Over the summer I had the pleasure to work on a modeling project with a friend of mine, the talented photographer Jun Tang. He’s been working with women from all walks of life to create a photo series called “Everyday Woman.” Taking photos of his subjects before and after hair, makeup and wardrobe, his premise is simple and elegant: “What if you could see the beauty in yourself that I see in you?”
That’s a good question. How many of us look in the mirror each morning and only see our imperfections: the dry skin here, the zit there, the bits of sun damage, the gray hair threatening to make itself known, the pockets and folds of fat from the extra pounds we promise ourselves we will lose?
What if we are beautiful, just the way we are? What if the only person whose opinion matters… is yours?
It’s the premise of several ad campaigns over the past 8 years or so. Dove has cornered the market on this kind of messaging, and helping women recognize their own beauty within. (This particular campaign, Real Beauty Sketches, evokes the same idea as this #EverydayWoman project, using pencils instead of DSLRs to capture the moment.) Other brands have followed suit. Always asks “What if I play #likeagirl?” and Pantene’s “Labels Against Women” turns negative labels attributed to women on its head.
It’s a powerful thought.
Behind it is the idea that the way we label things shapes our perception of them. And by changing the labels we use, we change the way we view the women in our lives and ourselves. Being an #EverydayWoman is being able to celebrate yourself, regardless of your outward appearance. The hair, the makeup, the pretty shiny dresses – it’s a costume. We can transform our looks, but the real transformations – the lasting transformations – come from within.
I’d love to hear from you: What labels to you use to describe yourself? How do they help (or harm) your outlook on life, your relationships with others, and how you view the world?
To learn more about Jun Tang and his #EverydayWoman project, visit him at www.juntangphotography.com or follow him on twitter or facebook. Thanks to Jun Tang, makeup artist Salina Maree and hair stylist Duprice Scruggs from this #EverydayWoman!