Future Female: Summer Issue 2018

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Thank you to everyone that has contributed their talents and hard work for this summer issue. You are what makes this magazine possible!

INTERESTED IN BEING A CONTRIBUTOR? contact sara@futurefemalemag.com

photo: amy jin makeup: leslyn tungol

Letter THE



When I first started thinking about what our theme could be for the summer issue, I thought about showing more skin, sunshine, and what women think about when it comes to their bodies when it gets hot outside. For myself, I feel like I’ve embraced my curves and extra skin, but from time to time I compare myself to other women who are able to express themselves through fashion, and am reminded that I don’t wear certain things because I don’t feel confident enough. Social media like Instagram is definitely a platform that has you facing the ‘comparison’ game as you scroll through friends, or people you follow, and can bring you down the rabbit hole of self-doubt and fear of missing out (FOMO). This can steal your own joy! On the flip side, who you follow can shift the way you think about yourself, inspire you, motivate you, and captivate you with their energy. (See more of who the rest of our team follows on Instagram on page 6) This issue is special, and has revealed so much about what we women go through in our lives. I really set out to focus on body positivity, loving our body just the way it is, but what I’ve come to realize is that it’s not

only about accepting and embracing our body this summer as we wear our bathing suits or that dress we’ve always wanted to wear to a wedding. Body positivity is also about listening to our bodies by nourishing ourselves with food that fuels us but doesn’t take away the indulgence we all know food can be, (Emotional Eating Coach and Holistic Nutritionist Rachel Molenda shares her tips on how to do this and more on page 55). It’s about perseverance and being confident in our skin through breast cancer mastectomy procedures (See more on page 63 to read more about High Heal Diaries Founder, Natalie Wilson) and what it looks like to love your body through Chronic Illness (Page 24). I am so thrilled to be part of a team of creative and empowering writers who have been able to take my thoughts on boldly loving yourself and your body with stories, advice and tips that weren’t even on my radar. I hope that this issue finds you looking within yourself, to eagerly take action this summer to create the life you know you deserve!


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Table Contents OF



Skin Therapist Shawna Patruno shares her struggles, triumphs and tips to help form a skin care routine that can help you feel your very best! N O BA K E T REATS


Food Enthusiast Logan Dunn created three delicious summer ready recipes with writer Kelly Zemnickis that doesn’t require any baking! C LO S E YOUR EYES




The Director and Cast of the short film “Close Your Eyes” sits down with writer Sara Maginn Pacella to talk about the importance of Female Relationships.

Writer Sara Maginn Pacella shares 20 little tips on how to help your child create a healthy outlook on body confidence. F E AT URE: MIA MAZ I N


Record-holding Power-lifter Mia Mazin speaks about body confidence and what she stands up for in the fitness community. T IP S FOR MIN D FUL EATI NG


Holistic Nutritionist and Emotional Eating Coach Rachel Molenda talks about creating mindful eating habits while still being able to enjoy food! YO UR F ITTES T SEL F


Personal Trainer Dalia Dissanayake guides us through how you can create a fitness plan to keep fit in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. RECOVERY & S ELF-CARE


Breast Cancer Warrior and Founder of High Heal Diaries, Natalie Wilson talks to us about loving your body even at the toughest stages of breast cancer treatments and procedures.





Social Media can show us life through rose coloured glasses, but we can also use it to help motivate us and lift us up. Here is a compilation of Instagram accounts put together by The Future Female Team to help fill your social feed with some feel good inspiration!
















written by lauren mackay

Clothes, minimalism, and reduction of waste? These are a few of my favourite things. Enter, the clothing swap. I went to my first official clothing swap over a decade ago. It was a city-wide affair organized in Edmonton and held downtown at a concert hall, able to accommodate over 1700 people. Participants paid an entry fee and their offerings were vetted, giving out tiered tickets in gold, silver and bronze to ‘spend’ on designated gold, silver or bronze items. It was…disappointing. I left with a few things, but the whole event was too complicated and, in my opinion, unsuccessful. Since then, I have been to a few swaps, and finally a couple of years ago, decided to host my own. Here’s what I’ve learned. 7 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

1. Have enough people to make the swap worthwhile, but not so many that it feels claustrophobic We are a culture of many things, clothing included. You will be amazed at how many pieces each person could bring. Of course you can limit the number of articles guests offer, but part of the satisfaction to many is the purging of your closet. If pressed to put a limit on something, I suggest making it the number of guests attending.

assign turns, but I prefer a more relaxed approach, and, if you just let things be, they will work out. As far as I know, no one has ever left a swap I’ve hosted feeling slighted.

2. Don’t overthink the guest list The first time I hosted, I started down the path of trying to make sure there were at least two people of each size. Eventually, I just scrapped the whole thing and invited who I wanted, and it has worked out every time, meaning every person (a variety of sizes) found several pieces to go home with.

There’s something incredibly satisfying about making room in your closet and simultaneously seeing others enjoy pieces you are done with, not to mention finding some new clothes yourself. Enjoy!

3. Don’t get concerned about value The first swap I had, there was some tension and concern during the planning stages around how items would be valued. One participant stressed that she may offer designer items and find less valuable items in return. This brought me back to the gold, silver, and bronze swap. If you are done with an item, I mean really done, just let go. Enjoy that someone else can breathe some new life into it, and if you can’t make the leap, save those pieces for consignment instead. 4. Decide what types of items you would like to include ahead of time Do you want to include outerwear? Shoes? Handbags? Jewelry? Athletic wear? Would you like to ask for spring/summer or fall/winter pieces only? At my own swap, I say bring whatever you don’t use anymore. Whatever doesn’t get taken home gets bagged up and donated to a charity we agree on. 5. Think about how to present and organize the clothes Garment racks and tables are fantastic for most items. Get creative, but be organized. Pants in one space, sweaters another, jewelry over there, and so on. Have at least one full length mirror somewhere central and a change room handy for those who want privacy. 6. Get ready and go! I prefer to wait until everyone has arrived and set out their clothes before the ‘shopping’ begins. Some like to

7. Food and drinks If you can, put out some snacks and drinks. For me that’s wine, cheese, and fruit. Swaps I’ve hosted usually involve around two hours of ‘shopping’ where we all need some nourishment after.


SKIN DEEP written by sara maginn pacella


ow comfortable are you in your own skin? Skin therapist, educator, model, business owner of Health, Wealth and Beauty Babe! Shawna Patruno has undergone her own metamorphosis, transforming from an insecure teen to a woman who literally dedicates her time to empowering others to feel and look their best from the inside out. This wasn’t always the case for Shawna. “Growing up I was insecure, self-conscious and as I got into my teens this self-hate manifested itself in the form of self-harm and an eating disorder for 13 years. As well as a year recovering from a brain aneurysm, all my life I felt not good enough, intelligent or likeable! I believed I was defective!” Shawna says, “One of my turning points was a doctor saying I would never recover, that my family should pick a plot for me and how she would no longer see me as I was a hopeless case.” This sparked a fire in Shawna, one that led her down a path to recovery, where she realized that food wasn’t the real issue—it was her self-worth and core beliefs. “For my entire life, I have felt a barrage of thoughts that I’m just not good enough. This manifested itself


in a battle with an eating disorder, over a decade in and out of the hospital, severe anxiety and panic attacks. When I entered the workforce, instead of feeling empowered, I was bullied. I wanted to feel accepted, happy, safe and successful, but years working in the beauty industry left me feeling miserable and unsupported, no matter how well I was doing in my job or in school. My life was filled with fear, and tearing myself down, even though by all standards I was excelling. I knew this was something I had to work on changing.” At the age of 30, after years in the beauty industry, Shawna decided it was time to be her own boss, tying her personal ethics and standards to her own beauty brand. Shawna embraced a whole body system and natural approach to help women feel beautiful both inside and out— one that addresses the way the chemicals we put both on and in our bodies can impact our hormone levels, health and, in turn, our skin. Shawna says, “I refocused and I learned a lot about well-being and skin care, and began working as a skin care specialist. The more I learned about the connection between self-es-


The more I learned about the connection between self-esteem, health and mental well-being, I knew I needed to dedicate my time towards helping others feel beautiful from the inside out.


