TABLE OF CONTENTS spring issue 2018
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Founder’s Letter Top Spas in Toronto Supplement Watch Feature Interview: Meet Nayani Turmeric: Golden Power Powder Toronto’s Best Workouts for Women Big Sisters Closet Karen Ward Weighs in Plus-sized Fashion in Toronto Toronto is Changing the Way Women Work Empowering Underwear for Women of All Walks Coping with Mental Illness Cultivating Wellness: Simple Self-Care Hello Fresh Review ANTM’s Most Inspiring Model Embraces Hairloss Girls Only Is my Identity my Hair Colour? Taming Traumatic Tresses: Managing Your Hair at any Age Overcoming PCOS What Does Identity Mean to you?
Editor-in-Chief & Founder Kat Leroux Managing Editor Sara Maginn-Pacella Associate Editor Fiona Bramzell Writers Sara Maginn-Pacella Fiona Bramzell Naima Karp Kelly Zemnickis Lauren Mackay Nicole Nesci Anna Labsanova Sumei Fitzgerald Cover Feature Nayani Thiyagarajah Thank you Leslyn Tungol Your Big Sisterâ€™s Closet Slick Chicks For advertising inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to Future Female’s Spring Issue of 2018. With a lot of preparation from our Writers Team, we hope that you take away something from our first issue because there’s an important message about identity and what it means for us as women. For myself, I can look at my twenties now being thirty and be able to let go of what I thought was a part of my identity. Someone who was diagnosed with clinical depression, taking anxiety medication and not having an unconventional way of making a living, I realize that it’s a part of my story but not my whole identity. Who I am, is someone who is passionate about sharing my voice, and most importantly the voice of all women.
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TOP SPAS Though spas are an important aspect of self care, they can be expensive and a little intimidating. So, avoid the chains with an impersonalized feel and overpriced hotel spas by heading to these one-of- a-kind locations in Toronto instead. WRITTEN BY NAIMA KARP
H20 Float Spa
This isn’t your classic spa getaway. The signature experience here is floating, where clients can float in pod suites or open-faced tubs filled with ten inches of water and 1,200 pounds of high-grade Epsom salt, with optional in-tub lighting. The potency in these body-temperature heated tubs is 50% more powerful than the effects of the dead sea, so your mind and body will be in state of deep relaxation. They also offer massage therapy and yoga classes, as well as affordably enticing monthly membership packages.
Spa owner Vivita is just as endearing as her cozy and candle-lit namesake spa, where she administers all the treatments. Her products are not only natural but home-made, and custom order. She analyses your skin and after your treatment will brew up a little concoction for you in her backroom in less than 10 minutes. All aspects of the facials are sublime, and the
room is just as comfortable as any five-star luxury spa. Her skin advice comes without a price tag and is better than anything you’ll Google.
Laya Spa & Yoga
Located off the picturesque Bellwoods park, this calming holistic spa offers a place to get a full body stretch, along with an amazing facial. Some of the facials and treatments are two hours or more such as the Shankara facial - you’ll never feel rushed at this place. Try the Lymphatic Detox body treatment, which invigorates with Ayurvedic herbs, includes a body wrap, full massage, face mask, and dry brush for just $160. And every treatment comes with free access to the steam room. Laya is good for the soul and offers an intimately relaxing experience.
Body Blitz Spa
If you’re not committed to getting a spa treatment but want to enjoy the serenity they offer, Body Blitz offers access to its therapeutic waters for just $58 on Tuesdays, and just $10
more on other days of the week. The women-only spa offers water circuits that will make all your muscle tension melt away and includes their hot Epsom salt pool, cold plunge pool, warm dead sea salt pool, and eucalyptus steam room as well as a powerful infrared sauna. A long soak in the Body Blitz pool is the perfect way to relax after a long, stressful day.
Habibi Day Spa
If you love decadent European products but you don’t want to pay their high prices, Habibi Day Spa on Yonge has your back. One of my favorite lines that has an addictive scent and rejuvenating effects is Guinot, and this spa offers a whole range of services using these products. Habibi provides an authentic Moroccan spa experience that merges the relaxation of a day spa with the precision and results of a medical spa, thanks to founder Salisa Mohammed who is wellversed in both. They also offer threading, massages, and more full body experiences.
SUPPLEMENT WATCH WRITTEN BY FIONA BRAMZELL We’ve all heard the horror stories about menopause…hot flashes when you least expect them, night sweats that make it impossible to get a decent sleep, mood swings, weight gain, loss of libido…the list goes on and on! While in many ways menopause signifies a certain amount of freedom for women, there are very few that will go through this most natural time in life without experiencing some symptoms; while some women will turn to HRT (hormone replacement therapy), many women prefer a more natural and, some may say, less risky way to deal with menopause and indeed, there are many supplements on the market that claim to help them do just that. MENOsmart Plus is a natural menopause relief supplement that is part of the Lorna Vanderhaeghe collection. Vanderhaeghe is a Canadian wellness and nutrition expert who specializes in hormone health and, in addition to her range of natural supplements, also has an extensive website featuring her books, videos and even online courses. The MENOsmart Plus formula claims to support the relief of many common menopausal symptoms including the more common symptoms and others that only some women may experience such as vaginal dryness (which can lead to painful intercourse), loss of interest in sexual activity and depression. The formula contains many ingredients that have been tested for their use in reducing negative menopause symptoms and they include Black Cohosh, Sage Leaf, Dong Quai, Chastetree Berry, Gamma-oryzanol and Hesperidin. All these ingredients support hormonal balance in the body and it is this that may help relieve some, if not all, menopause symptoms. While there are no definitive test results for how well the MENOsmart Plus formula performs, customer reviews shown on the website are very positive and many women would recommend it over HRT.
We help you navigate the aisles of the drug store so you find supplement success, not scam!
The Good • MENOsmart is an all-natural supplement with no synthetic ingredients • The developer of the brand, Lorna Vanderhaeghe, is a leading expert on women’s hormone health • MENOsmart’s ingredients have been tested for safety and effectiveness • The product has received positive customer reviews • It can be used to ease the transition from peri-menopause to post-menopause • The product is sold at a price that is affordable for most consumers
The Bad • Clinical testing data for MENOsmart is not available • No samples or risk-free trials are provide
The Conclusion: Should you buy MENOsmart? It’s understandable that women would want to address their menopause symptoms in the most natural way possible and MENOsmart does allow them to do this. However, as with any supplement, the quality of the ingredients is key to its success as are the amounts used in the formula. This particular product appears to be good quality and uses ingredients that have been tested for safety and effectiveness even with prolonged use. One of the most positive aspects of the MENOsmart supplement is that it may actually be able to wean women off HRT if that’s what they want and the Laura Vanderhaeghe website contains details on how to do this safely, along with other tips and articles regarding hormone health. While the cost of MENOsmart varies depending on the retailer it can be purchased for about $30.00 per 120-count bottle and, while it can’t be purchased directly from the manufacturer, the website does include a retailer-location tool making it easy for women to find in stores. FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018 | 6
NAYANI WRITTEN BY SARA MAGINN PACELLA PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAT LEROUX MAKEUP BY LESLYN TUNGOL
V.T. Nayani, pronounced nine-knee, is determined to tell stories that haven’t been told, filling in gaps often left by mainstream media and the film industry with the hopes of representing real people and their experiences. As a Torontonian, writer, and celebrated filmmaker, she has a lot to say! Future Female Magazine is proud to have Nayani as our first featured interview. Q How did your childhood influence your path towards story telling? A As a daughter of the Tamal diaspora my parents came to Canada
as refugees during the civil war. Since they left their home without most of their family and all of their physical belongings, one of the most important things left was their stories. Growing up, my parents worked long hours, but maintained these shared memories to hold onto what was so close to their hearts. When I was a child my uncle lived in the same building as us. He had a job at a book factory and was permitted to take home copies of books that were missing pages or damaged. I remember having five copies of the book Goodnight Moon thanks to his generosity. He would share these books with me, and I’d visit him several times a week to see what new books he had. I’d borrow them and then he’d ask me to tell him about what I read. It was this love and connection to stories and books that fed into my love for storytelling, writing, film, and television. I remember my dad saying, no matter how little money we had, he would never say no to food and books – that always stuck with me.
