Photography by Melissa Gidney
Occupation: Student/Blogger/Server/PR Intern/Stress Case!
Describe yourself in under 100 words.
I’m a little awkward and too hard on myself sometimes. I have roughly a million things I want to do in my life and there are never enough hours in a day to even make a dent in that list. I’m fully convinced that Beyonce has illuminati ties that give her super powers and perfect hair because there is no other way to explain it.
If you had to describe your RAW shoot in one word what would it be?
Nerve-wracking! I run to the store and go out to see my friends with no make up occasionally so I didn’t think being in front of camera au natural would be so scary but it was!
What surprised you most about the experience?
How much I enjoyed it. Stepping out of my comfort zone is something I need to do more of and I’m so glad I just went for it!
Beauty can be defined in so many ways. What is your definition of ‘beautiful’?
As cliché as it sounds, I think a person is beautiful when they’re beautiful inside. It shows in their smile I think. A really good person smiles at you and it makes you happy that they’re happy. Someone could look like the love child of Beyonce and Adriana Lima, but if everything they say and do is negative and hateful that’s all I see.
When do you feel most beautiful?
As horrible as it is, when people tell me I am. External validation is still something I need.
What part of aging scares you the most?
I’m scared of not being physically well. A lot of negative hereditary things run in my family, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, glaucoma etc. I’m afraid of getting old and being restricted in what I can do because of my health.
What part of aging is the most exciting?
I’m excited to see how everything unfolds! I’m young and there’s so much I want to do and so much I want to be, I can’t wait to just make it all happen.
Have you ever felt pressure from men to look a certain way?
When I was 13-14 years old I still carried a bit of baby fat. A boy my friend was dating at the time would call me Porkchops which was really devastating, especially at that age. There are a lot of things that people do without thinking that affect me, but that’s the one and only time I can think of when a guy seriously wounded my self-esteem on purpose. It still bothers me when I think about it, but I think now it bugs me because I wish I had the confidence to tell him off back then like I should have.
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?
I used to play with my mom’s make up when I was a little girl and that’s when I really developed a fondness for it, but she actually doesn’t wear any at all anymore. It’s funny, when I was little I thought that my mom was so beautiful and perfect and then I grew up and she has all these little hang ups about how she looks. She doesn’t like her body and she doesn’t like her wrinkles and sun spots but I just think she’s crazy and still beautiful. But it has made me more self conscious of the little things about my appearance, and I’m sure I’ll be singing a much different tune when it’s my turn to develop wrinkles and greys.
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.
Do I even want to think about this? Okay, I get a hair cut every 8 weeks so that’s about $70ish every two months. A modest projection of my clothing budget is about $100 a month, but throw in an emotional curveball and that’s out the window. I’m a big believer of retail therapy. I’d say my basic make up budget is around $300 per year for everything I use on a daily basis but I have poor impulse control when it comes to lipstick and nail polish so I probably spend $30 a month on just miscellaneous things. Laser hair removal was a godsent so I can tell myself I’m saving money on waxing when I’m buying another lipstick.
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.
Struggling with confidence, body image, and insecurities has been my entire life. I was painfully shy in elementary school to the point where I got pulled out of class for a weekly group meeting with a counselor. I think I was around 9 when I first started being really self conscious about my body and associating it with how much value I had as a person, and when I was 16 I started a series of diets that became a downward spiral into eating disorders. It was a really dark time in my life, and it took me a long time to realize the real reason I was unhappy. I didn’t dislike myself because I didn’t have a gap between my thighs, I disliked myself because I didn’t like myself. I wasn’t ever going to reach a magical number on the scale that made me feel like I was worth something and my life wasn’t going to get control of itself because I kept my daily caloric intake under 700.
It can be really hard to admit that to yourself because it’s basically letting go of the only form of happiness you’ve built up. When I was in really deep the only thing that made me happy was counting how many ribs I could see without sucking in my stomach. Admitting that it wasn’t real happiness was scary; letting go of that false sense of security meant I didn’t even have that anymore. The months that followed were the darkest times of life yet, but probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s given so much value to the real happiness I’ve found.
I don’t know if I have any real advice to give to someone going through the same thing because there’s no cure all that fits everyone. Everyone has a different struggle and different things that will make him or her whole. I guess I would just like them to know that whatever demons they carry with them don’t own them. Those things don’t define your character and while they may never fully go away, one morning you’re going to wake up and it won’t be a constant battle anymore. Take small victories where you can, lean on the people you trust and know that they love you because they see the worth in you even if you don’t at the moment.
Have you ever had cosmetic surgery or treatments?
No, my dad always offered to pay if I ever wanted to have the scar on my left cheek removed (I fell and hit my face on a sharp edge when I was learning to walk) but it doesn’t really bother me anymore. Plus I’m afraid of how much it would hurt! Maybe when I’m older I’ll get an eye lift or something like that, but what if it’s one of those things where I can’t stop once I start and I end up being a horror story people tell their children to stop them from getting plastic surgery? Like when your parents told you your face would get stuck when you made a face but with nose jobs and botox.
Let’s talk Photoshop. What are your thoughts on this cultural phenomenon? Yay or nay? Or is there a place for it sometimes?
I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon, but as consumers are becoming more savvy and educated I do think organizations will have to cut back on it a little, which will be nice! Sometimes they go overboard to the point where the models don’t even look human anymore.
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?
I think it starts with education. What Raw Beauty Talks is doing is so important because I always think that maybe if I had something in my life that made me think about all that I am and all that I could be instead of what I’m not, maybe things would have been different. The worse part about teaching girls that they’re not enough is that you teach them that other girls aren’t enough either. It breeds this horrible culture where women tear each other down all the time, and for what? It doesn’t make you feel better to make someone feel worse. It validates the action of the people who have belittled you when you indulge in this vicious cultural cycle we’ve created. Competitiveness is a normal human instinct, but when you look at someone who’s successful you shouldn’t want to bring them down to your level, it should inspire you to pull yourself up to theirs.
Instagram Handle: @moooonpies
Twitter Handle: @NoelleLam