In honour of International Women’s Day we went behind the walls of the LUSH headquarters in Vancouver, BC to talk to some of the fierce females that work there about beauty, pride and what they’d like to say to other women. We also photographed them without make-up, photo retouching or filters to allow their natural beauty to shine and to showcase real women doing some really cool things. Because we believe that’s worth celebrating.
Read their beautiful answers then help us create a better world for the next generation of girls & boys by signing our #LessIsMore petition.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// I was fortunate enough to be raised by a family that encouraged me to be myself. I was never expected to be or act in any particular way based on my gender, and as a result I’ve grown to understand that when the stereotypical stipulations of society is taken out of the equation, women are free to define themselves, and there is a great deal of power in that revelation.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// I like my eyes because they’re grey, so they appear to change colour depending on what I’m wearing. I’m also destined to need glasses one day, and I can’t wait to pick out the frames!
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I receive a compliment from a child. I have a hard time receiving compliments, but when a kid compliments me I don’t doubt it for a second, because kids call it like they see it. A kid will be the first person to tell you when you look haggard, so when a child says something nice I know they mean it sincerely, and it really resonates.
The best compliment I ever received was at Disneyworld. I was washing my hands in a bathroom and noticed the little girl beside me staring at me in the mirror. I smiled at her and before I left she stopped me to ask- “Are you a princess getting ready?” I will never ever forget that moment. It was the best.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is to be supportive of one another. I don’t feel as though I’m in any position yet to give another woman advice- I still have so much to learn myself- but it is so easy to judge in this society where women are so frequently pitted against one another, and I think it shows a great deal of character and class to be able to withhold judgment, to remain open and supportive.
Beyond that, get to know yourself. Spend some time- a lot of time- alone. Read, write, walk, think. You don’t always need to have someone else- you don’t always have to be part of a group- you’re enough. You’re a whole human being, you’re already complete, and you should spend your entire life getting to know yourself. I’d say “be yourself” but you can’t until you know yourself. So take the time to get to know you. Make time for yourself, ask yourself questions, and learn what makes you happy.
Ask for what you want and be bold.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// everyone has dignity, and I’m no exception. I didn’t choose to be a woman, and I don’t have a particular pride attached to my gender in much the same way I was born unconsciously a Canadian and don’t feel any strong sense of patriotism. I’m proud of transgendered women whose journeys aren’t as simple as my own, having simply developed into who I am physically with acceptance, and without having to struggle against a cultural current or justify myself as a woman.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is that those around me see me differently than I see myself, and my fiancé knows my face more completely than I do, which is for me essentially invisible – I guess I like that it’s subjective, and knowing my appearance exists in someone’s memory as a completely separate entity that I have no control over. I like the freedom of that.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// of how strong we are, sometimes without even realizing it. Nothing compares to the endurance of a woman!
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is my olive skin tone. I absolutely hate foundation and only put it on if I absolutely have to, so having an even skin tone is awesome! No need to put makeup on!
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I dance. I have been a Latin, Ballroom and Hip Hop dancer for over 15 years and the stage is my home. Dancing makes me feel confident, beautiful and strong. Nothing compares to it. I can be having the worst day imaginable and forget about it immediately the second I step out on that dance floor.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is to define themselves according to their own rules, belief system and agenda. No matter how antisocial, taboo or wacky those may seem, they belong to each one of us and are what makes us whole. Never forget that and never turn your back on what makes you the beautiful human being that you are today.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// we are so full of potential and complexity.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is my eyes.
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I am comfortable, relaxed, happy and laughing.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is that beauty is trusting, loving and being confident in yourself. People who are happy with themselves in body and mind radiate beauty.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// I am a woman, I didn’t choose this path for myself, it is just who I am. The definition of proud doesn’t resonate with me in a sense of who I am as a human, whether man or woman. I am certainly happy to note some people who’s behaviors and lives have impacted woman and the future lives of women: Rosa Parks, Annie Besant, Eleanor Roosevelt, Coco Chanel, Susan B Anthony.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is it’s always evolving, changing based on situation and circumstance.
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL// during that moment right before sleep or right when the first light of the morning and the warmth of the sun kisses your eyelids.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// You can’t help how you feel. Always forward, never straight.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// growing up with Trichotillomania challenged and developed my personal beliefs on my own beauty to the core. I shaved my head for 31 years to cope with the effects of Trichotillomania. I feel it was a blessing that gave me the perspective that I counted and could survive because I could be a human being and my gender secondary. I’m happily almost nearly pull free and I’ve grown my hair back for the 1st time in 17 years.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is that although my eyes are blue grey, my right eye is a third brown. My beautiful art nouveau styled tattoos come in a close 2nd.
