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Fueling the Blaze of Creativity

Fueling the Blaze of Creativiity: A weekly digest of what gets designer Maya Ahluwalia’s juices flowing

The Weekly Edit

Maya Ahluwalia

Beauty is a short-lived tyranny. ~ Socrates An exploration into what makes one feel beautiful and why or if it is important. 

When challenged to a no make-up selfie, my first reaction was of fear and defiance. With skin that has been plagued by acne, make-up is a meager attempt to cover up the aftermath of problem skin and feeling confident in the world. But, in attempt to accept myself and look dread in the face, I posted a #nomakeupselfie on Instagram and sharing it publicly here. But I did cheat a little with lighting, a good angle and a filter, Instagram’s answer to good foundation. 

Around the time I received the notification of the #nomakeupselfie challenge, fellow female entrepreneur Kerry Burki posted the 5 Days to Feeling More Beautiful Challenge. As Kerry notes, one’s mind is often a constant barrage of negative thoughts like wanting a flatter stomach, thicker hair, and smaller thighs. What happens when all those thoughts are replaced with one simple mantra, I am beautiful.

What one wears is so inherently tied into how one feels about themselves. Clothes are much more than protection from the elements; they are a communication tool and often a confidence booster. Whether it is a ride on the subway or eating a slice of pizza, when done in a red-carpet gown, an element of glamour and sophistication is instantly achieved. 

An infinite choice of hair, make-up and fashion at my disposal is one of the things I love most about being a woman. I love the ability to transform my look from day to day. As a jewelry designer, I love that can adorn myself with beautifully crafted objects. Creating her look was an important role in her transition for Caitlyn Jenner’s transition, one that I completely understand. But as Jon Stewart expertly notes, that a woman’s beauty can be a double-edged sword.

A mouth full of metal was an unavoidable, but expected component of the awkward middle school years. At the time, I didn’t question why I had to have braces or think much of the cost, it was just something that I had to have. With this look into the business of America’s obsession of the perfect smile, questions of the medical necessity versus the aesthetic necessity are raised.