Q What drew you to film making as your primary vehicle for story telling? A For me, my connection to film stems
from there being something so powerful about the visual image. When I was younger, there wasn’t a lot of media out there that reflected my experience of my home, life and family as a young person of colour living in Canada. When I took the Journalism and Broadcast program at Ryerson I was also involved in community theatre. It seemed like a natural progression from my experience on stage performing Bharathanatyam, a form of classical South Indian dance, when I was growing up. Theatre, even community theatre, can be expensive to attend and I found not everyone has the time or the money to see a performance. I was naturally landing on film because film lives forever in a place where it’s not just the words but also the images. I really want to represent people in the margins as well and film has let me do this. Any sort of screen-based story telling allows us to take in and to learn and to see ourselves, especially for me as a woman of colour. Q What were some of the pivotal events that led you to creating your documentary Shadeism: Digging Deeper? A It all started in the final year of my
undergraduate program where my final project was a documentary film, and I suggested the topic when another topic we were working on fell through. That year when I was in India with a few of my friends for an organization called Kahani (which means sisters sharing stories) and while we were in Mumbai, I was struck by the number of advertisements I saw where everyone looked light and pale. The South Asian people I know come in different colours, shapes and sizes, and
ferent colours, shapes and sizes, and these ads weren’t representing the India that I knew. When I was growing up I remember always hearing comments on skin tone, and I have aunts who were bleaching their skin to make it paler. Seeing those big billboard ads and magazines reminded me this is still present, and even my younger cousin had confided in me that her brother was teasing her and saying that she should have lighter skin. Recognizing that someone who was born and raised here was still feeling not enough, and not beautiful because of the shade of her skin, showed me how this issue is still very real and needs to be talked about. Q What reactions to your work have surprised you the most? A Originally the simple fact that people
were watching it was very surprising to me. I had asked a lot of friends and family to be in the documentary short and most had not gotten back to me or said they weren’t ready to talk about it, but when the short came out the response was so overwhelming. I remember posting it on social media (and at the time I wasn’t using social media very often) and being shocked the next morning when I had over 60 notifications. This was very scary and amazing for me at the time because people were sharing the film, and it soon got to thousands of views, and we decided to build beyond the 20 minutes of the short film. People began to share with me their own experiences. I thought that people weren’t ready to have this conversation, but it turns out they were. The documentary was opening up people’s eyes that this issue stems from colonial history and isn’t limited to one region or community, it’s global.
Q What is your creative process? A If I have any ideas, I write them down
right away. I always have a journal with me, or I’ll send myself an email. It may not turn into something right now, but it may work in with something else. I am fortunate enough to have great partners, Camaro West and Simone Ince, who keep track of all of the ideas we’re working on through storyboarding, as well as the things we see ourselves working on in a few years. Our production company is named 43°North Productions after the latitude of Toronto’s location, paying homage to where we were all raised and brought together. When we shelve things it’s most often because funding is the issue. We decide which ideas will work based on our current capacity. Having producing partners makes you accountable to each other. Anyone who thinks it’s just about the producer or writer is wrong. It takes so many people to make a film come to life. Q If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self? A Two main things come to mind 1) Ev-
erything is going to be okay – I know its cliché, but it’s important. I always had big dreams and a supportive family, but didn’t come into my confidence and wasn’t able to overcome my anxiety until I was older. 2) You are going to see the beauty in yourself when you’re older. As a chubby kid who had health issues and eczema, I was so self-conscious and today, I know that my drive, my eyes, my sensitives are all the best parts me Q In your short film Sad Girls, you highlight some warmer moments related to depression and connection. What are some of the biggest misconceptions surrounding depression?
A People seem to believe depression can’t
happen when things are good. Some of my biggest battles with depression have been when things are going really well. I am so lucky to be surrounded by family, and chosen family in friends. The people I love are there to celebrate and listen to me, and there really are some beautiful moments even when I’ve been in the depths of it. For me, being around the right people helps me move through the motions of it. Q What does self-care mean to you? A Having a moment to breathe and relax.
I’m a yoga teacher in addition to my film work. In yoga we always talk about the importance of breath and we need to take a moment to remember that we are still breathing. Any moment where I can just take a breath, or take a few deep breathes and be present that is self-care. There is a lot of talk about going for a walk, or a nice dinner, but based on time or finances that isn’t always accessible. Something simple like breathing or going to sleep, or spending time with people you care about can be the most important self-care. Q What does feminism mean to you? A When we look at social media, on sites
like Twitter, people tend to suggest white feminism is not inclusive of other women. True feminism means a respect of the intersections of our identities, and that feminism can mean many different things to different people, and respecting that people from different cultures may have contrasting views on feminism to others. We need to allow room for other people’s identities. Feminism is the empowerment of anyone who identifies as a woman. Q What exciting trends are you seeing within the film community? A The growing inclusivity in the industry.
A lot of people are taking up space, and social media is allowing people to tell their
I REMEMBER MY DAD SAYING, NO MATTER HOW LITTLE MONEY WE HAD, HE WOULD NEVER SAY NO TO FOOD & BOOKS THAT ALWAYS STUCK WITH ME. story without having to ask for per mission, which means the industry has no choice but to change. With a lot of the talk about the #MeToo movement and safety in the industry it means that people are supporting and respecting each other on set, which is crucial. Bad things are still happening, but through honesty and supporting one another, we can create safe spaces to tell our stories. Q What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? A The best advice I’ve ever received was
from a fellow filmmaker Ava DuVernay and it was about the importance of becoming a weekend warrior. Even when she had another job she was still using her weekends to make things happen. I love the idea of people making things happen even when they don’t have the luxury of dedicating all of their time to just doing that. It’s about making every moment count and using my time to fuel my dreams of storytelling. Other great advice I’ve had from several mentors is to be authentic, and that means not just telling stories you think people want to hear, but ones that come from a real place. Q What/who is your greatest source of inspiration? A My family - my mom and dad, how much
they have overcome as refugees, and starting over again. Whenever I start a new film I feel like I’m starting a new life and a new journey. My family is such an inspiration because they’ve been so supportive and loving. While they may not have imagined this career for me, they always inspire me to keep going.