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I’ve helped someone who needs a hand.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is all the things that make you unique are special and beautiful. You can even decide that what you may think may be a flaw can actually be something intrinsically beautiful. In fact, it usually is what ends up making you the most beautiful is your unique features and life experiences. Celebrate and say thanks for your “flaws”. They can be magical gifts.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// it means I am someone’s daughter, sister, aunt, wife, and (one day if I choose to) I’ll bring a life into this world and be a mother.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is my confidence.
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I’m laughing.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is be different, be smart, be unique, be you. It’s perfectly imperfect.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// I was raised to always seek equal opportunities.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// that it doesn’t define me. Sure there are some days when I ‘look better’ than others and there are occasions when I enjoy making an effort to look my best, but I’m the exact same person regardless of my hair, my body shape or my outfit.
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I’m happy. The best possible makeover is a good mood!
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is the same as to all folks; your beauty is not defined by your external appearance.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// there are so many strong, powerful, confident, accomplished women that have helped raise me: I feel honoured to get to be one, too!
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is probably my smile
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// when I’ve had a good night sleep. Feeling like I’m taking care of myself goes a long way.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is to let yourself feel. So many women I know feel guilty for not feeling “the right way” about something. Let go, and feel what you feel. It’s OK.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// as a woman, I demand change as I evolve, but continue so stay true to my emotions and the passions that drive me. I am proud that as women, we have come a long way despite the obstacles we face! We know the road ahead is a continuing challenge but we face it with strength and unity while staying true to our individuality.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is that it’s reflection of every member of my family. I share my nose with my sister and my eyes with mom. Each feature holds me closer to someone the means the world to me and that’s a connection I’ll never want broken.
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I’m laughing. Happiness and laughter isn’t something that can be easily masked. When a person is truly laughing, they are letting go of all the stress and strings that hold them down.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMAN// is be yourself – trying to conform to what others want from you will never give you the space to be as strong as you can be!
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// it took me a long time to understand, due to outside influences like media when I was a kid, that being a woman is being human, much more than the stereotypical the roles I saw imposed. That shift in understanding allows me to not be defined by my gender, but able to appreciate it.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is my nose, its a family trait, so it makes me think of some of my favourite people.
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I’m happy and when I feel engaged with other people and ideas.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is that humans are complex, and that means we can never be defined by any one thing.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// There are many reasons why I am proud to be a woman. One of them is that I like to prove people wrong. There is an perception of women being weak and not being able to succeed in the same ways in society and it is empowering to know that we have the power to break through any glass ceiling that we come in contact with.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// My eyes. I feel like I have kind eyes that make me approachable/welcoming. They are how I get people to tell me their secrets (jk!).
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I am being kind and helping others. There is just nothing like the feeling you get after helping someone in need.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// We are often our own worst critics and it can be hard to get out of your own head. My message to other women is to be kind to yourself and to treat yourself the way you wish to be treated.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// it is who I am. Like any other facet of me, being a woman is intrinsically part of how I experience and interpret the world.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is my eyes. Depending on the day, they can be green, grey or blue, but always manage to express more than I can say with words alone.
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I am swimming. There is something magical about feeling weightless, with cool water flowing all around you. And, who doesn’t want to be a mermaid, if only for a moment.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is to remember to pay attention to your thoughts, as the patterns you set in your mind can construct your view of the world. Keep your thoughts of yourself and those around you positive, and the world will respond with beauty and compassion. Let’s be kind to ourselves and each other.
I’M PROUD TO BE A WOMAN BECAUSE// we are pillars of strength and support. We share our feelings and are never afraid to show what is most important to us.
MY FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MY APPEARANCE// is that I represent two parts of the world. Being half Thai and half English, I signify that countries and cultures can find peace being combined as one.
I FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN// I am surrounded by the loved ones in my life. My family and friends are a reflection of me and the love I have for each one of them.
MY MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN// is you can’t always have everything you want, but you can have what’s most important to you.
Join the conversation by sharing a pic on social media without make-up, retouching or filters and answer one of the questions below. Don’t forget to tag @RAWBeautyTalks and include the hashtag #RAWxLUSH!
1. What makes you proud to be a woman?
2. What is something you like about your appearance?
3. When do you feel most beautiful?
4. What is your message to other women?
Help us create a better world for the next generation of girls & boys. Please sign our #LessIsMore petition.