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The 2016 Fitness Trends

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By Michele Smith
Facebook – MicheleSmithMarketing

The new year is here and January is the time when most people turn a keen eye on their personal health. While most of this is attributed to over consumption attributed to many holiday events instead of a daily, yearly fitness routine, the following are a couple of trends that may motivate people to stay in shape year round. The key here is doing something that motivates YOU while keeping you active, healthy and motivated. We’re not saying that this needs to be incorporated every day, but if you are exercising 5x per week you are certainly erring on the healthy end.

Wearable technology

We are not talking about just your step counter here, there are a bunch of new items on the market that track your heart rate and calorie count. There are some great fitness trackers offered by Jawbone, Fitbit, Apple Watch and Garmin. New wearable technology will undoubtedly make you put your old counter to rest, as the new technology will break old bad habits. Trainables are wearables that offer real time feedback. There is uprightpose.com that will track bad posture through adhesive pads on your back, the wearable Spire tracks mood and breathing, and BiteBit is a device that is supposed to be worn in one’s ear to track eating habits – whether to eat slower or snack less often. These are just a few that are currently on the market.

Bodyweight training

If you are not a fan of bodyweight training you should be. This is a great way to lose weight, gain strength and overall pump up your calorie burn. Plus, the use of minimal equipment makes this a convenient and inexpensive way to work out. A bodyweight workout can consist of plank pushups, pulse jump squats, pushup rotations, mountain climbers and lateral jumps.

Personal training

While most people cannot afford an in-home personal trainer; most can afford trainers at health clubs and even can take advantage of the personal free sessions when you join. Personal trainers are hands down amazing because they literally will reshape your body. Licensed professionals (and this is key) will design workouts that will optimize your body and completely change your perception on personal health. At the end of the day, personal trainers will make the most of your “gym” time.

Functional fitness

Many people do not realized that their day-to-day activities actually qualify as exercise. Yes, bending over and picking things up around the house does qualify as exercise. Functional fitness workouts include the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Caterpillar Workout, the Skipping Olympian and Chop Squat.

Strength Training

Strength training is absolutely key for burning calories, adding muscle mass, decreasing fat, torching body fat and protecting bone health. What is strength training exactly? Anyone can do many different exercises with little to no equipment. For example, sit ups, pushups, abdominal exercises and squats to name a few. Resistance tubing is another inexpensive option and is easy to work out with. You can find resistance tubing in any sports store.

Man Up – In The Name Of Farshun

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By Vikrant Makkar

Men’s fashion in the 2000s is now as indefinable as women’s fashion has been for the past few years. Gone are the days when men couldn’t look fashionable with those uninteresting shirts and mundane trousers. Looking good is no longer just a woman’s privilege. Each year, trends for men’s fashion are predicted, but rarely followed. Hence, they miss out on stylish clothing.

For younger males, hip hop culture has highlighted many trends for men’s fashion, while older males are increasingly aware of tailoring, and making a garment fit right for their body shape, rather than going with the fashion trend.

Trends for men have always been a tricky issue. You need to make a statement, yet not overdo it. For the men who want to get started with this voguish experiment, this year is not a year to go too bold with colors, whereas shades of blue and black are set to rule. Denims continue to rule 2015 and printed shirts and jackets will also be a hit. You can set your mood to set yourself apart from the crowd with the slim, narrow trend and a slush of colors.

An exclusive printed jacket with layering and a good amount of texturing on the fabric, with fine yet visible detailing, will look great. Printed jackets can be highlighted with Kalamkari work. The trend of printed jackets and slim pants is the future of fashion as the new age man replaces cargos with slimmer pants and includes more linen jackets in their wardrobe. You can even pair your jackets with slim fitting blue denims which are completely classic, timeless and are one of the most versatile pieces you’ll ever own.

It is easy to dress oneself, with the slimmer cut ensuring sharper lines and a better shape. Indigo jeans work with almost any look you can think of and will never go out of fashion. It’s worth investing good money in self finished fabrics, which are of a higher quality and almost guaranteed to last longer. Basic knitwear will be an essential component of your layering this season, and you’ll be wearing it a lot.

A few staple colors allow you to play around with bolder shades within the rest of your ensemble and the mid-weight ensures that they sit on the casual side of the spectrum, which is much more suitable when you’re just starting out. When it comes to suits, double breasted blazers are in fashion, so for people who like slim fits, new styles to try are emerging. Wider legged pants are replacing slim cut trousers, which were a trend last year.

