Photography by Melissa Gidney
Occupation: Fashion Professional and Lifestyle Blogger
I love to laugh and I also love to cry. I’ve been told that I’m very humble and maybe too humble for my own good. I dislike confrontation but have become more confrontational for good reasons. I’m a loyal person until you give me reason not to be. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m ok with that.
If you had to describe your RAW shoot in one word what would it be?
Beauty can be defined in so many ways. What is your definition of ‘beautiful’?
Being as authentic as you can to your self and living your life with as much integrity as possible.
When do you feel most beautiful?
In a perfect world, I’d like to answer it this way: “I feel beautiful everyday, inside and out. Every day I get to wake up to a new day, I feel beautiful”.
Now here’s the honest answer: “Physically, I don’t feel ‘beautiful’ every day. I feel most beautiful when I’m having a ‘good’ day with my skin (meaning no major break outs), as well when I’m not feeling ‘bloated’ (meaning, when I’m not on my period and I didn’t just stuff my face with a selection of fine cheeses the night before). However, on the inside, I feel most beautiful when I can make someone else feel good, feel loved, and feel important. When I make someone else feel good about themselves, I feel beautiful”.
What part of aging scares you the most?
The only part of aging that scares me the most is not being able to get everything I want to do, DONE.
What part of aging is the most exciting?
Being able to create new life experiences, memories and learning more about myself.
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’d say I average in a month, between $50 – $100 and I’m proud that I’ve gotten this down to a very manageable amount. When I was in my teens and 20’s this number was probably doubled or tripled!
Have you ever struggled with confidence, body image or insecurities in your life?
I was raised by immigrant parents and grew up in predominantly “all white” schools up until high school, so I compared myself physically a lot to my non-Chinese friends. I was young and didn’t know better and I didn’t want to be different. I wanted to be just like my other “white” friends. I went through a period of time finding ways to “change” my appearance because what was sold to me as “beautiful” was having a tall lean slender body, blue eyes, light colored hair and sun kissed skin. I went out and bought colored contacts, I would streak and color my hair and I visited the tanning beds frequently (big mistake and paying for it now). I wanted the bigger boobs, the thinner thighs, but most of all I really wanted to be taller. I basically just described Barbie.
Later in my senior year, it all began to change. My circle of friends became more diverse and different ethnic backgrounds were celebrated and this really made me appreciate my heritage and culture more. In turn, I had better self-confidence in my “physical” appearance and accepting myself as is.
It’s a little different now as Vancouver has become such a multi-cultural city and the kids growing up today will have a completely different experience in school now. The only advise I can give is this: Be proud of your heritage and honor your cultures traditions when you can. Don’t ever loose this part of yourself and be proud of it. Even though I was made fun of in school when my mom used to pack rice, veggies and chopsticks in my lunch box, I’m thankful she did.
I’m proud to say, I’ve never had any cosmetic surgery done but I have thought about it. As I mentioned in the previous question, I’ve always wished I had a bigger this and smaller that…however the way I see it, I’m not going under the knife unless it was a life or death situation.
Some of my girl friends talk a lot about body image and their faces and what they think they need done to them, (the ones reading this right now, you know who you are). They are constantly complaining about the one zit they got on their forward, the 2 wrinkles they have on the side of their mouth, the cheeks that need to be skinnier, the chin that needs to be pointier, the bags under the eyes that need to be less baggier…The list can go on and on and on.
This is what my girl friends don’t think about when they are doing this. They are all feeding into each other’s insecurity by putting the emphasis on the need to “fix”. It’s human nature to compare your self with others, so the conversation needs to change to one that is more positive.
I encourage my younger friends to do the 5 year check in. During these major age milestones, check in with yourself before you decide to go under the knife or before you start Botox-ing when it’s absolutely not necessary. Trust me, from ages 25 to 30 to 35 to 40 and onwards, you will think differently.
Let’s talk Photoshop. What are your thoughts on this cultural phenomenon? Yay or nay? Or is there a place for it sometimes?
Listen, the industry I work in is completely staged however I do feel there is a balance that needs to happen. I say there is a place and time for Photoshop. I can’t sit here and completely say I am totally against it. I don’t think bodies should be altered to the point where the model is going from a size 4 to a zero because it’s absurd. However if a piece of lint on the coat needs to be photo-shopped out to make the image more esthetically pleasing, sure.
How do we ensure that the next generation of girls grow up with confidence and a strong sense of self when they receive so many messages telling them that they are not enough?
As an adult, lead by example and don’t be scared to have open and honest conversations with your kids. I wasn’t allowed to wear make up until I was 16 years old. My parents set this rule with a “just because we say so” attitude and never had discussions about self-awareness and self-image. The beauty industry is what it is because they sell the idea of perfection for the imperfect. There needs to be more emphasis on ‘less is more’. Make up and other beauty products will always be on the shelf, we can’t avoid it. Girls at a very young age need to be shown and taught by the people they look up to (parents, teachers, mentors) that the emphasis should be placed on everything else besides “physical looks”.
When you were 5 what did you want to be when you were older?
Wow, I can’t really remember to be honest. I just remember loving to dance as well as loving to draw.
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