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Soft Fat Rolls & Celebrity Men...

From a young age, I was praised for my physical appearance, being told I was "pretty."

Today, it makes me cringe a little when I hear a mother or grandmother praising little girls solely based on their appearance—I know it's not helpful; putting our self-worth solely into our outward appearance can be damaging. I know it was for me.

Reflecting on life, I remember my struggles in school where teachers made me feel academically 'stupid'. It wasn't until I was 22 years old, studying illustration in college, that I discovered I was dyslexic. Throughout my school years, I faced challenges and difficulties which killed my confidence and made me just feel less accepted.

Photo by Charl Marais

I relied on external validation, investing more and more of my self-worth in my appearance and artistic talent. As I entered adolescence, I discovered the transformative power of makeup and fashion, recognising that I could alter my appearance to conform and align with this idea of 'beauty' I was seeing all around me.

It's not surprising I fell into a career as a makeup artist. The industry was so exciting—I traveled to exotic locations, attended glamorous parties and PR events, rubbed shoulders with celebrities and got to work on publications and shoots I dreamed of. It was an adventure that had me hooked, but beneath the surface of excitement lay a darker reality.

As a makeup artist, my job was to make someone look perfect and enhance their beauty with makeup. The use of lighting and retouching further perfected skin and other imperfections. I became a mascot for the very standards that were destroying me inside.

The toxic undercurrent in my work life exacerbated my insecurities, and I found myself constantly striving to meet unrealistic beauty ideals.

'Unimpressed' limited edition print

The pressure to uphold these standards took a toll on my mental and emotional well-being. Despite the allure of the industry, I soon realised that the excitement and glamour were masking deeper issues. I also became entangled in relationships with celebrity men who ultimately just messed me around, adding to my inner turmoil.

After years in the makeup industry, the novelty faded, and the reality of my unhealed, unhealthy ideas started to eat away at me from the inside. I reached a breaking point where I knew I needed to make a change.

Throughout my life, I had always loved to dance and would often lose myself in music. Any excuse to hit up nightclub and dance for hours, I was there. If i'm honest, I always had a secret desire to become a stripper, imagining myself on stage under the bright lights, moving and just feeling that inner bliss. but it remained just a fantasy for years, I never actually thought I would act on it, no matter how strong the internal nag was.

As my health declined and my inner turmoil grew, I felt an even stronger pull towards the dance.

When I finally auditioned to become a stripper, I did it with fear and uncertainty, but it turned out to be a pivotal turning point in my life. Stripping and performing naked normalized my perspective on body image. Surrounded by a diverse group of women confidently embracing their bodies, I experienced a profound sense of comfort.

'Vicki' - commissioned New Media painting'

Being in this supportive environment was transformative. I learned to celebrate my own uniqueness and shed the self-imposed standards that had held me captive for so long. The camaraderie and acceptance among the dancers inspired me to embrace not just my body, but my self as a whole. I found a place where I could literally strip back the layers and heal.

Through this experience, I discovered a newfound sense of freedom and acceptance. Stripping became a transformative journey of self-liberation—an act that defied societal judgments and empowered me to redefine beauty on my own terms.

Now, through my art, I challenge the conventional narrative of beauty and encourage others to embrace their uniqueness. Each artwork is a subtle rebellion against societal norms, celebrating the beauty that transcends physical appearance.

'Element' - Limited Edition Print

I want to dismantle this Western beauty standard, and redefine beauty as a celebration of authenticity and inner strength.

I know there will always be this conditioned idea and image of 'beauty'. When I have my down days or feel out of balance those judgmental voices can creep in, the difference is it doesn't control me, it doesn't have power over me. Today it's small and just something I can observe and push further down.

Healing from our traumas or beliefs doesn't mean erasing them completely; it means they no longer control your day-to-day or consume you. The Wolf will always be there, waiting for that feed—it's about growing stronger and refusing to feed it.

Thank you for being here. If my posts and art can help just one person move closer to their own goals of freedom, then everything I do feels worthwhile.

Lots of love!

Beth xx

'Eden' - Limited Edition Giclee Print


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