I’m always curious if some women rise from birth feeling empowered and owning their body. What is so different in our paths, that somehow along the way of becoming a woman we don’t see the beauty we are. I’m wondering if it’s a comment by a rude boy you like in the 5th grade, or maybe the family obsession with weight that triggers a damaged identity or feelings of being incomplete. I am blessed to have had a childhood where I grew up with no magazines, very little access to the internet, and practically nonexistent social media, so in a way I was fortunate that I only had my friends to compare myself to. I can’t imagine being a young girl today, scrolling through social media feeds full of unrealistic beauty, filters, Photoshop, strategic angles, and an entire generation that wants to look like an Instagram model.
As someone who has worked in beauty for over 14 years, some of my most impactful memories are when I’ve worked with some very famous, powerful women in the industry (I won’t mention any names). One thing that has always stood out to me is how even when I would make them look incredible with my makeup and hair techniques, they would still focused on how they thought they looked fat, old, etc., which never matched up to what I saw in their photos. In their pictures, to me, they radiated beauty, legacy, and strength. It’s like we were both looking at a different picture because of our different perceptions.
On my journey of uncovering my own perceptions of beauty, I looked at a few things. If beauty is more than skin deep, how do we retune our mind to believe we are actual goddesses of the universe? How do we own our beauty? These are difficult questions to answer, but they’re questions I seek answers to every day, by setting my intentions to love and cherish my unique beauty.
Here is a little secret. I wasn’t always as confident as I appear to be now. I have a whole mantra I say before taking the stage, speaking in the clubhouse, or getting on camera: “I am one of a kind, born to make a difference, and live a life of dreams and goals coming true.” It’s a little self conversation I do that strengthens my journey to empowerment. It’s what takes me from living in my head, to reminding myself that I am a badass, and I have everything within me to create. I am the world, and the world is me.
I still remember being 17 years old, afraid to show my stomach even though there was nothing wrong with it. Later in my life, my belly became a place that held so much negative energy that it began to look abnormal, just showing that what you give energy to grows. Your thoughts are what create your reality.
My teeth were one of my biggest insecurities growing up. I can still remember being made fun of with horse sounds when I walked into a classroom, because I didn’t have perfect teeth and they were huge. I actually remember my cousins would call me “Eliza Thornberry” (shout out to everyone who remembers The Wild Thornberries)! Fast forward past that pain, past seven years of braces, and my body has grown to fit my teeth so well, I love my teeth so much. I love that they’re big and the first thing people see. I love how on camera they pop and are so white (Crest White Strips!). I can’t wait to tell my future daughter that it doesn’t matter what people make fun of you for, because it can become your superpower.
I’ve heard it said that, unconsciously, many people choose careers that speak to their personal, emotional self-journey, that without knowing it we often choose paths based on deep subconscious cravings. For example, a yoga teacher may be out of balance in their personal life, but they teach it to stay focused and aligned. I remember having a conversation recently about why I wanted to get into beauty, and was it because I didn’t feel beautiful or I wanted to change who I was with makeup? It’s crazy to believe this was my thought process in the past.
As I stand as the woman I am today, I’m proud of the journey I’ve taken to discover true inner beauty. My friend Alson Hoag, founder of The Image Journey and Authentic Beauty, speaks on how women actually stop looking in the mirror after a certain time in life. Women typically do this, she writes, because to them it’s not worth taking a peek when life is so heavy and you’ve spent so much time putting yourself last. I challenge all of you to stop this toxic self-shaming, to look in the mirror, and to celebrate yourself for who you are, and I hope that this post has inspired you to see yourself as beautiful now. Period! Not beautiful if you lose 10 lbs, or if you have a tan, or if you have makeup on: you are beautiful just as you are now.
Travel Is My Getaway to Me
Travel has shown me how to get outside my comfort zone, how to find beauty in moments that aren’t planned, and how to have full trust that I am exactly as I should be in this world, in this moment. It has allowed me to meet wondrous humans who have an unstoppable life force, an unexpected story to how they live their life, and how they operate in this reality to the beat of their own drum. Travel isn’t a place or a thing, it’s within; it’s the people you meet and the deep emotions you experience.
An example of this is a personal story of mine from my time in Hawaii. This moment that I’m about to share awoke something in me, and helped me remember that I am part of a lineage of global goddesses, from Irish to African descent.
The story is that I was on a flight to Maui when a woman caught my eye. She was dressed in white, with pops of pink. I was wearing my pink kurta, and would stare at her every time I went to the bathroom because I was mesmerized by her beauty. She was in her 70s with beautiful all white hair. As we landed and I made my way to the baggage claim, I had to stop her and tell her how beautiful I thought she was. She responded by saying, “I was thinking the same thing about you.” Our moment of friendship turned into an invitation, bringing us to an ancient mountaintop for a ritual she called “you know more.” Her idea was that, as humans, we know much more innately than we think we do. We held hands as we climbed this green mountain, and made our way to the top where there was a sacred peak of rock gatherings. We meditated and danced, calling to our ancestors who not only appeared in thought, but as reminders that we know more. It was all I ever needed to know that I am not alone, I am part of an embodiment of power that stems lightyears, and galaxies of strength, and womanhood. “I am” is the phrase that kept coming to me, representing how I wanted to live my life was up to me, that this was my personal story to write.