Q What advice would you give to a novice who wants to begin storytelling through film? A Just get started, be a weekend warrior,
and remember that waiting never helps. You can film something on your phone - just make it happen. Some friends and I, we just get together on a Saturday and shoot something. You need to give yourself permission to believe in yourself and in the stories you want to tell. You should never wait for permission because you’ll be waiting forever. Don’t let anyone else’s opinion or power stop you from developing your own strength and voice. Q What projects are you excited about right now? A I have two projects that I’m working on
right now. One is a new feature film highlighting intersectionality of communities, which is really a love letter to Toronto
and our community. It reflects indigenous people, communities in Turtle Island, and people who came here, which is fitting since Toronto means ‘the meeting place’. The film ties in with a love story, which I think is unlike other things people have seen on the big screen before. I’m also working on an untitled TV series featuring first generation people of colour. Q What accomplishments are you most proud of? A A friend who I met 10 years ago recent-
ly told me about the changes she’s seen in me, and that meant a lot. I used to apologize constantly and make sure that I didn’t take up a lot of space or use my voice. Today I’ve come to a place where I am not afraid of either, and this accomplishment is what is keeping me going forward. Today I am feeling at peace and respecting and valuing my vision.
TURMERIC Have you noticed that most of the trendy superfoods have actually been with us for centuries? And that long before the health-conscious foodies among us started jumping on a trend, our (often wiser) ancestors had been using these foods and gaining the benefits? From ancient grains and coconut water to fermented foods and green tea, most of us only pay attention once they start showing up on the shelves of Wholefoods! Such is the case with Turmeric, the vibrant yellow spice that has become the latest darling of the health food world and which gives ‘Golden Milk’ it’s beautiful hue, not to mention multiple health benefits. And it’s not just Golden Milk lattes that Turmeric is making an appearance – we’re now being encouraged to add it to everything – morning oatmeal, pasta sauces, even desserts. In fact, Turmeric Semolina cake is a staple in Lebenese cooking (and pretty delicious too!) and, because it has a mild flavour that doesn’t overpower, unlike some spices, it’s an easy way to kick many dishes up a notch in the antioxidant department. And why do we need antioxidants? To fight off those age-accelerating, cell-destroying free radicals! In fact, Turmeric, or to be more exact, Curcuminoids, the active chemical compounds
golden power powder WRITTEN BY FIONA BRAMZELL that naturally occur in the spice (which is why you might sometimes see Turmeric referred to as Cucurmin), affects several aspects of health including inflammation, heart health and even cognitive function which means that if you’re not incorporating some of this super spice into your diet, you really should! When searching for a recipe to share that uses Turmeric, I wanted to make something a little different to show just how versatile it is beyond curries and Golden Milk (which is, just as the name suggests, milk – or milk alternative - with the addition of Turmeric, natural sweetener such as maple syrup or honey, and Black Pepper to enhance the benefits of the Curcuminoids). What I ended up with is a tasty oatmeal cookie that is easily adaptable for whatever add-ins you have on hand. Whether you want to add, as I did, some seeds and dried fruit or make it a little decadent with the addition of chocolate chips, it’s really up to you. What you’ll end up with is a slightly chewy, not-too-sweet, but deliciously healthy cookie that delivers a powerful anti-oxidant punch and is perfect for a breakfast on the run or mid-afternoon pick-me-up – enjoy!
turmeric oatmeal cookies makes 10-12 cookies I NG REDIENTS
IN ST R U C T IO NS
• 1 cup rolled oats • 1/2 cup oat flour (make by processing oats until course, flour-like texture) • 1/2 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp baking soda • 1/2 tsp sea salt • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric • 1 egg • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract • 1 cup of optional add-ins – dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl mix well 3. Mix in the egg, pure maple syrup, natural peanut butter and pure vanilla extract 4. Stir in optional ingredients 5. Grease or line a baking pan with parchment paper 6. Place balls of dough on a baking pan and press each ball down into a cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and firm
WRITTEN BY FIONA BRAMZELL
Toronto’s Best Workouts for Women
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While the dark, grey winter months can make it seem like torture to just drag yourself out of bed and get moving, spring is finally here and we can get those lazy muscles back into action! Toronto has numerous gyms that offer a whole variety of workouts – there really is something for everyone. And the best part is, these classes aren’t trying to morph you into a ‘bikini body’ - they’re meant to boost your self-esteem, kick your mojo into gear and make you feel like the beautiful diva you truly are. WRITTEN BY NAIMA KARP Hourglass Workout
If you’re not afraid to get down and dirty with some weight-lifting, this girls-only boot camp class is the body transformation you’ve been waiting for. It’s a creative blend of strength training, cardio and circuits with a range of equipment like sleds, booty bands and TRX. The program was created specifically with the female body in mind and helps you hold on to feminine curves so you don’t bulk up or get too wiry. The site features a ton of success stories and ‘before and after’ shots that will motivate you to get your ass off the couch and reveal your best body ASAP. Training builds strength and confidence in women, an essential aspect to our wellness and self- care.
When you think of spinning, you might think of a jam-packed Soul Cycle studio, with models in workout bras flipping their sweaty hair as an instructor screams amid blasting EDM. Fortunately, at Cykl, this isn’t the case. The riders here are regular people,not Instagram models. If you haven’t tried Cykl’s RealRyders, they’re basically spinning bikes that swerve left and right mimicking real bike turns for some serious oblique action. The standout factor here is the range of spinning classes that they offer, from mountain-themed and endurance rides, to guilty pleasure top 40 rides and integrated pilates and TRX classes. They even have early classes with coffee, and afternoon classes on Saturdays known as the “Hangover Helper”.
While there are numerous barre experiences in Toronto, all of them seem to come equipped with overly bubbly instructors and an underlying rigidity that adds more stress than endorphins to the experience. At Pure Barre, for example, the routines are a little more ballet-inspired, and predictable. If you walk in 45 seconds after class has started, you won’t be admitted, even though it’s just a warmup. At Barre3, even if you’re a couple of minutes late, they understand the realities of commuting and traffic, and their customer is the priority. The routines incorporate yoga, but some of the classes can be little intense on the knees if you have previous injuries. You can even stream workouts online if inclass isn’t your thing, or you’re not in Toronto.
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Big Sister’s Closet Founder Karen Ward Weighs In On Plus Sized Fashion in Toronto
WRITTEN BY SARA MAGINN PACELLA
Did you know that although 30 percent of Canadian women wear a size 14 or higher, less than one percent of retailers carry sizes that will fit them? Take a second to think about how limiting this makes shopping for a significant portion of the population. From a purely business perspective, not catering to such a large segment of your market is considered a huge financial no-no; however in fashion, not serving plus sizes is the norm.
The Bloggy Beginning Karen Ward has a knack for creating much-needed spaces for women, and has highlighted life for an underserved community since 2010 when she first launched her blog, Curvy Canadian. Karen says, “I started my blog in 2010, after taking a course about online life writing for my PhD. Until then, I wasn’t really even aware of blogs, or the burgeoning plus size community that was developing through them. I thought it would be incredible to write a blog about being fat (since someone else was writing about being tall) but I was at a point in my life when I was incredibly self-conscious, and I worried that it wouldn’t be professional enough for my professors’ assessments. A few months later I came across Gabifresh (which was actually called Young, Fat, and Fabulous at the time) and I thought it would be amazing to have a Canadian resource like this. It didn’t exist, so I decided I had to create it!”
From Blog to Brand Karen and her husband had always talked about opening their own business. Both having come from entrepreneurial families, this was something that was always on the back burner, and eventually became a reality. It started over a Sunday dinner when the pair decided that they would save money for a couple of years and then go for it. Then the next day, on their way to get coffee, fate intervened when they passed by a ‘For Lease’ sign in a vacant store in the Junction. Karen suggested that her husband call the number for pricing in order to build their business, and after a lot of renovations and hard work, Big Sister’s Closet opened in the Junction. The concept for Big Sister’s Closet was inspired by Karen and her two stylish older sisters. Growing up, Karen remembers watching her two sisters borrow each other’s clothes and being sad she couldn’t join in because nothing fit. Big Sister’s Closet was created, “So that all the curvy girls who can’t fit into their sisters’ (or friends’) clothes will have a place to find clothes that will make them look just as fierce (if not fiercer!) than their smaller stylish counterparts.”
