More than just models header

Love

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When did love become all about finding it in someone else?
Don’t get me wrong I am all for it, I’m not one of those “anti relationship, couple haters” But there has been something weighing on my mind as of late.

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My family and a fluffy bunny = perfect!

 

All across Magazine Covers/My Facebook feed I keep seeing articles pop up. “How to find the man/woman of your dreams.” “Tips to stay in love with that special someone.” “You’ll never be someone if you’re unmarried by 35.”
Ok that last one I may have made up. But how many times have you been force fed this bullshit that your life just isn’t complete without finding a boyfriend/girlfriend or that the whole point to “being” is to find your soulmate?
Full disclosure, I am happily in a relationship so i’m not writing this from a single’s ranting point of view.
Rather I want to point out that the phrase “Love of my life.” doesn’t always have to refer to another human being.
What about hobbies? Your job (shouldn’t we all love our jobs?), stories, food, fluffy baby animals.. Oh I could go on with the things that I love in life.
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In KL with a long lost friend.
Rewind to six years ago. I was having the time of my life. I didn’t feel like I needed to eat or drink, I could live off the excitement. I felt I could run kilometres without having to rest. Or dance forever. I wanted to shout from the rooftops how i felt.
Sounds a lot like being in love, right?
Except that I was in love with being in a new country. I had found my place, my people, my music, my food, my lifestyle. I haven’t stopped feeling this way ever since!

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partying with friends for my birthday

What I’m trying to say is find love in everything, not just other people (although that is awesome). Find it in little things, sunset/sunrise, rain, a good meal, meeting new friends, seeing a great film, hearing incredible music, traveling to new places… the list is endless.
When you start living like that, everything else is easy!

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Fat squirrel, can life get any better?

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New York State Of Mind

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Old familiar feelings flooded back the minute I stepped onto the dark and gritty pavement at my feet. I inhaled taking in the scent of a city of 8 million people, the different cultures, dreams, and ambitions all mixed into one.
Hot dogs. that was my first thought.. or rather the first thing I caught a whiff of. Strangely enough it reminded me of being on the island in the south of Thailand. The humidity combined with the recognizable scent of generator fuel and cooking seemed to all meld into a vision of the tropical islands I had once traipsed barefoot on the silver sands.
I opened my eyes, instead of palm trees lazily fanning themselves in the wind there were huge buildings that rose from the ground stretching high up into the sky.
Night time, glittering lights beckoned us, almost insisting that we come out and play. This was not my first time in New York city and it certainly can’t be counted as the last.
I will always wonder if it will feel like this each time. Bleary eyed, staring in wonderment at the grandeur of the sprawling city. The building seemed to go on and on forever. Standing on 5th Ave there looked to be no end to the city, the new intertwined with the old.

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This trip was different from the first time there. (that story is perhaps for another day or maybe for never.)
Friends from all corners of the earth flew in, we met up and hit the ground running. After a week of being there I felt like I had walked the distance of the earth. My feet were weary but my mind wanted to see and do more.

From day one we saw all the typical tourist traps. Ground Zero was completely sobering and calming at the same time. All around foreigners and New Yorkers alike, shared their stories of where they were that ill-fated day.
Water poured in thunderous proportions, flowing deep into the darkness at the bottom of the memorial.

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After that we moved onto the flat iron building, 5th avenue, Rockerfeller centre, Times Square, Chelsea Markets, Highline, Grand Central station, Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg restaurants, Central park. Tick, tick, tick, slowly the list was being completed and yet we did so much more.
The humidity and clear skies remained glorious for the entire trip. I could have sworn it was all turned on just for us.

I practically bolted into the New York Library. The last time I had been there I’d missed out. This was my chance.
We wandered around the magnificent rooms searching for books. All that could be seen were dozens of glowing computers and fine oil paintings.
Where were the books?
Finally we found them, room after room we saw where they were being displayed.

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Next on the list was clubs. What is a trip to NYC without visiting 1, 2 or 20 clubs?
From the underground to the rooftop, we went around the city testing them all for the best places to eat and drink. I’m pretty sure the 5 pounds I’ve gained in 7 days is testament to the fact that I definitely ate and drank my fill.

