Lyndsey

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

I wear make-up every day.  I feel anxious and self-conscious without it.  A comment was made to me many years ago that I look ill without it and that has stayed with me.

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

I was blown away by the honest and total natural beauty in the photographs.  I didn’t think it was something I could do so I gave myself a challenge to get involved!

 

 

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

Yes.  I lack confidence without make-up and I feel I don’t function properly without it.

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

I found the teenage years particularly difficult and what were throw away comments made by people who really didn’t mean any harm shaped the way I feel about myself if a negative way.

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

To surround myself with genuine people and remember it’s quality not quantity of friends that matters!

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

When my husband was made redundant and we decided to give up the daily grind and travel the world for a year.  We were two of the oldest backpackers in town but it was an incredible experience.

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

Caroline Aherne.  Hugely talented, funny and beautiful who was massively successful in a very modest way.

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

My loyalty.

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

A standard answer I’m afraid but having my daughter.  The first 3 months were incredibly challenging for me and I felt completely out of my comfort zone.  I have a lovely bond with my daughter and I’m proud of all the effort I have put in to build my confidence and to give her a loving environment to grow up in.  

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

I feel pressure to be a great mum and wife, to provide a nice home, to look groomed and to perform at work.

Kerry

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

I've worn make up every day of my adult life, until today. I don't wear a huge amount but it's always there, even if it's just me on my own that day, I don't feel comfortable, smart or attractive without it. Today is the first day I've gone without and it's made me think I would do it again, no-one has stared at me yet at least.

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

I had a baby 10 months ago and it's changed how I think about my body and my appearance generally, made me realise that my body is capable of amazing things and that I should appreciate it and look after it a little more, rather than looking at it with such a critical eye. I have more grey hairs now, more lines on my face, I don't remember the last time I had a full night's sleep which shows in my face and I have a small scar on my cheek from when the baby scratched it because we were so frightened cutting his nails that we didn't always do it often enough at the start. 

Having my son has changed my outlook on life, made me rethink my goals and opinions and I think the changes in my appearance are a reflection and a reminder of that so I'm trying to be more accepting and embracing of them.

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

Yes, I'm ashamed to admit it but it is, I feel very exposed. I once had my hair and makeup done for a wedding and I showed a photo from it to a colleague and she commented, 'You look really pretty! Nothing like normal!'. To be fair to her this was in another country so there were cultural and language differences to take account of but it definitely made me more self conscious about how I looked than I had been before.

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

I think it takes a certain confidence to not compare yourself to others. Perhaps I needed to be a little older before I could compare myself to others be it in magazines, TV or real life and know that what other people have isn't necessarily achievable for everyone, either because of genetics, privilege or even just priorities perhaps. 

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

Train in a skill when you're young, don't just continue education for the sake of it, make it something useful. Education for the love of learning is wonderful but can be done at any age; having a skill you can fall back on will give you flexibility in later life. 

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

I'm sure I'm not the first to say this, but the day I gave birth. I'm still genuinely impressed my body could do that, I was exhausted but I felt like I could conquer the world at the same time.

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

My mum had the courage to leave a terrible relationship with two children, leave her support network and move to a new city and start again. She then went back to college and got a first class honours degree. I don't know how she found the time or energy! More recently she has got healthy, got fit, lost a lot of weight and really changed her life. She doesn't have a lot of confidence which I think is a huge shame but what she has shown me is the importance of perseverance even when things are tough, of the power of being determined and focused. She inspires me all the time, I wish she realised how strong and brave she is.

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I've often done things that have really scared me from public speaking and online dating to travelling on my own and moving to a country where I didn't know a soul. Even though I've been petrified I've signed myself up and committed, meaning I have to go through with it - it hasn't always been easy and sometimes there have been moments where I've sat in tears wishing I hadn't, but at the end, looking back, I've always been glad I did, I've always learned from it and it's never as scary the second time.

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

This one probably sounds silly to other people but I'm proud that I met my husband. We met online, I had been on dating sites for years but always too scared to message anyone so I had never spoken to anyone on these sites, let alone met anyone. Once we arranged to meet I was petrified, I spent the whole way there in a taxi messaging my friend, threatening to turn back home and once I got there I think my hands shook for most of the evening. So I'm proud that I messaged him, that I didn't turn back and that I kept chatting despite the shaking. That one message changed my life.