For those who like sweatshirts; try out interesting, bold and graphic prints or patterns. Short sleeved shirts are also back in fashion. You can let go of the traditional outfit and opt for well-fitted kurtas or bandgalas in simple designs. Sports coats, camouflage prints and military themes are very much in vogue at international fashion shows this year.

Golf pants and shorts are also hitting the trend. A few years back, golfing attire was very simple and elegant, and aimed at comfort. But trends change with time. Golfing attire has become funkier and can team up with cloth-button shirts. This looks casual and less sporty. Some people go wacky with their golf pants in different chic colors. Fortunately, for these promising fashionistos, these shirts are a worthwhile addition to any modern wardrobe, perfectly adapting to formal and casual occasions. You will definitely get a lot of use out of them.

Apparel is always mixed and matched with accessories, which can surprise and delight. Shoes do a lot of talking. Funny, but they do. Desert boots go with everything, from jeans to shorts to suits, making you look smart without being too formal. These boots are extremely comfy and a pair in light sand will complement every piece in your wardrobe. You can even go for brown leather if you’re looking for something that is seasonally suitable and a bit more hard wearing.

Wearing the right belt is an art indeed. Yes, they’re definitely used to hold up your pants, but they do serve another purpose by adding another dimension to your look. A classic black, brown or beige belt is an absolute wardrobe staple. Wearing cufflinks will make a plain, formal shirt look stylish and sophisticated, and make you stand out at that party or formal function. Match the cufflinks with the style and color of your shirt.

Do you really know how to tie a tie? A stunning tie can instantly make a suit more beautiful and classier, especially if you know how to associate colors. You can match it with the facing of the suit – satin with satin, silk with silk – but it can also be an opportunity to do something different. A different texture or feel can look great – but we wouldn’t recommend different colors or prints.

Men need not shy away from wearing something different and unusual. It should no longer be a cause for concern. Today, the more adventurous men are, the more people will follow their style cues and update their boring wardrobe staples to make space for modern, stylish wears.

A Checklist In Androgynous Necessities

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By Naima Karp

Androgyny has been all the craze recently, and for good reason. Model Andrej Pejic, the poster-child of androgyny, has helped popularize the look through more accessible brands like Burberry. Androgynous looks have always been around, from woody allen’s annie hall to celebrities like tilda swinton and sissy spacek on the red carpet, but we’re over the typical unisex blazer and combat boots. Here are some unique duds that will help you pull of the androgynous trend this season. 

Varsity jackets

We’ve seen the varsity jacket from a variety of big players in the music industry this year, including kanye west and the forever stylish a$ap rocky. Texture and color is a cool thing to play around with in varsity jackets. Details like drawstrings and buttons can also be subtle inclusions that make it a standout piece.  It can be a good way to introduce color into your wardrobe while remaining in a relatively neutral palette. The cuff detailing makes it really original, as does the built in hoodie.

Moto jackets

The blazer has been done many a time, and the same could be said for the motorcycle jacket. Try a jacket from streetwear brand obey. Buying a leather piece in a light wash of brown is more interesting than the classic black, as are the high snap-closure buttons at the top of the jacket. A zipper closure can open up guys and girls to wear a floral button down underneath for a more colorful look, or a dark solid for something more subdued.

Ankle grazers

There are a ton of beautiful takes on the ankle grazer, another unisex necessity. Brands like rag & bone get it just right, especially styled with a loose and airy tank. For guys, try a rougher, more structured fabric; maybe a khaki or denim variety, keeping the straight leg with a little bit of a peg curve at the bottom. It’s a good way to usher in the warm weather if you’re not the biggest fan of shorts. If it’s still a little chilly, the look works as a useful transition piece.

Denim button-downs

The denim button-down should be a year round staple in your closet, since it’s a highly functional basic. The wash on this is slightly more chambray than totally denim, and the it makes for a great spring addition. Play around with different washes of denim, like acid-washed, as well as lighter and darker ones. The pocket is an opportunity for styling a kerchief, or your favorite vintage chanel broach. For girls, try leaving a few buttons on the top and the bottom undone with high-waist soft shorts for a little more oomph. 

