Advice, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Interview

TUESDAY TALKS: Rudie McCree

MEET RUDIE: If you know anything about the London fashion world right now, you’ll know about Rudie McCree. This beautiful lady seems to be everywhere you turn your head; whether you’re doing some online shopping with Topshop, keeping up to date with catwalk shows or flicking through fashion magazines, her lion’s mane and pretty feline features manage to steal the attention away from the clothes she’s wearing without even trying. Envy inducing, right? Somehow, whether it’s in her fun, positive attitude, her passion for everything she’s doing or simply her inviting energy, you can’t help but fall in love with Rudie. I’ll have what she’s having.

NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: Miss McCree is also a talented singer/songwriter with a debut EP in the pipeline. Patience not your forte? Here’s a clip from a few years ago.

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What is ‘beautiful’ to you?

To me it’s about love, the ability to love everything and everyone, it’s more of an aura than a look. Beautiful people are people who know how to love and find the joy in any moment. That’s the best way I can describe it.

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What’s your top beauty secret?

I would say just listen to your body, it has an amazing way of warning you when something’s not quite right, also meditation can increase all aspects of beauty. But if your looking for an actual product it would have to be coconut oil, it can be used as a moisturiser, for healthier and stronger hair, a makeup remover as well as a primer the benefits are endless.

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What do you love most about yourself?

It would definitely have to be my determination and self belief in myself. Once I set a goal I will not stop until I have accomplished it in spite of any set backs. And of course my hair, because why not 😉

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Happiness, Health

LIGHTENING BOLTS & TIGER STRIPES

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The media’s boring and frankly dumb obsession with adding negative connotations to our physical “imperfections” (which, by the way, are mostly completely natural and normal and healthy characteristics of the human body) eternally taint our perceptions of our own bodies and appearances as a whole.

One repeated offence which I REALLY don’t get is the issue with stretch marks:

  • external skin scarring caused by the tearing of a under layer of skin
  • mostly caused by rapid stretching on the skin (growth spurts, pregnancy, weight changes, etc.)
  • also caused by hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, body building, etc).

A quick Google search will show you the common opinions and conceptions of stretch marks (this list has not been edited or created for your entertainment).

“”How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks: 15 Steps (with Pictures)”

“Top 10 Celebrities Who Are Not Safe From Stretch Marks”

“Stretch Mark Removal Treatments – Types, Cost & Results”

“OMG! Models With Stretch Marks!”

“101 Reasons I Hate Being Fat!: #49 – Stretch marks”

I was kind of laughing to myself at the ridiculousness of my research, until I saw the last two examples

Why should it be such a shock that models (human beings) get stretch marks? Yes, models do get stretch marks. I know because, well, I AM a model and I DO have stretch marks. I rest my case.

Secondly, it breaks my heart a little bit that stretch marks are associated with being “fat”, which is in tern associated with being unhealthy and even ugly.

Again, I am living proof of this, having never been over a UK size 8 in my life.

Come to think of it, I’m almost sure that every woman I know has them. Yet we have been conditioned to hate them by our perfection obsessed society. Online and print publications twist words to make it sound like they’re doing us a favour by teaching us how to prevent or reverse these AWFUL SHAMEFUL UGLY imperfections. We’re recommended creams, oils, laser treatments, even skin surgery! Stretch marks’ cousin, cellulite, is another hated body “affliction”, with maybe even more crazy “solutions” for erasion.

Why should we have to go through the effort of attempted removal of things that occur on our body so naturally, wasting money, breeding negativity and demoting our self worth?

I can’t imagine any woman pre-1960’s having anxieties about stretch marks or cellulite. Then again, there was no Photoshop, no Instagram, no televised Victoria Secret catwalk show to weep over. The fashion industry is SELLING A FANTASY. I’m not one of these people that are passionate about the banning of Photoshop but I do think that people, particularly young girls, need to be aware of this. Reality and fantasy can co exist as long as we are strong enough to not allow it to cloud our judgements of ourselves and others.