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

I definitely feel a pressure to 'have it all'. To be a great parent, a great wife and be successful in my career while still managing to spend time with friends and family, exercise, read books and look presentable! In reality of course not only do we all have off days but for some of us 'having it all' just isn't possible, something will be compromised. So far I've been unable to find a part time job in my field for when I do return to work which means I feel pressured to go back full time and therefore see less of my son. Opportunities become more restricted for women after having children and the world is a poorer place for it as there are so many wasted talents of people who are forced to choose between family and career, people who stay in jobs they don't like or have outgrown because they know they will find it difficult to find part time or flexible hours elsewhere. I wish I had been able to appreciate this when I was younger because I would have made different choices and trained in something more flexible.

Kelly

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

I wear full makeup for a shoot or a night out or really just if I feel like it that day. Most days I just wear a tinted moisturiser.

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

I think it's important for woman to not feel like they have to use makeup as a barrier to hide behind or that skin is poreless and flat.

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

No, not at all. When I was younger definitely.

 

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

I suppose growing up and becoming more comfortable with myself as well as less concerned with how other people see me.

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

It's all going to be ok. You'll grow into your weirdness. Never try to change.

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

Probably while doing a TeD talk to a school and youtube. The feedback was fantastic and I really felt like I'd made a difference in how people may see themselves.

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

Mary Shelley....She overcame so many tragedies and against the odds wrote and published a very successful book in her own name.

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I'd like to think that I don't judge people and am very accepting of others.

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

I suppose building a primarily female based internet following with the intent to inspire. I have not compromised myself by selling out to the sex aspect of social media.

10. In daily life what are the pressures you feel most exposed to specifically as a woman?Reactions from men on a daily basis are difficult. I can be wearing trousers and a jumper and have to put up with cat calls and rude comments. Being objectified is difficult especially on the internet as people forget you are a real person, someones daughter and sister

Danielle

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

I don't wear make often but when I do it's normally for a special occasion 

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

I thought it was a really nice concept and good way to show the pressures put on woman to look presentable all the time, its an issue that shouldn't be kept quiet.

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

Yeah, I'd be lying if I said I felt completely comfortable in my own skin all the time. It doesn't happen too often but it's nice to cover up those flaws sometimes  

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

In school I was bullied about my appearance, I had short hair, didn't wear make up and wanted to wear shorts instead of skirts, for so long I tried to fit in and look like every other girl and it really affected my confidence. This was until I met new friends who didn't care about what I looked liked and just wanted to know me for who I was.

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

As cliche as it sounds; BE YOURSELF! You'll come to learn that trying to be someone else just simply isn't worth it

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

When I went away with my boyfriend for my first holiday, we saw new things and experienced a lot of fun and difficult things on our own.

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

My mum. She never fails to let me know how beautiful she thinks I am, whether I'm getting ready to go on a night out or if she's waking me up from college and I look like I've not seen the light of day for a month. She herself is beautiful with and without make up and I admire her for after having three children continuing to look and feel radiant within herself day in day out.

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself? 

My ability to stay positive, I'm always looking on the bright side of things and convince other too as well! 

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

Being accepted to the college course I wanted, especially after not doing so well in school 

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

Being told you cant do something because you're weaker and less able and when defending yourself, being seen as crazy, psychotic and classed as just an EMOTIONAL WOMAN.

Michelle

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

I wear a little makeup every day because it make me feel that I am ready for the day. I wear eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara because my eyes look tired without. I only wear a dab of foundation sometimes.

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

I wanted to help you with your project because it's about women and seems interesting. My partner had her photo taken and you captured her essence perfectly. I would like to have mine taken to see my bare face around the same time as she had her bare face captured. To capture this time in our relationship.

 

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

If I have no eye makeup on I feel bare and self conscious. Only around my partner, best friends and family can I be bare. Out and about and at work I need to at least have eye make up on! Although abroad I'll not wear makeup or do my hair!

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

I think growing up with painfully shy old fashioned parents , has made me self conscious. I never saw an adult naked body until I was about fourteen and my female relative that I spent holidays with was comfy enough to walk around naked in the mornings. I was in awe! I have never felt comfortable with my body unless through truly being built up with a partner. However even then I am not comfy walking around naked.

