How Self Love Beauty's Beautiful Me Campaign Has Impacted Me

How Self Love Beauty's Beautiful Me Campaign Has Impacted Me

Organizing a photo shoot with 14 women of a variety of shapes/sizes/ethnicities ages 16-61 was incredible
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On April 1st, 2017, I ran a photo shoot for Self Love Beauty’s Beautiful Me Campaign in Central Park in NYC! It was an incredible experience, and I am so glad that I was able to be such a big part of making it all happen.

The Planning

In December of 2016, I started working as a branding intern for the blog Self Love Beauty. When I first learned that I was going to be planning/running a photo shoot, I wasn’t totally sure how it was all going to come together. I had participated in a number of photo shoots before as a model, but I hadn’t organized one before, and especially not one of this magnitude.

However, Lisa Thompson, founder of Self Love Beauty, helped me every step along the way and constantly reassured me that I was doing exactly what I needed to. From casting all of our 14 models (including my mom!), to compiling all of their information and stories, to contacting media outlets, to scheduling every component of the shoot down to the hour, it was a great experience in learning how to connect with people in a professional manner and in trusting myself to be able to get the job done.

The Shoot

After each of our models had their makeup done by one of the three amazing makeup artists who volunteered their time to us – Mabel Jimenez, Erika Mays, and Amanda Hoehl (who was also one of the models!) – we started to take everyone’s individual photos. Each model wore an inspirational shirt that she had picked out.

After each model’s individual photos were taken by our photographer/videographer, Justin Katz, there was a quick video interview where each model was able to share a little more about her story. Getting to hear each of these women speak about their experiences and what made them who they are today was incredibly inspiring. Few things are as powerful as someone speaking freely about who they truly are.

After we wrapped up the individual photos, we started to do some large group photos. It was so fun for everyone to be able to come together as one, yet still let our own individuality shine through.

Reflection

After the shoot was over, I was incredibly proud of myself and how much I accomplished in organizing this project. It was so empowering to see all of these women sharing their stories with each other and connecting with each other even though many of them had never met before. It was also so freeing to be able to share my own story.

I’m so glad that I was able to include women from the ages of 16-61 of a variety of shapes, sizes, and ethnicities for the NYC portion of this campaign. From moms, to high school students, to dancers, to writers, to everything in between, there were so many different stories to be shared. All women are beautiful and deserve to have their voices heard.

Thank you to Lisa Thompson for creating such a powerful brand with Self Love Beauty and for allowing me to help carry out part of her vision!


To see the finished photos and videos from the campaign, be sure to follow @selflovebeauty and @leenahlovesherself on Instagram!

Cover Image Credit: Justin Katz

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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