Oh Waimarie! Thank you for taking the time for you to celebrate yourself and to be a role model to so many women who have a similar journey to you.
What made you want to take part in the Love Me True Campaign?
This campaign is such a lovely way to celebrate women and all the amazing feminine strength and power we possess. Women are fierce, loving, creative, intuitive, generous, dynamic and so much more.... I think its important to celebrate individuality in all its imperfect perfection!
I'm a midwife in South Auckland and through my job I am lucky enough to work with women and their whanau from all different walks of life. These women often feel that they do not fit the "standard beauty ideal" and therefore struggle with their own self worth. I feel like this is an amazing opportunity me to demonstrate to these women that I too (just like them) have the same struggles that they experience and they are not alone. I think demonstrating my willingness to put myself out there in this way will help empower them, and highlight their own beauty and value.
Tell us your story!
I've grown up with strong women all around me in my life. They have demonstrated to me ways in which I can be independent and self-empowering, and make a difference in the lives of others while living my truth. At times my confidence waivers (just like everyone else) and I feel like I too need reminding of my own strength. Actually this reminder is needed more often than we care to admit. Sometimes bad experiences in life that have held us back, eventually make us recognize our inner strength, but these moments of self-realization don’t stop us from having moments of weakness or self doubt. I see confidence as a never-ending journey and I think this is a great visual tool for women, including me, to be reminded of our own individuality and greatness.
What do you remember learning about beauty from a young age? What impacted you the most that you have carried throughout your life?
Sadly growing up as a young Maori girl often the media and images I saw were not inclusive of anyone who looked like me. I believed beauty was partly assimilation into a pakeha world, and believed that for me to be thought of as beautiful by others I needed to fit into an ideal of beauty that didn't belong to me. Now as an older and wiser woman, I understand true beauty is in the uniqueness and in the imperfections we all have. It is in the stories we tell on our faces, through our expressions and the wrinkles on our faces. It’s in our cultural heritage and the beauty of our upbringing, our ancestors and our life experiences. At times we judge ourselves harshly and decide that we are not beautiful enough - unbeknownst to us others look on at us with adoration and admire the beauty they see that seems to be invisible to us.
Have you ever struggled with the idea of conventional beauty?
Yes, I struggled to see anyone that looked like me displayed in images of convention beauty as a child, so therefore decided I was not beautiful enough. Even now as an adult although I'm wise enough to understand that beauty is not a one size fits all approach, there are still many people with opinions that suggest if you don’t fit an ideal of standard beauty then you are not beautiful. As an adult, I fight this ideal or people who have this opinion in my daily life in order to remind myself that I too am beautiful despite not fitting an ideal.
What is your favourite NON physical feature about yourself? (After all, beauty is not only on the inside!)
My generosity. I work with people and as part of my job I give much of myself on a daily basis, sometimes to my own detriment though as at times I struggle to remember to give to myself too!
Is there any advice you would like to share with others who struggle to see their own beauty?
Nobody has all the answers, and nobody is perfect. Ignore the haters and live your truth because I can guarantee you there are plenty of other people who appreciate you and think you are a stunning and one of a kind amazing human being!
What does it mean to love yourself?
Be proud of who you are, be proud of where you come from and embrace your uniqueness. Be gentle and kind with yourself, nourish yourself on every level. Look at your idiosyncrasies as embellishments rather than flaws and remind yourself that you bring a specific joy and light to the world that nobody else can offer!
How did you feel during the experience?
I'm not going to lie, I was nervous as hell! But, as things unravelled throughout the day the nerves dissipated and I started to have fun! Getting pampered and dolled up didn't hurt either!
How did this experience impact you? Have you noticed any changes in yourself, be it your self-confidence or anything else since your session?
I've definitely seen myself through a different lens and I still don’t think I’m quite used to it yet!
What was the best part of the experience?
Not sure I could pinpoint a specific moment to be honest. I found the whole day enjoyable and easy and natural (once I got over my nerves of being in the spotlight)
What advice would you offer to other women who are considering taking part in the campaign?
Be brave, take a leap of faith and just do it!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Just celebrate you and all that you are! This chapter of your life is a part of your journey that intertwines and adds to the overall story - so make it an interesting read!
Last question, would you do it again?
Absolutely. It was actually an awesome day and a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone considering it!