You see when I was younger, I was so insecure about the fact that I was never as beautiful as the girls who were celebrated and cat called by the testosterone fuelled boys. How I longed to be admired and labelled ‘hot’. I had hair on my upper lip, I had long hair down to my butt, and I definitely did not tantalise any of their fantasies because I certainly was not sporting short skirts or crop tops.
In the confusing climate that is High School, where popularity contests, hemmed skirts and rolled up sleeves, and boy-girl relations is so centric to everyday existence, my mum always told me to focus on being celebrated for something other than my face or body. I resented her at the time because she was so beautiful and of course she would say that when she looked so incredible. So, like all teenagers, my attitude was ‘she didn’t get it’, and she just needed to let me wear the short skirts, cut my hair and let me wax all the hair off my body. And life would right itself.
She didn’t let me do those things, and whether it was by lack of an alternative, or my inner drive, I felt I had to do other things. So I worked so hard to be intelligent and kill exams, and I quickly realised I had to develop a personality and figure out who I was beyond face value. Because being attractive in superficial terms, was not something I could be at that point in time.
By the time I realised maybe I was not plain Jane, and might even possibly be attractive, I had already moulded myself to be more than just a pretty face, to be multifaceted and informed. Life is a funny thing, and it often rights wrongs. The pretty girls who reigned Queens in high school have often been eclipsed by their nameless peers. Because being the queen bee in high school does not necessarily translate to success in life.
You never really believe it when your mum tells you that you are beautiful, but the truth is that you are and you always have been, it’s society that fostered any hint of doubt in you that you were not. In any case, it’s your actions and who you are as a person, and what you do, that counts and speaks volumes eternally.
So even though it feels shit when ‘it boy’ Jack does not notice when you put in extra effort that mufti day to get even a glance from him, or that you’re not rubbing shoulders with the popular girls,remember to keep doing you, because in 10 years, they will just be a series of meaningless names lost in a large bank of memories. And you will be so beyond that.
Work hard to build yourself up for you, even if it’s not considered cool. Because it actually is cool and you just don’t know it yet. Because life isn’t the little microcosm that is high school, and one day you will realise how small minded you were to think so, and how right your mum was. And you will close your eyes, and smile, and breathe a sigh of relief.
Chanel once said that once you reach a certain stage of your life, you will have the face you deserve. So don’t ever let anyone try to undermine you. And reciprocally, try not to be judgemental towards others, because truthfully, we don’t know anyone’s story until we ask.
In light of all this oscar buzz, here is a well overdue mini shoot from my work ball last year.
Photographed by Mohan
Dress from Abyss by Abby
Makeup by Gemma Isabella Makeup