Photography by Melissa Gidney
Occupation: Fashion Stylist
Describe yourself in under 100 words.
Entrepreneur, socialite, fashionista living in wanderlust spreading positive energy like pixie dust.
If you had to describe your RAW shoot in one word what would it be?
What surprised you most about the experience?
Since I am constantly producing and styling photo shoots I have a lot of experience on set. It was amazing to see how fast and efficient the photos were taken when everyone wasn’t fixing things to make them look perfect.
Beauty can be defined in so many ways. What is your definition of ‘beautiful’?
Beautiful for me has never been physical, it is a state of being. Due to my experiences growing up being the ugly, overweight kid, left out and bullied by the cool pretty girls, I have never viewed beauty on a surface level. My mother always compared me to a butterfly. Like a caterpillar, one day I was going to grow up and be a beautiful butterfly coming out of my cocoon. My gift would be to treat everyone equally, and never judge or treat anyone poorly due to physical appearances. Its actually been a driving force behind my career in the fashion and beauty industry. Helping others find what’s beautiful and special about themselves and bringing it out through personal style, which ultimately creates confidence.
When do you feel most beautiful?
When I am laughing.
What part of aging scares you the most?
Having less energy and possibly issues with my health due to serious injuries in the past.
What part of aging is the most exciting?
EVERYTHING!! I have always wanted to grow up. I have always had older friends and big dreams so finally experiencing all my hard work turn into success is the most exciting thing I could imagine.
Have you ever struggled with confidence, body image or insecurities in your life? If yes, please share your story. If you have any advice for people going through the same thing please feel free to share your thoughts here.
I have always been confident even in the worst of times. Body image and insecurities, absolutely, that’s part of being human. The difference is that I have never let them control me. When I was 15 I went through a windshield, my nose was removed, and my left cheek broken and ripped open with glass, skin removed, lips bit off, 2 holes in my face and nerve damage so my face sags. They thought I would never be able to move it at first. It took a year for all the glass to come out. I also broke my hip so I expected to live my life walking with a cane or a limp. It was horrible being that age, just starting to wear makeup, having boyfriends and I looked like Freddy Kruger. I healed miraculously well, which I attribute a large part to my supportive friends and family, and a positive attitude. I have scars on my cheek and in photos I see imbalance.
Oddly, 15 years later I slipped and fell breaking my foot off my leg. One plate and 9 screws to hold my foot on my leg. Again, faced with walking with a limp or cane for the rest of my life ended up being the least of my concerns. The hospital used stainless steel rather than titanium without telling me. I am highly allergic to nickel, which caused a reaction through my whole body that lead to a staph infection on my face causing it to deform. I was forced to remove the metal, which was actually dangerous given the severity of my break. Interesting and humbling reminder of past experiences and that I should not attach my identity to my appearance.
Have you ever felt pressure from men to look a certain way?
Of course, all woman do. A lot of men focus heavily on female companions as a prize so to speak. The truth is the man you really want won’t care about minor details because he appreciates all the pieces that make you the woman you are. When he doesn’t want to change you then you have found the one.
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?
Well, she has all of those and she has passed them onto me. My mother is 63 and actually looks better than when she was 43. She has always been confident, beautiful and full of love. If anyone ever questioned how she looked, she would analyze it, and recognize it was their insecurities not her problem. Jealousy is the root of most problems between woman and people in general. If it wasn’t for all her teachings growing up I would not be the woman I am today.
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.
Hmmm…not sure but I do it all and I love it. I do it for pleasure not necessity. Playing dress up is so much FUN!
Have you ever had cosmetic surgery or treatments? Please share your thoughts on this.
Aside from reconstructive surgery of my face after going thru a windshield at 15, no, not anything by choice. My body rejects pretty much everything that isn’t natural. Also, I don’t think it looks good and I don’t like what it feeds society, which is false concept of beauty and aging. I love being unique and these surgeries or treatments seem to make people look the same. Almost like robots or mannequins. A lot of these treatments seems to be done for the wrong reasons.
Let’s talk Photoshop. What are your thoughts on this cultural phenomenon? Yay or nay? Or is there a place for it sometimes?
Tough question as I use it all the time for my editorials. My personal photos don’t have much done but I love it to create my art.
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?
This is heavily based on the parents raising the children. Given my experiences I would probably be anorexic with tons of plastic surgery had it not been for both my parents instilling confidence and love constantly, and also not being afraid to discuss it from a young age.