So this past weekend, I did something that isn’t in my wheelhouse: a photoshoot where I was the model. I know that is what the “influencer” life is all about, churning out content that is rather self-indulgent. However, in typical Ammachic fashion, the themes shot focused on specific messages. It was meaningful because some of my favorite ladies helped me bring it to life! I will be unveiling it in a couple of weeks and excited to share it with you all.
The wonderful Arfana Jasar of @becauseeyeliner (http://www.arfana.com/home.html) graciously offered up her genius and did my hair and makeup. She is probably one of the most talented artists I’ve worked with and I’m proud to call her a friend. Also, she is a fellow Malu! So obvi Malu women creatives coming together and collaborating: I am here for it (go book her right now for your next event, I mean it). After she blessed my face (refer to picture above), I couldn’t stop staring at myself because I am not used to looking that good. I mean, God Bless Arfana and the power of makeup.
After the craziness of the shoot and running around Jersey City, I had a long drive back to the Island of Long, and I took some time for introspection. All day, I had my girls and my wonderful crew compliment me and hype me up on how I was looking. Because trust and believe, your girl was out here slaying. But, I am not used to such compliments about my face and I don’t really associate myself with the word “pretty”. I gotta be honest, there were moments where I was uncomfortable. These days, with social media and this culture of likes and seeking validation, I started thinking about what it means to be pretty.
See, growing up, I recognized quite early on that I wasn’t considered a looker; I am dark-skinned, so by Indian standards, that disqualifies me from being labelled pretty. I was always known as the smart one, so I just focused on being just that. My intellect is what I valued over my looks. So, as a result, I never really put much thought into my face or taking pictures of myself. I think I just conditioned myself to believe that I don’t really need pictures of myself, because what is there to look at?
I can’t really say it's a feminist thing, where I am trying to act like looks are hurting the movement for equality; it is just me. It is so hard for me to accept that I could be pretty. I always know when an outfit of mine is on point, but I very rarely feel the same about my face. I always just look at myself in the mirror and go, “well, this is as good as it gets”. I think I said the same thing on my wedding day. I am always the first one to let another woman know how beautiful she is looking, but I don't reciprocate that for myself. I can’t be the only one like this, right? I’m sure there are fellow sisters who relate. I realize that I am putting myself down because I can’t associate myself with pretty. And that is more than a little messed up.
We as women have to learn how to love ourselves and define pretty for ourselves. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. It is so exciting to be witnessing this changing landscape of standards, to see diversity celebrated, and to see women that look like me being lauded as models. BUT, only I can make me love me (that may not be grammatically correct). Self love is something I am striving for, so I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I am out here confronting how I treat myself! It is not easy and there will be a lot of hard truths that I will have to face along the way. It starts with honesty and, honestly, I can do better for myself.