In February, I hosted a project called The Real Me Photoshoot.
Provide women a chance to be photographed with zero makeup.
For some, it was an exercise in vulnerability. Many of the women never venture out bare-faced. For others, it was simply a challenge. Could they be brave enough to participate in a photoshoot (already a daring undertaking by itself if you hate being in front of the camera) without a stylist and make-up artist? Could they overcome their own insecurities and not care about what others thought? And still for others, it was an opportunity to tell their story, as I also did a brief interview with each one during the shoot.
Am I declaring war on makeup?
No way! I am absolutely NOT against make-up, and don't intend that to be a driving force of this project. Wear make-up, don't wear make-up, it's not a reflection of your bravery or strength either way. Women are brave in multitudinous ways; I dare not limit it to the issue of make-up.
But these are the faces we wake up to each morning.
And when we look in the mirror before we apply makeup, what do we see? Overall, are we kind to the naked face staring back at us? If we aren't, if we're overly critical of our features and our aging bodies, I think it becomes easy for that sense of self-rejection and shame to spill into other areas of our lives.
"Keep unmasking the world about you."
It's a practice. Being gentle with our whole selves, what we say and how we see ourselves, is a daily practice. Knowing that your heart and your spirit and your mind and your savy and your humor and your confidence if placed on a scale in a big pile with outward appearance being on the other end, would substantially outweigh it in importance.
The loudest criticism always comes from within.
If we can learn to quiet that voice, to call it a liar when it whispers untruths, then no one else's voice will matter.
As I release the photos from The Real Me Photoshoot each Monday for the next few months, I hope the women will see themselves as we all see them...beautiful, significant, important, and capable. And that these things would swallow the other words like wrinkles, circles, blemishes, etc.