Oversized cardigan

I am in love with oversized cardigans, and now totally invested in the single button closure, which may not have been enough for the past months, but perfect for the upcoming ones. Cardigans look great paired with a collared shirt, which adds more dimension to the outfit. The slightly long sleeves along with the wide silhouette makes the standards grandpa cardigan a little more edgy. This is a good chance for vintage hunting, and you’ll be grateful you made the purchase on those lazy days when you’re not quite sure what to throw on. Girls, get an annie hall vibe by pairing the sweater with a floral maxi dress, and some mary janes with socks.

Oxfords  

From chunky opening ceremony patent leather ones with a tractor bottom heel, to awesome round-toed clunky marnie pieces, oxfords with a grunge twist have been big these season. An exaggerated toe makes it more modern, as does a distressed, dark wash, which goes with a super wide range of colors. A stacked wooden heel keeps some of the classic oxford sensibilities, but the rounder toe gives it a cooler look. Try it with cuffed peg-leg jeans, or even a bermuda short, if you’re a little more of a risk-taker.

Beanies

While the black beanie has been spotted on almost every new yorker, the more colorful ones still catch my eye. Try a lightweight one by asos. They’re lightweight and knit, so you can wear it whenever and wherever. A ribbed design has a cool skater look to it, and you can always cuff the bottom if you want it to have a tighter fit. 

Model Accessories

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By Michele Smith
Facebook – MicheleSmithMarketing

What to wear is a question that most fashionistas ponder on a daily basis. However, when getting back to the basics, sometimes it really is not all about the clothes. Accessories matter. How does one look like a model with or without a model budget? Here are a couple items to compliment any wardrobe while making you look like you are ready to strut down a runway. If you want to look like a model and have time to dress up, take notice of these accessory tips.

The earring fashion accessory message for fall is clear – studs are quite over. What are exactly are the earring trends for this fall? One choice that is simple yet provocative are earrings by Lele Sadoughi featuring gold-plated brass, dyed howlite and sandstone. Irene Neuwirth is also a great earring accessory pick, with styles featuring multi-color sapphire, diamond and rose gold earrings. One should keep in mind though; the Neuwirth design line is price available upon product request. Another popular trend, especially a favorite of Nordstrom’s fans, is the Lara Melchior collection featuring gold, vermeil and diamond earrings. Be sure to keep an eye on these trends, as if they are not in your budget you can definitely find these trendy replicas in other big box stores and this way you can look like a model while staying within your budget.






With fall fashion in full force, bags and shoes according to Vogue are in maximalist mode this season. First and foremost, meet the “furse”. First furry shoes hit the runway, which were immediately followed by the bags. Designers who are getting into the furry action include Versace, Michael Kors,  Tod’s Salvatore Ferragamo, Simone Rocha, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and Loewe to name a few. The furry purse is simply a great way to amp up the luxury factor of any look. For fall, the fashionable shoes are a hip twist on the everyday hiking boot. The new boots are practical with a punkish edge and are the perfect accessory whether the boots are flat or have a heel. Leading designers pushing this trend include Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Rag & Bone, Prada, and Maison Margiela, among many others.






Another purse trend and perfect model accessory certainly is not your grandmothers purse, but goes with the theme that something old, can truly be something new. Fall is definitely sporting heirloom and dainty purses that are certain to draw attention. Designers pushing this trend include Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli and Lanvin. Returning to shoes, you definitely will need to pull off your model walk if you want to strut in this fall’s fashionable platform shoes. The platforms befitting Bowie itself, are being designed by Marc Jacobs, Rochas, Balenciaga and Mary Katrantzou.

 


 

Finally yet importantly, if you have a flair for fashion and want to look like a model; this fall is all about headpieces, trinkets and pins. Yes, you can accessorize your hair and look runway ready at the same time. Prada’s Lilliputian clip-on dairies are quiet popular and hair accessories are a very simple, yet charming way to add something extra to any look.

Celebrity Clothing Lines – Yay or Nay  

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By Kristopher Fraser

In the world of high fashion, it used to take years of extensive training to become a designer, and even once the training was obtained, it would take a tremendous amount of hard work to make it to the top of the design field to a position like creative director of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, or Calvin Klein. People spend their whole lives, thousands of dollars investing in the proper schools, and hours on the sewing machine in the hopes that they will someday become the next great designer to be a household name. It’s a designers dream to see their dress on a celebrity, and having the masses type their name into google.