Breaking Stigmas & Shutting Down Shaming Karen and her store are among local pioneers for bringing fashion-forward clothes to the plus sized community. Running both a physical shop and an online business requires a lot of promotion and social media savvy. Karen says, “I think as soon as you break out the words ‘plus size’ so FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018 | 20
Karen and Big Sister’s Closet have a strong social media following of over 67,000 (and growing!) Instagram followers. As champions of the body positivity movement, they frequently post fabulous photos and videos of their models, adorned in the newest offerings from the store. One of the most prominent hashtags used in this promotion that stands out is “#Eff Your Beauty Standards”. Karen says, “I think it’s a great hashtag because it really advocates for individuality in beauty. Everyone really has their own standards for what beauty is, and their own standards are all that really matter! For so long, the idea of beauty, and the definition of it, has been ruled by mainstream media and what they choose to present. The internet has radically democratized the presentation of various types of beauty. There is no universal standard, and that’s what this hashtag proudly proclaims. Oh, and also, if others don’t like it, eff that!” Anyone with a prominent online presence knows that there are bound to be some internet trolls. Karen says that, “(some) people say I’m glorifying obesity. I have a three-part approach to getting over that. I delete their post(s), I block them, and then I go about living my life, unaffected. I’m certainly not ‘glorifying obesity’ - I’m providing stylish clothes to women who’ve been marginalized and consciously and subconsciously told their whole lives that they are not good enough. If anyone deserves to look and feel their best, it’s plus size women!”
Fitness For All Karen is constantly looking for better ways to serve her customers, and recently added exercise and fitness-geared inventory to her store. In a counterintuitive move, a huge contributor towards fat shaming is the fitness industry, with a focus on equating thinness with health. This can make personal fitness an even bigger obstacle for
a plus sized woman. Karen says “I started taking a yoga class in October, and I went to a large sporting goods store to find some new yoga pants. Needless to say, I left empty handed and frustrated. The mixture of pity and disgust on the sales associate’s face when I asked for plus sizes was the primary impetus to me carrying active wear. Plus size women can live active lives just like anyone else. And they should have a safe space to buy clothes while doing it. I didn’t want anyone else to have to go through that.”
On Getting Body Positive Self-image is something that many of us struggle with. Karen Ward has used her own research and journey to help the rest of us really learn to love ourselves and our bodies. Karen suggests anyone needing some body image TLC just Google ‘Body Positivity’ and says, “There are so many amazing people online living their lives out loud, being proud of who they are, and who are just like you. Seeing other people exist so freely might just give you the power to stop caring so much about what others think, and help you realize just how fabulous you are! Keep reading the blogs of your favourite body positivity activists to remind yourself frequently that you are wonderful.”
What’s In the Closet This Spring & Summer Want to learn more about Karen and her store? Follow them on Instagram @bigsiscloset, visit their website (www.yourbigsisterscloset.com), or visit in person at 3126 Dundas Street West. As for what’s new in store, Karen says, “Spring and Summer are always our favourite seasons for fashion, so we’re really excited about that, and about encouraging more women to ditch the sleeves when it finally gets warmer and bare their arms!
Toronto is Changing the Way Women Work
WRITTEN BY NICOLE NESCI
Imagine an energetic and supportive co-working space where entrepreneurial women create, collaborate and empower one another to reach their professional and academic goals. Picture a wellness-focused cultivated community of women situated within a trendy and aesthetically pleasing interior. This is the world of women-only co-working spaces. Female-only co-working spaces have become a rapidly growing industry these past few years. With a strong shift away from conventional office jobs, more and more people are working remotely as entrepreneurs, freelancers and mobile workers. Women-only co-working spaces are shaping the future of work here in Toronto. These spaces offer women a place to connect, network and support one another with their business ventures. “Having a space full of highly motivated, passionate and forward-looking individuals only helps with my own motivation,” said Jamie Johnson, The Balvenie National Brand Ambassador, “Making friends and colleagues from different work backgrounds and sharing our experiences over common ground is a wonderful experience.” The concept of co-working spaces is not exactly new. Independent professionals have sought out unconventional working environments for a while now. Unlike traditionally cramped and stressful work places, these co-working spaces promote work-life balance in venues that are meant to de-stress, motivate and recharge its members.
In Toronto, women-only designated spaces like Make Lemonade, Women On The Move and Shecosystem Coworking + Wellness, are popping up all over the city. But why has there been a recent shift to exclusively female working spaces? Pritika Roy, an event manager at IQPC Worldwide and founder and creator of PRitzy Events, said “It is important for women to experience more working spaces like these as they do empower women to hustle more.” There is a reason the famous saying goes, “empowered women empower women.” Women are flocking to these collective, community environments to enhance the way they work. Women feel a sense of equality and belonging at these spaces, something that coed working environments usually lack. Michelle Isocianu, owner of BoardAgain Games, said “I do think the focus on mental health, emotional support and collaboration is encouraged more among women, maybe less for men in business.” The goal is that feminine working environments will help self-identified women reach their fullest academic and professional potentials through emotional support and collaboration. “The most surprising element that I got out of being part of this space was having a support network for the more challenging days,” said Isocianu. “Owning your own business can be hard and lonely especially at the tough times.” Some of these women-only co-working spaces offer beauty and wellness amenities, like yoga classes and meditation, to ensure that even the toughest times can be overcome happily and pos-
itively through communal activities and encouragement. With motivational quotes plastered all over the walls of these spaces, the aesthetic itself is guaranteed to put members in a good mood. Make Lemonade is designed with “great wall art, good color schemes, clean tables with extension points, and high-speed internet,” said Roy. Women On The Move “focuses on open space, inclusive and welcoming shared areas that encourage face to face and collaborative interactions,” said Isocianu. “Restrooms are well stocked with products used primarily by women.” Women-centric spaces offer a workplace and a culture that encourages female-identified members to reach their full potential in a comfortable, stylish and empowering environment while building long lasting connections with like-minded individuals.