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On the last night there I indulged in Junior’s cheesecake. From my last trip I remembered carrying a box of it back for my best friend and leaving it on her bed for her to eat.
This cheesecake is so decadent and rich that one piece is enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.
After having eaten so much the whole week, that was the icing on the cake (excuse the pun)

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Trip over I got ready to make the trek back to Toronto.
Home sweet home.

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Go with the flow or swim against it?

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As with every job there are the decisions you need to make on your own. The hard questions that really test your moral strength.
Well maybe they’re not always so hard, but you do have to know yourself to know which direction you want to go in (and not be pushed into).

So with music I didn’t expect it to be any different. Every week I try to cover one of my favourite songs or artists. But my problem is that some of them are extremely obscure. Do I go with the bigger names and hope that more people see my videos (that is after all the point of this weekly cover song exercise) or do I sing the tunes that I want?

I guess it’s just lucky that I happen to love Katy Perry ;)
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channelling my inner Katy Perry

With modelling the questions can sometimes be harder. “Do you want to pose topless?” Will you do it for a campaign paying a lot of money but with a terrible photographer who might make you look like a mens’ magazine “star”. Or do you do it for a low paying editorial but with an amazing photographer who’s going to make you look incredible?
And it’s not always about body, it could be a product you’re asked to advertise. Will you advertise Alcohol? Cigarettes (Mainly for asia since the rest of the world has banned models in cigarette ads)? Meat, if you’re vegetarian/vegan? Fur? Tanning beds/salons?
the list could go on and on and on. Many times we’re paid to advertise products that we don’t or never have used. It’s a models job to make it look like we’ve been using the products our entire lives and are living a better life for it. (to make YOU want to buy the product)

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Needless to say I’ve been pretty contradictory myself. I once had a magazine article stating ‘How to look 20 years younger” with a stock photo of myself smiling back. That would have been fine, except I was 19 at the time.. :)
I’ve advertised skin creams that I’ve never used (although some companies give their models the products to use weeks and months before!)
the list goes on and on, I’m sure my colleagues have just as many stories that they can add.

So i guess that sticking true to your morals is the best thing that you can do. Don’t advertise things that you are vehemently against. Don’t sing songs that you hate ;)
Do love your job, Do work hard and know what you’re advertising/ what message you are sending out.
That’s it that’s all <3

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I want it all

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Sometimes (most days) I want to do it all, I want to be and do everything.
Recently I’ve been painting and drawing, if only to fill the walls of my very bare apartment. The reason? Well in true nomad style I won’t be living in this apartment for much longer but I’ve had a yearning for beautiful colours and images to inspire me in the place I am currently calling home. I can’t justify buying art only to sell it a few months later when I move to the next place, so painting was the best option. Did I do well in in art class at school? No…
I’ve somehow found it very soothing to sit down and paint whilst staring out at the city that lays around me (Just check out the view I get to wake up to every day!)

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one of my more colourful paintings.
Regardless of the fact that my “artwork” won’t be gracing gallery walls anytime soon, my boyfriend has graciously allowed me to put up whatever I want. So here is what I’ve done so far… (No laughing please!)

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Top: My rainbow crying girl

Below: the artwork on our walls.

Then there’s the music side. Yes I’m classically trained, however I’m currently producing all my music literally from the bedroom (on a side note it makes for a great vocal booth) I’ve finally given in a little and realized that this is one area that no matter how much I would like to think I can do it all, it won’t make up for the years of study that a producer goes through to learn their trade (just as I wouldn’t expect them to play classical piano in a few weeks)
So while I send my press kits out to a million and one Producers/Managers/Labels and anyone else who will listen, I sit her fingers and toes crossed. For the millions of no’s that you get (or usually non replies) there’s hopefully got to be at least one yes!
Hope you keep fingers and toes crossed with me!

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Staying optimistic is easy when you’re on set outside during a sunny day!

And onto the writing side. I of course have this blog (to state the obvious!) I also have a mind teeming with ideas. I’ve been writing them down ever since I was little. Will they ever become something? Maybe.
But for now it’s all about the music and creating pretty pictures for the modelling world. ;)

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Frozen in time

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Funny things happen to us all the time. Just yesterday I walked directly into my table (which is bolted to the ground and has never moved in the entire time I have lived here) I then proceeded to jump around exclaiming “Ow ow ow ow ow” for the next 5 minutes. But thankfully I only have the bruises to show for it, and that’s it.
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That time I was Miley Cyrus.. Just kidding I was a very weird robot for a tv series.

