Today is the day! Real Living Beauty gets down to business, starting now.
Here in our first interview, I have a revealing conversation with the two most confident ladies I know: My sisters. That infamous Glamour article revolves primarily around the 97% of women who have frequent, horrible thoughts about their appearance. This blog exists to help counter and eradicate those thoughts. So who better to start with than two amazing women who have grown up virtually unscathed by such toxic thinking? Here’s hoping we can all learn a little something from their healthy doses of self-esteem.
Real Living Beauty: So, I know you both very well, but give the RLB readers a little insight: What are you all about?
Lucy: Trying to be positive as much as possible. Not worrying about things that don’t matter. Have fun and be active. I’m a fun machine.
Bernadette: Being happy in my life, spending time with my family, my husband, and the people who I love. Quality alone time is important to me. Me Time is something I guard closely. I’m a pretty low-key person, my needs are simple.
RLB: How often would you say you have negative thoughts about your appearance?
B: More important than frequency, is that any negative thoughts I have are low-impact. I don’t stress out about things, because I’m at a point in my life where it just doesn’t get to me. I certainly notice things, but I don’t ultimately care.
L: A few times a week, maybe, but I’m with Bernadette. It just gets shrugged off. I might think “Huh, my pants are a little tight… oh, well!”
RLB: What were your teen years like? Was it as easy to let negative thoughts go?
L: To be honest, I felt awesome when I was younger. I don’t really remember ever thinking about my body. I was confident and I felt pretty, so I never really worried about my looks. One time I got bangs that I hated, but that’s about it.
B: I’d say I had more awkward phases than Lucy, but I grew up in the Grunge era. It revolved around not caring much about your appearance and being accepting of the way other people looked, so you know – I just threw on my flannel and I went.
RLB: Would you say it’s safe to describe you as more confident than self-conscious?
L: Confident, yes.
B: Definitely confident.
RLB: And where does your confidence come from?
B: It feels like a natural, inherent part of me. I’m happy with who I am as a person, which translates to not caring what other people think about how I look.
L: Reinforcement definitely comes from compliments. Women should compliment each other more. Also, we come from a confident, supportive family.
RLB: Mom was not one to comment on our appearance.
B: Except when Lucy started putting on weight –
L: – from partying too much. I don’t remember what she said, but I know she was more worried about my lifestyle. I was being unhealthy and drinking a lot, then I spent the summer on a ranch, where they served nothing but fattening ranch food… Once I moved back to Portland and lived a more normal existence – less partying and no more ranch food – I lost the weight as a matter of course. I was simply being healthy again.
B: If I’ve ever been unhealthy and a little heavier, it’s more uncomfortable. My motivation to look good is fueled by feeling good.
L: I agree. I feel better when I’m healthy and exercising.
B: I am not a fan of exercising, I eat well and I’m happy with the way I look.
RLB: What advice do you have for women who do struggle with body image?
B: Personally I think there are more important things in life. If you like yourself and believe in yourself, the rest of it will naturally follow. Liking myself as a person has made how I look much less important to me.
L: Find things that make you feel good, do what makes you feel good. Exercise and eating well make me feel good, so that’s what I do. And f*** the media.
B: Yeah, f*** the media.
RLB: On that note, there is lots of evidence out there of famous women fighting to be accurately represented in the media: Kate Winslet speaks out against photoshopping, KW and other celebs forming a League against plastic surgery, Tina Fey denouncing absurd expectations of beauty in Bossypants (watch for a Shout Out later this week). But we still see so many distorted images of women who are naturally beautiful. What are your thoughts on such absurdly altered photos?
L: I think it sucks. I want to see what they really look like. It’s just not realistic. I want to see their flaws, because we all have them. It just gets boring, when everybody tries to look the same. It would make women feel a lot better about themselves if they could actually see how famous women look. Or when a celebrity tries to claim “Oh I don’t worry about weight, I eat whatever I want.” No one eats whatever they want and stays that thin. The truth is so much more interesting and revealing.
B: I really enjoy seeing of pictures of (celebrities) without makeup and looking real, and I find the difference very interesting. They haven’t done it in a while, but I love the Jezebel feature, Photoshop of Horrors.
L: I like that, too. It’s strange when some magazines make those real things into such bad things. Like, “Ew, stars without makeup!” or circling their cellulite in beach photos with red ink.
B: I think it’s odd how this phenomenon of photoshopping in magazines has turned into regular people photoshopping their own pictures.
L: And having that as a feature on digital cameras.
B: Yeah that’s strange.
RLB: What are three things that you absolutely love about your appearance?
B AND L: My hair. (laughing)
L: Great hair.
B: Yeah we have really nice hair.
L: I’ve grown to embrace my pale skin. I wanted to be tan growing up, but now I like having fair skin. Maybe also my lips. We were all blessed with really good lips.
B: I also like my eyes.* And my body has always been really consistent and dependable. I’m happy to have a body I can rely on. Even though I’m halfway through my first pregnancy, I still feel really comfortable in my own skin.
*Note: B’s eyes are a crazy amazing shade of blue. I frequently ask if she’s wearing color contacts in pictures, and I’ve known her for 33 years. She has never worn color contacts.