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

I would give advice to eat healthier and less! To look after myself better but to celebrate the curves I have and also I would have said don't start wearing eye make up at twelve as it's set me up for feeling like I need it for life!!

After mulling over these questions I realised that would be the body advice I would give myself. However, the emotional advice I would give myself would be to slow down and enjoy the moment , pay attention to the moment and stop ruminating or planning as the best moments are being missed.

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

I have felt most empowered when surrounded by family and friends on my wedding day in 2014. I felt so much love for Jen and then everyone's else's love just seeped into me, I soaked it up like a sponge and felt so loved and happy and lucky.

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

I admire my birth mother who died in 2014. She was only 52. She died of lung disease. She was born into chaos herself and had a difficult childhood and upbringing and then lost us when we were 3 and 6 and suffered her whole life subsequently. However she was stoic until the end. I admired her strength when facing death and feel grateful my sister, Jen and I could be with her when she passed away. She brought us into this world and we were with her when she left this world. That feels poignant.

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I am very thoughtful. I take care of my relationships with family and close friends.

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

I did at 26 mile kick scoot from Leith to North Berwick to raise funds for my friend who has just been diagnosed at 28 with breast cancer. I feel proud as I raised 2.5k and I am also organising a fundraiser in July where I am doing a Silent Auction, where I have asked locals for donations and feel grateful for all the amazing donations. This will help my friend with the financial consequences of being ill, with two young babies. This makes me proud as I didn't think I could do that scoot and I have been proud how focused I have been on getting donations for the auction.

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

I feel pressure I suppose in several ways , in all my roles, but one pressure is people wondering about children. This is something I want but may take time.

 

 

 

 

 

Laura M

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

I wear minimal make up daily if I am leaving the house as I feel self conscious going bare faced. I have a lot of blemishes even though I'm now 30 and my dark under eye circles my make me look like death . I like to let my skin breath and go makeup free when I'm spending time at home. I wish I had the confidence to go makeup free more often . But especially with the trend of wearing so much make up at the minute I feel very undone when I go out without it. 

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

I wanted to be part of this series as I think it's important to be confident with how you look and it's a good thing to inspire young girls especially show them it's ok to not hide your face. 

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

It's a work in progress with me but I am now trying to concentrate on good skin care and diet as opposed to covering myself up with make up and hiding under it . 

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

There's always been a feeling of pressure to look a certain way for woman that has had a very negative effect on me especially growing up. Age has had a much more positive effect on me.

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

Advice for younger self would definitely be to work with what you have instead of trying to look like something you're not , there's no beauty in everyone looking the same . Get my diet and sleep pattern in order before running to the make up counter for quick fixes , and also to stay away from sunbeds . 

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

The most empowered I ever felt about myself would be when I was studying beauty therapy and really taking care of my skin etc. This allowed me to confidently carry myself without hiding under a layer of make up as my skin was clearer and healthier looking . And I just generally felt better about myself . 

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

I admire women who aren't afraid to just be themselves and just put themselves out there . I think confidence of self is an incredible quality to have . I think Emma Watson and Keira Knightly are two women who do this splendidly. 

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I think what I like most about myself is that I have learned to be kind regardless of what other people and life throw at me , I have learned to look past seeing it as something personal because it's not always about you but how the other person is feeling and what they need. 

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

My greatest personal achievement to date would be plucking up the courage to start modelling as it's something I always wanted to do but never thought I would be good enough or pretty enough to do it . 

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

Some of the biggest pressures I feel woman face growing up and as adults is that we are meant to look , act and behave in certain way because a magazine or tv etc tells you that's how you're supposed to be , it can be hard to just be yourself when everything around you is telling you that's wrong .

Bethany

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

I enjoy applying makeup, experimenting with the wide variety of cosmetics we have in so many shades, tones and colours. I wear it everyday and although I don't mind going out without wearing any, I'd much prefer to wear it.

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

I know what I look like without makeup but how someone else sees me without makeup will be interesting to see.

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

Sometimes, I went through an extreme amount of skin treatment and I am a lot more confident in my skin now but I do have very red skin left behind from the excessive treatment and a lot of scars from spots. I also have a scar under my eye which I cover up with makeup.

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

I think every woman has some, none specifically come to mind.

