Imagine this: your dream of working in fashion has been realized. You spend days on sets around Manhattan, photographing super models and your pictures can be found in magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan. You make really good money and every night you party on a New York rooftop with the skyline as background. Can you feel the power? Can you feel the American Dream? Now, could you give all of that up?
To Fashion Or Not To Fashion?
The high fashion industry has already been critizied multiple times in the last decade, being blamed for not being feminist and for giving young girls unrealistical ideals of how a woman should look like. And yet, I personally love to browse through magazines and I am always amazed by how beautiful models look and the professionality of pictures. However, the fashion world is not for everyone: it has been described as a hard, toxic and unfair industry, where nothing is ever as perfect as it looks like in the magazines.
Happiness Is A Choice
Sara Melotti pretty clearly describes this dark side of this magical and glittery world in her book ‘La felicità è una scelta’ (‘Happiness is a choice’). She had it all: her dream job as a fashion photographer in New York City, the fancy parties and the money. She had what plenty of young girls dream of at night. She had what shows like ‘Sex and The City’ or ‘The Bold Type’ made us believe is the best way of life in your twenties. However, as it turns out, Sara was a game changer.
In her book she often mentions this voice, which we can interpret as her consciousness, that talked to her, making her notice when she was going wrong in life and how to stand up back on her feet by doing the right thing. She heard this voice the loudest one day, during a shoot. She was photographing a young Russian model who started to pose in very provocative ways, without Sara even asking her. She considered those poses way too inappropriate for her young age and the little voice inside of her screamed loudly asking her what she was doing.
It’s What’s Inside That Counts
Beauty is a very complicated concept. When looking every day at filtered pictures on social media or women with smooth skins without imperfections on the cover of a magazine, we start looking at ourselves differently.
Sometimes it is hard to realize how much those laminated pictures and perfect bodies influence the idea we have of ourselves. Beauty is a very complicated concept. When looking every day at filtered pictures on social media or women with smooth skins without imperfections on the cover of a magazine, we start looking at ourselves differently. We might start wondering why we don’t look like them, what we can do in order to change ourselves and be prettier. Every day that passes we add to our mental list something that we don’t like about our looks and this list keeps getting longer and longer, until nothing is left.
So, keep going, keep dreaming, keep living and doing what you love. Who knows, you might be an inspiration for a young girl one day and help her find her way in the world.
Sara started to do the same with herself, she woke up every morning and looked at her reflection, wondering if anything pretty could be found in the mirror. How can we reach those standards? We simply can’t. We need to learn to love ourselves not based on how we look but on who we actually are. This is why Sara left everything and started a project called ‘Quest for Beauty’. She started travelling the world asking real women what beauty means to them and got so many answers that have nothing to do with looks. So, shouldn’t we try and start working on ourselves instead of how we look? Go out there and find something you are passionate about, meet people, travel, experience life and, I assure you, the more you do the things that you love the more beautiful you will feel. Take Sara as an example: she left what could be considered the perfect life to go and travel and photograph people and places. She did what her guts told her to and she followed her dreams. It hasn’t always been easy, of course, it never is. She had to go through toxic relationships, addictions and bad people, but she kept seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, she kept going. So, keep going, keep dreaming, keep living and doing what you love. Who knows, you might be an inspiration for a young girl one day and help her find her way in the world.
Cover: Alexander Dummer
Edited by: Rajal Monga