Of course, not all those in the realm of luxury fashion are gifted with extensive years of training. Some just happen to already be on celebrity status, and as a result, they have an easy time getting their foot into the world of fashion design.

One such celebrity who has managed to make a major impression on the fashion world is Grammy-Award winning hip-hop star Kanye West.

West, whose guest list for his recent NYFW show included Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and Givenchy Creative Director Ricardo Tisci, essentially gave himself fashion authority as soon as he started to do sneaker collaborations with Adidas and launched his own Yeezus line. He recently caused quite the upset in the fashion community when he decided to stage a surprise fashion show on Wednesday, September 16, 2015. He received a lot of flack from many fashion editors, most notably Cathy Hornyn at New York Magazine who said of West “He is an amazing performer, but his merits as a designer are still in doubt. And it seems to me that the fashion world should be holding West’s feet to the fire — expecting more integrity and discipline from him. After all, he still seems to need our approval: There’s something touching about his desire to belong to the fashion establishment.”

West also caused a major upset because his surprise show ended up being staged at the same time as designer Anne Bowen’s and Naeem Khan’s shows at 12 p.m. Bowen and Khan, both incredibly skilled designers, took grave offense to West, who isn’t considered a real designer by many, staging a show during their timeslot. West’s show pulled audience members, buyers, and editors away from their shows they had been scheduled to attend, but just because they chose to attend his show instead doesn’t mean he’s really earned the respect of the fashion crowd. Once upon a time, West was mocked and beleaguered for attempting to do a women’s line, now he’s being hailed as a true Renaissance man and jack of all trades for being able to move between the worlds of music and fashion, although many don’t find him cut out for the latter.

West lacks what many celebrity designers before him have, attention to editing and quality of material. Sarah Jessica Parker, on the other hand, is a celebrity who knows how to do clothing. The former star of “Sex and the City” can boast that her SJP shoe collection landed Bloomingdale’s as its first retail partner earlier this year.

Her shoe collection now sits alongside Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Gucci at Bloomingdale’s 59th and Lexington Avenue flagship store in Manhattan. Having played one of the biggest fashion icons in television history, and being a fashion icon herself, people turned out in droves when Parker’s shoe collection hit Bloomingdale’s. She isn’t the only celebrity who has managed to have a successful clothing line.

Take a look at Kanye’s fellow hip-hop stars Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. Combs’s Sean John line is a staple at Macy’s, and has a huge urban following from fans of his music. Carter’s Rocawear clothing line boasts sales of $700 million annually. On the other hand, Carter’s wife Beyonce Knowles is in that category of music stars whose fashion lines have failed.

In 2011, Knowles launched House of Dereon, a line done in collaboration with her mother Tina Knowles. While Beyonce is arguably the most powerful pop star in the world, pop stardom doesn’t translate into a top selling clothing line. House of Dereon quickly flopped. Knowles tried her hand at fashion again in 2012 in an attempt to revive House of Dereon, but again the line quickly fizzled out.

The lesson here is celebrities, just like regular designers, are hit or miss when it comes to the fashion collections. There are those who can successfully pull off a clothing line, like Sarah Jessica Parker, Jay-Z, and P. Diddy, and there are those who should stick to entertainment, like Kanye West and Beyonce. The world of fashion design should usually be left to the trained designers, but, sometimes celebrities can strike it out of the park.

Like all business endeavors, sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed. There is no magic formula for a great collection, it just takes talent, hard work, and perseverance.

The Pros & Cons Of Fake Tan

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By Simi A Mira

Around the world people covet the golden kiss of the sun on their skin and spend days upon days lying outside trying to achieve the perfect skin tone. The fake tan is an option that many people choose to take but is it the right choice? From the sunless tanning with lotions and sprays to the tanning beds at saloons, more and more people are moving away from real sunlight to find there glow. This list of pros and cons will help you come to your own conclusion about sun tanning vs. fake tanning.

Pros

Prevents Skin Cancer:
Starting with the positives, there are a lot of things to love about fake tanning. The first and most obvious is that avoid excessive sun exposure reduces your risk for skin cancer. Cancer is a growing problem around the world and is becoming one of the leading causes of death. With traditional sunbathing you run the risk of overexposure causing burns and eventually cancer. Getting away from the sun and using fake tanning methods keeps you away from that!