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

Not to have over thought about my looks the way I did. We all have insecurities and lack confidence in one area or another. 

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

I first felt this when I started doing photography myself, the results in my work when I complimented my models left me with not only great results in my work but in my models self confidence. 

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

I admire lots of women,  both who were born women and those who became women. My mum would have to be my number one.

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I care for a lot of people, whether I'm related to them or not

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

I'm proud of going makeup free on social media. Ask me to do this a few years ago I'd have to have declined

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

Everything some way or another, depending on the day and situation. Nothing that will effect me in the long run though.

Mandy

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

I like to enhance my features but usually just use very barely there make up, so very natural. I use it to even out and to cover blemishes. I use it pretty much every day.

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

I was drawn to the project first of all seeing the images which had been done already and how beautiful they were. And I wanted to be part of something that can be empowering to us as women.

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

It depends on my surroundings. Within close people, friends and family I feel comfortable without make up, but in general I would say it feels like a safety blanket when out and about.

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

Wisdom comes with age. Getting older and being more confident in myself (there are still days where I'm not) has definitely had an impact how I feel about myself and the way I look. Other things become more important. 

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

Don't worry about your hair! I used to get absorbed into hair style crisis while other girls would worry about their body shapes.

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

I think there have been a few situations in my life where I felt Im on top of the world. Moving to Berlin and making my own decisions regarding my life, giving birth to my two wonderful boys and moving to Scotland. I also feel empowered when other people recognize my potential, it gives me self believe and can do attitude. 

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

In real life that would be my granny Edith. She is a woman of such inner beauty, I have learned so much from her. She keeps inspiring me with her stories and resilience.  Another woman I admire is the artist Roisin Murphy, she keeps on reinventing herself but also stays loyal to herself and Im glad to be able to listen to her repertoire of music and love her real woman aspect.

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself? 

I am a good listener and a pretty good dancer.

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

Taking risks in my life are the things that keep me going. Living abroad, making music with one of my friends in Berlin, having art exhibitions with my friend in Edinburgh and generally not conforming to a conservative life style despite having children and being married. All these things empower me and make me happy.

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

We are still not equal to men and that needs to be changed! The acceptance of women as an individual and not just part timer, mum, etc...and woman comparing each other! Women need to support each other more, long live the sisterhood 

Laura

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

I rarely wear makeup, and when I do, it's quite minimal. I've always had this habit. Over time, I have come to completely appreciate my body and my skin, especially face for what it naturally is. To be in a society where makeup is practically a woman's uniform and where we are essentially force fed claims that makeup is quintessentially part of our identity, makes us beautiful, age defiant, etc, is in my opinion a total scam. Completely shallow and missing the point of a woman's beauty. I feel empowered knowing that natural beauty is something I like to embrace. Not wearing makeup doesn't bother me. I think that it's in our most natural state that we are most exquisite. 

 

 

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

I've recently become good friends with Kristie and an instant admirer of her work. Through conversations over photography, art and edinburgh, she brought up how she wanted to pursue a study of natural portraits. Her approach and philosophy behind the concept was on point and well put together. I admired her for that. Later, she asked if I would participate. I was honoured and sort of bashful at first, considering my lack of portraits taken. I'm not used to being photographed. I much prefer living on the other side of the camera. I wanted to be involved-because of all the portrait series one could involve oneself with, this one struck me as an enriching and with a wholesome ethos. Something I would be proud to be associated with. 

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

Not at all. 

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

Having been told I look beautiful by some highly esteemed individuals in my life has been enough to give me the boost of confidence desired and appreciated. Also, to be told specific compliments about certain features of mine, such as eyes, has over time made an impression. To be given words of affirmation on character and natural elements rather than comments on how good your sense of fashion is or your expertise on makeup application is to me-light years more important to me. Why cover up skin or embellish with extra unessentials when you are lovely just as you are? 

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

My piece of advice would be to start saving money for my lifelong film photography fetish that has become the most prolific part of my life. And to not waste so much of my time and emotion crushing on certain silly boys. 

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

I felt the most empowered when I finally got dual nationality for the United Kingdom and the United States. It was a day I will never forget. It was the day my world got a little bit bigger and my dreams became achievable. 