So next time a magazine attempts to emotionally bully you into hating your stretch marks / cellulite / grey hair / wrinkles / any other completely NORMAL AND NATURAL physical trait, laugh in the face of ignorance. They are your badge of honour, the lines of a map of your life – be proud that you grew from girl to woman. Be proud that you went through the growth of pregnancy to create new life. Be proud that you are at the healthiest weight for your body and not the weight that a magazine tells you to be.

Next time you look down at your hips or the side of your thighs, realise how cool it is to have glistening purple and white lightening bolts etched across your skin. Would a tiger hate her stripes? 

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Advice, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Interview

TUESDAY TALKS: Maddie M

MEET MADDIE: There’s definitely something about Maddie… At 5’11 she is a long legged gazelle of a woman with a face so cute it could have been drawn for a Disney film. And yes, she may look and sound like a Scandinavian sex siren, but don’t be fooled in assuming that all you’d get from the magnificent Miss M is a glistening smile and a few girly giggles. When I’m having a down day, she’s the first person I go to for a confidence cleanse. Maybe there’s something in that Swedish air… Whatever it is, we could all learn a thing or two from this lady.

NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: Maddie is one of the smartest women I’ve ever met and as driven as a golf ball; she is in her final year at Cass Business School, studying Business Finance with hopes of going onto grad school. How’s that for Girl Power?

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What is ‘beautiful’ to you?
I know everybody says it is what you hold on the inside but I really believe that is true. When it comes to modelling you learn how subjective beauty actually is and how everyone sees you – and your looks – differently. At the end of the day it is what you have on the inside that counts.
But I must confess I have always had an extremely weak spot for guys with nice cheekbones…

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What’s your top beauty secret?
Well except from eating healthy and not smoking it is training. And when I say train, I mean actually train, not walking with an incline on a treadmill. You know what they say – skinny girls look good in clothes but fit girls look good naked 😉
Except from that it is my gradual tan facial moisturiser, it makes me look so much better haha. Some girls can rock the pale look, but unfortunately I am not one of them.

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What do you love the most about yourself? 

My abs and my brain. I really make an effort to work out and maintain my muscle. It’s not easy but the results make it worth it!

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Advice, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Interview

TUESDAY TALKS: Melise Williams

MEET MELISE: Originally hailing from sunny Sydney, Australia, Melise Williams is a true globetrotter; she has shot with the best photographers and walked the runways of NYC, LA, Milan, Paris, Dubai, Turkey and New Zealand (to name a few…). Lucky for us, she is currently taking London by storm with her elfin features and Aussie wit.
NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: Miss Williams is a passionate foodie, and keeps followers up to date with ‘THE FOODIE ADVENTURES OF A TRAVELLING MODEL’ on her Instagram. She is also a talented actress in training, so watch this space!
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What is ‘beautiful’ to you?
What is beautiful to me is not what’s on the outside but what you hold on the inside – your energy! I can’t put my finger on it but it’s when someone radiates a vibrant, beautiful energy. It’s catching almost! That’s what beauty means to me.
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What’s your top beauty secret?
My secret is honestly healthy living: eating well, sleep well, get rest, and be positive and keep believing in yourself. Also I love putting pure rose water on my skin (a little tip from my amazing grandmother) Also WATER WATER WATER. And if you want to treat yourself, do. ENJOY LIFE! You only have one!
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What do you love the most about yourself? 
My determination I think. Even though sometimes I can’t see the light, a little voice inside me says keep going because everything is going to be okay. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end!
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Advice, Happiness

“Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.”

How many times have you heard a loveable friend say the heart wrenching words,

“I NEEEEED a boyfriend/girlfriend/lover/life partner”?

During a conversation with Steve Inskeep aired on Morning Edition in 2012, the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman said, “to be loved, I think, is like, the thing that gets you up in the morning.” I agree with him to an extent. Of course, we all want to be loved, cared for and somewhat cherished. But hearing the desperation in my friends voice – a girl that is for the most part really cool and intelligent, by the way – made me feel thoroughly sad. My facial expression was not too dissimilar to this:

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The friend sensed it. I’ve never been good at “putting on a face.”