photography by kat leroux / makeup & hair by migena skenderaj

JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE HAS COME FAR AND IS SUCCESSFUL DOESN’T MEAN THERE WON’T BE DIFFICULT DAYS, WEEKS OR EVEN YEARS. teem, health and mental well-being, I knew I needed to dedicate my time towards helping others feel beautiful from the inside out.” She found three brands that were able to bring new ways of empowering women and as a facial analysis expert, she’s able to help her clients achieve their goals through skin care and diet assessment. As Shawna educated herself about the connection between food and skin health, and spoke to her clients, she found a specific trend towards how diet was impacting the way that their skin performed. Not only does Shawna have her own skin health business, she also provides classes to educate women on how to care for their body, mind and skin. She works with her clients by providing a “spring cleaning” of their cupboards, removing items chalked full of chemicals, helping them embrace natural and clean skin care, and giving them options to in turn tackle the issues through skin care and nutrition! Shawna says, “The news of fashion designer Kate Spade taking her own life really hit me hard. I have 11 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

spent so much time, energy and effort working to build the life I want, one that many people may think is ‘perfect.’ Today, I’m a model and I have overcome my eating disorder, but that doesn’t mean a pain-free existence, no matter how successful someone might seem to the outside world. I have spent years in therapy, work with a life coach and continue my pursuit of education and to better myself every single day. Just because someone has come far and is successful doesn’t mean there won’t be difficult days, weeks or even years. That’s just a part of real, authentic living, not the rose-coloured glasses version we so often see on social media.” Shawna wants to inspire others to chase after their dreams. “The message I kept receiving was you are surviving but not thriving. I wanted to take my limitations and turn my experiences into, ‘If I can, so can you. If I can recover from a brain aneurysm, if I can build a brand and an empire, you can too.’ I am living breathing proof this is true. Go out and chase your dream—the world needs a good happy ending, so go be one.”


LOOKING YOUR BEST DON’T MISDIAGNOSE YOUR SKIN A lot of people think they have oily skin when they really have combination skin, and end up self-treating for the wrong skin type, just making things even worse! Use a chemical-free zinc-based SPF sunscreen on your skin to protect it. WHAT YOU EAT IMPACTS YOUR SKIN Your internal health contributes to break-outs. To improve your skin, try eating cleaner (with less chemicals, additives, and dairy). LOOK FOR PARABEN-FREE PRODUCTS Paraben is a common preservative found in skin care products that can impact your skin health by raising the estrogen mimickers in your skin. THINK YOU HAVE DRY SKIN? YOU MAY JUST BE DEHYDRATED Try upping your water intake and lowering your caffeine and alcohol intake, and see what happens. STOP SLEEPING WITH YOUR MAKE-UP ON You are suffocating your skin, just let it breathe! USE PRODUCTS WITH HYALURONIC ACID As we age, our skin loses both moisture and elasticity. Hyaluronic acid (also called HA) can help the skin hold in its moisture and increase that youthful glow by holding 1,000 times its water weight. STOP SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON COVERING UP YOUR SKIN No matter how good Kim Kardashian’s Instagram contour looks! Instead, invest some money on a good natural cleanser, toner and moisturizer, and your future self will thank you! DON’T OVER-EXFOLIATE Most people only need to exfoliate three times at most per week, and be sure to pick the proper exfoliant for your skin type!


photography by kat leroux / food styling by logan dunn / sangria pops recipe by kelly zemnickis / donut holes & protein shake recipe by logan dunn

Lime & Berry

sangria pops ingredients 1 cup red wine

1 cup apple juice

1 cup strawberries cut

1 lime cut

1 tbsp. of honey

steps 1. mix red wine, apple juice, 1 tbsp lime juice and liquid honey

2. pour orange juice into molds (just the tip of each) & freeze for 40 minutes

3. divide apple juice & wine mixture between popsicle molds

4. add in cut stuff (strawberry slides, limes) and freeze 45 mins then add sticks and freeze overnight

F I N D M O R E R E C I P E S AT lavenderandlavish.ca


treats Healthy



written by kelly zemnickis


ith the warm weather in full swing, and our wanting to soak up the sun in a few less layers of clothing, it makes sense that we want to watch what we eat during the summer. But just because the weather is fabulous, doesn’t mean sweet treats need to be dull! Logan Dunn, who runs the Toronto-based blog and plant-based lifestyle brand Lavender & Lavish, joined us in the Future Female kitchen to bring some of his simple, healthy indulgences to life you can easily make at home. “I want to spread my knowledge of plant-based eating and sustainable, zero-waste living,” Dunn told us as he prepped for the shoot. “I really try to show that although it’s not practical to expect everyone to go vegan, plant-based living doesn’t mean spending loads on groceries, but instead working within your means.” So what does Logan love about food? It’s the community factor. He grew up in a family where meals meant a lot, and his grandparents instilled in him a love of gardening. “It showed me the importance of the kitchen and how sharing time with your family helps you slow down and appreciate the food you have the privilege of consuming,” he explained as he cracked open a box of Oreo cookies for the shoot. Does he have any guilty pleasures. Can you even have guilty pleasures on a vegan diet?! Wait. What are Oreos doing here?! “They’re vegan!” Dunn grinned. “I love ALL things chocolate. I can’t get enough of the stuff.” With Lavender & Lavish, Logan Dunn is on a mission to remind us that eating a balanced diet allows us to enjoy the foods we consume and not become obsessed with dieting habits. “The recipes I share make use of my background in nutrition and also take into account that real people will be making them. These recipes are easy to follow, cheap and delicious!” So get ready to indulge in some of the finest guilt-free treats EVER, friends. You can thank us later by the pool. Bring a sangria popsicle or two, okay? FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM | 14


Calories: 221cal Total Fat: 16g Sat Fat: 9g Unsat Fat: 0.8g

Raw Coconut & Lemon

Carbohydrates: 18g

donut holes

Natural Sugar: 11g Fibre: 4g Sodium: 27mg Protein: 2.6g *per 1 donut hole



2/3 cups cashews (soaked overnight)

1. Overnight soaking, 10 minutes prep, chill for 5 hours

1/3 cup dates

1/2 cup quick oats

2. Blend all the raw donut hole ingredients, except for dates,

in your food processor or high speed blender until smooth.

1/4 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

3. Add in the dates one by one until a uniform ball forms.

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

5. Place these 9 balls into the freezer for 20 minutes or until firm.

1/8 tsp salt

zest of one lemon

juice of 1/4 of a lemon

glaze 6 tbsp melted coconut oil 2 tsp lemon extract

2 tbsp melted coconut butter

4. Measure out 9 tbsp amounts of the “dough� & roll into balls. 6. Melted the coconut oil & combine with vanilla extract & lemon extract.

7. Coat each ball 2 times with the oil mixture. 8. Place in freezer for 5 minutes to set.

9. Drizzle with coconut butter and allow to set in the freezer for 5 hours or overnight.

Serves 4 ingredients


2 scoops of vanilla protein powder

1. Combine all of your ingredients except for the oreos into a high

12 ice cubes

2. Pulse the oreos until well incorporated but still somewhat cookie

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

3. Divide into four glasses and share with your pals!

6 oreos

1 cup coconut milk 1 tsp. of honey

speed blender and blend until smooth.

like (you dont want them blended totally in).

4. Enjoy!

Cookies & Cream Protein


Calories: 253 cal Total Fat: 38g Carbohydrates: 43g Sugar: 7g Fibre: 2g Sodium: 280mg Protein: 15g *per 1 milkshake FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM | 16


PCOS IN YOUR DAUGHTER written by laura degasperis

The day I went in for my 20 week ultrasound, I asked my husband if he was ok with finding out the sex of our baby. I knew many people who loved

being surprised and who encouraged us to wait, but something in me wanted to know. Deep down I knew I was having a girl and couldn’t wait to find out. I would’ve been happy girl or boy and knew both came with different challenges, but the biggest challenge I knew with a daughter would be, what do I do if she has PCOS like me? It was confirmed. I was having a girl. All of the struggles, pain, and embarrassment I endured flooded over me. I focused on hoping she wouldn’t have to struggle like I do, instead of thinking of how I could help her. At my next medical appointment I came prepared to ask many questions, but the only one that came out was, “What is the likelihood my daughter will have PCOS just like me?” The doctor seemed stumped. She turned to her computer and began to “Google” it. I was shocked that a female, high risk OBGYN doctor would not have this answer, maybe it wasn’t her expertise, but the fact that she had to search it online, made me nervous. Stated on the Canadian Women’s Health Network website Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), sometimes called Polycystic Ovarian Disease, is a hormonal disorder that affects between six to 10 percent of women. This means out of 17.2 million Canadian females, over one million of them will suffer some form of PCOS. Growing up I hardly had any information about the syndrome, but over the years I have learned to deal with it. I wanted more for my daughter, I wanted her to know that I had all the answers to help her, as any mother would want to. I decided to not focus on that and awaited her arrival. She was born three months early. To this day I have no clue why she arrived early, but feel that it’s possible that my being overweight, having type two diabetes, and PCOS symptoms, that could have contributed. 17 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

My PCOS Journey My PCOS journey began when I was 10 years old and started to develop noticeable facial hair on my upper lip and chin. My period hadn’t arrived yet, and the doctors simply assured my mother that it would come and the excess hair was due to my ‘European genes’. My mother was diligent about helping me remove my excess facial hair with the only available options at the time – bleaching, painful wax, and electrolysis. Most of the time I chose to hide, covering my body and face, only to emerge for school or family events. I spent endless time plucking and waxing just to look ‘normal’. I was exhausted mentally and physically. Finally I found laser hair removal, and it was painful but effective. Although considered a late bloomer, my period eventually came when I was 14 and it was very irregular. My doctor decided to put me on the birth control pill which regulated my periods, but didn’t solve the problem. I asked what would happen when I wanted to have children, but was dismissed and told ‘we will cross that bridge when we get there.’ I was blessed with the conception of my daughter, with the help of Metformin, used for treating my diabetes, and I never take that for granted as infertility is a common side effect of PCOS. I knew I had to take control of my PCOS symptoms and make myself healthier, for myself and for my daughter. I met a lot of great medical and naturopathic doctors who helped me heal my body, better understand PCOS, and help alleviate the symptoms. I hope that my story helps mothers to recognize the signs and symptoms in their daughters, or even young women who are experiencing the same.