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

I admire the women who believe in themselves, their abilities-and understand what it takes to achieve their goals and dreams-and make them happen...all with poise. Never making themselves out to be more than they really are. The grounded yet passionate, gentle and eloquent-those are my lady heroes. 

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I admire my fearlessness. I've also always been a go getter. Always finding one more project or collaboration to participate in. To pair that with a spirit of compassion and equal parts determination, those are qualities I appreciate about myself. 

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

I'm quite proud of making my permanent move to Scotland. Every single day I find myself so thankful and extremely happy to be living in my true home. It feels like the circle has been completed after spending my entire life coming here to visit family on holidays and falling madly in love more and more each visit. It's a massive accomplishment to have properly moved here after longing for it for so long. It's a very special treasure and milestone that I think will aid to a never ending appreciation for this beautiful country. 

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

I think women are unfairly faced, on a daily basis, with the notion that there is more to mend, more to cover up, more to enhance, more to be ashamed of...I hate that our modern day society decides to profit off of women who are fed with nonsensical adverts, magazine icons and clothing imagery that paints a false assumption of how women should look. Rather, there should be more encouragement for how someone naturally is. But of course, most of these formerly noted sources wouldn't make much money off telling women to be okay with who they are. Every single woman is unique and beyond beautiful just how she is. I read a comment one day, a while back that made me laugh and also made me think...it went something like this-we never see adverts encouraging men to wear makeup, so why are women constantly reminded they need it? Simple, yet profound. I encourage all women to stop listening to silly presumptions of how they should look. Take matters into their own hands and embrace themselves for who they truly are. I genuinely think that everyone looks the prettiest and most honest with no makeup at all. 

Charlotte H

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

I mostly wear it to cover up any pimples but I love doing the full works too - makes me feel glam and grown up! I mostly wear makeup on weekends. 

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

I thought the idea of it was really great and empowering. I had also never been photographed like this so wanted to try it. 

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

Mostly it doesn't make me uncomfortable but I would be lying if I said I never feel self conscious without any makeup on.

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

I have a huge love/hate thing with my hair and the permanent bags under my eyes. I always like my freckles though. 

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

Everything's going to change and it's going to be totally fine. Keep wearing your cool outfits. 

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

That's a hard one...probably whenever I finish a really hard workout at the gym and I'm sweating buckets. I can squat like a pro.

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

My mum because she works so hard every day for herself and us. She's also got amazing taste in fashion and let's me borrow her stuff. 

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I think I'm quite creative and passionate. I always do my best. 

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

I recently got a job that I really wanted and I'm getting pretty good at it. I'm proud because I like earning money that I've worked hard for. 

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

If I stand up for myself or speak out when things aren't right or fair, I always feel that people will view me as aggressive or mean. Though I stopped caring long ago. 

Jen

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

I wear a little bit each day, I enjoy wearing more when I'm going out or dressing up as its part of dressing up and it's fun, I like colour and style and it's another way to play with this.

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

I wanted an honest picture of myself, bare at forty. 

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

No, I'm happy with or without make up, it's just a choice depending on how I feel and what I'm doing.

 

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

Everyone's own image is influenced in so many ways by so many things. I think having great people around you influence a more positive and natural sense of self and I'm lucky to have had that.

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

Strive harder for what you are interested in pursuing, for longer, with passion. Worry less, learn more. Don't try to impress, just be.

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

As a mother (but equally not!) as an artist (and equally not!).

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

So many. Women in my family, for their love and hugely varied influence on me, my nana for her strength. Friends and colleagues just living their lives, my wife who has an incredibly generous heart, my daughter who has a beautiful spirit, artists like tacita dean whose work I am moved by, artists who struggled like Frida kahlo, Agnes Martin for her subtlety, It's impossible to choose only one!

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I'm very forgiving and extremely open minded.

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

Bringing my daughter up, she is a beautiful person.

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

The daily pressures don't relate to being a woman so much as just being a parent, partner, daughter, professional, artist, and friend... If I can juggle all that and still maintain my own identity everything will be grand! 

Morgan

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

I wear makeup sometimes, but it's minimal. Mascara is really the only thing I've held onto.
Most days I go makeup free and when I do put it on, I often find myself wondering why as well! I guess it all comes down to expectation of presentation. I was brought up to know how to present myself professionally and when the time calls for it. I don't hold the same views as my mum does, we're a different generation with somewhat different expectations placed upon us on this particular issue. But there's definitely elements of feeling well presented that are attached to makeup, clothes and other stylistic choices that have been passed on which I think are still relevant today. 

