illusion of what a perfect woman should look like.
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 inspires me every day. Being an esthetician, skin care has always been her forte. She always shows confidence in natural beauty rather than covering it with make-up. By embracing her appearance she has shown me that she truly loves herself and by helping others she has encouraged them to love themselves. The effect that this has had on me is that I choose self-love over self-judgment, natural beauty as opposed to manufactured beauty. I also have a need within me to help others embrace their appearance, just like my mom.
It varies. I only purchase products when it’s really needed. I spend around $20 a month on my eyebrows, $20-$50 a month on cosmetics depending on what I need or what is finished, and $50 every 3 months on my haircut. Since my mom is an esthetician, I’m lucky enough to get skin care products from her. I also get waxing, manicures, pedicures, laser hair removal and other treatments done by her.
Have you ever struggled with confidence, body image or insecurities in your life? If yes, please share your story. If you have any advice for people going through the same thing please feel free to share your thoughts here.
Yes! I have faced struggles in life, especially with my body image. Throughout these struggles and experiences, I have learned the value of beauty, strength, and confidence and have tried my best to embody it as well. My greatest aspiration has always been to become a model and an actress. Being in the modeling and acting industry, you are pressured to look a certain way. My insecurities, such as my weight, were one of the factors that caused me to be hesitant. In my past, I had been called fat and ugly. While applying to modeling agencies, I dealt with rejection due to my size. I was told that I was “not good enough”. I insisted on continuing to try and never gave up. I worked independently, built a portofolio for myself and received offers to be part of local fashion shows. Eventually, I went from having no experience in modeling, to doing print work for local magazines and brochures. My first photo shoot led me to many opportunities. One of which was modeling for L’Oreal Paris Canada in their “Get the Look” video. After two years of building my portofolio, I was contacted by a modeling agency and signed with them. Recently, I was offered a lead role in a music video and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. To this day, I still have insecurities about my weight. However I’m focusing on being healthy and getting in shape, not becoming skinny. I believe in what I am, not what others say I should be. Looking back on everything I’ve accomplished until today, I’ve realized that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. You should follow your dreams, much like I am today. I was recently named Miss Charity BC 2014-2015! I may not be perfect by industry standards, but I am beautiful, just like you are.
Have you ever had cosmetic surgery or treatments? Please share your thoughts on this.
The thought of any kind of surgery frightens me! I’ve never had any cosmetic surgery and I don’t plan on it either. Although, I’ve had braces for three years and get laser hair removal done. Personally, I don’t think cosmetic surgery or treatments are necessary. I think women feel the need to get them done because they think society will treat them differently. You shouldn’t have to enhance or adjust your appearance to feel more accepted. You should love yourself the way you are. When you accept yourself the whole world will accept you.
Let’s talk Photoshop. What are your thoughts on this cultural phenomenon? Yay or nay? Or is there a place for it sometimes?
There is definitely a place for Photoshop, as long as it is being used for the right reasons. It’s unfortunate to see Photoshop being used the wrong way. It should be used to create art, not to enhance or adjust an individual’s body or appearance. What we see on television, magazines or social media is not real. They are false images that effect women to see beauty in an unrealistic way. These images also impact their own self-esteem and body image. I wish media would show real and natural body image more. Reality and true beauty is what we really need to see as a society.
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?
Movements like RAW Beauty Talks is an absolutely encouraging way to ensure the next generation of girls grow up with confidence and a strong sense of self. It allows society to witness real beauty. It is motivating and inspiring to see all these beautiful women come together and take part in this movement. When I first came across RAW Beauty Talks, I read my cousin, Nisha’s interview. It encouraged me to be comfortable in my own skin. I saw how beautiful she looked, even without makeup. In fact, ever since I participated in RAW Beauty Talks, I’ve been wearing less or no makeup and I feel great! Reading her RAW interview inspired me and I hope to inspire others as well.
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