How to Recognize PCOS Symptoms in Yourself or Your Child • • • • • •

Late first period Missed, heavy, or irregular periods Hirsutism (an excess body hair on the face, stomach, back, buttocks, knuckles and/or toes) Scalp hair loss and hair thinning Skin tags that appear on the folds around the neck, groin, armpits, and under the breasts Acanthosis nigricans (a fairly common skin pigmentation disorder that is associated with PCOS) which appears as thick darker patches located primarily on skin fold areas such as neck, armpits, groin, elbows, knees, and knuckles (This can also be an indicator for insulin resistance or pre-diabetes)


Many doctors recommend putting teen girls on birth control to regulate their periods For facial and body hair a laser treatment is the best option, but shaving or waxing methods are great for quick results Healthy eating and moderate exercise have been paramount in controlling PCOS Symptoms. I found that by omitting inflammatory foods such as dairy, wheat, highly processed foods and sugar relieved and reversed some symptoms. Take proper supplements as women with PCOS are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease (Eating a balanced diet, taking proper supplements, and getting enough exercise can greatly reduce this risk)

BE HER BIGGEST SUPPORTER Mental health is a large part of battling through PCOS. I remember feeling embarrassed and extremely depressed. I questioned why I was the one who had to be cursed with this. Your daughter’s friends may not experience these same things during their puberty journey and may not know how to support her. Being a teenager is hard enough for this generation without having to top it off with the uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms of PCOS. I am not a doctor so I recommend speaking to your healthcare professional for consent before beginning any treatment. I have found over the course of my life, and over 20 years of battling this disorder, collecting information and speaking to professionals is what worked for me. Keep finding options until you are satisfied with the treatment plan and the health care professionals following your progress. PCOS is not a one-pill fix, but a lifetime commitment to a treatment plan that works for you and/or your daughter. Always remember, PCOS or not, we are all beautiful in our own skin.



Chelsie Anderson

written by lauren mackay


ommunity builder. Garden educator. Author. And this is only what Calgary’s Chelsie Anderson does for work. Once in a while you meet someone so unassuming and genuine, that it makes you stand still for a moment. That’s how I felt when I met Anderson at a neighbourhood coffee shop last week to discuss what she has been up to. The answer: lots, but it seems all of it has one thing at the core, which is her desire to create connection in her community.

visitors also interested in planting, led to her discovery of her passion for growing food. After five seasons of working for someone else, practicing and learning, Anderson ultimately decided to create her own business.

For the past 10 years, Anderson has worked caring for other people’s gardens, but her approach isn’t exactly conventional. She understands that healthy plants grow from healthy soil and has grown her business to include vermiculture, the process of using worms to deWhile gardening wasn’t Anderson’s first ambition, it has compose organic food waste, and vermicomposting edalways been part of her life. Her mom is well-known ucation. “I love talking about worms, they are the best horticulturalist Donna Balzer. A summer job in the pets! Their castings (poop) add nutrients and microbes show gardens at the Calgary Zoo, where Anderson en- to the soil, which is super beneficial in a natural sysjoyed the time outside, hands in the dirt, chatting with tem. I have about 10 (worm) bins in my own basement, 19 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

various shapes and sizes that I am experimenting with, but I cannot meet the demand myself, so I combine mine with another producer near Cochrane (Alberta).” Part of a growing movement of permaculturalists, she aspires to work in conjunction with natural systems, to mimic nature and forgo chemical interventions. “Nature is well supported, well designed. It knows what it needs. The only thing is, I work myself out of work. After a season where I implement certain systems in a particular garden, it doesn’t need me as much anymore. It’s sustainable.” But that doesn’t seem to matter so much to Anderson. She is more interested in creating projects that align with her values and pushing herself to grow in new directions.

People are so perfect at just being who they are. When people can identify their strength and then stand in it, the world is such a great place to be.

Her recently released book, Three-Year Gardener’s Gratitude Journal, co-authored with her mom, is her second literary collaboration. The book is at once a planning tool, a collection of short stories and a place to keep your own records. “My mom and I have included stories from our experiences. All of us learn new things every year, and we’ve created space for you to write your own story as well. In keeping track of what you are doing in your own garden, you may be able to spot some of the connections. For example, maybe you use a fertilizer one day and notice three days later you have a pest problem of some sort. By writing down what we are doing, we can notice patterns. We can learn what works through trial and error.” The garden isn’t the only place where Anderson is interested in growing. From her numerous speaking and teaching engagements, you couldn’t tell that not so long ago, this self-proclaimed introvert was rather intimidated by public speaking. When first approached to share her knowledge through presentations, she responded by attending Toastmasters and learning how to speak in front of others. This led to several opportunities throughout the community and in schools, as well as a becoming a regular contributor on CBC Radio.

Another urban agriculture initiative of Anderson’s is Calgary Community Crops, which she started two years ago. Anderson grows food in her front yard for the express purpose of sharing it with her neighbours. “I wanted to create something for others, but didn’t have a lot of money. I do have land, like many of us do in Canada. And I had seeds. So I sprinkled those seeds and worked in the yard. The next thing you know, someone down the street is bringing me a tomato seedling, and someone from around the corner has picked some strawberries. At first, people said they felt bad about taking the food I was growing, but that’s the point. I put out what I can and then other things start coming my way. It’s an interesting system and an interesting way of building support. After two seasons, people have warmed up to the idea. The neighbourhood has come more into my life as a result.” When asked about what she is excited about this season, Anderson’s bright blue eyes lit up. She’s recently received funding to work with the community at Shaganappi Village, a low-income area west of downtown Calgary. She’ll be installing vegetable patches and providing gardening education for residents who want to learn to grow their own food. In fact, they began with an indoor seeding project just last week. “Growing your own food creates independence, it builds confidence. When we work to grow this food we are outside moving. It’s good for us. That connection to nature is grounding. It’s just so good.” After submitting her application for this project, Anderson met Michael Ableman, co-creator of Sole Food Street Farms, a massive urban farm in downtown Vancouver that grows artisan quality vegetables and employs low-income residents on land that wasn’t being used for anything else. “Yes, the gardening is amazing, but it’s the shifts, these huge life shifts that are happening for the people who work there. That’s the most amazing thing.” Anderson knows the transformative possibilities of gardening firsthand, and, given the opportunity, would love to pursue further human ecology work in the future. “People are so perfect at just being who they are. When people can identify their strength and then stand in it, the world is such a great place to be. I don’t need everyone to be a gardener. Do what works for you. But maybe if I do what inspires me, it will inspire others around me.” Chelsie, we are counting on it.


What’s The Big Deal

down there written by naima karp

Pubic hair has never really been a life or death matter to me. In college, I started working out a lot, and opted for Brazilian waxes because it made working out in leggings more comfortable. It was never an aesthetic choice, but one of comfort and breathability. I never realized that it was such a polarizing issue, until I was older. This is a heated debate - One woman will say, “Getting rid of all your hair down there is creepy - it’s like you’re a little girl all over again.” Another will interject, “I feel sexy when I’m bare down there,” then another says, “I keep bare down there because my husband desires and demands it.” Everyone has their own reasons for hair choices down there, and there’s no reason for us to get political about it. Some are nostalgic for eras like the 1960’s where liberation was equated with letting your hair grow free. The most polarizing different appearances tend to be generational, minus the women from each generation who just shrug their shoulders and just do what they want.

