I met Emily the summer before attending college. We met at Camp Sabra– a Jewish summer camp tucked away in the middle of Missouri. We spend 3 months together–sharing stories, living the care free Jewish summer camp life. When the summer ended I was grateful I had made a beautiful connection with someone who was extremely insightful and brave. Fast forward 4 years later I was spending the summer in Israel. Through a Facebook post I learned that Emily was also living in Israel. We met in Tel-Aviv in a mall. Emily was magical. She descended from the stairs and we shared smiles and hugs before catching up. She had grown so much—she was still brave but there was a certain level of power that she now carried. I love who you are Emily. You are so strong, and resilient, and still so gentle and warm. You’re a gem in my life. Thank you for your light, for your beauty, and your strength. Thank you for sharing.
I’ve started this series because through my own self acceptance search/journey I’ve realized that we, as humans, all have problems with our skin suit no matter what it looks like. The point of this series is to confront our flaws AND to highlight our excellence. I hope one day we’ll all be able to wake up and that voice in our mind which lists all our faults on repeat will be much quieter if not silent. The mirror will be less scary. We’ll smile as we pass our gorgeous selves. We’ll have a bounce in our steps. One day we’ll love our bodies exactly as they are right now. We might have bad days . We might have bad weeks. Yet once we unlock that key, that key of self love we’ll know we can get back to a sanctuary within our bodies. Our bodies and our selves are waiting for that love, waiting for that permission to just be. As I said to Emily, (and as I say to all my future spotlights), be gentle with yourself, you are meeting parts of yourself that you have been at war with.
1. What makes you feel beautiful?
I feel beautiful when I’m desired by someone, mostly. I sometimes get a feeling of “yeah I’m alright” when I’ve spent time on my hair and make up, but mostly I get validation from being sexualised. I don’t like that aspect of my psyche much, but there we are.
2. What makes you feel powerful?
3. What would you tell your past self about beauty and bodies?
I would tell myself that all bodies are beautiful, and then I would stop talking about both things! We do little girls SUCH a disservice when all we talk about is beauty and bodies not brains and votes.
4. How does your skin color make you feel?
I have very mixed feelings about the colour of my skin. I am so privileged by society for being white that I never had to think about racism or racial violence – where I grew up is super white and there were maybe 30-300 kids in my school year who were “not white” so it just never occurred to me. As a kid, I thought black actors were all actually white people who literally painted their skin black for the part, because i genuinely didn’t know black people existed. My first time going to South Africa, when I was 7 and my dad moved there, was a hell of a mind fuck! On the flip side, I wish I was darker. I grew up spending the summers with my grandparents at their house, and my grandpa would use tanning oil not sun cream and go suuuper dark. He is of Greek and Syrian heritage, and my grandma’s mother was of Spanish descent, so my grandparents and my uncles all look at the sun and go a deep gorgeous brown, no burning. Me? Last summer in Israel I got 2nd degree burns on my chest after sitting mostly under a parasol.
5. How have you struggled with your body?
I struggle with being so fat. I seem to have gained weight recently, and now walking is more difficult, I get back ache all the time, I don’t fit in chairs at the theatre, I had to get a belt extender on a plane. It sucks. However, when I go on “a diet” I basically revert to binge eating and panic attacks so I don’t really know how to fix this.
6. Complete this sentence… “In my body is a safe place to be because….”
In my body is a safe place to be because it’s a literal safety shield against men in public. I don’t get cat called or touched up. I am invisible to straight men and that brings me a lot of peace
From Emily, with love.