The idea of LOVE, however you may chose to define it, is romantically installed in us from the word go. “Soul mates” sounds ever so lovely, doesn’t it? The idea that there is someone out there just waiting to be found (or for the lucky ones, found long ago) that will make our life complete and our entire being happy and fulfilled forever and ever until death do us part. Nice sentiment, sure. But is that really all the human race is capable of? Needing another whole person to complete another entirely whole person?

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My opinion is, we shouldn’t need another human to make us whole. I’ve been ‘in love’, to the best of my knowledge*. It’s really really nice, and I’m in no way disputing that. But there is a lot of things in life which make us whole, and I don’t think that responsibility should be laid upon any human other than yourself. And what exactly defines a soul mate? Richard Bach says, “A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are.” Instead of falling over backwards in our attempts to find ‘the one’ that will complete us, searching hopelessly for the perfect person (if there is such a thing as perfection personified) and using up important time, energy and emotion in helpless feeble relations, perhaps we should look inside ourselves. What if we already own both our lock and key, without the need for a foreign object?

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I like the idea that we may have many soul mates across our lives. Whether it be a best friend, a companion, a sibling or a parent. If you’re one of the lucky ones that has fallen in love with their best friend, and believe that they are the missing puzzle piece to your work of wooden art, I am very happy for you. There is nothing wrong with being happy in love. In fact, I wish it for all of us. But there is so much more to life and so much more to the world than finding a romantic love. Love can fill a gap, but no one can complete you but yourself.

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*Love is many different things to many different people, and in my experience, you’re only in love with the person that you’re currently in love with. When that love dies and you find another person to love or another kind of love, the past love somehow becomes undermined or disappears at all. So can everyone ever really be sure that they are “in love”????? But that, dear reader, is a conversation for another day.

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Advice, Happiness, Inspiration

Girls: why do we fight over men?

It’s not easy being a women:

We bleed for a week a month for forty years straight.

Western society makes us shave our legs every two days.

We have to force a bowling ball (a really big bowling ball) out of our little lady parts… Sometimes more than once.

And that’s without the everyday negative energies surrounding female relationships, our perceptions of each other and the subtle, yet brutal, ever present war within our own gender. As little girls, when our minds are tiny sucking sponges, fairy tales within books, movies or fables force us little girls to witness the beautiful Princesses as targets of bitchy behaviour. The ugly sisters wreck Cinderella’s gown to prevent her from impressing the Prince. The mermaids literally attempt to drown Wendy because they are jealous of her relationship with heart throb Peter Pan. Snow White’s step mum poisons her. Already, when the thoughts of dating, sex and marriage are yet to conquer our minds, we are taught that women must compete against each other, more often then not stemming from the interests of impressing and ultimately “winning” the men.

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Thankfully, I’ve never been physically bullied, drowned or poisoned by anyone over the affections of a male. But I have experienced far too much hostility, whether first hand or merely as a witness. Whether we admit it or not, whether it be environmental or deep rooted somewhere in our cave woman instinct, there’s something in us as women, that sees danger in other women.

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Granted, there are some women out there – actually, no, there are some humans out there – that aren’t very nice at all. Some are even evil. But I’m talking about the victimising of women that haven’t actually done anything wrong.

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Such as, 1. Your ex boyfriends new girlfriend.

If you haven’t at least once stalked your ex boyfriends new girlfriend’s Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, either I need your secret to contentedness, or you’re lying. It’s human nature to be intrigued, of course. But what about when those subconscious questions come into play: is she an upgrade or a downgrade? If you aren’t over him – does she deserve him? If he was awful to you – why is he treating her better? I can’t remember ever hearing of a girl that has recently discovered her ex’s new girlfriend and has subsequently come away with a positive perception of her. You never hear her say, “Dan’s new girlfriend is so pretty, I hope they’re making each other very happy”, unless she’s being sarcastic, or untruthful. More often than not, what you do hear is, “Dan’s new girlfriend looks like such a slut/bitch/insert derogatory term”. The only reason explanation I can think of for this kind of analysis is that the friend in question feels threatened/insecure. But my guess is Dan’s new girlfriend is probably a nice girl and probably unknowing of the details of your past relationship with Dan. So she hasn’t done anything wrong and doesn’t deserve your hostility. Instead of attacking this girl, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why you feel this way about her. Maybe there are some issues you need to address when it comes to your ex boyfriend or your relationship. And who knows – more likely than not, she’s also virtually stalking you, experiencing the same territorial emotions as you. Which brings me to case point two,

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2.Your current boyfriends ex girlfriend.