HAIR REMOVAL & FEMINISM Anyone who believes pubic hair removal is anti-feminist is sorely mistaken. The worlds aren’t mutually exclusive. Karen is a hair removal specialist at Sugar Toronto (http://sugartoronto.ca/). This gal values the female body like no other, as anyone can see from the delightful range of ceramic vaginas on display, that she crafts herself. Karen is extremely proactive in the world of women’s empowerment and body positivity, including educating women about hair removal. When it comes to personal hygiene and oral sex appeal, there are obvious arguments, but there are also ones such as scientific evidence that hair protects against friction, bacteria, and unwanted pathogens. Charged feelings on perceived misogyny and waxing have some saying those who have grown up in the age of internet porn that promotes all-bare-everything and a pre-pubescent fantasy isn’t appropriate for grown-ups to indulge in. In terms of ‘what’s sexy’ it’s a matter of personal preference, and nothing more. Some see a woman who has hair as sexy. 21 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

Some prefer full bush, while others prefer a more subtle landing strip. There is no black and white definition of womanhood, or sexiness. While it’s true that in the future we may not see as much pubic hair on ladies, it’s just an evolving beast, like any trend is as time goes on. And if you didn’t know, the trends regarding pubic hair are just as plentiful as the opinions on it. The most popular choices nowadays have surpassed the razor and jumped into soft wax, hard wax, lasering, and sugaring. There are French bikini waxes, which remove hair from the labia, and Brazilian waxes, which take it all off, including between the cheeks. Personally, I’ve always been a sugaring gal. It’s an all-natural, often homemade option that is the least painful. If you’re worried about pain, don’t think that shaving or depilatories like Nair are the easy route. Shaving at home can lead to razor burn, itching and redness, while hair removal creams are controlled chemical burns that can be toxic to your skin (and nostrils).

Lessons Learned on Lady Grooming 1. Whatever grooming method you go with, regularly exfoliating between hair removal sessions is also essential in order to avoid ingrown hairs and keep things silky soft. 2. Don’t put on lotion after - fragrances can irritate and ingredients can clog pores. Opt for Aloe vera or coconut oil instead. 3. When it comes to hair removal on your cha-cha: don’t be cheap. Period. I’ve once fallen for the seduction of a $20 Chinatown wax from a random technician and it definitely erred on the traumatizing side of things. 4. At the end of the day, do what makes you feel comfortable and happy, whether that’s growing a glorious ‘70s masterpiece or going fully bare, and don’t stress yourself out with anyone else’s expectations.


Beauty BEYOND THE BINARY written by nicole nesci

According to Alexander James Kjellberg, a Fashion Design and Development student, at London College of Fashion, “gender shouldn’t be defined by the gender that you are born into; gender is a feeling inside.” GENDER CONSTRUCTS


Gender is a socially constructed identifier used to categorize and control the image and actions of an individual. It greatly impacts a person’s social status, public treatment, and ability to access resources. From the moment we are conceived, many of us are already labelled as either male or female. Even before birth, our biological sex determines which gender categorization will be attributed to us. However, just because we are born with a specific genital makeup doesn’t mean we align with the corresponding gender. Your biological sex is either male, female, or intersex, but your gender may be fluid. It can exist somewhere in-between the masculine and feminine spectrum, or it can be a combination of the two. There are some people who do not identify by a specific or recognizable gender expression – and that is alright!

Kjellberg is 21 years old, bisexual, and an androgynous male, who does, “not want to or need to conform to society.” He publicizes his androgynous gender identity on social media to encourage fluidity in the media and show appreciation for individuality.

At his very core, Kjellberg is a student. But, his lived experiences and struggles with “bullying, self-doubt, suicidal thoughts and more” have conditioned him to question and challenge his gender norms. “Male and female are only words,” said Kjellberg, but these words have the potential to create boundaries, stereotypes, and isolation for many individuals, especially when we’re young. We live in a deeply gendered society, where gender edges into our awareness of self. Many people continue to hold the idea that sex and gender are binary (only involving two things – male and female) because of simplicity and familiarity. People whose appearance or behavior differs from the cultural gender expectations may internalize harsh societal judgements. Coming out as a non-conforming identity is already a daunting task for most individuals with fear of judgement, isolation, and being outcast. Revealing yourself as non-binary, androgynous, gender fluid, or more are identity experiences many people still cannot grasp - it’s a challenge. To avoid a confusing or uncomfortable experience, many non-conforming people continue to mask their true gender identities.

Kjellberg specifically uses his fashion style to inspire change. Dress has become part of a profound and complicated process that defines the self, body, and identity of an individual. Fashion is a medium that allows individuals, like Kjellberg, to explore the wide spectrum of gender identification without being limited to merely male and female. “As a child I was never afraid to be different” Kjellberg recalls, “my mum told me about a time I wore a hot pink juicy couture jogging set to the mall that had the word ‘Juicy’ across my butt. There were times we went shoe shopping and I would find the highest heels and walk around in them. I would even help my mum get ready for dates, pick her clothes, accessories and makeup for her.” Still identifying as “100% male,” Kjellberg shows that masculinity is not as limited as it was decades ago. Fashion has become much more flexible and now has the power to influence and even eliminate the fixed gender categories that existed in previous generations. Kjellberg believes that in order to eliminate the deeply ingrained gender boundaries in our culture, “we need to eradicate gender completely.” FOLLOW ALEXANDER JAMES KJELLBERG @alexjames_mua_redkween





he relationship we each have with our bodies is certain to change over time. But what about when your body is affected by illness and changes in ways you cannot control? What can we do to create wellness when our health is out of our hands? Ten years ago, Jocelyn Mayhew was a fitness instructor and Ironman Triathlete. A mom of (then) young children, she describes her life as active. It was 2008 when she started to notice she wasn’t feeling quite right. In the course of a regular day, she would experience severe dizziness and brain fogginess, without explanation. Visits to the doctor turned up nothing, but already, Mayhew’s life was changing. Her illness, at the time undiagnosed, was limiting what she could do, already claiming vast portions of her life. After three years of symptoms, doctors were able to determine that Mayhew was suffering from Meniere’s disease, a rare disease of the inner ear that causes severe vertigo, tinnitus and, over time, hearing loss. Most 23 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

AND ILLNESS written by lauren mackay

individuals with Meniere’s disease experience symptoms in one ear; for Mayhew, it is in both. At one point during this period, Mayhew recounts how she’d registered for an Ironman race. But in the months leading up to the race, she was so limited by Meniere’s disease that she was unable to complete day to day tasks, let alone train for a triathlon. As the race approached, she was starting to come out of her relapse and feeling more like herself. Her husband suggested since her entry fee was non-refundable, she may want to attend the race as an observer and at least pick up her t-shirt. Mayhew did attend the race as a participant. Her goals had shifted from when she had first registered to just getting it done. “I went slowly, but I kept going. I finished it,” says Mayhew with a smile and a determined glint in her eyes. In the past decade of her life, Mayhew has had to change her life considerably. There are times when her

illness takes over and what she can do is extremely limited. This affects everything—her relationships with family and friends, her ability to work and her ability to pursue her goals. There are periods of time when she is quite literally unable to get out bed, her memory diminished. As a result, there are periods of time when she finds herself depressed, which is common for many people who live with chronic illness. Yet listening to Mayhew share her experience of living with Meniere’s disease is inspiring. She is honest. Currently, she is going through a good phase, but this past winter was exceptionally difficult. “On my good days I go all in, because I never know what will happen tomorrow. I try to keep it positive and move forward, but I also know I have to listen to my body and sometimes, just rest.” She speaks to what helps her move through the difficult times, specifically, an outright refusal to give up, adjusting goals when necessary, taking small steps forward when larger strides aren’t possible, and truly appreciating and making the most of the time when she is well. And one of Mayhew’s never-fail pieces of advice: “Being outside is the best mood elevator. Even a walk around the block helps!” Liz Hawksworth also lives with chronic illness. Diagnosed with endometriosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disorder (GERD) in her early 20s, she has had to learn to accept her limitations and significantly alter her life to manage her symptoms. Having to undergo a surgical procedure to obtain an official diagnosis for endometriosis, Hawksworth speaks to the difficulty for women, particularly in getting the care they need. “Doctors don’t always want to listen to women’s pain and problems, and I was often told my issues were due to my weight. It was very validating to get the diagnoses I did, but it was frustrating I had to wait so long and in so much pain for that to happen.” Hawksworth has often found there to be a lack of understanding of chronic illness, but now she is using her own illnesses to try to educate others. Though she wishes she did not have to spend as much time and energy focused on her illness, Hawksworth finds it helpful to try to assess how much pain she may be in on a given day and then gauge how much she can do before pushing herself too far. “I have to be more patient with myself. I’ve also learned I’m an incredibly

Take time to love yourself. Only you can keep yourself going—and only you can build the self-confidence you need to shine. Self-care is so important.