On a job however we are not so lucky. Have you ever had a picture taken mid sneeze or mid sentence and turn out looking like something from the grudge?
Well I have, and it aint pretty. With friends who have taken bad pictures, you can ask them to take it down from Facebook or simply untag yourself.
When it comes to a job, if they’ve taken a video and it so happens to have you doing your best robot dance or falling over on the runway, it’s fair game for all the media to use it.

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Even the cat thought I was taking it too seriously

Trust me I know. On my first fashion week I lost a shoe smack bang in the middle of the runway. A seasoned model may have been able to continue on (and all the models behind her would have been able to avoid the hazard) But this was my second show EVER and half of the other girls were just as green as I.
So I stopped, backtracked 20 centimetres and then struggled to slide my shoe back on. When I finally got it on the whole crowd clapped and cheered. It wasn’t as humiliating as I had initially thought.
WRONG. I went home on the train that night, and when my parents went to pick me up from the station (I was young at the time) My mum explained “We saw you on TV, they featured you on the news with your shoe off.”
Great, just great. What I had thought was going to be confined to the audience of the catwalk show was now all over the national news. Hardly the most embarrassing thing ever, but to a young girl having to face her peers at school the next day I was utterly embarrassed. I had never even worn makeup before starting modelling so high heels were out of the question.
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But I think the pictures were great anyway :) (Photographer: Christopher Cameron)

So there you have it, the next time you do something stupid and think you could die of embarrassment, just be thankful that it hasn’t been filmed or photographed to be immortalized on a news or gossip site :)

 

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The time we did the Bvlgari jewellery show and all had to wear lashes so long that we couldn’t see past them, walking down grated stairs in heels.. Needless to say it was a very eventful experience!

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Where do we go from here?

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It’s always been a big question of mine. Now what?
We set out these goals but sometimes they don’t go to plan and sometimes they go better than expected. I’m talking about what you do when you’ve ticked all the boxes on the things you wanted to do, and are at a crossroad.
Now is the time to step back and look at all you’ve achieved, sure there have been awesome times and moments you would rather forget. All in all if you’ve achieved a majority of your “work success” list then you’re doing good things!

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The time I had to dress up and play a sexy robot for 18 hours on set….  I learnt major patience!

So after you’ve given yourself a pat on the back (well done!) It’s time to look at where you want to go from here. Do you see possibilities for further and greater success in this career (With modelling it’s usually downhill once you reach a certain age… but that’s not to say you can’t have greater success with commercial modelling in later stages of your life!)

With the skill set you’ve gained there are so many other careers to move into. I have always been first and foremost musically oriented, but I progressed in modelling so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to stop and take a breath. By the time I took a breath and realized I was a full time model traveling the world It had been three years since I had performed music.
I went out the very next day and bought a guitar that was so cheap and cheerful that it went out of tune just by looking at it. But that was the beginning of my renewed love of music.
Sometimes we don’t choose the job it chooses us. If you had asked my parents when I was younger, whether they thought their daughter would become a model they probably would have burst out laughing and pointed at me whilst I was off dancing in time to a room full of music wearing my mismatched socks and fairy skirt.
But it seems that fashion was to become my career for a large chunk of my life (and it still very much is!)
So I’m taking everything I can possibly get out of this incredible experience I’ve had, and putting it to good use. If I can use anything from my years of modelling, to help me write and perform better music then none of it has been in vain (not to mention the most awesome life experiences I’ve had)

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The time I had to shoot in winter wear in Indonesia… it was hot, I was hot… I learnt to smile convincingly ;)

As for “Now what” It’s as it always has been, work hard, have an idea of what you want to achieve and then go out there and enjoy every experience regardless of what it can or can’t bring to your future goals (because you might not see it at the time but everything has a benefit!)

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You can go your own way

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In an industry that has no real rules and no one governing the wellbeing and financial welfare of the people in it, there comes a time when you have to make all the hard decisions yourself.

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Modelling isn’t all about raining money.