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Empowering Underwear for Women of all Walks WRITTEN BY NAIMA KARP
c re d i t : i n s t a g ra m @ s l i c kc h i c k s o n l i n e
When we first found Slick Chicks, we didn’t even know they were selling a product. It was a beautifully curated, inclusive account giving women of all shapes, colors, and sizes a shout-out and a warm embrace. Little did we know, they also had a life-changing product behind their mission. This has been an exciting era for undies, and Slick Chicks has broadened the down-under family in an innovative and compassionate way. THINX created revolutionary underwear for people with periods, while MeUndies prided themselves on being the most comfortable underwear ever, never forcing you to climb into the uncomfortable lace and leather restraints for the pleasure of the male gaze. The praise-worthy brand Slick Chicks was founded by Helya Mohammadian, who was gracious enough to sit down and have a chat with us. The brand carries side-fastening undies, catering to women who face any physical challenges from mobility issues, post-surgery, maternity, or any situation limiting range of motion. Even plus size gals can slip into these comfy underwear and feel a reprieve from the repression of modern day lingerie. Said Helya, “It wasn’t until I started receiving messages from women who were not able bodied, thanking me for making their lives a little easier, that I realized so many women need this product. Although our panties are great for any woman, our biggest mission is to give those with a disability their dignity and confidence back.” 53 million people live with a permanent disability just in the U.S. alone and the fashion industry has turned a blind eye to their needs. But Slick Chicks bridges that gap between function and fashion and they do it in a cute and flirty way! The Slick Chicks team did rigorous amounts of customer focus groups and testing to gain a true understanding of their demographic and the demand for such a product. In our opinion, they defined it in a classy, accessible, and empowering way. One success story sent via email changed Helya’s purpose for her company. Early in the venture, a young woman reached out to her. “She shared that she had limited mobility and was diagnosed with cancer. She said Slick Chicks would be so helpful for her. Her request made me real
Although our panties are great for any woman, our biggest mission is to give those with a disability their dignity and confidence back. - HELYA MOHAMMADIAN
ize that the innovative product I had created for women to have a convenient way to change was impacting the quality of someone’s life for the better. The fact that Slick Chicks empowered her so much to fight through her physical challenges erased any doubts I had about my product and strengthened my mission to help others.” We love Slick Chicks for being so inclusive and not just singling out women with disabilities. “Slick Chicks is a brand that empowers all women, not just one group, while letting every woman maintain her individuality. We began an Ambassador program where we celebrate all types of women who end up becoming the representatives of our brand,” Helya points out. This Ambassador program is also integral to their inspiring social media presence. Helya explains that it lets Slick Chicks build a personality and create a connection with fans and customers. They offer their Ambassador program so that women can share their stories of inspiration and how they give back to their communities with their powerful voices. “Instead of hiring professional models, we love to spotlight these real women in their day to day lives and give them a platform to bring awareness to a cause they are advocating.” You can find these women featured on the company’s Instagram page. To Slick Chicks, it’s paramount that women feel empowered and confident in their products, as well as being able to relate to the women who represent their brand. Helya expands on this, saying, “We embrace diversity and differences. As Maya Angelou once said, ‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be’.” FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018 | 26
Coping with Mental Illness WRITTEN BY SUMEI FITZGERALD
Maintaining mental health is vital for psychological wellbeing and anyone may experience emotional or psychological problems at some point in their life. Factors such as genetic predisposition, environment, life circumstances and stress are just some of the causes and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) nearly half of the worldâ€™s population are affected. Of course there are a variety of medications and therapy treatments available depending on the type of illness. However, one of the best ways of coping with mental illness is physical activity, expressive therapies, and activity therapies such as recreation therapy and occupational therapy. Physical activity such as playing sports triggers the production of endorphins which are natural mood enhancers. Swimming, running and team sports like hockey are all very good ways to keep 27 | FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018
physically active. Doing any type of physical activity helps improve mood, as well as mental and physical health. Expressive therapies include music, art, dance, drama or poetry therapies. They involve art and self-expression, and are effective methods of coping with mental illness. Usually a therapist will lead the therapy session in a healing and creative way. Music therapy is one expressive therapy that uses instruments or singing to make music while painting, sculpture, and creative writing are enjoyable expressive activities that anyone can participate in on their own or with an art therapist. If you love dancing or acting, dance and drama therapies are also healthy expressive activities to enjoy. The creative process develops physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social and aesthetic aspects of life. Therapeutic practice helps im
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prove cognitive function, emotional wellbeing, social and motor skills and overall quality of life. Whether the creative activity is a hobby or a therapeutic practice, it is a joy to create works of art and to express yourself. Other therapies like crafts and going for walks in nature are part of occupational and recreation therapies. Even knitting or reading can stimulate and maintain mental health. It is definitely better to be active and stay healthy than to be inactive and unhealthy and in some cases physical activity, expressive or activity therapies can even substitute, or at least reduce, medications and other treatments. Best of all, physical and creative activities can be accomplished by anyone and you donâ€™t have to be a creative expert in order to do them. A professional therapist will guide you through the
creative process. However, if you have hobbies or are creatively inclined, it is good to develop your abilities and to keep yourself occupied with some form of activity or therapy. Everyone should have an active lifestyle to maintain their mental health; physical or creative activities enrich our daily life and reduce the risks of depression and other mental illnesses. Coping with mental illness doesnâ€™t have to be a struggle and people diagnosed with mental illness can enjoy a healthy, happy lifestyle. Physical activity, expressive and activity therapies are proven, effective treatments that help to maintain mental health. With daily practice, these therapeutic methods decrease stress and anxiety, can prevent or dramatically improve mental illness, and promote better emotional wellbeing and life fulfillment. FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018 | 28
c re d i t : ro b e r t n i c k s o n
Cultivating Wellness: simple self-care WRITTEN BY LAUREN MACKAY
At a time where life on this planet seems to be getting ever more complicated, it can be hard to actively prioritize your well-being. We are exposed to so much information and presented so many choices that it is hard not to feel overwhelmed at times. Today, perhaps more than ever, we need to practice intentional care of ourselves, or risk depleting ourselves through the chaos that abounds. Acts of self-care build a resilience that allows us to deal better with the stress of life, plus, it just feels good. So why aren’t we all experts? While the term ‘self-care’ is relatively new, the practice is not. In recent years there has been a shift in perception around it. Today self-care is regarded as less of an indulgence and more of a key component of health. Carving time to care for ourselves is an ongoing process of determining what we need to feel the best we can in our lives and meant to be re-envisioned over and over as we grow and change. The idea of self-care as massages and retreats is pleasurable, and sometimes useful, but feeling our best is not always about the grand gesture. Sometimes the best way to nurture yourself is having all the laundry done or getting a really good night of sleep.
When you are feeling less than your best, building a wellness and self-care practice can feel daunting. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Everyone experiences times where wellness is lagging for one reason or another. If you are feeling a bit lost as to how to develop the best self-care routine for yourself, first assess where you are at. How much energy do you have? When you are feeling low, it may seem counterintuitive to dedicate energy to something new but, in this case, you won’t regret it. When you are at your lowest, the best thing you can do is focus on developing a routine where you give attention to the basics. Eat nourishing foods and watch your intake of sugars, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods. Do what you can to get good sleep and an adequate amount of it. Spend some time outside in nature, noticing the rhythm of life around you. Find a way to regularly move your body, even if only a gentle stretch or walk. And in all of this, make sure to reach out and connect with others. None of these things have to be a large effort in fact, simpler is better. Little by little, you will notice your vitality increase. Be patient. In any given moment, know you don’t need to have all of the answers, but if you are working to take care of yourself, you are well on your way to finding them. FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018 | 30
c re d i t : l o g a n n o l a n
The case for self-care being simple is a powerful one. In an effort to get down to the specific acts that have a positive impact on your life, you will almost always find a pursuit rather than a purchase. A growing movement is working at exploring wellness through minimalism. More of us are starting to focus less on amassing and consuming, becoming well-versed in paring down, usually starting with clearing physical clutter. But what about the mental clutter? How would it feel to reduce and reimagine the ideas and practices you have developed that way? This is another way you can care for yourself. Be intentional about where you want to place your time and energy. First you need to free up some time and space. Determine what you would like less of in your life and take action to support that. Something that genuinely added to your life three years ago may now be nothing more than a habit youâ€™ve outgrown. Let it go. Some things will be easy to let go of and others more difficult. To move toward something, you must necessarily move away from others; this act is hard and deserves acknowledgement. Another barrier to finding space for oneself is the challenge of saying no. We donâ€™t want to disappoint others, or worse, create conflict. But if you agree to put energy toward things that do not fill you up, or actually drain you, you are creating a life that will deplete you to the point of suffering.