strong person. I work multiple jobs, while pushing through the pain, and I’m proud of that, though I need to learn better self-care.” She has made dietary changes and added medication to manage her stomach issues, but these changes have only provided partial relief. “Inflammation levels in my body are so high, it tends to set off other issues, like joint pain and hip pain, which could be fibromyalgia. It is quite common for a disease like endometriosis to also cause a trauma-related disease like fibromyalgia.” Hawksworth’s honesty around her experience is compelling. “I’ve never had the best relationship to my body,” she says. “But I’ve found my body works as well as it can while being sick, which makes me have more empathy for myself and for the way my body looks and works.” While she often struggles with the idea that her body is “broken,” Hawksworth also learned that taking care of herself is paramount. “If I do take care of myself, I feel more loved and beautiful,” she says. Similar to Mayhew, Hawksworth expresses a deep understanding of personal responsibility and a strong sense of optimism: “Take time to love yourself. Only you can keep yourself going—and only you can build the self-confidence you need to shine. Self-care is so important.”




ex Nico is a Toronto-based blogger who embraces a little bit of everything. She doesn’t claim to be a connoisseur of anything, and her blog started as a pseudo-personal Pinterest account for herself, but when Lex posted images of herself in outfits, her views spiked, and the blog turned into more of a side hustle. One of the hardest things, as a blogger, is maintaining your authenticity and maintaining organic content, and avoiding morphing into a plastic page of sponsorships and fake opinions. Lex says she feels fortunate to have brands approach her as her own brand has grown, affording her the ability to choose ones that will feel genuine and true to her vibe. In terms of finding creative tone as a brand, Lex says that something you sweat in the beginning, eventually falls into the right rhythm after trial and error and practice, when you realize what’s essential within your words. “When I first started, I tried to force this whimsical, delightful, poetic tone. I was trying too hard, and it wasn’t authentic. Instead, I kept it more true to myself by honing in on shorter, more concise and to-thepoint posts, frill-free. And that’s what people respond to! The world is so social media centric now, the way you talk has to be shorter in order for an audience to connect with you. “ In a whole new world filled with niche bloggers, Lex’s method of going broad works surprisingly well. “Going niche works, so does having a lack of consistency. Like me, people are out there soul-searching and testing the waters. I think many people can relate to that, so when I dip my toe in everything, I like to share it with my fans.” An honest and relatable energy is part of what makes Lex so successful - she’s genuinely excited about what she shares, and it’s a beautiful, messy collage representation of her life and inspirations. Another essential but more difficult part of a blogger’s journey is staying grounded in the flighty, glitzy world of e-glamour. More important is empowering yourself, and other women


in your industry, instead of competitively tearing each other down. This cut throat approach may seem more typical in the metropolises of New York and LA, but Lex finds the Toronto blogger-sphere to be uniquely encouraging. We can only hope the rest of the world follows suit. “The women are super supportive here. They want to raise each other up. Women of all different walks embrace each other - me and @vanessacesario_ couldn’t have more different online identities, but we’re close friends and hang out often. There can be love even between the most different personalities here, which is amazing.” But becoming part of this community wasn’t so easy; Lex calls herself an “extroverted introvert”. Part of the reason she began blogging was to write from the comfort of her own home, and create a community from a distance. But being a blogger is also about being extroverted. Lex can be outgoing, even though she still gets social anxiety (which she overcomes with self-talk), but blogging has also helped her overcome it. She wants people to know that being extroverted can be a learned trait. “As women we need to practice self-talk and realize that these skills can be learned. Not everyone is naturally bubbly and outgoing. As women, we need to learn to stop apologizing and start taking control of our own lives and social skills. Practice makes perfect.” Lex lifts herself and her fans through body positivity. Part of this is through hashtags like #youarebeautiful, and #healthyishot. “We’re all women and take issues with our bodies. I had readers send in Direct Messages and ask about fad diets. Instead of them doing trial and error themselves, I’ll try it myself and keep a diary. I’m their guinea pig. It’s about looking and feeling your best self, at the end. I’m 5 feet tall, I’m not a supermodel. I accept myself as I am, and want others to embrace their natural selves.”

FOLLOW @IMALITTLE @lexnico / www.imalittle.com


FAT AND HEALTHY? written by kristina bruce

The short answer? Yes, you can. The idea that someone can be both fat and healthy seems like a contradiction to most people. After all, apparently there is an ‘obesity epidemic’ in today’s society. Statistic after statistic connects obesity with disease, saying that the heavier we are, the unhealthier we become. Is this true? Not exactly. What really affects our health is much more complicated than what we are led to believe. Debunking BMI

To begin, let’s look at the Body Mass Index (BMI) used to classify people as overweight or obese. This measurement system was developed by Belgian mathematician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet in the early 1800’s for the purpose of categorizing population size – not to judge someone’s health. Quetelet was a mathematician, not a health professional. However, the BMI is still used today to determine the general state of a person’s health. The story of how the current index came into effect (normal weight: 19 – 25, overweight: 25 – 30 and obese: 30+) is told in detail in Dr. Linda Bacon’s ground-breaking book Health at Every Size. Dr. Bacon explains that when the U.S. established the standards that are used today (including in Canada), the committee that examined the data revealed that signs of adverse health impacts didn’t begin to appear until people reached 40 on the index.

Big Pharma, Big Influence

BMI standards were recommended by the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), who at the time was funded by the only two pharmaceutical companies that had a weight-loss drug on the market. Today it’s clear that this recommendation was in the monetary interest of the pharmaceutical companies since they now had a larger pool of people to market their weight loss drugs to.

So How Does Weight Really Influence Our Health?

If we look at the data that fuelled the rise of the ‘obesity epidemic’, more alarm bells go off. In March 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association declaring 400,000 Americans die each year at the hand of obesity or being overweight, and that these factors would soon be the

leading cause of preventable death. This report gained a lot of attention from both media and health communities. A conveniently less promoted 2005 follow up report by the CDC admitted the original data suffered from calculation errors, and they revised the number of obesity-related deaths from 400,000 a year to only 26,000 – fewer than death from guns, alcohol, or car crashes. This clearly is more complicated than we’re told.

A New Esteem Based Approach to Health Dr. Bacon teamed up with Judith S. Stern, RD, to examine the health markers of two groups of women – one was given the conventional messaging of diet and exercise to lose weight and improve health, and one was assigned the Health at Every Size (HAES) principles to follow. The HAES principles encourage respect for natural body diversity, critical awareness of scientific and cultural assumptions, an understanding of social injustices and oppression as health hazards, and attuned physical movement, eating, and other self-care strategies. With the HAES group, weight was taken completely out of the picture. The result? The dieting group lost weight and their health markers improved. The HAES group did not lose weight, but their health markers also improved. However, a year after the study concluded, the dieting group began to regain the lost weight (as happens with 95% of dieters) and their health markers declined (along with their self-esteem). On the other hand, the HAES group maintained their improved health and reported increased self-esteem, despite not having lost any weight. So, can you be fat and healthy? Yes, just as you can be thin and unhealthy. To date, there is nothing proving increased weight causes poor health, only that there is a correlation between the two. One thing is certain: chronic stress has a negative impact on our health and worrying about the scale causes stress, so consider reaching for some self-love or a copy of Dr. Bacon’s book before you hop onto that next fad diet.

Download a free body acceptance jump start guide at WWW.KRISTINABRUCE.COM FOLLOW KRISTINA BRUCE @kristinabruce_coach @kristinabrucecoach