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

I think the idea is brilliant. Anything that invites people to ask questions of themselves and challenges the parameters of their comfort zones is worthwhile in my opinion. 

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

Not uncomfortable as such. I have found myself in situations where I felt underdressed as a result, but in much the same way as not dressing for an occasion would. 

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

The general expectation for women to appear in certain ways influences a great number of people, myself included. It's not an easy thing to escape, it's completely embedded in everyone's day-to-day whether they consciously recognise it or not. 

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

Own your own happiness.

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

When I moved from Australia to the UK almost 6 years ago. Empowerment was mixed with a whole bunch of other emotions, but it was there! 

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

I admire so many people, love so many people. I'm going to pick my beautiful friend Kendall, because she has been on her own quest for self betterment and understanding for longer than I can remember and has emerged from the darkest places stronger, more eloquent, more graceful and bursting with knowledge. She's inspiring. enchanting and is one of the best friends I will ever have. 

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

My emotional intelligence. There's something about owning the spectrum of emotions humans are capable of experiencing and doing your best to understand them and accept why they're there that makes me feel more alive and more accepting of myself and others. It also calls into question a lot about the emotional expectations placed on different sexes, both positive and negative. Even if we're just talking about the basic crap about women being 'more emotional' than men. It's all social construct and conditioning which is why it's important to challenge boundaries. Using emotions in that way is empowering and enlightening and it also makes me feel so much more connected to others. 

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

My move from Australia to the UK. I came here alone and it was the hardest thing I've ever asked myself to do. 

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

Emotional labour, organisation and presentation. I also feel a pressure to hold my own, to be worthy of being a feminist and to educate myself in a way that will serve me and my sex.

 

 

 

Kate

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

I very rarely wear make up, something about it has always made me feel uncomfortable, people being somewhat addicted to wearing it and people looking at you differently because of it.  I do enjoy the ritual of it though, at festivals or parties getting ready with my female friends, adorning each other in sparkles and jewels can feel very nurturing.            

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

I saw some of the portraits being posted up online and thought they were very beautiful, then the opportunity to participate came up and I jumped at it.  I wanted to feel connected in some way to these other beautiful women and the powerful and honest perspectives they were sharing.

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

No, I am much happier make up free.  I am at my happiest in nature, camping and wild swimming far away from the many reflections and media images projected in the city.  Although I do of course have my own masks.  Looking at this portrait of myself feels a bit uncomfortable because I am not smiling, I realise now that that is a mask I have; smiling to show that I don’t take myself too seriously, that I am always positive and capable, but nobody really feels like that all the time.

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

Going to art college has definitely affected the way I look at things.  One the one hand through lots of life drawing I developed a different appreciation of the human form, and saw how icons of beauty differ over the ages.  In art you see the female form a lot.  On the other hand art college was a  surprisingly misogynistic place, almost all female students but all male tutors, and an art history biased towards male artists.  In first year a tutor pointed at one of the students, the only male in the class, a big guy who had a shaved head and was wearing a boiler suit and said “he looks like a real sculptor.” So the impression was given that to look like a man was to appear like a “real artist” and to appear feminine was to not have your ideas taken seriously.  

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

Be kind to yourself, and accepting of kindness.  There is a grace in accepting help from others and a strength in showing your vulnerabilities.

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

I think my idea of what it means to be empowered has changed since I gave birth to my daughter.  I used to think to be empowered meant rushing around achieving impossible goals and being strong and independent.  Directly after I had Maia I felt small and quiet but so assured of my place in life.  That was so empowering; to feel all the expectations of the world dissipate and just feel so completely content in myself.

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

I am constantly in total admiration of my female friends.  I am lucky to have a host of beautiful, inspiring and compassionate women around me who challenge and nurture me constantly.  I also admire the actress Samantha Morton.  She works in Hollywood but manages to remain authentic and natural.  I saw her give a talk in the Film Festival once and it was very inspiring.  She was pregnant at the time and came across as gentle and down to earth but very in control honest and uncompromising.  She described acting as “a muscle” that you just have to keep working on no matter what.  She said that when she had no work on she used to go to Poland and do street theatre.  I think that commitment is applicable no matter what your practice is.