Time saving:
Another obvious positive is saving time. Time is just as important a commodity as money and being able to quickly get a tan will save you hours and hours of time lying outside. Just a quick spray or a few minutes laying in a tanning bed will give you so much of your free time back to do with as you please.

Staying Tanned Year Round:
Those harsh winter months (maybe not for the people living in tropical paradise) make it impossible to get outside and keep that summer glow that you love. With fake tanning products, there is no reason to ever look white and pasty again! Even people in a Russian winter can stay looking like they have the kiss of the sun year round.

Cons

Fake Tanning Products May Cause Skin Cancer:
There’s no escaping it, is there? Studies have shown that Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active ingredient in many spray tans, may cause cancer as well. Tanning beds don’t even take away the key cancer causing agent of normal sun exposure which is UV light. So even with these fake tanning methods, they are not foolproof and can still be harmful with overexposure.

People Can Tell:
With some products, you don’t quite get the golden glow that you’re looking for but rather a more orange tone. If you don’t get a good product or professional help you could end up looking more like an Oompa Loompa than a sun kissed goddess.

Costs Money:
One thing that fake tans aren’t is free. Going out in the sunlight takes nothing out of your pocket which can’t be claimed for fake tans. Unless you get someone else to pay for you, it will always be cheaper to just go outside and have a lie in the sun. The question then is, is your money more important than your time?

It isn’t so clear cut what is the better option between the fake tan and the traditional sun tan. All there is left to do is make your own choice of getting out in the sun or spraying on your glow.

Nightmare Fashion Week Stories

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By Michele Smith
Facebook – MicheleSmithMarketing

From an outsider looking in and especially if you are sitting in the front row of any of the major shows at New York Fashion week, most are purely focused on the glitz and glamour of any show. Champagne, pre parties and after parties are prominent and models are simply their accessory to view a designer’s new line. What really goes on behind the scenes? Here is one account of a former model (anonymous) who specifically shared her nightmare story and put a hold on her runway career to focus on print modeling.

The scoop is as follows: New York Fall Fashion Week is more glamorous to the attendees according to this one model, who was too embarrassed to even call her mom to give her the horrible details. Essentially, this is specifically why this beautiful model quit the fall fashion week. What happened exactly? This is not a situation what you would expect … whatsoever.

First of all, many models walking the runway during fashion week are between the ages of 18 – 21 in hopes of landing a major contract or future modeling jobs. This makes sense, right? Well, here is a detailed inside scoop from our model who indisputably left the runway for print publications. The bottom line is that it is not all about champagne. Also on a side note, most models need to pay rent and $200 a show for an all-day event does not remotely add up to that. It is all about booking the right show, and if not you have the aforementioned payment, blisters, fried hair and clog pores to stay the least. In addition, this does not even compare to the backstage stories you do not want tell mom about.

The real hell of fashion week (according to our inside model source) is what goes down the two weeks prior to fashion week. Any model should forget about eating, because they are expected to be all over one city for all of the fittings. Also, expect a call from your agent if you gained the slightest bit of weight or you switched birth control pills and your boobs got bigger. Yes, industry professionals have specifically asked models to stop taking the pill when their breast size increased. If there are any weight issues, you will lose work.

The makeup chair is especially hard if you have skin issues. Most fashion show attendees do not know that most model’s makeup is actually set with hair spray. This is not good for anyone with sensitive skin and our particular subject would have to bring a specialized lotion with her at all times to not walk down the runway with a rash. The general public also thinks that cotton pads are key for cleaning comfort, but at the end of the day a Q-tip feels like a tiny knife after a show for a model. This means going home with tired eyes and skin that is even more irritable. The last of the major problems is that our beautiful model has thin, fine, bleached hair. After 8 days, of random stylists who do not care applying gel, comb-outs and anything else under the sun, chunks of her hair on the floor were clearly the last straw for her. The industry is certainly less glamorous when actually working a show.

5 Minute Hairstyles For On The Go

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By Simi A Mira

Let’s be real, most mornings we don’t get up in time, or we wait until the last minute – hitting the snooze button over and over and over again. With our busy schedules, we want every last ounce of sleep we can get. And you can, with these five super quick hairstyles. It’s the best of both worlds. You can be well-rested and totally put together. Life can’t be this easy, can it? These 5 chic and super quick five-minute hairstyles are definitely for you, and they are as gorgeous as they are easy.

