Annette & Hallah

Interview with Annette:

Check out her interview here.

Interview with Hallah:

Kyira: "What made you want to be a part of the #ReclaimBeauty project?"

Hallah: "I really think that loving yourself is something that is important. It is something I really believe in. Like I, love myself and that is a journey I have taken throughout my life so far. I had a really abusive relationship in the past and before that I was very insecure and like, that is why I kind of allowed that to happen to me, I think. I was in that relationship for about 5 years before I ended it. And now I am in a really great relationship with someone who makes me feel beautiful every day and it’s just like 'Wow'. And I didn’t realize how rare that was to feel. I always thought that everyone else thought they were beautiful except me. I was never one to take selfies or who would like their picture taken because I didn’t think I was beautiful and I wasn’t confident in myself. And now that I have found that feeling of someone helping you to feel beautiful, and have learned how rare it is, I want to be part of an active change telling other people how beautiful they are and helping them see it for themselves."

Kyira: "Yeah, for sure."

Hallah: "I mean saying things like, 'Oh you have really pretty eyes’ or whatever I notice rather than keeping it in, you know? I just think that if I can express beauty to other people when I see it or notice it that it can help them begin to shift their view of themselves. I don’t know if that makes sense at all?"

Kyira: "Yeah, it totally does. I have actually been trying to that – go up to people and tell them they are beautiful – and multiple times I have scared people away or made them think I was either hitting on them or playing a joke. And it’s just sad because saying something so simple makes people so uncomfortable and oftentimes is misconstrued as something sexual because we, as a society just don’t take time to really say these things to people in ways that aren’t sexual or weird or in a backwards way, mean or joking around. It would be nice if we got to the point one day we could say these things without the question of ulterior motives."

Hallah: “Right and like, I have had people tell me I am pretty before and I just thought that was normal. Like my family friends, and stuff…of course they are going to tell me those things, you know? But you sort of shake those things off or don’t take them seriously. But then there was a day that I looked at myself and decided for myself that I was pretty. I was beautiful as I was. And I started embracing it and not just being like ‘whatever’. And now that I can honestly say I feel that way about myself I feel I need to be proactive in telling other woman they are beautiful to help them declare it for themselves. Because they are. Everyone is beautiful in their own way."

Kyira: "I know you did part of this photoshoot with Annette and each of you had your own experiences with it. What do you think it is that can make some of these things so difficult for people?"

Hallah: "I just think it is that I can see others beauty in themselves so easily where they have a hard time seeing it in themselves. And the same goes for me – others can see the beauty in me that I will never see the way they do. I mean think about it, when I look at Annette - I can see her beauty from all angles, all of the time, but she sees herself through a narrow tunnel. She might just see one photo of herself and keep that picture stuck in her head where as I see a moving picture of her all of the time and I know she is beautiful through all she does. Like, that is why I like doing photoshoots. Because you get to see yourself from someone else's lens, like how Ashley was angling us and how she sees us. Because she knows how we will look beautiful and in what ways to position our body to uncover it for ourselves. Like, I have never truly seen myself. I have never met myself. I can only look through a mirror or through a photo and those little glimpses don’t do us justice. We emanate beauty through so much more than that one snapshot. It comes out in all we do – our compassion, our passion, etc. And I think projects like this, where it isn’t just about the photo, but it’s a space where you open up a bit more and get the chance to meet a more complete picture of yourself can allow you to, perhaps, see more of the beauty we all see every day."

Kyira: "Yeah I think that is so interesting – you are never going to actually be able to meet yourself and see yourself and what you look like to others. Your reality is always going to be different than what others see in their reality. I remember my therapist talking to me about that at one point. She told me to take a picture of myself from one side of my camera then click the button to flip it to the front facing camera and take a photo that way and compare the two. Of course I noticed the differences immediately and to that she told me that every time we try to judge who we are or how we look based on a snapshot of ourselves, we are making decisions on something that is no longer a reality because we always look different and from every angel, we are presented differently. Plus, we are pre-programmed, based on the culture we live in, to criticize everything about ourselves so why not, instead of trying to capture the right photo –  since we know that isn’t possible – why don’t we focus on how to love ourselves in our entirety, from all angles and no matter what the snapshot shows."

Hallah: "Yeah for sure."

Kyira: "So, how do you see the culture that we live in now, playing a role in how you developed and began to see yourself as beautiful? And also, how might you see it getting in the way of you continuing to feel that way throughout your life?"

Hallah: "I mean I love the culture we live in now. I think the whole selfie culture is great. Like ‘oh take a picture of me’ – I just love that. I think that it has helped me a lot and as annoying as it sounds, I think Instagram has helped me so much. I mean it’s just different people coming together sharing their photos and ideas and in so many ways that has allowed me to feel more open about sharing who I am and seeing we are all different and unique. And, at the same time, there are some difficult parts about the social media culture. I think it definitely has helped people to compare themselves more to others, like ‘I wish I looked like that’ or ‘I wish I had that outfit’. So it definitely has done both – helped us put ourselves out there more while also helping us to compare ourselves more to others."

Kyira: "Yeah, for sure. It’s a double-edged sword. So how can you be sure you keep working to celebrate your beauty even when you feel pulled in that direction of comparison?"

Hallah: "I tell myself I am beautiful and pretty every day."