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I feel I can make connections with lots of different people, I have gained incredible insights and lasting friendships from chance meetings with all sorts of people.  I am glad people seem to trust me and see me for who I hope to be.

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

I think I can see potential in people, places and things that often goes unnoticed.  Through artwork and community projects I have the chance to reveal this potential to others and help people find it in themselves and that makes me feel proud.  Often achieving big projects and milestones in life like a degree or exhibition actually feels a bit of an anti climax where as other surprising things feel more significant.  Once a little girl asked to interview me for a school project as she wanted to be an artist like me when she grew up.  That still makes me feel incredibly proud to think of.  I’m very proud of my daughter, seeing her be happy, loving and determined, these are the real things.

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

I find the pull between public and private life difficult to maintain.  For me to create artwork, think up projects, be a good mum, to be happy and healthy I need quiet time to contemplate, to focus on my thoughts, my daughter, the material.  But there is always a million other things to do surrounding that and the special sacred moments often seem to be compromised.  I also feel the pressure to justify myself where I would prefer to just be.  To create a drawing for me is a process of investigation, allowing it to reveal itself and figure something out about myself along the way.  But there is always the pressure to explain its “meaning” in words, even before you’ve begun in a proposal.  It's the same in life, like with my daughter; I would like to let our paths unfold together intuitively, discovering ourselves as people, as mother and daughter as we go but even before she was born I felt the pressure to have a plan, to have chosen things for this person that didn’t exist yet.  That didn’t feel natural to me.

 

Pam

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

I do wear makeup, generally it's just mascara. I'd say I wear it more at weekends so 2/3 days a week. 

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

It's nice to see somebody promoting the natural woman. There are not enough items/pictures of the normal every day lady out there, everyone you see is glam. 

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

No, I've no issue being makeup free. 

 

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

I guess over the years you learn to love what you have been given. I also have never had time/patience to sit and apply heaps of makeup. 

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

Don't worry what others think, love yourself. 

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

It's odd, I feel more empowered now that I've had my little boy. Every day is special. 

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

I probably admired my mum, no matter how ill she was she got on with it. 

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I guess I love the fact that I'd do anything for my friends and family at the drop of a hat. I'm always thinking of others. 

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

Learning sign language makes me proud and also my little one. 

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

I think women now in our society are expected to juggle everything and just get on with it!!
 

Gracie

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

I wear makeup most days, not a lot but the bit I do wear definitely gives me confidence.

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

I'm interested to see how I look makeup free but professionally photographed. Also, think it's a really beautiful project to be part of.

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

Yes, I can feel uncomfortable I certain places with no make up. I also like to feel like I'm making a effort to look my best.

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

I think every woman is influenced by how they feel about the way they look.... The people around you as you grow up, the people you look up to and admire, your friends. 

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

Don't care as much as you did about what other people think of you, the people around you, that love you and you love are the important ones. Don't let things people say, get to you just let it go, walk away from bad situations rather than fight them.

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

I have felt empowered by giving birth to my children, by finding a man who loves me for who I am and our relationship always growing and getting stronger. By the moments I have with my children when they are having a difficult time and I can sort it out for them, the moments we all as a family have a really great time together. 
By being out and feeling really good about myself.

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

I admire many woman, my mum, all my beautiful friends, my sister. I admire Madonna because she is a strong sexy confident woman. 

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I admire that I am a good mother to my children and try to be a positive happy influence on them. If I can do that, they can hopefully be strong, happy, confident people. 

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

Giving birth to my children.

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

Keeping the house together, keeping all my children happy, not letting go of who I am but being the best mummy I can, not losing it at my children when the are really kicking off. Being patient with my daughter. Wanting to look the best for my husband so he always wants me. Juggling family life while trying to keep friendships going.

 

Rowan

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

Not often now.  When I'm going on a night out or if I'm trying to be respectable. When I’m going somewhere where I feel other females might be particularly competitive or judgmental. 

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

When I first saw the project, I was feeling a bit down about my appearance. I had put on weight, or felt I had, and there were days when I couldn’t look in the mirror. I know that isn't a healthy way to think so I thought this would be good to push me out of my own self pity and get out of my own head. And get a nice picture of myself too. I think I'm a closet narcissist, really. 