Front Row Braids

Front Row Braids are a quick and easy way to keep your hair out of your face while also looking chic. Start with a part, in which spot you desire, and make a rectangle section on one side of your hair. Grab three small sections close to the part line and begin a dutch braid close to the front of your hair, incorporating outside strands as you go along. Braid all the way down and repeat on the other side and secure the braids with a rubber band. There you have it!




Half-Up Half-Down Twist

This half up half down twist is simple and super quick. Start with loose waves in your hair – either natural, curled, or heatless waves. Begin to backcomb your hair at the crown for volume. Next, smooth out the top layer of hair over the section that was backcombed. Now you have volume! Now, twist one side of your hair and pin it 2/3 of the way across your head. Repeat on the other side and tuck it under the first twist. Pin to secure and viola!




Messy French Twist

This messy french twist is definitely classy and chich without all of the hassle. First, start by prepping your hair with hair spray. Spray generously and quickly blow dry on the cold setting. Next, take your comb and teasing the crown section of your hair. Lightly tease to the sides and ends as well for added volume. With your fingers, lightly “comb” all the hair back like a mid pony. Follow through to the ends and start rolling the ends to the direction you want the twist in. You can choose which side is more flattering for you. Next, keep rolling until you reach the head (you can also “poof” out the crown a bit and loosen it up). Now that you have your desired shape, pin the twist to the rest of the hair. Secure it by applying more hair spray.




Teased Low Bun

It’s the perfect season for easy and elegant up-do’s. Here’s a simple style for a cute low bun, dress it up with a headband for added depth. Start by separating a few thick strands from the top of your head (where your part naturally ends) and tease them by brushing the hair up toward your head. Next, pull your hair down into a low ponytail and fluff up the teased part of your hair. Now that low pony has volume, use a hair tie to keep it in place. Separate your ponytail hair in half, and tease the upper half. Use the lower un-teased half and flip it over the top of your teased bun. Wrap hair around the base of your bun and secure it with a bobby pin. Style any loose strands as you desire.




Quick and Easy Loose Waves And Side Fish-Tail

It takes five minutes to achieve this simple loose waves and side fishtail do. Start with your hair down and a side part. With the side with more hair, take a large section and split it into two and being a fishtail all the way down. Use different size sections to create a chunky and full look. Tease the fishtail to your liking and secure with a clear elastic. Next, the waves are achieved with a hair straightener, so be sure to apply heat protectant. With the flat iron angle and twist 180 degrees away from your face and slide down for a subtle wave. This gives you loose and flowing waves. Brush through the waves with your fingers, scrunch and finish with a light spritz of hairspray.




Comparison – The Ultimate Confidence Killer

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By Jenni Sellan
@jennisellan

Its persuasion is subtle; it’s influence measured only by the opportunities and races we have ruled ourselves out of. Comparison. The ultimate confidence killer.

Somewhere along the line, we have unconsciously subscribed to a prescription of beauty and success that is narrow and for the most part, one-dimensional; it’s nothing new, but the constancy of its presence in our lives has reached unprecedented levels. With little to no boundaries, the acceleration of social media combined with traditional forms of print advertising mean that we are constantly bombarded with perfected, idealised images. Paired with a celebrity culture that has reached cult status it’s no surprise that we find ourselves hesitating and wondering how on earth we can measure up, let alone be seen or heard.

Our place in time is amidst a generation that boldly puts out the challenge to be ambitious and self-confident, to hold exceedingly high expectations, to be seekers of adventure; to be fearless and champion the belief that we can have it all, be it all and do it all.
And as if that were not enough, held to the highest value is the call to embrace our unique qualities, remaining true to ourselves; to ‘zig’ when everyone else is ‘zagging’. Its sentiment is powerful.

“Don’t be like the rest of them darling, ” an instagram-affirmation favourite; liked, swiped and shared. But are we really ready to embrace the essence of its message and its associated implications, because this notion of living leaves no room for comparison or self doubt. In fact it screams of self-confidence.

Who of us is bold and vulnerable enough to truly be at one with ourselves? My guess is that the number of ‘likes’ outweighs the number of us genuinely living it out.

