Kate T

1.If you wear makeup, why do you wear makeup and how often do you wear makeup?

I wear makeup most days. I like the ritual and the bit of creativity it adds to your day.

2. What made you want to participate in this portrait series?

With the recent arrival of my daughter, I've been thinking a lot about body image. Changes throughout pregnancy and after are remarkable, and trying to remain positive and realistic about these changes has also made me reflect on how best to raise my daughter so she can see herself in as positive a way as possible. This series seemed to be seeking to get to the heart of so many issues about women's experiences - and I have always been a fan of the Burn's quote that influenced the title!

3. Is being completely makeup free something that makes you feel in any way uncomfortable?

I'm comfortable pottering about without make-up but in certain circumstances, such as for an important meeting at work or even just when I'm having a bad day, it's a necessity - sort of like a suit of armour.

4. Are there specific factors (positive or negative) that have influenced how you feel about how you look?

When I was young, I think the greatest influences were the women in my life and how they felt about themselves and their image. I think my mum struggled a lot with how she looked but she was very determined that my sister and I would have a different experience - we were brought up to believe that looks didn't matter and that it was your experiences and actions, who you were as a person that mattered.  In many ways this was empowering but in some ways unrealistic - looks and image do matter, they shouldn't matter as much as they do but nor are they unimportant.

5. If there was one piece of advice for the future you could give your younger self, what would it be?

To focus on looking and feeling your best as you are, rather than on trying to change anything, that it is okay to want to look beautiful and that it is possible to look beautiful even if you don't match the sometimes very narrow parameters of what is considered beautiful!

6. When have you felt most empowered in your life?

Now, since my daughter's arrival in April - in fact ever since I met my partner five years ago - his support, kindness and belief in me are unwavering and I would hope he feels the same from me.

7. Is there a woman fictional or real that you admire? Why?

I don't think I could have more admiration or awe for any woman more than for my mother. She was an amazing woman, devoted to her family, who continuously sought to improve herself (and us... and the world around us!) and fought so strongly and for so long to stay a part of our lives. It took me a long time to really appreciate the last part.

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

Probably my desire and ability to want to keep learning and improving - as a partner, mother, sister, daughter, friend and at work.

9. Is there an achievement you are particularly proud of? Why?

There isn't one in particular - more a series of opportunities won and obstacles overcome to get me to where I am today with so many wonderful people in my life.

10. In daily life what are the pressures you feel most exposed to specifically as a woman?

The lack of forgiveness in society towards women - it seems so much less acceptable for a woman to be ambitious or to make a mistake, to fail, to not be able to do it all. For men it seems more acceptable - there are fewer expectations of what men should or should not be doing in their lives and failure is seen as part of life, as part of the learning process. Whereas for women it always seems to be a sign of weakness, of confirmation that woman are not 'up to it'. Generally, however, I am lucky - I was brought up in a feminist household, have a feminist partner and enjoy an interesting and varied career in the Scottish Government, which prioritises equality of opportunity.