 

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

Not usually. But I must admit, seeing the photograph did make me feel incredibly vulnerable, exposed even. Every flaw I see in the mirror seemed magnified, to the point that in the first second I saw it I was horrified. There was nothing to hide behind, not even a smile. I love it now but it's difficult to see past your own insecurities that you think are so obvious to everyone else.

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

It really depends on my mood. If my confidence in other aspects of life is high, I think I look good. If my confidence in other areas is shaken, then that has an adverse effect. 

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

Have more adventures while you still can.

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

When I’ve got out of a particularly bad relationship.

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

Ginger Rogers - beautiful, talented and overlooked

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

Not being afraid to do things on my own.

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

My complete lack of control of my emotions, which affects my professionalism (what little I have) Fortunately, my bosses are very forgiving and understanding. Usually after one of these episodes I feel foolish and guilty that other humans have to deal with me.

10. If you could change only one thing to improve life for women worldwide what would it be?

I would stop them thinking of themselves as inferior. It’s easily done, even in the western world where we have some equality (or almost), to let yourself be passed over for men to deal with a situation. More often than not it’s subconscious.

Heather

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

I very rarely wear makeup and when I do its for fun or just because I want to

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

I think that women today need to feel more comfortable in their own skin and not be so concerned with what others think

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

Not at all. I tend to feel a bit more uncomfortable in makeup

 

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

Being raised to be happy with who I am and how I look played a huge part in my being comfortable in my own skin.

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

Have more fun and relax

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

When I spent 2 weeks driving around Scotland alone and then deciding to move overseas with my family.

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

Helen Keller, she overcame all odds and excelled in life despite her disabilities

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I am honest and loyal to a fault

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

Becoming a single mother after moving to a new country and continuing to follow my dream while raising my children.

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

Not looking like what society has deemed 'normal' and being comfortable with who I am makes me feel rather exposed on a regular basis. When you are a mom especially, people assume certain things about you and expect you to look a certain way and if you don't, they aren't sure how to handle you.

Rachel

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

How often I wear makeup really depends on how I feel that day.  Some days I just want to be fresh faced and so don’t wear any.  However, I can have other times where I feel particularly creative and put on a full face.  Most regularly though, I do have some form of makeup on.  I just use it as a device to feel more confident.

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

I had seen previous portraits from the series and they were all gorgeous.  It helped me to realise that makeup doesn’t equate to beauty, and I wanted to be a part of that.

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

Most of the time, when I’m makeup free, I’m with people who I know and am comfortable around anyway. However, if I’m alone in public or I’m meeting someone new, I can feel very uncomfortable and self conscious. 

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

There have been many negative factors that have made me think ill of the way I look.  However, the positive factors have always come from those closest to me and who I love the most; always giving me genuine compliments and complete honesty.  I will always listen to those opinions; even if I don’t believe them, it’s very comforting to know that someone else genuinely does.

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

Don’t get so caught up in pretending to be interested in things you’re not, just for the sake of a little acceptance and popularity.  The sooner you let yourself discover who you are, the better it gets.

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

In 2012, I made a very close friend at a drama class.  This continued on to 2013 when, at the same drama class, we both formed a group with some other people.  I am still very close with these people and it feels as though I have known them all my life.  Any time I am with those people, in particular, I feel more empowered than I do at any other given time.

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

Jennifer Lawrence.  I feel as though this sounds like a very typical answer, but I still admire her nonetheless. She’s intelligent, funny, beautiful, very good at what she does and appears to always be herself in every situation - and people love her for that.   

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

My honesty with the ones I love.  I feel honesty is so important with those who are closest to us and so I try my best to be truthful with them - I’ve found that people appreciate and respect that much more than a, seemingly helpful and temporary, white lie. 

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

Getting into University.  It felt as though I proved myself wrong, that I am intelligent enough to pursue what I want to pursue.  And I got there by working extremely hard on the subjects I loved in 6th year of high school.  

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

Whether what I’m wearing is suitable for my body type, whether I suit it, whether people like it or if they’re just going to talk about it when I’m out of ear shot.  Whether I’m wearing an “appropriate” amount of makeup or not.  I definitely have days where I just feel very sensitive and vulnerable towards “societal expectations” and pressures.