Comparison is not unique to a specific industry, lifestyle, demographic or personality; it is indiscriminate. (The fashion industry alone cannot be blamed for this one!), and unless we are living in isolation there will always be someone who we consider to be prettier, smarter, skinnier, curvier, more successful; their houses are bigger and their cars are faster, their snapchat following boarders on celebrity and without a doubt they take a better picture.
In this current age, our lives are lived on line and the perceived gap between ‘them’ and us is served up as a daily reminder; filtered, edited, screened. #published

There is no question that comparison will limit us as it strikes at the core of our self confidence and realistically, stepping out from it’s grip and distraction is an arduous task requiring significant resolve from within; if only it were as simple as taking a sabbatical from our social media pleasures.

In a recent article I wrote for AMFAM, I touched on the point that what we see, is what is chosen for us to see .The flip side to this truth which extends beyond the ‘published” version of life is that ultimately the meaning that we create around what we see, is a choice that belongs solely to us; and to the same end we not only choose to create meaning about what we see, but how we chose to see ourselves.

Comparison will hold us to our imperfections, turning us toward our weaknesses instead of allowing us to see our possibilities. We have become so familiar with our failings and shortcomings that we have been rendered still, and even worse, silent.
The key to beating comparison is not about changing the way we perceive outside influences, but rather the way we see ourselves. It’s about a relationship… with yourself.

In her book, The Woman I always wanted to be, Diane von Fürstenberg says this that “the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Who else is with you at all times? Who else feels the pain when you are hurt? The shame when you are humiliated? Who can smile at your small satisfactions and laugh at your victories but you? Who understands your moments of fear and loneliness better? Who can console you better than you? You are the one who possess the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness.”.

Unpacking comparison will be a process that we will more than likely have to go through several times and for some of us in the beginning it may even be a daily task. Regardless of its frequency, the key is investing the time into understanding your why; who you are, what you love, what you want to say and how you want to contribute.

And if you really must compare, do so with yourself and stop measuring your value and worth against a stick that has been edited beyond reality. Create a vision of your ultimate self and start walking toward him or her. In the words of Bob Goff, “we won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose”.
Instead of aspiring to be like another, be inspired and add your own flavor. Steal her style? Screw that. Create your own. Don’t let comparison steal your creativity.

True self-confidence comes from knowing who you are, having a relationship with yourself and recognising that comparison will not serve but rather limit you. We have to let our hunger for our own purpose and voice outweigh our hesitation when what we want looks different to what is currently being done, and when you see your mind traveling into comparative spaces… (You’ll hear the voices, ‘you’re not as good as, it’s not done as well as, no-one knows who you are….) kick the internal chatter to the curb.

Comparison doesn’t deserve your power, confidence does.

The world needs diversity both in its voice and its expression and when these two collide, that’s when we will see magic happen.

Illuminate what is inside of you. Put yourself in the spotlight. There is more than enough room for you.
Don’t be like the rest of them darling…..

 

xo

 

Screw The Fame, I Want The Money

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So many girls start modeling because they want to be famous. I really couldn’t give a ***. I’m here because it is a job, one that I take very seriously. It absolutely kills me when I meet models who are caught up in their own hype. If it weren’t for their good managers, they’d be modeling on Instagram.

I was scouted a few times before I finally signed with an agency. To be honest, I had no interest in spending my life taking pictures and sitting in makeup. I was studying marketing at a local college, with a clear plan of working for a top marketing firm.

Everything changed when my mother got divorced. I wish I could say I was surprised. This was my mom’s second husband, and I saw more of his assistant than I saw of him. Mom, however, for some reason was taken by surprise when he started not coming home for weeks at a time. She was in denial about his new secretary. I wasn’t.

Although my father had covered all of my college expenses, he had not left my mom enough to keep up with her lavish lifestyle, and the second husband was definitely not kicking in either. He filled for divorce not to long after and ran into the sunset with the assistant we used to see so much of.

So, with puppy dog eyes mom pressured me into getting a job. When that didn’t work, she guilt tripped me.

I headed straight to the last agency to contact me. Seemed like a quick solution at the time. I’d make some good money, and I could still take my classes.

Three years later, I’m still modeling, Mom is remarried (without a prenup this time) and college is a mere memory. I was making so much money that it didn’t make sense to go back.

Sometimes I regret my decision, but when I think about it, I know that I made the right move. My mom was able to get back on her feet, and I have a career. Dad wasn’t too happy about it at first, but after I had bought my own house at 22 years, I think old he got over it, and we all lived happily ever after?