ONE TATTOO AT A TIME written by kelly zemnickis


t has been two years since I got my first tattoo, and I recently turned 40. I joke in my stand-up act that I got tattooed at 38 because I was finally ready to show my parents who was boss, but the truth is I hadn’t yet given myself permission to do what I wanted. Trust me, it wasn’t for a lack of admiring and loving tattoos that I waited until I was 38. In fact, I distinctly remember as a teen seeing a magazine cover with a woman on the front and she had a half sleeve of a beautiful garden of florals coming over her shoulder. That was something I wanted to get. But actually getting a tattoo?! I was not the kind of girl to get a tattoo, or so I was made to believe. I didn’t rebel, though I thought about it. Basically, in my 30s—especially in my mid to late 30s—I had an epiphany that I could be exactly who I wanted and needed to be. Am I mad that I hadn’t clued in to that 10 or 15 years earlier? Yes, it bothers me a little bit, but self-confidence and self-love can take time to develop. After many purchases of temporary tattoos over the years, I made a plan with a friend that it was high time that I got a tattoo. And, at long last, I knew what I wanted to get. What was the tipping point? Well, like many, it was the loss of someone close to me and 27 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

the desire to honour them. My friend Ally also made her first tattoo a memorial tattoo in celebration of her late grandmother. “I thought about it for many years, from the time I was a teenager,” she once told me. “It’s a little spool of thread with a measuring tape, a kind of nod to the fact that my grandmother taught me to sew.” I had carried a Christopher Robin quote with me for years: “You’re Braver Than You Believe/ And Stronger Than You Seem/And Smarter Than You Think.” That’s what I decided was going to go on my shoulder. There to guide me, like an angel, like my late friend James was to me now. You see, James was my first love and, despite our vast age difference, we connected in a way that can only be described as magical. He truly was my better half and he believed in me many years before I ever could believe in myself. I remember one morning having breakfast at a restaurant and as I looked across the street at a storefront, I saw the name “Laser Tattoo Removal” and thought “Is this a sign? Should I not do this?!” But no, it was time. Months before I got tattooed, I started doing standup comedy, which took a pair of lady balls I wasn’t certain I had! At long last, I knew I was growing into my own skin and accepting my flaws. Another friend, Sarah, loves her tattoos because she has not always

been happy with her body, but she beams over them because as she puts it, “My tattoos are my choice—I like to think they say things about me so that I don’t have to.” So I love the idea that the beautiful artwork tells a story. A person can ask me about the quote and I can tell them about James, which means his story continues in a small way. I decided to go for a walk-in appointment with my friend Kristen the day I got my first tattoo, so I didn’t know which artist I’d be getting nor their past work. But Kristen had kindly written out the quote, so it was a matter of taking it and placing it on my right shoulder blade. Everything just seemed to fit into place. My tattoo artist, Tommy Oh, was a perfect match for me and when I laid on the table the needle didn’t hurt a bit. If anything, I felt like the tattoo had been there all along and was just waiting to be revealed. This may not make sense to everyone, but it’s the idea that the tattoo is a part of me and my story. It’s the idea that I don’t have to hide my true colours anymore. My friend Ashley says that tattoos are like little talismans, and I couldn’t agree more. “I like the aesthetic,” she said. “I don’t really wear earrings, but I feel good [with tattoos], I feel myself and I feel beautiful.” Samantha at

Toronto’s I Love Mom Tattoo Studio told me recently that I’m not so odd for having found the experience calming: “That’s a good sign! You get this tattooed and you feel empowered or [it represents] who you are, so the process is respected. You earned your mark.” As prepared a person I may come across to be, and as organized and put together as I may be, deep down there has always been a rock n’ roll edge to me. Another aspect I wanted to show, but didn’t know how to. I have lived with panic attacks since I was a young girl, so I got very good at putting my game face on and pretending I was okay. I fought myself for a long, long time. Getting tattooed is the best way I can think of to honour myself, because I’m literally putting my heart on my sleeve. I love my tattoos (I currently have five), I love who I am and who I’m continuing to become. Recently, over tea and scones, Ally really summed it up perfectly as we admired our latest tattoos. “It’s an expression of where I was at the point in my life when I got it, and it’s always a good reminder of that. It’s like your life story written on your skin.”


BURLESQUE & THE BODY written by lauren mackay

If you haven’t been to a burlesque show, you are missing out. Between the revelry and the reveal, there is a particularly powerful moment in watching someone show themselves on their own terms. While all forms of art are socially significant, I can’t think of anything else that has the same capacity to heal and transform women’s relationships to their bodies more than burlesque. It’s not that the bodies you see at a show are so different than the bodies that you see every day, quite the contrary, it’s that everyone in the room, performers and audiences alike, are there to celebrate them, in all their glorious diversity. The media’s perpetuation and adherence to traditional beauty standards has created several long term problems, resulting in disordered eating and skewed perceptions around the value of women’s bodies. All of this, essentially, is created to entice women to then purchase products targeted to ‘fix’ these said ‘problems’. But, here’s the thing, you don’t need anyone’s permission to feel beautiful or powerful, all you have to do is claim that belief for yourself. And as a bonus, you don’t have to buy anything (unless you want to). A couple of weeks ago, I attended an end of session performance for students of Burlesque Burn, a popular Calgary studio started eight years ago by performer Daisy Deville. Deville came to burlesque over a decade ago, after attending Calgary’s Taboo Convention, a sex positive gathering held across the country. She was drawn in by her love of dance, but also the different looks, expressions, and body shapes and, in particular, how there wasn’t a singular definition of beauty. She was compelled to get involved. She auditioned and within a month was performing her first solo. A couple of years later, Deville wanted to build something more, so she created Burlesque Burn, a place where people (usually women) can use the transformative power of burlesque to grow and claim their confidence and power in a safe space where others are doing the same.

Burlesque Burn offers students the opportunity to train in the art of burlesque at a variety of levels, from beginner to advanced. Ten years after she came to the industry, it’s apparent Deville’s passion for burlesque remains strong. “Each show, each celebration, I am still excited.” A session at Burlesque Burn typically lasts 6 weeks and is followed by a performance. “The classes are intense. What we are doing on stage is really vulnerable, and so we don’t want to build it up too much. Because of the nature of what we are doing, students bond quickly, in a great way. We lift each other up.” The most recent session’s showcase was an array of seriously badass woman talent. Moments after it began, it became clear that I was amidst a community connected by genuine respect and affection, present to celebrate and support each other regardless of the journey. Both group and individual performers were revered. Watching women dance, revealing their bodies and spirits, in whichever way they were comfortable expressing themselves was both beautiful and cathartic. In Deville’s words “We are told that our bodies aren’t supposed to shake or jiggle even though that’s how we’re made. I want to give people the opportunity to come, learn the choreography, prepare to be vulnerable and come off stage feeling confident. I want it to be life changing, empowering.” And it is. Towards the end, when Deville was performing, I actually found myself in tears, because this is exactly what’s missing in everyday life. The outward look of burlesque is fun and campy, but we need this, we need all the spaces we can get where women are celebrated as individuals capable and entitled to whatever success they desire. It’s important work.


@burlesqueburncalgary FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM | 30


Feminism, Film & Drunk Girls in the Bathroom

written by sara maginn pacella

photography by kat leroux / makeup by leslyn tungol / hair by tailor murray


ll of our lives would be better if women treated each other the way they do in public bathrooms after a few cocktails. 2018 has brought forward many highly publicized feminist issues, notably the #MeToo movement. However, another less talked about but still relevant one is the online realization of how wonderful and supportive drunk girls can be in the stalls and halls of a public bathroom. Whether it’s sharing a tampon, a tissue or supportive words of wisdom, this is real female friendship—genuine and meaningful interactions, and squad goals that have nothing to do with an online Instagram hashtag. Star of the Toronto film production Close Your Eyes, Julia Pappo says, “Real female friendships are about those shared bathroom experiences, not patriarchal constructs with women pitted against each other.” One of the goals of the film written and directed by Hannah Warry-Smith is to showcase the nuances of these types of relationships. Nina adds, “A dressing room in the theatre is my favourite place in the world because it’s filled with support, love and secrets.” What started as a short story soon grew legs, as Hannah knew there was more to tell about the female friendship between lead characters Jim (portrayed by Nina Rose Taylor) and Mae (portrayed by Julia Pappo), and set to write a short film. Close Your Eyes is set in 1972, punctuated by charming old cars and a Toronto backdrop, and credits 1970s folk music as a leading source of inspiration. In selecting Toronto for the feature, Hannah says, “I love seeing Toronto shot for Toronto, which doesn’t happen that often. It’s mostly used for New York and Chicago, but Toronto as a city itself has such an interesting history.”


Beyond the Bechdel Test Hannah says of her story, “There are so many shared experiences with female friendships that connect us together, that don’t exist in our other relationships, and I wanted to show this.” Nina adds, “It’s really validating to have friendships like this. It’s empowering when women can support, love and care about each other. Really lift each other up.” Hannah wanted to create a story where female friendship isn’t centered around a man, because that has never been her experience, and there needs to be an acknowledgement that this paradigm is getting old and boring. Warry-Smith and her cast criticize the low bar set by constructs like the Bechdel Test—a measure that indicates whether or not women are portrayed in a sexist or gender-stereotyped manner by exploring if at least two women in the work have a conversation with each other that does not involve a man—and want to push the dial further. Other analysis, like the Ava DuVernay Test, where “African Americans and other minorities [to] have fully realized lives rather than serve as scenery in white stories,” will continue to expand what we’re seeing in modern film and television in an exciting and invigorating way. Warry-Smith says, “I wanted to give credit to how layered female friendship really is; there is just so much more to explore when it comes to film and television. We’re all trying to be better every day in terms of those tests.”

