Photography by Chris Thorn
I am a bubbly, outgoing, passionate, driven, young woman. I love fiercely and deeply. I believe in dreaming big and going after what you want. Gratitude and resilience are my best assets.
If you had to describe your RAW shoot in one word what would it be?
What surprised you most about the experience?
I am a super outgoing person but I was quite camera shy which I found surprising.
Beauty can be defined in so many ways. What is your definition of ‘beautiful’?
Beauty is quiet but undeniable self-assurance. It is integrity, courage and confidence wrapped in humility, sensitivity and compassion.
When do you feel most beautiful?
When I am singing and dancing naked in the shower…to Beyonce.
What part of aging scares you the most?
Losing the youthful features I’m acclimatized to like – firm butt, wrinkle free, boobs etc.
What part of aging is the most exciting?
Wisdom! With every year I feel more confident, experienced, calm, patient and full of love. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.
Have you ever felt pressure from men to look a certain way?
I don’t think so. The pressure I feel to appear a certain way is usually internal and/or from other women. Most of the time I am far more concerned about what women think of me than men.
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 always told me I was beautiful and to love myself, but I would see and hear the ways in which she did not accept herself or her body and I believe I have a very skewed sense of what my body actually looks like in part, as a result.
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?
Absolutely. Growing up I was always the only Black girl at school. I was subject to a lot of stereotypes and I can recall feeling like other people thought I was unintelligent simply because of my skin colour, from as young as 6. When I would open magazines, I would never see photos of women my colour and it made me feel as though I wasn’t beautiful and didn’t belong. It has taken years to get to a place where I feel confident enough in my self to realize that other people will judge me solely because I am Black and that has absolutely nothing to do with me. To any woman out there who feels judged, discriminated, oppressed by others because of her race – you are SO much more than the colour of skin, and I promise you the trials and tribulations you may face will only serve to make you a bigger, brighter, wiser and kinder version of yourself.
Have you ever had cosmetic surgery or treatments? Please share your thoughts on this.
I haven’t personally but I think there are times and places when certain surgeries or treatments would be acceptable so long as they are made from a place of love, compassion and understanding and not from fear, insecurity or scarcity.
Let’s talk Photoshop. What are your thoughts on this cultural phenomenon? Yay or nay? Or is there a place for it sometimes?
I think it is an evil, but one that will not change anytime soon. I think the best way we can deal with it is to make ourselves aware and to do our best to understand that it is an illusion and not something we need to buy into or compare ourselves to.
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?
Mentorship. More women need to take it upon themselves to reach out to and mentor younger generations. To promote open and honest dialogue about the trials and tribulations we all went through to help inform young girls that they needn’t go through the same thing, and to let them know that we are there for them if they are. We need to be honest about our own feelings about our confidence and our relationships with our bodies and encourage all women, young or old, to come together to expose the myths society feeds us and that we take on as truths about ourselves. There is so much strength in union.
Connect with Rachel:
Instagram Handle/ rayray3000
Twitter Handle/ rachel_ricketts