As the year renews, it is a good time to reflect back and see what still works with you, so you can keep it, and what does not, so you can throw it away. You can apply this for any item in your closet, kitchen, cosmetics, paperwork. Same goes for habits and rituals. Notice what has to stay, and notice what is better to go. Same for feelings or emotions. Don’t hold onto it if it does not serve you.
We are spiritual beings that evolve, change, with the passing of time. Make sure you like who you are becoming. Make sure you notice and accept your transformation, make sure it’s in alignment with your vision of your best self.
Since the beginning of the year, I am looking more into the meaning of things.
Naturally, I am observing what I am doing in my daily life and what I chose to create in my daily job. My job is to transform people. To show them the transformation. To bring them from their every day self to a potential very best self. Then to show it back to them. So how do I do that ?
1) It begins with makeup and the power of transformation once you put it on.
It is a very controversial topic, with or without makeup, and it seems the dispute comes apparently, from ancient times.
Make-up was considered to give you more attention, “transforming a person’s appearance, but changing their mood while inspiring feelings of power and confidence”. Ancient Egyptians believed lipstick has healing powers. (Read about the History of makeup here, I find it fascinating). Some believed it has powers over other people. There is a link between makeup and witchcraft and of course, there were also laws put in place to prevent it. Witchcraft, I wonder ? Then if you think about it, there all the beauty rituals, cosmetics and fragrances. Sounds a bit like spells.
I love everything about the power of transformation, and the art of beauty.
And how does makeup, make you have more confidence so you become empowered ?
Well, I think when you apply your makeup, it gives you a certain sense of yourself that you look better. And with that feeling, your inner self falls in-love with yourself a little bit more than before and then there’s your sparkle coming out with it. I feel it works from the outside – in. It has the power to transform your inside. Because your true beauty lies inside, and sometimes it needs a little kick to come out.
2) Then, after the makeup is done, I ask you to get dressed in your best clothes. Clothes that make you look good, that transform you from your casual self to your more glamorous self. This also contributes to your confidence and your perceived notion about yourself.
So looking into the meaning further, I research the word glamour. Its origins come from ‘enchantment, magic’, ‘beauty’ or ‘charm’. Imagine my surprise when I read that. That made me smile and think: what we are doing in my studio is truly magical.
3) There are some tips and tricks I give you for posing, I know what works best for your body type and face shape. There is science behind it, figure 8 shape is the most desirable body type. So every pose I put you in, enhances the figure 8 shape. Also, creating triangles in posing creates a pleasing image to the eye. I go through this posing training and after a couple of shots, you become a pro. You go from “I hate this”, to “I love this, give me more”. I like it when clients start revealing themselves fully, giving in and switching to their confident selves.
Have a look below to some of the metamorphosis I’ve done throughout the years. Notice first of all their increase in confidence besides their change of physical aspect. Magic!
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I wanted to capture what it feels to go back into your natural way of being. Lorena was an actress and a dancer before she became a mother. She renounced her career to move to Holland and build a family. Her own power stepping into her natural self, who she really is as a person was astounding to see. She became the dancer again. The actress never left, it was always latent into her personality and eventually it was screaming to come out.
Portrait Photography: Cristina Stoian
Photography Assistant: Taylor Zopie
Hair & Makeup: Lorena Ciubotaru
Filmed and Edited: Taylor Zopie
Femininity: The quality of being female; womanliness.Feminism: The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. – Oxford Dictionary
While my own mother wore no make-up, and god bless her, was and continues to be naturally beautiful (I know we all say this about our mothers, but in my case it really is true!), the image of the ruby-red lipstick wearing Latina was something Hollywood always made sure I was aware of. Not wanting to be that spitfire stereotype, by the time I fulfilled my childhood dream of going to UC Berkeley, I quickly learned that there were a few no-no´s about my look:
Make-up? In the bin. Wearing it was succumbing to patriarchal notions of femininity. Besides, people should love you for what you have on the inside and not on the outside.
Beautiful high heels? Toss ´em, another symbol of female subjugation. I became all about the Birkenstocks, flats, and sports shoes (though I didn’t exercise)
Frilly dresses that gave any hint of the female form? Jeans were best but sweats a close runner-up. At one point, I had about 15 pairs of jeans. Dresses? No way. All of us, male and female, were the same and dressed only accentuated societal notions of gender. (And I will never forget a friend offering me a change of clothes when I showed up in my flowery dress…I can only laugh now!)
shaved legs and armpits? Natural was the only way to go.
Interesting enough, the only class I took while at UC Berkeley that supported the idea that femininity and feminism could perfectly co-exist was one on Gender! But everything else about being at CAL made clear that my version of femininity was too backward. So I adjusted.
By the time I hit law school, my dress code was set in stone. I occasionally wore a dress if the situation merited it, and I immediately felt uncomfortable. So it became permanent: I couldn´t shake the notion that my notion of femininity, as I had experienced it, equated weakness.
In the subsequent 15-20 odd years, I married, moved countries, had two children. During that period, my workplaces reflected my attitudes about femininity: jeans acceptable, little if any makeup, plain hair.
And amidst all this, in my early 40s, my husband and I had faced a serious crisis. After several years where the highs were incredibly high, and the lows incredibly low, we had become roommates…without benefits. We lived in stone cold silences, only to reconcile with the sweetest of whisperings, with my husband asking me why I was hiding that diamond inside. Only to find ourselves feeling alone and lonely again a few days later. After seriously considering a divorce, we re-committed to one another. And each of us set on a path of self-discovery in order to get that spark back (you can read about it on my website here).
The result of that emotional re-commitment made each of us face some hard truths about ourselves and about each other. One element for me was discovering that I had, indeed, squelched and smothered a diamond inside. That everything that made me wonderful was there, waiting to be discovered…not by anyone else, but by me. So it was that in my 40s, I began wearing make-up again. I learned how to walk in heels again. I got my first waxing treatment (I can still hear the hair removal specialist’s yelp…that’s another story). I got my ears pierced at a jewelry store in Indischebuurt, where my very girly friend Ileana was only too happy to hold my hand. (I will forever be grateful to her).
Of course, wearing make-up and heels did not make me more feminine: I am a woman, I am feminine (see Oxford definition). I believe in equal rights for woman. I am feminist. But through the entire process, I learned that I don’t need to hide what makes me feel happy and feminine…and that includes rejoicing in my female form. Even Alicia Keys, a supporter of the no makeup movement, said on the Today show, an American morning show, that she has nothing against make-up. “I love make-up too…“It’s about how you feel. It’s about who you are. It’s about being who you are and not being told who you should be. This conversation shows our obsession with the standard we hold women and beauty.” Alicia and I are at the same time having reached the same conclusion. And I no longer buy my story that only makeup-free women are taken seriously. It simply is no longer my story, and I feel liberated. Free. My story is rejoicing in my newfound notions of femininity. And relishing in each and every one of them, high heels (well…2-inch platforms max) and all! And part of that was participating in Cristina Stoian’s amazing project.
That said, I also don’t let it all hang out. But even if I did, the decision to do so would be mine. And that is feminism and femininity at its best.” Leticia Vasquez
Leticia Vasquez is a relationship coach. She loves helping women to find lifelong romance without repeating themselves incessantly, whether by crying in rage, sulking, silently seething or fighting. Her approach is rooted in mindfulness and consists of six tools that can help any relationship be rooted in calm, peace…and passion. www.leticia-vasquez.com