Michelle, this is for you.
As women we have to work very hard to provide for ourselves, our families, to climb that corporate ladder or to run your own business. After all of that, we have to take care of our hormonal, confused and stressed bodies while pretending to have everything under control and acting like we know what we are doing.
Let’s be honest, we don’t. And we are experts at the “I’m fine” smiles to people that don’t know us well. Sometimes it’s simply too much effort so we end up wearing fat pants on the couch and eating Pringles. Or maybe that’s just me. I doubt it though.
Honestly, we should all simply move to the country and live off the land. I think I am about ready for hunting and foraging with leaves to cover the naughty bits.
I envy my fiancé when I have had a long day and we are both brushing our teeth about to go to bed. His teeth are clean and he heads to bed. Done. Sometimes he shaves his beard. That’s it. Grooming done and he is effortlessly gorgeous.
I stand in our bathroom taking off my make-up, lathering oil on my tired skin and applying tea tree oil to my blemishes. Yes, at almost twenty-nine I am still rocking them. Thank you darling stress and delicious sugar. Whenever I find time I put a mask on, also to help with the adult stress blemish issue, and that takes 20 minutes.
I have to make some form of an effort to keep my nails neat, shave my entire body, have my hair cut every so often, and put make-up on to avoid people asking me if I am sick. You know how much make-up costs? It’s absolutely ridiculous.
On top of that our bodies are so different which means I have to watch what I eat constantly while he devours a Cinnabon. It drips down his face though so it at least doesn’t look appetizing. Thank you for that, universe.
So why do I bother?
As you can tell from the above rant I don’t spend an incredible amount of time grooming but it is very important to me to feel beautiful. I don’t mean that in a general sense where I hope everyone in the world worships my looks. I mean for me. I need to find myself beautiful for my own self worth and confidence.
I have always been the fat kid in our family but my mother always made a point to tell me that I was exceptionally beautiful. Quite a few people have called me fat and ugly nastily to my face so that little bit of self worth gets stripped from time to time. People are the worst, my goodness. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to believe a stranger than someone that loves you.
At the end of the day, through all of my ups and downs, I do however look in the mirror every once in a while and think that I am beautiful.
My muse and very dear old friend, Michelle Hattingh, has had one hell of a struggle with finding herself beautiful. Add being raped twice to that list and you have the jackpot of a warped body image. While living together years ago she laughed and said that I had a “skinny brain” and she had a “fat brain” incapable of ever seeing the true beauty of her body in the mirror.
Therefore it was my absolute mission in life to at least attempt to reveal to her how truly exquisite she is. The only person I need to convince here is Michelle, which is a tall order.
I really hope that through this series of photographs and artworks that it will possibly help others who are in the same position and mindset to see themselves more clearly. You are gorgeous in all of your perfect imperfections.
Never let the media dictate your view on beauty. As creative we are experts at drawing out something beautiful in the mundane and have years of practice with platforms like Photoshop. More than that though, our cameras are better, our eye to capture someone is more refined, and we adore styling things just right to elevate the image. Most importantly, we know how to move and direct your bodies for the best angle and how to play with flattering light. This does not mean that it is fake or retouched in the slightest. I didn’t edit Michelle’s photographs any more than a touch of light. There’s not even a filter on the images.
It just means that the photo your aunty posted on Facebook with the ugly angle that made you look hideous is not how the world sees you. No shame in untagging.
P O P – U P
Hotel Beacon, Upper West Side, New York
21 – 25 August 2017
10:00 – 17:00
wine + canapés served
Level Eight, Max-Beer Str 31, Berlin, Germany, 10115
7 – 8 September 2017
18:00 – 22:00
wine + canapés served
Pre-order: Maria Magdalena Online Store
Deliveries will be made once I am back in Cape Town 15 September 2017.
10% of proceeds donated to The Rape Crisis Center.