The Creative Process Julia says, “When Hannah first sent me this script to look over, what really made me relate to it was first the connection with folk music, since I’d been listening to the same albums. Then I thought I had felt



I’d been listening to the same albums. Then I thought I had felt these things with my friends before but had never seen them on screen. I immediately sought out Hannah to ask her if she’d consider me for the role of Mae.” Although Hannah admits it’s always a stressful situation to hand over your work to others saying, “Passing along your writing to others and asking them to shape it can be such a scary experience, but it wasn’t, because I was there alongside Nina and Julia, and we’ve been lucky to be on the same page.” Working to be supportive of each other’s visions of both the film and the characters has come naturally to the childhood friends. Nina says, “It’s so nice when someone knows you and approaches you to work with them and it feels really intimate. I’m so grateful Hannah trusted me to take Jim under my wing, to digest her and mold her into the collaborative vision we’re hoping to capture on screen.” Hannah says, “In writing Close Your Eyes, it was important to depict what I felt was a true relationship. Every relationship is beautiful and messy and has its ups and downs, and it was so important for us to get this across in terms of what we’re going to show on screen.” From those who have read the script, Warry-Smith notes that some people see a romance between Jim and Mae, whereas others see a magnetic friendship and adds, “As a viewer, it’s your own specific lens that will determine what you take away.” Nina says it was thrift store shopping for costumes that brought her what she needed to bring the physicality of Jim’s character to life. “A long skirt will change how you walk, a character’s shoes will change your posture, and there is one particular item of clothing that has helped me figure out how Jim stands, and her tough but not-so-tough mannerisms. That piece of clothing to me is Jim. Every time I put on those coveralls (nicknamed ‘Olga’ thanks to a name plate sewn into the vintage garb), I better understand what it means to be Jim.”

Creating Meaningful Change in the Arts The primarily female cast and crew are working towards creating their own film culture. Hannah says, “We try to be aware of our privilege and place in the industry and move forward with things that we care about. For everyone, it’s a continual learning process. You have to have your eyes open.” The team consists of artists they are passionate about, including Xulin Wang, who created the film’s poster; on-set photographer Emma Robinson; and Nastasia Pappas-Kemps, who is writing an original song for the film. Hannah says, “I want to try and create a safe space for people to not only work but also learn. Sets can be toxic places. It’s a stressful work environment and the industry is so ripe for power imbalances, as you see in the news with the #MeToo movement. I want our set and whatever sets that I have the privilege of working on in the future to be safe spaces where people can do their jobs, ask questions and are able to be vulnerable in their craft.”

To learn more about the cast, crew and story Close Your Eyes, visit https://closeyoureyesfilm.wixsite. com/short. FOLLOW CLOSE YOUR EYES @closeyoureyesfilm

Selfie Self Portrait



Six Tips From Professional Photographers to Get That Perfect Photo written by sara maginn pacella

Everyone wants to look their best in photographs, whether it’s for a LinkedIn portrait to help land you that dream job, a candid shot with friends on vacation to post on social media, or a family photograph to send out to relatives come holiday season. While some of us are more photogenic than others, there are certain things all of us can do to help improve our photos, and that’s why we called in the experts! Here are six tips from four professional photographers to help you look your best the next time the camera’s pointing at you.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Brad Walsh Visuphoria Photography visuphoria.ca

1. FIGURE OUT WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GREAT It’s easy to say “project confidence,” but having your photo taken can feel uncomfortable and make you feel self-conscious. Photographer Nick Nikitaras jokes, “It’s why most of us photographers prefer to be behind the camera.” But because photos are designed to reproduce a split second, if that time is riddled with nerves, the camera is going to show it. Brad Walsh reminds clients to look the part when posing for head shots with a look that is both professional and approachable. Nick suggests figuring out what helps give you a confidence boost: “Wear your favourite confidence-inspiring outfit, treat yourself to a hair and makeup session with your stylist (or your stylish friend), and bring your favourite jams to the shoot. Nothing takes the stress out of a photoshoot like a great soundtrack.”

2. MASTERING THAT PERFECT SMILE Future Female’s own photographer, Kat Leroux, has a tip she loves to use to help people give a natural smile. “To get a good genuine looking photo, try looking away slowly then refocus to the camera and softly smile. It won’t look as forced as if you were just to put on a smile on the spot.” For those behind the camera, Kat encourages photographers, from novice to professional, to just talk to their subjects to get the best candid snaps. “Talk constantly and make fun of the awkwardness because most likely they’ll give 39 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

a good laugh as you’re making cheesy remarks, and then shoot as much as you can in those moments!”

3. EMBRACING YOUR REAL FAMILY It’s easy to have excuses to put off getting that photo with everyone in it, and wanting it to be just right, but family and lifestyle photographer Katia Taylor says, “You want your family portraits to look perfect, so you wait to lose that last 10 pounds, don’t look so tired or until your oldest kid’s front teeth have grown in, but truth is, every family is perfect with all its imperfections. When looking back at these photos years from now, your kids won’t see that you might look tired or frazzled, they’ll just see you and the love you have for your family. It’s more important to be in some of your family’s photos—instead of always taking them—than be perfect.” Katia reminds us that in group or family photos, particularly when shooting with children or babies, you can’t expect everyone to be looking at the camera and smiling, and

adds, “Sometimes the more realistic, organic moments are better. Trying to get multiple children to focus on one thing for more than two minutes can be impossible, so book a lifestyle photographer and make your family portrait session more about you being you, having fun. Play games together, make cookies, read books, run through the woods, and have a photographer capture all the genuine moments that happen naturally. You’ll get better smiles, more memorable moments and have much more fun at your photo shoot.”

4. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LIGHTING Nick Nikitaras says, “One of the keys to creating a great portrait is quality of light. Hard light, such as direct sunlight or a bare lightbulb, can cause unflattering lines and shadows to appear on skin. Photographers spend thousands of dollars buying light modifiers to tame the hard light coming from their flashes, but you can create the same effect at home with a window and a white bed sheet (or similar fabric). Hang the fabric in front of the window to diffuse the light. If it’s a particularly sunny day, you may need to double up the fabric to get the desired results. And as a general rule of thumb, the bigger the window, the softer the light.” For outdoor photography, Katia Taylor says finding the right location and time of day is key to success, and suggests avoiding 12 noon in the summer because of the harsh shadows, and how people squint in the sun. Her favourite time to shoot outdoors is two hours before sunset when you can capture a warm golden light. “This emphasizes love and romance, great for engagement and maternity sessions, and also creates a warmth and nostalgia that translates perfectly for family photos. Early morning can also work well if you’re morning people, about half an hour after sunrise is optimal,” Katia adds. PHOTOGRAPHER: Nick Nikitaras nicknikitaras.com

KIDS ACCESSORIES FROM ETSY STORE suripiecreations.etsy.com, littleboyswag.etsy.com PHOTOGRAPHER: Katia Taylor from Katia Taylor Photography katiataylorphotography.com

5. GETTING TECHNICAL For those looking to take their photos to the next level, Nick Nikitaras recommends working like a professional and using a portrait lens in moderate to telephoto range: “They compress the image for a more flattering look, are better at blurring out the background to isolate the subject and allow you to achieve a close up while keeping the camera at a comfortable distance from the subject. You can use a prime (fixed focal length) or zoom, but ideally a focal length of between 75–135mm will give you great results.”

6. THE DIGITAL BUSINESS CARD Visuphoria photographer Brad Walsh emphasizes how important a professional and polished look can be, particularly for photos you know potential employers or clients are going to be looking at as their first impression of you. Brad encourages clients to invest in themselves and hire a professional photographer, and adds, “Yes, you have to spend a bit of money up front, but think of how it will pay dividends in the long run.”


Kat Leroux of Future Female Magazine Nick Nikitaris of Nick Nikitaras Video & Photography Katia Taylor of Katia Taylor Photography Brad Walsh of Visuphoria Photography


Diving Deep

motherhood TO PREPARE FOR

written by bronwyn addico

Bronwyn Addico is a Birth and Postpartum Doula, a certified Dancing for Birth TM instructor, a Birthing from within TM mentor, and the co-owner of Balancing from Birth to Baby, a prenatal and parenting preparation business in Kitchener ON. She offers virtual birth and new parenting coaching in addition to her in-class sessions. Bronwyn focuses on empowering her clients to find the tools within themselves to thrive during pregnancy, birth, and early parenting. She is a single mother to five children, and is able to share a wealth of information based on her vast array of parenting experiences. Learn more about Bronwyn and the work she does here: www.BalancingBirthBaby.com You can contact Bronwyn via email Bronwyn@BalancingBirthBaby.com The journey to become a mother* is one of the biggest changes a woman will go through in her lifetime. Motherhood impacts every aspect of life - relationships, identity, work-life balance, and everything in between. The emotional effects of this change are huge and all encompassing. Integrating this takes time. It can be easy to feel pressured to live up to particular ideals in your early mothering journey. As a doula and childbirth educator I have had clients share with me the guilt they feel because they needed fertility treatments, or that they struggled with depression during their pregnancy, that they didn’t enjoy breastfeeding as much as their best friend, or that being at home with a baby was not what they were expecting. It took me several years after the birth of my first child to feel like I was ‘myself ’ again. This is one of the reasons I have made supporting women and their families through birth and early parenting my life’s work. I see a tendency in many clients and families I teach to read the right books, make the best birth plan, and purchase the right items to support a child’s development and physical safety. All of these things are important and valid, yet miss one of the most vital parts of preparation: MOM!