Again, we’ve all done it (can you see a pattern, yet?) – stumbled across a social network and somehow landed on the girl who loved your man before you came along. We feel the same range of emotions we do about the ex’s new girlfriend. The same wondering, the same comparison. Only this is worse, because you’re currently so loved up with your boyfriend that the thought of him loving someone else before you makes you want to scream/cry/be sick/maybe strangle her. All of which are reasonable, territorial emotions to go through (except maybe the strangling. Don’t do that). But look at it the same way as example 1: she had him before you, yes, but she doesn’t have him now. I doubt they still want each other, otherwise, wouldn’t they be together? There is absolutely no need to feel hatred towards her. If he is a good boyfriend to you, chances are that’s down to his experiences with her, so she’s done you a favour. And even if she treated him badly, affecting how he deals with things like trust, remember: there are always two sides to every story. I’m not saying be best friends with this girl, that may be a little weird (especially when you start trading stories about your boyfriend… Ew), but give her the benefit of the doubt, and stop breeding negative energy in your own being by hoarding negative feelings about her. The lesson in these two examples is be confident within yourself so that you don’t feel the need to put yourself up against someone that is not in the same race as you. Also, try not to lurk – you know you’ll only see thing that you don’t want to, so why torture yourself? Work on your own life instead of wondering about a strangers.

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3. The girl your boyfriend cheated on you with.

This is probably the trickiest situation for us girls to deal with. Being cheated on is an absolutely awful feeling (For those that have been lucky enough to escape it, imagine having a hand rip open your chest, pull out your beating heart and putting it in a blender: that doesn’t come close to the feeling of being cheated on.) Of course, naturally, our first natural instinct is to hate him, and hate the ‘other girl’, because we’re angry and hurt and upset, of course. But take a minute to think about it – it is completely and utterly, 100% your boyfriends responsibility and not the girl he chose to cheat on you with. She could have absolutely no idea that the guy inside her has a girlfriend. As far as she is concerned, he’s single and willing. She is not a ‘slut’ or a ‘whore’ – she is free to enjoy sex with whoever  she wants. This example changes considerably if the girl knows he has a girlfriend, or worse, knows you personally. That is what you’d call a bad friend. But I can’t help but feel that girls get a worse deal in these situations than the man. A girl I knew from school had been with her boyfriend for two years when we had sex with her best friend. She banished the friend, but easily forgave her boyfriend. Why inflict hatred on her, yet forgive your all knowing, entirely responsible partner?

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And finally,

4. The girl who has the man you want. Whether you like it or not, you can’t run away from the fact that the reason you dislike this girl is because you are jealous. The sooner you admit it, the sooner you can put to bed these negative emotions. There isn’t a lot you can do in this situation, apart from appreciate the fact that they like/love each other and let their relationship run it’s course. What’s meant to be will be, so if it’s supposed to be you that he chose, he may eventually do so. But don’t hate on his girlfriend while you wait for him to make up his mind.

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I would LOVE there to be a wider sense of sisterhood among women in our current time and place in history. We can understand each other while men cannot begin to even try. I can empathise with the examples above because I have experienced them in the past and know many girlfriends who have or continue to.

Instead of merely siding with friends against other girls, competing in this mindless invisible war, can’t we all be on the same team?

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Advice, Happiness

The 21 Year Old Itch: Attack of the Quarter Life Crisis

If you were to ask a twelve year old me where I expected to be at twenty one years old, I would have, without hesitation, replied that I would probably (definitely) be in Hollywood, with two (or perhaps, three) Academy Awards already sitting comfortably on my marble mantle piece. I’d be wearing head to toe Chanel, with an equally designer clad boyfriend/ fiancé (probably a previous co-star) who loved me for me, not only just my class, fame and money. I’d be made.