You are the one who has to inhabit your life, so while it may be uncomfortable or difficult to draw hard boundaries with others, remind yourself of your intention to take care of yourself and be well. When you find yourself in a place of higher energy it is a good time to determine what you would like more of in your life. Most likely you have a sense of what that is. In your effort to try new things, explore and expand: listen. Does what you are doing feel right? Would you rather be elsewhere? The point is to try to direct yourself to a place where you want to be, a place you want to return to again and again, a place that you have no desire to escape. It is a life that you are proud of, filled with the energy of knowing that you have used the path of taking care of yourself to create exactly what you need. When you find yourself in a place of higher energy it is a good time to determine what you would like more of in your life. Most likely you have a sense of what that is. In your effort to try new things, explore and expand: listen. Does what you are doing feel right? Would you rather be elsewhere? The point is to try to direct yourself to a place where you want to be, a place you want to return to again and again, a place that you have no desire to escape. It is a life that you are proud of, filled with the energy of knowing that you have used the path of taking care of yourself to create exactly what you need.
HELLO FRESH REVIEW WRITTEN BY NAIMA KARP
Hello Fresh is made for those who want to eat well, but are too busy to shop, prep and cook. Whether you’re a young professional or a working mom juggling the chaos of a household, not having to worry about a week’s worth of food prep takes a load of stress off. Meals are pre-portioned, and you don’t have to worry about where ingredients come from - they’re all locally sourced and meals are healthy, nutritionally balanced and available in flexible vegetarian and omnivore options. Hello Fresh delivers at a time that’s convenient for customers and can be managed through the Hello Fresh mobile app. If you’re looking for the basics of fresh, affordable convenience, and your chef skills aren’t the best, Hello Fresh passes the test. One of their most helpful additions is the set of step-by-step recipes and instructions which make cooking super easy. However, if you’re looking for delicious, high-quality meals that are tailor-made for you, you won’t necessarily find that with this service. The recipes are creative, but the results don’t always come through. We’re not expecting restaurant quality, but the curries were watery and lacking flavor, and a meal revolving around tomato stew was a weak imitation of airplane tomato soup at best. The meal variety was certainly creative but in terms of execution, it didn’t pull through the way I hoped. The portions for two were decent but not quite enough for my boyfriend and I who both have pretty big appetites. Some of the produce was also sub-par and didn’t seem to be checked for quality, which wouldn’t be an issue if we were choosing it ourselves at the store. Cooking with your own ingredients is always the best option, instead of the easy instant- grat-
ification route, especially if you’re looking to be fully satiated or mindful of portion control. It may make more sense to invest in a grocery delivery service as well that allows you more cooking flexibility, but still saves you time and heavy lifting. Of all the food delivery services (and there are a lot out there), Hello Fresh doesn’t really stand out unless you’re rating it in terms of simplicity and packaging, and the company certainly has their shortcomings - many customers find issues with their customer service department’s handsoff approach and lack of accountability for their mistakes. We’d say Blue Apron is a better bet, for both customer service, ingredient quality, and innovation. On the upside, this kit does maximize time, and the layout is very user-friendly. This helps you spend more time with your loved ones instead of slaving in the kitchen which is also essential to living a stress-free, balanced life. If you have barely any time to prep food but don’t want to order Dominoes every night, this may be a good alternative. FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018 | 32
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ANTM’s Most Inspiring Model Embraces Hairloss WRITTEN BY NAIMA KARP
If you hear that America’s Next Top Model is still on the air, you’re either a fan of the franchise from back in the day and still watching, amazed that it’s still on air, or rolling your eyes at the idea of wannabes trying to become the next supermodel. But this season amidst a year of harassment chaos and the slowly churning start of a women’s revolution, ANTM managed to step up its game. This season was all about self love and not just accepting your flaws, but re-learning them as the very epicentre of your beauty and identity. Last season we met Winnie Harlow, a stunning doe-like model from Toronto who had the skin condition known as vitiligo. Harlow was one of the first to step out of the conventional model frame and this season the rising star is Jeana Turner. When you first see Jeana, you see a conventionally pretty girl who might appear in a magazine. Her features are striking and she has long dark hair. She is, essentially, one of the more ‘perfect’ looking contestants in the premiere that you assume has had it easy in life because of how she looks. A couple of episodes later and we’re at the notorious makeover segment. Jeana is noticeably upset as she reveals to the makeover specialists that she has Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune skin disease which causes eventual and profound hair loss on the scalp and face. Jeana admitted that people had told her she wasn’t beautiful in the past due to her disease, hence the long, dark
wig that covered her gorgeous head. Jeana’s only makeover is to wear her condition on her sleeve and accepting it as a part of who she is. For the rest of the season her head is left completely bald, but her presence in photographs takes on a whole new vibrancy. She isn’t cowering under the veil of convention anymore, and her radiant new inner beauty shines through to the outside, giving her a glow like never before. Her once conventionally striking features and bald head give her a look akin to a beautiful alien, making her stand out as we focus on her wide eyes and elegant bone structure. The judging panel after that first photoshoot sans hair was obviously an emotional one for Jeana. But she didn’t stand alone. Making your vulnerabilities public can be a terrifying leap, but once you do, you get a resounding collective support from a variety of communities each who have their own vulnerabilities. After taking her wig off, Jeana says she felt “free” - more liberated than she ever had. During the makeover process, judge Law Roach held her hand the entire time. Moments after the makeover, she turned to Law for comforting words. He was just as emotional as her, and reassured her that her new, authentic self was beautiful. Law shed even more tears than Jeana. In the judging panel after the first shoot with Jeana’s bald look, all the judges were overwhelmed with pride and a raw emotion that even reality TV can’t fake.
Making your vulnerabilities public can be a terrifying leap, but once you do, you get a resounding collective support from a variety of communities each who have their own vulnerabilities.
Judge Law, who went through this rollercoaster of a journey with Jeana, removed his long wig in front of all the women, explaining that he once struggled with weight issues, and used long hair to mask his vulnerabilities too. But Jeana had inspired him to shed that burden in front of the world. Another judge, Drew Elliot, wiped off his makeup to reveal that he suffered from vitiligo, just like Cycle 21â€™s Winnie Harlow. The three of them stood together within an industry that makes harsh judgements on appearance, turning weaknesses into strength and each making each other stronger. The model thought that taking off her hair would remove her strength but in reality losing it was a symbol of just how resilient she really is.
Today, she no longer hides her truth in the shadows, but spreads the message that bald is beautiful for those with hair loss disorders, cancer, and more. Alopecia affects over 6.8 million people in the United States alone, making Jeana a badass public role model and self-love crusader striving towards a world where we donâ€™t regard our differences as a negative aspect. Jeana once felt like hair loss defined her and after her enlightenment of self-love realized that it was in a totally different way. Hair loss was the key to her self-empowerment and effervescence. It was the brave keeper of her truth, and our own insecurities can be the keepers of ours as well, lifting off heavy burdens thatâ€™ve been unnecessarily weighing us down for years.
