Check out my recent interview with these empowered change agents!
Natasha: How did you both initially come up with the idea for the book?
Lily: After hundreds of interviews and videos from various people, we gathered all their powerful quotes and thoughts that we live by. We wanted to mark the empowerment space and share it. People need a dose of empowerment they can hold on to. We have seen unifying messages from individuals even though they are really different from each other. We created a space to tie all their messages together, allowing the messages of self-acceptance to reach a bigger audience.
Lisa: We felt so strongly that it was necessary to put in to distinct words, what we are passionate about and what we are doing. The title says everything about what this book aims to teach. We feel self-expression should be an enjoyable act, not based on fear and oppression.
Natasha: How did you go about deciding who to select to profile in the book?
Lisa: It was a painful process, but one of the good problems to have is having too much good content. We can’t even begin to feature everyone we would like to. It was really hard to cut it down and remove some of the fascinating people. We had to distill to about 130 videos and still cover the diversity we so strongly believe in; taking the most quintessential people to deliver our message.
Natasha: What are your thoughts about the emergence of the body positive and the plus size movements and their impact on the future of the fashion industry?
Lily: We think it’s exciting how social media has created a platform to give people a voice and a shift in the fashion industry to include different people in their campaigns. Power is in the numbers and people. Unfortunately, some brands are promoting self-love for solely monetary reasons. It is a step in the right direction, but it is being forced by us.
Lisa: I think it is inevitable. It has a long way to go. Changing the mentality of people hating themselves is a long process. When people are awakened from the brainwashing, they will want to begin loving themselves.
Natasha: Were there any commonalities amongst the people featured in your book when it comes to their ability to embrace inner beauty?
Lily: Rather than change what people would see as a flaw, all these things that don’t fit into the norm for society, they own the very thing that is out of the norm as that is what makes them radiant and unrepeatable. As someone struggling with my own body image through dieting, I learned from the interviewees, if you own those “flaws” you can make them beautiful. As an example, Naomi Schmitto, who has rolls on her stomach and cellulite in her thighs, says her favorite body part is her mouth so she can share her story.
Lisa: The ability to embrace, in their own way, the messiness of life and all the variables they go through in life, was a trend amongst them. I find myself thinking this person comes from a different background and could never think we have the same pain.
Identity is not something you can buy or find in an app. It comes from your struggle and that messiness. It doesn’t matter how different they are. All of them are comfortable in the struggle and not ashamed of it. It is really empowering, even towards my life and my own issues. Beauty is in the struggle.
Natasha: Why is self-acceptance a revolution and how do you think it’ll shape what we consider beautiful in the future?
Lily: For us, the most powerful way to bring this light is by telling people stories which can’t be argued or disputed. We want stories to be told to bigger audiences. We feel changes can be made from the people. It is not about entangling ourselves with bureaucracy.
Lisa: Individuals can liberate themselves at any time. They can go on to do something powerful and not give it away to someone else. One by one, they will eventually love themselves and not worship someone else.
Natasha: What do you think would be the biggest change for someone who wants to embrace inner beauty these days?
Lily: Take a deep look at what they see as a flaw and realize that, that is what makes them unrepeatable, a piece of art; then, they will know they are beautiful.