As most models know there is no union that exists for modelling. Unlike other areas of the entertainment field like music and acting where there are strict guidelines and rules to regulate how long one can work for, how many breaks you get, whether breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks need to be supplied, safety measures to ensure that the actor/musician is not injured on set, a minimum daily or hourly rate, a certain time period to be paid by before the interest is accrued, the list goes on.
And then theres modelling where there are little no restrictions, Some cities (NYC is a notable example) have rules to protect younger models from being exploited. But most do not.
The most common complaint I hear from models is “I really need to get paid, I can’t make my rent this month but I’m owed so much money from jobs I did 6 months ago.”
It’s a frustrating situation to be in. I’ve been lucky enough to be with an amazing agency in Australia who pays 2 weeks after you do a job. Regardless of whether the client has paid or not, they understand that it is their job to chase up the client (after all we are paying them 20% of earnings, on top of an agency fee that the client pays to them) So if they have already passed on the money to their model then it’s in their best interest to chase up the client and make sure that they receive payment as fast as possible.
Sadly in North America and some of Europe and other countries, agencies will only pay the models once the client has paid. This can take months, years or never…

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(Client thinks running on a treadmill in heels is a great/couture idea… reality: not so great!)

I know from personal experience that the longest time I have been waiting for payment is one year and half. I would have given up on it except that it’s for a substantial amount, and my image is still being used all around the world… frustrating is not even the word to begin to describe it.

So what would be the solution to all this? There are models who work freelance but there are a lot of difficulties that can arise from that not to mention finding your own clients and having to follow up payments as well as negotiating rates. I love being part of an agency, pick the right one and they will fight for you, push you for jobs and be in your corner.
But you have to remember that they can have hundreds of models on their books at any one time. So you do need to look after yourself. It’s common sense stuff, Keep a track of all the jobs your have done, hours worked and the rate. Then as payments come in tick them off. Agencies usually give clients 2 months to pay, then after that you can start sending gentle reminders for payment to the agency.
Don’t do anything you feel uncomfortable with on a job (going topless, jumping on a trampoline in 6 inch heels, underwater catwalk show without a scuba tank.) Unless it has already been agreed with your agency (Read that as YOU and your AGENCY have discussed it… I know some sneaky clients who tell models “Your agency said you were fine to go topless.”)

Basically make up your own mind, this is your life and your job. I’m not saying be a pain in the butt to your agency or clients, because remember they are all doing a job too and it’s nice just to be a good human! But it is great for you to be aware of your payments and what you feel comfortable with.

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Keep watch of your own finances and wellbeing

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You’re told to be skinny?

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I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m told I have a swimwear or lingerie shoot, suddenly my diet goes out the window.

What is it about being told that there’s one day and one day only that I need to be looking fit, that makes me run to the nearest ice cream store? All of sudden my chocolate cravings go into overdrive and my body tells me that I will DIE if I don’t get a sticky date pudding.

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Give me cupcakessssssss!

So whilst I am generally good with my diet most of the time as soon as the magic words “bikini ready” are uttered, I go into sugary sweet overdrive. As it turns out this phenomena is not unique to only me, I surveyed most of my model friends and they are very much the same. I’d love to say that we’re all genetically blessed and have the willpower of a monk, but nope that aint the truth. There are the models that workout 24/7, eat clean and basically live the most clean and healthy life. But I really don’t know them because you’ll never see them at clubs or dinners because they’re at home cooking their chicken and vegetables, or in the gym ignoring me (and my woeful attempt at working out.) They are most definitely always ready for an unexpected body shoot.
Then there are the models who are the complete opposite, they party non-stop live off junk food and candy and haven’t seen sunlight or a green vegetable for the last year and a half. If they’re young they’ll be able to party straight through til shoot-time and rock it all day, until they can crash at night. If they’re older and still going through this phase thinking they can get away with it they’ll probably receive an angry call from their agency warning them that the next time it happens they’ll be out.

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Arghhh you want me to stand in a bikini and NOT eat candy? but why!!! :)

And then there’s everyone in between (which includes yours truly, and most of my pals.) We do our best to stay healthy, try as many new exercise classes as you change underwear, and eat healthy foods so long as theres no ice cream trucks around.
Yes our job means “maintain a certain weight” and “keep your skin looking pretty” but we all love eating delicious foods, scalloped potatoes, Cheesy pizza, Ramen, pudding, ice cream, deep fried mars bars… sorry I’m getting carried away.
So be happy in knowing that model or non-model, most of us are the same. As soon as there’s a deadline for being in perfect shape, we all run the other direction! :)

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Sometimes they make me work out on the shoot.