GIRLS ONLY WRITTEN BY LAUREN MACKAY
When it comes to defining gender rules, our society is constantly changing, and so are our organizations. There has always been some debate over gender specific spaces and activities, and while gender politics are ever-changing, there are many who still espouse the importance of girl’s only spaces. At a time where inclusivity is regarded as essential, are all girl organizations still relevant? In 1998, Scouts Canada made the decision to include girls at all levels of the previously male-only program. Twenty years later, the sister organization, Girl Guides, remains a female only space offering programming for girls 5-17 and, it would seem, Canadians are divided on which program they would like their daughters to attend. Lisa Mueller, mother to Owen and Annabelle, both registered in Beavers (Scouts Canada’s 5-7 year old program), first enrolled her daughter in Sparks (Girl Guide Canada’s equivalent program), but when her son joined Beavers, she began to notice that the programming between the two groups was more different than she had expected. “Beavers offered more adventurous outings, and seemed more physically active. That, coupled with the fact that my kids could attend the program together led us to switch. My daughter enjoyed her time at Sparks, but Beavers was more exciting to her.” Teresa Quinn’s daughter Lauren started off in Beavers and quickly found that it wasn’t a fit. “Moving to Brownies was the best thing we did. Lauren felt Beavers meetings were too loud and boisterous. She wanted what she found at Brownies. It was a bit more sedate, more her speed.” The criticism commonly leveled at Girl Guides is that it leans toward reinforcing traditional feminine roles, something the organization has worked to change through the modernization of their programming. But one thing they have yet to change is the inclusion of boys and, of this, there are many supporters. “I believe there is something special about a girl’s only program”
says Quinn, “I am glad Lauren has a place to go where she can focus on relationships with girls, without having to think about where she fits in, in terms of gender. At least until she is older.” Kira Phillips participated in Girl Guides from age 6-19. She recalls her own experience in the organization as “confidence building” and describes the bond she forged with the girls she attended as a “sisterhood” that she still maintains today, many years later. “A girl’s only environment allowed us to have a lack of self-consciousness and maybe maintain our innocence a bit longer because we didn’t have to think about things through the lens of boys. We were able to have conversations that we probably wouldn’t have had if boys were there.” Also an accomplished kickboxer, Phillips has the experience of being the only female in a male dominated environment. “I began kickboxing when I was 10. After the age of 13, I was often the only girl present. The guys would have ideas about me from looking at me, but were often surprised once we began to fight. After one fight in particular, one of the guys said ‘you hit like a man’ and another said ‘no, she hits like a fighter.’ It was really interesting to hear that. In that world, your capability is what is most important. So I was grateful for both experiences.” Organizations created for girls only offer safe spaces for girls to connect with each other in positive environments, unencumbered by the expectations they may otherwise meet in the wider world. The assertion is that by separating from boys, girls’ needs can be focused on without distraction or judgment, allowing for them to build confidence and identity in the absence of prescribed gender roles. While there are as many arguments to be made for co-ed spaces as there are not, one cannot refute that choice is positive. Preserving girl’s only spaces may seem antiquated to some, but to others, it remains an act of reinforcing female empowerment.
c re d i t : g u i l h e r m e p et r i
Is my Identity my hair colour? WRITTEN BY KELLY ZEMNICKIS
For as long as I can remember, advertisements would tell me that a woman who colours her hair is more empowered and more beautiful and more interesting than one who doesn’t. Looking back at it now, it makes me laugh that there was such an effort made by those women to look natural. To be themselves, but only better… when in reality, they could have just been themselves. But we’re not told that, we’re encouraged to be a version of ourselves that we’re not – because that new version will get people talking! It was just after my 35th birthday that things changed for me. I started to shed my layers and get rid of what wasn’t working, one of those things being the hair dye. Was it adding to my life? No? Okay, well, it’s gotta go! But getting to this point was a long process… I started colouring my hair when I was about 16 years old. As a kid, my hair was strawberry blonde but eventually moved into the chestnut brown category. I saw it as such a plain colour - I was not a blonde who apparently always had more fun. So, with the guidance of my mother, I picked up a hair colour box at the drug store and chose a version of red that I thought would suit me best. I liked the idea of being a red head - it was bold and I thought it would bring out a side of my personality that I knew was in there but couldn’t showcase on my own. Granted, a lot of that can be attributed to being a teenager and figuring out who I was going to be – but I really thought the red hair would help my cause. It’s not that I didn’t have friends nor had trouble talking to people; no, it was more just not being comfortable in my own skin. But I don’t know many teenagers who ever feel comfortable in their own skin - I don’t think you’re supposed to. I think being a teenager is like trying to fit into the wrong sized pants! A popular jingle I remember from Clairol, was “I’m gonna wash that grey right out of my hair”. Again, encouragement to change what is natural-
ly happening; don’t risk looking older, you must reclaim your youth and vitality! As I got older, I continued with colouring my hair going from red to blonde to black and everywhere in between. People saw me with my new ‘do and compliments flowed in. I was looking great, I was the centre of attention! I was still me… but a shinier version of me. For women, our hair is our weapon and our crown; our hair holds POWER. When we’re in a relationship our partner worships it, and when that love ends we frequently will find ourselves at the salon ready to cut it off or change the colour. In my early 30’s it hit me that I didn’t remember what I looked like in my natural hair colour. Family photos reminded me, yes but I hadn’t looked in a mirror and saw what colour naturally sat atop my head in years. So I started to let my roots grow in and my curiosity was peaked… okay, I like this brown hue… So, of course, I got my hair dyed to match what was naturally growing out! One step forward and two steps backward, right? I was definitely finding my footing, as one does in their 30’s, but I wasn’t aware of my powers yet. Very slowly I started to get to know myself again, who I was meant to be and what I could do. I am now steps from my 40th birthday. The dye is almost all gone and a few gray hairs are in view. The reaction I got to telling people I was going back to my natural colour late in my 30’s? “You’re so brave, Kelly!” Brave?! I’m not saving people from a burning building! To me, what I’m doing isn’t brave, but I guess in an age where you want as many likes on your social media posts as possible, being your true self is bold. But I don’t need my hair colour to be bold anymore, I can do that on my own thank-you-very-much. Realizing that was like finding out I had superpowers. Best of all? I can finally say that I LIKE myself. And I have really great hair. FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018 | 38
Taming Traumatic Tresses: Managing Your Hair at Any Age WRITTEN BY SARA MAGINN PACELLA
c re d i t : s u hye o n c h o i
If Disney princesses are any indication, hair is an important symbol of femininity. Whether you have long hair, short hair, wavy hair, thick hair, fine hair or unruly hair, odds are it’s become a part of your identity. Sometimes in a world where it seems we have very little control, our hair is always there to clip, cut and colour as we please – it’s ours to style however and whenever we want. That is, until it isn’t. Many people don’t realize how much our hair can change as we age or when we are experiencing health, family and personal life changes. Stress alone can cause dramatic changes to your hair, including hair loss. This can be shocking and downright embarrassing. Michelle Chrisomeris and Tania Henriques, owners and stylists at Hive and Hawk Hair Studio in Toronto’s junction triangle are armed with scissors, dryers and over 21 years combined experience. These are their tips, tricks and strategies for helping clients treat their traumatic tresses through common hair-related changes
Pregnancy & Postpartum Hair Care While most expectant moms love the thick mane of hair that often comes with pregnancy, most don’t like what happens a few months after baby arrives. Here’s what happens - when someone is expecting their higher levels of estrogen will often lengthen the amount of time hair is in a growth phase, meaning mom is going to lose significantly less than the average 100 strands of hair a day. A few months after birth, hair will begin shedding again as it goes back into its normal growth and rest cycles. Michelle says shedding becomes most obvious around three or four months after baby arrives. She adds, “As hairdressers we try to bring the moisture back to our client’s hair to strengthen
what’s already there. For moms who are not breastfeeding there are shampoos you can use to help strengthen the hair and reduce loss.” For those who are looking to cover up hair loss that has already occurred Michelle recommends specific cuts to help give a look of fuller, thicker hair. “A blunt hair cut can give the impression of fuller hair. Since a lot of the time hair loss can be concentrated in the front of the scalp, side bangs can be an easy solution to cover up hair loss and allow for your hair’s growth and rest cycle to normalize.” Tania adds, “It normally takes around a year postpartum for hair to return to the way it was pre-pregnancy.”
