1. If you wear makeup, why do you wear makeup and how often do you wear makeup?
I do wear make up, usually for a special occasion or if I have an important meeting/event with work. I suppose I see it as something to give me more confidence about myself, another preparation task when it’s work related. I guess it’s because so much of how confident we feel about ourselves is tied up in how we look, or feel that we look to others.
2. What made you want to participate in this portrait series?
I have days where I hate the way that I look, and days where I don’t. I was intrigued by the title of the series and curious about what might make the difference for me about how I see myself.
3. Is being completely makeup free something that makes you feel in any way uncomfortable?
Only if I’m out in public, or in a situation where I already feel out of my comfort zone. With people I love who I’m secure with I don’t give it a second thought.
4. Are there specific factors (positive or negative) that have influenced how you feel about how you look?
Anything that makes me stand out that I lack the confidence to feel positive about - my hair colour, freckles, body shape and size have all made me feel negative about myself over the years. But external factors such as people I love telling me they like the way I look helps to balance out how I might feel about myself!
5. If there was one piece of advice for the future you could give your younger self, what would it be?
Believe in yourself - you’ll achieve much more if you do!
6. When have you felt most empowered in your life?
I tend to feel most empowered when I’m at a crossroads - I remember feeling like I could do anything when I finished school, university and when I’ve begun new jobs in the past. It may come with a real sense of fear/apprehension but the sense of knowing I have the opportunity to shape what happens next is really exciting.
7. Is there a woman fictional or real that you admire? Why?
There are many women that I admire - I have wonderful friends and family members that have helped to shape me and give me something to aspire to be, now and in the future. In fiction I’m currently inspired by some of the female characters in Game of Thrones who seem to show endless courage in a universe that is definitely set against them and in situations of constant peril - I wish I could be that brave!
8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?
I’m very tenacious - I tend to get things done when I set my mind on them.
9. Is there an achievement you are particularly proud of? Why?
I’m very proud of both my daughters, and myself for getting through two pregnancies and labours that I found really difficult. I didn’t know if I would ever be a parent (I suppose nobody really does for sure?) and I am endlessly amazed, and exhausted, by the two little people that live with us. There are parts of their character I can see myself in and take equal measures of pride and shame in that!
10. In daily life what are the pressures you feel most exposed to specifically as a woman?
Very specifically as a working mother I feel that it’s impossible to get the right balance of prioritising home or career, and there’s always something that I feel I’m not doing well enough - for me this started during pregnancy, followed by maternity leave and especially now I have two children. I also feel very exposed to the societal expectation of what looks good - I wish I could live up to that but so far I never have enough to feel confident!