I am remembering who I am.
My first trip to Burning Man kicked my butt. How I had been living my life became apparent to the point of my not being able to walk or talk as I left my first Burning Man at 21 years old, but we’ll leave that story for another time, for now I want to share the memory of when I married myself.
A powerful concept that I learned in Hawaii is that we often forget how beautiful and how powerful we are. For many of us, we haven’t had the luxury of being allowed to live our truth from a young age, with many of us coming from traumatic or stressful periods of our lives when we felt invisible, unseen. If you are struggling with this, marrying yourself can begin your healing, to start you on a path of your true self.
My experience of marrying myself began by looking in the mirror and really seeing myself for who I was. Along with meditation came the chant, “I am remembering who I am,” a chant that echoed in a teepee tent of women standing for me to see myself. As I stood there, facing the mirror I started to cry as I remembered exactly who I was. An inner light bigger than my outside, a kind soul, and a gentle energy that trusted the flow of my existence comprised my being. I was struck by a deep awareness that this life and this body are all I have and all I know, so I better love and cherish it, because it’s the only time I’ll get to show up for it. It was this mental shift that allowed me to enter my power, and I’ve never looked back. It was at that moment when I knew I could aim as big as I wanted in this life, and I started Around The World Beauty shortly after.
I truly invite you to take a look in the mirror and commit to wholly loving your being, because you are seriously enough, you are absolutely beautiful, and you have a light that is unique to just you, so learn to shine it as bright as you can. This is your invitation to remember who you are.
Standing for Something + My Dream Brand
I recently told a room of people I was chatting with to be gentle with themselves. As someone who takes pride in working non-stop and loving what I do, I know what it feels like when you dont think it’s working for you. Have you ever felt like this? I know it’s partially the normal ups and downs of the emotional rollercoaster we’re all on, but lately I feel like there’s a pressure of not doing enough, often based on other’s agendas or expectations.
One thing I’ve learned is that as long as you are staying committed to your goals, that’s all you can do. Trust that you are on your own unique path, standing for something that matters to you. Your story, what you stand up for, is how you make your mark on this world, and without knowing it, you help countless others by not giving up.
As important as knowing what your goals are, I do believe it’s about consistency as well. I still have my questions, but in my experience the clearer I am on what makes me feel alive, the causes that I believe in, and what my non-negotiables are, the clearer I become as a person. It gives me confidence that I carry with me into every room and every conversation. Conversely, I don’t know everything, so I try to learn, to forgive, and to let go, so that those roadblocks don’t get in the way of bigger blessings. As a business owner, I know that without integrity and purpose, I can’t turn my dream life into a reality.
Without pure focus, nothing grows. You need to be absolutely committed to your vision to see it through. When was the last time you chose to win, and chose to commit 100% to getting what you wanted?
For me, the last time I focused in was my partnership with The Body Shop. I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve read all of Anita Rodderick’s books (thanks to my friend Alyson Hoag who sent them as gifts – love you lady!). I knew I wanted to be associated with The Body Shop brand in creating content and bringing awareness to their mission. I love that their brand stands for uniting the world through giving back, is free of animal cruelty, and is making a difference with where they products are sourced. As a bonus to their incredible mission, their products are amazing! I would like to get credit for making this happen, but as the story unfolds you’ll know there was definitely a little magic that stepped in. Blog post coming soon with how it all unfolded.
Do you ever see someone and say “I want that energy”? When someone’s vibe is so undeniable you just have to be a part of it. It only happens when you are in your power, and can authentically identify what you want in life. I truly believe that life doesn’t just happen around us, it’s the choices we make every day to show up or sit out. For me, my choice was simple: I chose a badass tribe, one that I’m inspired by everyday. It’s difficult to know where you’re going if you’re not expanding your conversations and seeing what’s possible. It’s time to level up ladies, and that’s in all aspects of our lives, including our tribe. I thank my circle for doing the unexpected even though it’s just a fierce neon blue eyeliner.
I’m still on my journey, but I can confidently say that self love will never come from a moisturizer or photo filter. It’s much deeper than that, it’s in your story, the challenges you’ve overcome, the vitality that you live with, and the dreams that you’re chasing. It’s in the unfolding of lessons, and uncomfortable conversations, moments, and heart breaks. Beauty does come in different levels. Do you ever meet someone whose attitude is absolutely contagious? Someone who, when they enter the room, they bring happiness? Beauty? Radiance? That is living in vitality and living in true inner beauty. As I reflect on another single Valentine’s Day, I know I’m the fisherman, not just the catch. I want to be inspired by my partner, inspired by their dreams, and have a next-level connection. Ultimately, whether you’re working on self-acceptance, your tribe, or your love life, always set your intentions to love yourself first.