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Flash forward ten years to a newly twenty two year old me. And guess what?

No, I am not in sunny Hollywood. I am 5,437 miles away in a very stormy London. I have – drum roll – zero Academy Awards (are you dissapointed?). I am certainly not dressed head to toe in Chanel, but draped in a comfy mens t-shirt (twelve year old me shudders).  I do have a nice boyfriend at least, although he was most definitely not my co-star. My taste in men has changed considerably since then. Actors make me cringe nowadays.

I’m not completely helpless on the career front either. Since I graduated with a Literature degree I have been modelling somewhat successfully. I’m still an “actress”, going to auditions and taking acting classes. My life, on paper, sounds sweet. And let’s face it, things could be a lot worse. But one day, very recently, as I was minding my own business, it hit me. A little devil in a graduation gown popped in my brain.

“Hi. Where you aware that you’ve been out of education for a whole year and you haven’t even paved out your career yet? Ha! You failure!”

I found myself suddenly overwhelmed with life’s big questions: Am I on the right track? Am I doing well enough? Am I making enough money? Am I really and truly making the most out of my life?

We’re brought up on happy endings; you just happen to bump into your Mr. Perfect and bang, you’re married off with a perfect relationship. Somehow, you’re picked out of a crowd and handed an opportunity for your dream job. Happy endings just don’t come to us quickly or as suddenly, unless it’s the type of happy ending you receive in a massage parlour. My parents always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be, and I believed them. But no one tells you how difficult it is or gives you a step by step guide of how to get there. All this false expectation leaves us with an immense amount of pressure.

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Born in 1992, I am a member of Generation Y. I come from an era in which every thought, goal and achievement is posted on multiple sites for us all to witness on portable screens. It is impossible not to compare our lives to others when it’s shoved in our faces every time we unlock our smart phones.

Let’s face it, we carefully pick and chose what we are sharing with our social network. In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”  Oh look, she’s having soooo much fun at that party. He’s making soooo much money. She loves her boyfriend sooooo much. We are forced to keeps tabs on what everyone else is up to, whether it’s getting married and having babies, sitting front row at LFW or getting promoted to CEO of some big shot company. We all know it’s grossly exaggerated, rose tinted and carefully portrayed, yet it still manages to persuade us that everyone else has it better. At the basis, the internet is a platform to show off. No one would dare admit that they too are struggling. It’s all about keeping up appearances.

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So I went searching for some honesty, and the results were surprising: almost everybody I spoke to admitted to experiencing some sort of personal existential panic between the ages of 20-23. Some remember this crux period as a distant memory as long as twenty years ago, while some were, as I am, presently lost in the culmination fog.

If this is something we all experience, why is this quarter life crisis epidemic not openly discussed? Why weren’t we warned?

Everyone tells us that the twenties are our prime. It’s supposed to be this magical time in our lives where we have fun with our friends, build relationships and careers. See the world. Make memories that we can tell our grandchildren around a camp fire. But nothing will ruin your 20’s more than the anxiety that you should have your life together by now.

Perhaps the quarter life crisis is a crucial part of self discovery. Those who have over come it, say that “things just happened naturally”. Many are now happy and successful in fields they had no intention of getting into when they were 21. I suppose life is all about being happy, and success is liking what you do. Instead of looking at the ultimate goal and end outcomes, perhaps taking the one-day-at-a-time approach will help everything fall into place. In the meantime, work on deciding what you enjoy, and enjoy it. Instead of trying to figure out how our lives are supposed to be, maybe we should just live. Instead of comparing every aspect of our lives to that of our peers, maybe we should concentrate on our own individual journeys and on making them more meaningful to us.

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All those suffering from QLC can do is have fun, be nice, take risks and and work hard, and the rest should (will) work itself out. I’m yet to discover my purpose in life, but I refuse to stay stuck in this quick-sand of self doubt. So here I embark on a new lease of positivity and forthrightness, open to new experiences and willing to learn.

If you need a little faith that success is a gradual process, see what some of the most successful people in the world were doing in their early twenties here.

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