I remember being on the cusp of preteen-hood and seeing a double page ad in a magazine for a brand that claimed to have products to both make straight hair curly and curly hair straight. As a wavy, messy haired girl, I found this confusing and asked my mom about it. She told me that everybody wants what they don’t have. Luckily, she also taught me to love what I have and not worry about trying to change it.
Even with all the self esteem reinforcement my mother gave me growing up, I still couldn’t help wishing for Christina Hendrick curves to fill out my new dress design. Her character, Joan Holloway/Harris, on Mad Men inspired the dress, so I wanted to have Joan inspired photos as well. I tried to mimic her poses and attitude but it just wasn’t working. Every time I looked at the camera roll, I was frustrated by how I failed to fill the dress out.
By the end, I had fun popping my hip out and twisting at my waist to try to fake the curves, but I couldn’t help thinking about what my mom told me back when I was a girl, just getting ready for the media bombardment all women face. It has stayed with me, mixed with the messages that I am not tall enough, not curvy enough and, somehow, at the same time, not muscular enough. What I always try to remember is the core of what she taught me that day: no matter what, you will always want to be more like someone else, and someone else will always want to be more like you; all you can do is try your best to love yourself for who you are.
All photos by me.