this is not an anti-makeup campaign…

Ok. So I feel like this post was bound to happen, and I am making the decision to write about it now and clear the air at the very start of this project.

If you are at all connected to social media, you have heard of the #nomakeupselfies. I love this idea and it was actually the no makeup selfies that kicked me in the ass to finally move forward with this project that I had been lightly touching upon for a year now. But I recently read a TIME magazine article that pretty much completely bashes the entire concept, even stating that the project is suggesting that sharing a non-made up selfie is as brave as fighting cancer. I too wondered about what exactly non-made-up faces had to do with fighting cancer. I had also wondered in the past what posting the color of your bra as a cryptic Facebook status had to do with cancer as well. Or men growing mustaches for prostate cancer awareness… It seems as though there is this trend of creating a viral type social media fad in hopes of creating awareness of some sort, even if one thing has nothing to do with the other. And most of the time it works (sort of, when autocorrect doesn’t change the hashtag.. as the article mentions). Here’s the thing: Bravery is relative.

An incredibly talented photographer, teacher and mentor friend of mine, Michelle Gardella, shared this article from Shape on Dermablend’s new makeup ad on our alumni forum last night, as there are a few of us in the group working on similar projects. If you haven’t seen these videos, watch them.. seriously. I was extremely moved by them and liked the seeing this discussion as an alternate point of view; how makeup, instead of masking one’s self, actually allows someone to see that person for who they really are. It lets them see through the surface, instead of stopping at it. It was interesting because I then shared some of my thoughts on my project so far, expressing how I have had so many people say through the Bare Beauty Project that they really rarely ever wear makeup anyway. So I can’t help but wonder sometimes if some people think the whole bearing your naked face is sort of silly and not quite as brave as some make it out to be (as the TIME article suggests). For some going makeup-less is the norm, and that’s awesome. But for many many people, like both of these women, it is super brave.

Michelle’s response to some of our thoughts on this whole topic was this; “I am one of those people who never wears makeup and shares photos of myself makeup free all the time. But I don’t think these projects have anything to do with makeup. They are about courage. And that, no matter what is on your face, is always worth supporting. Keep going.”

The message I am trying to convey here, the awareness I am trying to create is about Courage. It is about learning to love one’s self and take ownership for who you are (makeup, no makeup, tall or short, thin or curvy, young or old). It is for young girls to start seeing photographs of REAL WOMEN, without makeup, without photoshop, so that THAT becomes more of the norm. So that there might be some hope that my daughters can have realistic ideals for themselves on body-image. We are not all supposed to look the same. Beautiful comes in all different forms, because, well, it isn’t what is outside that determines true beauty.

Will some people use filters? Probably. Are people choosing pretty lighting and their best angles? Will some people be dishonest and say that they are not wearing makeup, when in fact they are? Well of course.. Taking pictures of yourself is totally awkward. And for many people it is extremely uncomfortable to be undone like this. But do I think that this will stop the message from getting across? No. No, I don’t. I actually received a post tonight from someone who wrote under her instagram image, “it is the most difficult thing I have ever decided to post”. But she did it, and that’s brave. She may have felt herself struggling to do it, she may have felt doubts and insecurities while taking her picture, but she did it anyway. That’s brave. And for those who aren’t ready to get to that place, they won’t share a photo, or they will but it will take them time. Sometimes learning to really love one’s self takes time. It takes work. It takes honesty and bravery and that’s what this is all about, supporting one another in that process.

This is not an anti-makeup or anti-plastic surgery campaign. I am a hairstylist and a makeup artist. I wear makeup, although not daily. I have never had plastic surgery, but I support my friends who choose to have it, even if I feel that they look beautiful with out it. But here’s the thing; as my dearly amazing high school statistics teacher commented on our Facebook page the other day, ‘Beauty has very little to do with what you look like’. (He was always a super-smart guy!) This project is not about NOT wearing makeup. Although we are using that as a social media platform to show women that we are supportive of one another and that what is beautiful goes deeper than what we see at the surface. This project is to encourage each other to be brave and proud and unapologetic for who we are physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This project is about taking ownership of one’s self regardless of the judgments that might be passed. This project is to try to encourage people to stop judging so quickly, and to look past the surface. This project is to change the norm of beauty and to give our children a more positive example of what beauty is.

Thank you for being a part of it.




the bearing of bare beauty.



About a year ago, I had asked my friend if she would model for a boudoir photo session for me. (You can see it here). She showed up to my house in the late afternoon, after work. Upon arriving, she immediately gave me fair warning that she had been up late the night before, up early to get her daughter to school, and was pretty sure she was coming down with a cold. She had applied her makeup at 6:30 in the morning, and it was starting to wear off. She apologized for it.. and my response was, ‘perfect!’ That’s real, and that’s what kind of photography I want to make: real life, imperfect, tired, messy, beautiful photos of people. That’s sexy! That’s real beauty.

I have been a hairstylist and makeup artist for over 12 years. I have met many women, and men, who are just not comfortable in their skin and who feel the need to apologize for who they are or what they look like. I have battled some of my own body-image issues in the past. I have judged others, as well as myself. I don’t want this for my children.

After doing this session with my friend, I remember thinking, I want to do a lot of these. I want us as women to see ourselves differently than we do. I want to help redefine the definition of beautiful. I want my daughters to grow up seeing a beautiful woman as more than nice makeup, perfect hair, pretty clothes. I want them to see the young student who doesn’t let the influence of her peers define her appearance as beautiful. I want them to see the twenty-somethings bravely and honestly pursuing their dreams as beautiful. I want them to see the young mothers who’s hair is a mess and and who’s breasts are extra large from breastfeeding, who’s stomach is now covered in stretch marks, and who may or may not be walking around with food on her clothes and in her hair as beautiful. I want them to see the working woman with the circles under her eyes because she isn’t able to sleep since she has been going through a divorce as beautiful. I want them to see wrinkles as signs of living and fighting and loving and beauty. I want judgment between people, but most specifically women, to stop. I want  to live in a world where we can recognize these flaws in one another and embrace them. I want us all to be able to embrace our own flaws, and stop feeling like we need to cover them with lies, or plastic surgeries, or judgments, or makeup even.

This project is not about me. It’s not to tell my story. It’s about every single woman who is struggling to find herself, or who has already and is working hard every day to stay true and honest and loving and accepting and who want to help others find that in themselves as well. This project is to help us as a people redefine what we have been told is beautiful. I am continuing to photograph women who are brave enough to bare themselves before the camera, without makeup. Without staged and controlled lighting. Without photoshopping wrinkles or dark circles. Along with these images, I will share these women’s stories. And I hope that through these sessions, we will all start to see each other differently. That we will start to see beauty differently. That we will start to love ourselves more, and in loving ourselves, we will love each other more as well. Call me a dreamer, tell me my head is in the clouds, I don’t mind. I have to say that the view from up there is a whole lot more beautiful anyway.


If you want to become a part of this project, email me at