On that note I’m off to enjoy some ice cream and not do any exercise.

 

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Candy lips, yummmmm

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The Fast Track

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Ever wondered how some girls (and guys) go from being school kid to overnight success?

I’m going to tell you it’s luck. Sheer luck.

For everyone else who is labelled an “overnight success” it’s the medias’ way of saying “We didn’t know about all their years of hard work until now. So we’re going to brand them whatever we want.”
Yes there are some people out there who truly stumble into their success, and that’s amazing! But it’s not something you should rely on.
I could name a few models who have been scouted on the street or on holiday, and within a few weeks of signing the contracts they are faces of multi national companies and walking for all the top designers.

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Gemma Ward – A True overnight success, she was discovered at 14 and on the cover of Vogue by 15.
Then there are the models, musicians and actors who slug away day in day out going to classes, working bar jobs to support their dream career and living far away from friends and family just to get ahead.
I’ve seen and am friends with many of these people, all at different points in their career. This goes for practically any industry, the more you give and the more you work at it the more you can expect from the job.
Sure a model may never get to “Supermodel” status since the job is always about what look is en-vogue at the time, but he or she may be able to live very comfortably working full-time.

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Isabel Lucas – Also discovered young, had a role specially created for her on Australian TV series “Home and Away”

So the next time you read enviously about someone being “discovered” and making it overnight, think again. Most of these people have been working at it for years with plenty of experience and just happened to be in the right place right time, with the right experience.
For those who are really lucky and get thrown into the deep end with no experience whatsoever, be happy for them because they are an anomaly!

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My Favourite! Katy Perry – Worked for years performing in LA, and was signed to numerous record labels before releasing her hit song “I Kissed a Girl”

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Less is more

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It’s easy to see all the pretty shiny things of the world and want to have it all. I’m the first person to be running towards anything sparkly screaming “MINE MINE MINE” but I’m also no stranger to living out of a suitcase and having to say goodbye to all my worldly possessions.

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You might think this post is about materialism, but it’s not. Instead I was drawn to just how many people use makeup as a mask of sorts, like painting war paint on their faces every morning not willing to go bare faced into the world.
I know it sounds strange, I’m a model who’s job it is to wear more makeup than an entire MAC store can hold and yet I am drawn to the times where I don’t have to wear anything more than a spritz of toner and the face I was born with.
Yes there are definitely times that call for wearing makeup, and I love that. I delight in the ritual of painting my face like a canvas, making something new, copying a picture from a magazine or something I saw in a movie.
In fact even those times when you need a
And then there are the women that feel the need to put makeup on every day of their lives, that they are incomplete without it. I’m not launching a DOVE type campaign, about how to love your body and then plaster glossy photo’s of stunningly beautiful women who are only over a certain size.

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Don’t mask yourself

This is not a guilt trip, this is not a pro #makeupfreeselfie. However I do think that everyone needs those times to explore themselves without a mask on.

Modelling Agencies will ask you to send in pictures without makeup on, and if you get to the second stage of an interview they definitely ask to see you in as natural state as possible, no makeup, no fancy clothes just jeans and a plain t-shirt will do fine.
Then there’s the obsession with seeing “Stars without makeup” like it’s such a travesty for us to see their real faces, and god forbid they have a PIMPLE!!!!!
I understand not many people in the world wake up looking gorgeous. I wake up looking like I should still sleep another 8 hours.

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I do not wake up looking like I’ve stepped out of a shampoo commercial. ;)

I hope you see just how important it is to be comfortable in your own skin. Easier said than done! A great thing to be aware of and no it’s not something you need to advertise. I purposefully did not include any “makeup free” pictures. As i really don’t see the point to advertising how “pretty or ugly” one looks without makeup. It’s not a competition to be beautiful without makeup, perhaps it should be a competition to how good you can make yourself and others feel regardless of their looks or amount of perfectly applied makeup they do or don’t have on.
Next time you’re reading a magazine or surfing the web and come across a picture of Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Kate Moss or any star without makeup on look carefully at your reaction. If  you find yourself taking delight in how “unattractive” they look, then perhaps you should wonder why that interests you. In an ideal world you would judge someones activities rather than their physical appearance.

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