Gracefully Greying Hair Greying hair is a part of the natural aging process. Dr. Anthony Oro, professor of dermatology at Stanford University says, “Fifty percent of the population has about 50% gray hair at age 50,” Greying is caused as we age because the hydrogen peroxide (the same stuff we use to lighten our hair) naturally exists in our hair pigment/ colour. Hair colour and ethnicity have an impact as to when someone’s hair will go grey, with redheads usually starting the earliest. Although ‘granny hair’, (where younger women colour their hair to have different shades of grey), has been a recent trend, this isn’t usually the case among those who are actually going grey. Michelle says clients going grey often fall into one of two camps, “We have clientele who don’t want to see it at all, coming in for colour every three weeks. Others are beginning to talk about taking the leap to going grey but haven’t put down the hair colour just yet.” Michelle and Tania often recommend clients who are going grey and sick of the time commitment of touch-ups consider adding lowlights of their natural hair colour. This camouflages some of the grey and helps them get used to it. These lowlights can continue even as they embrace their grey to help keep their hair looking healthy and young, despite the colour changes. Michelle reminds clients that maintaining a nice haircut and ridding your hair of dry dead ends is another simple way to help hair in transition to grey look great and that even if you’ve gone grey and don’t like it, it’s not too late to start colouring again.
Sometimes in a world where it seems we have very little control, our hair is always there to clip, cut and colour as we please Perimenopause and Menopause Hair Loss Hormone changes in perimenopause and menopause are quite similar to those in pregnancy. Some women will see a lot of hair shedding through menopause, and then begin to balance out along with their hormones, while others, unfortunately, need to cope with thin spots of hair for the rest of their lives. Michelle says, “Pattern baldness in women is more common than most people think”. It has been estimated that 40 percent of those suffering from hair loss are women, with half of all women coping with some amount of hair loss by their 50th birthdays. Thinning hair systems and serums can help rebuild, bond, and strengthen what’s there so you’re not losing more, but it won’t bring hair back. Much like post pregnancy, Tania and Michelle recommend experimenting with a blunt cut or bangs to help make hair appear fuller. Wonder if you’re going to experience hair loss as you age? It’s hereditary, so look at your mother, grandmothers, and aunts to get an idea of how your hair will cope with aging.
Hair & Life After Chemotherapy Hair can change significantly post chemo-therapy. Michelle says, “Hair can come in softer,
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thicker, curly, straight, or even in a totally different colour.” Michelle says that most clients, post cancer, want the least possible amount of chemicals possible in their hair and often opt for just a cut initially after treatment. Michelle and Tania recommend trimming hair around the edges and oil scalp treatments since the hair growing in can be quite itchy. Michelle says, “I have a couple of clients who are growing back their hair post chemo and they’re using this as an opportunity to try out a bunch of different styles while their hair grows.”
Sudden Unexplained Hair Loss When a client is suddenly losing hair, it can be scary. If hormones or other external factors aren’t to blame, it’s time to look deeper. Tania says, “Generally it takes three or four months after a traumatic event for it to show up in your hair.” Anything from a death in the family to diet changes can impact your hair, even if the diet changes are healthy ones (as Tania says, “Your hair detoxes as well.”) Still can’t figure out a reason why? Michelle recommends getting your iron tested, as low iron can cause hair loss and is a simple fix with diet and vitamin changes. If you have questions about your hair, don’t be afraid to ask. Odds are your hairdresser has seen and heard it all and can help boost your confidence even if your hair is changing.
c re d i t : i g n a c i o ca m p
Overcoming PCOS WRITTEN BY ANNA LABSANOVA
I was sitting in the doctor’s office listening to the doctor tell me my diagnosis: “You have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome” She said. “What? What is that?” I asked. “It means you have small cysts on your ovaries which cause a hormonal imbalance.” “Will I be able to have children?” I asked anxiously. “It may be difficult to conceive.” She said. This was worrisome. I’ve been having irregular periods and strange cramping pains for a few months now. But now that I was diagnosed with PCOS I may have problems with fertility. More than anything else in the world I wanted to have children. I was thinking how wonderful it would be to have a baby or two. To nurse and play with them. To raise and teach them. I didn’t want to dream of that all my life. I wanted my dream to be my life. I was crying, praying at home, asking God to grant me children. I just wanted to be happy and to have little adorable babies to love. I didn’t give up, I hoped and believed with all my heart that someday I will have children. I attempted to improve my lifestyle. I tired to rest and sleep more, but to keep active too. I went out for walks often and ate healthier, home cooked meals, avoiding junk food. But more importantly, I took good care of my spiritual state. I went to an Orthodox Church and took communion often. I used blessed holy oil, by applying it to my lower abdomen, especially when I had cramping pains. I also prayed and fasted more. After a few months my periods were back to normal and I didn’t feel any pain. Miraculously, PCOS just went away.
Soon after, I met a handsome young man whom I now call my husband. I was back at the doctor’s office, but this time for a different reason. I was pregnant! The obstetrician examined me and let me hear my baby’s heartbeat. It was the most beautiful sound in the world to me. After trying to conceive for almost a year I got pregnant. I was so excited I kept the positive pregnancy test to this day. It was a miracle! 9 months later I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Me and my husband were ecstatic. What a joy it was to hold our wonderful little son. What an adventure it was to care for him and watch him reach his milestones. When my son was 6 months old I decided that he needs a little sibling. This time I got pregnant right away. And soon I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. They are so precious and loving, we love them so much. What a blessing it is to have children! Every smile and laughter is a wonder to behold. They bring so much happiness to our lives. I can’t remember how I ever lived without them. Having PCOS prepared me for the role of the mother because one of the most important things a mother should have is a will and desire to have children. It was scary and difficult to think that I might not be able to have children, but I was determined to be a mother, and now I am. The fear of childbirth, the difficulties of caring for children all go away because I realized that there was a time when I couldn’t conceive, but I was able to overcome it. I survived my struggles with PCOS and became stronger for it. There was a time in my life when I had nothing and no one, I was sick and on my own. Now I have an amazing family, not because I’m lucky, but because I believed that I could. FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018 | 42
what does identity mean to you? It’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of motherhood and forget who you are. The truth is I am so much more than just a mom: I’m a writer, a wife, a friend, a sister, a runner, a daughter, an aunt...the list goes on. When I take the time to nurture the many other aspects of my life I become a better mom, a better everything else, and most of all a happier version of me. Self-identifying myself has always been a bit of a daunting task. Being unconventional from birth, I always strive to challenge and break the social identifiers that label me. I am constantly discovering new qualities about my being that are helping me evolve into my best self. I am writer, a dog-mom, a wellness guru, an aspiring world traveler, and a professional dreamer. Anytime I am asked what I do for a living and if I have children , I have to pause and take a breath. Being open about not wanting to be a mom has been hard, but it’s a relief to come clean. I’m giving to the world through my art, that is the legacy I will leave. And I’m an aunt, and that role suits me perfectly! Because it’s okay to be a woman and not be a mom too. FUTURE FEMALE SPRING 2018 | 42