Changing Roles

Somewhere in the to-do lists of birth and baby prep make sure you are including yourself. As pregnancy progresses it is a time of 41 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

transition. You have one foot firmly entrenched in your identity as who you are as a person, a partner, a career. The other foot is starting to dip into the waters of motherhood. As you get closer to meeting your baby, more and more of yourself will become immersed in those waters. Who you know yourself to be will take a back seat to your new motherhood identity. To help yourself through this transition find a daily activity or two that will hone your instincts and get you into your right brain. We spend much of our day-to-day lives in our logical analytical left-brain. Your right brain is where we feel emotions, creativity, and imagination. These qualities help us to feel our instincts clearly and to bond with our baby. You will need your instincts to get through birth and especially as a parent. One practice that can help is mindfulness meditation. If you have not meditated before, I recommend the Insight Timer App for guided meditations (There is a section specifically for pregnancy and labour). Listening to a meditation or some calming music for just five minutes a day and focusing on your breath can help you get into your right brain. The more you create this pathway, the easier to access your instincts in moments of stress. Another way to get into your right brain is through your body. Activities like dance for birth classes, prenatal yoga, or walking while listening to music you enjoy can all help you access your instincts. Being more grounded in your body will also help during labour – too often I see moms overthinking their labour, when what they really need to do is let go and trust. Learning to trust your body during pregnancy will help. Have an open mind and examine your expectations and assumptions during this time. Perhaps you’re avoiding learning about certain interventions or choosing to read only about certain types of birth. Check your assumptions by asking yourself: “What do I think it says about me if this particular thing that I am avoiding were to occur?” Spend time diving deep within to find the answer to this question. You may have to ask yourself this a few times to reveal what is truly below the surface. What you discover may surprise

or upset you. Maybe you feel you would be a failure if you had a cesarean delivery, or you feel you do not have the strength to handle labor without an epidural. Be gentle with yourself while you are reaching these new depths. Whatever answer you uncover is what you need to work on healing and reassuring yourself, as you get closer to meeting your baby. Consider talking to a therapist, doula, or birth coach if you are struggling with the answers you find.

Life After Baby

By the time, you meet your baby you will be fully immersed in the waters of motherhood. You will feel so many emotions the first days and weeks; it is a beautiful, overwhelming, frustrating, and special time. You can go from feeling deeply in love with your child one minute to being in tears the next. Get as much rest as you can to handle the range of emotions, physical healing, and the demands of new mothering. I once read an article where a midwife talked about “in the bed, on the bed, around the bed” to her clients to help them recover for the first few weeks after birth. Birth is most likely the biggest physical marathon you will go through in your life. The more rest you get, the sooner you will recover, and the more you will bond with your baby. This advice can be easier said than done. I recommend building a postpartum support group now. Who can bring meals, who will wash your dishes, who can you call at 2AM when you are struggling, who are the helpers in your life? Getting meals, household chores, and dog walking taken care of gets you the rest that you need to recover. If you do not have many family or friends that can help, consider hiring a postpartum doula to help with these duties and offer emotional support. In this age of Pinterest and Instagram it can be easy to see early parenting as an idyllic day to day existence of nursing your child in a pristine home while you have perfect hair and a smile on your face. Some days may be like that, but likely not many. Let go of any preconceived ideas you had about motherhood and do your best to get through the moments of struggle. On frustrating days, it is so easy to be caught in a negative feedback loop. Sadly this doesn’t help us or help our baby as they pick up on that energy and it adds to their stress and frustration. When you notice a negative thought - “I didn’t sign up for this”, “This sucks”, “I’m a bad mom” and so on - try to flip that into the positive. “I am doing the best I can.” “This is hard but I can do it” “This is not what I expected but I am resilient.” Consider putting these phrases in areas where you can see them regularly if you need a boost of confidence.

Practicing Self-Care

Taking good care of our children begins with learning to take care of ourselves. Many of us do not consider self-care before children – having a bath, sleeping in, or reading a book was just what we did. Once children arrive self-care changes – sometimes it is making sure we have changed our clothes and had a quiet cup of tea, for five minutes. Ensuring that you have had time for

your child. You will be able to be present for your baby when you have had that five-minute cup of tea or meditation, than not. You will know you have surfaced from the deep dive of motherhood once you feel that your old identity has integrated with your new mothering self. For some women, like myself, this can take up to a few years. Taking time for self-care and activities that help you to honor your instincts, will make this experience richer, easier and more enjoyable for you and your new family. *While this article suggests ways to prepare for physical labour and birth there are many ways to become a mother. In addition to my biological children, I am also an adoptive mother and step-mother. Many of these tools have helped me in all of my varied parenting journeys to build my family.


@balancingfrombirthtobaby balancingbirthbaby.com

yourself will help you create a better foundation to connect with FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM | 42

20 Tips

To Help Boost Your Child’s Body Confidence

I went on my first diet when I was 11 years old. By the time I was 12, I’d graduated to a fairly regular crash diet called The 4-Day Wonder Diet, where I existed on little more than grapefruit, hard boiled eggs and beans. On my last day of my third round of The 4-Day Wonder Diet, I went to the park to feed the ducks old stumps of bread. I ate some of the stale bread because I was ravenous. That night, I cried myself to sleep because I felt like a failure with no willpower. Instead of learning healthy eating habits, I was just trashing my metabolism and self-esteem. As an adult, I logically know that Oprah Winfrey, arguably one of the most successful humans on earth, struggles with her body and her body image. That’s both comforting and completely overwhelming. At nearly 40 years old, I have spent almost three quarters of my life “at war” with my body, instead of celebrating all of the amazing things it can do—like carrying two babies. I don’t want to pass any of my own body esteem issues onto my children, and while I know I’m not the only voice around my children, I know what I say matters a lot. How can parents help? There’s no denying there is an obesity problem in North America. Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed 39.6% of adults are considered obese. How do we raise body-confident kids when we have our own body image demons to fight?

Here are 20 little things we can all do for our kids and ourselves to help raise body-confident kids—and if we’re lucky, some of it will rub off on us. 1. Stop comparing yourself (and your child) to others. 2. Don’t criticize other people’s bodies, period. 3. Teach your child their body is not an object, no matter what the media says.

4. Focus on what your body can do, meaning its purpose,

strength and movements—and learn an activity that can help you celebrate it.

5. Pick up a “green activity.” Just five minutes of outdoor exer-

cise each day—a walk, a visit to the park or gardening—can help improve mental health.

6. Take up space and don’t apologize for your body. 7. Compliment people for accomplishments that have nothing to do with their weight. If a friend has been working hard

training for a triathlon, comment on how her skin is glow-

ing and how healthy she looks, or how her strong legs have helped her increase her stamina and decrease her time, not how thin she looks.

8. Wear your bathing suit in front of your children, no cover-ups.

9. Exercise to feel great, not for beauty goals. 10. Find activities you and your family love so fitness won’t be a chore.

11. Don’t make excuses you’re “too old,” “too weak” or “too fat”

to try something new with your kids. If your body can handle

it, give it a try, and your kids will too. 12. Buy and eat whole, real foods to enjoy with your family. 13. Praise your own physical accomplishments by mastering a

new yoga pose or breaking a new running record. Celebrate them with your kids.

14. Talk about health, not weight. When parents talk to their

kids about their weight and size, it has an adverse effect. In

fact, it increases the likelihood of them developing an eating disorder as well as gaining weight as they get older.

15. Get in front of the camera lens—often—and don’t hide. By hiding, you’re teaching your children you hate yourself in photos.

16. Before you tear yourself down, remember your children are watching.

17. Focus on effort and progress, not perfection, both with yourself and your kids.

18. They say it takes over 10,000 hours to master a new skill. You or your kids probably won’t be the best at something the first time you try, but do it anyway!

19. Concerned about a sudden increase in your child’s weight,

talk to the doctor. Just don’t do it in front your kid—book a separate appointment.

20. If you notice your child with a once hearty appetite is no

longer eating their favourite foods, don’t be afraid to ask them what’s wrong or if anything in particular is bothering them. If they say it has to do with their body or a number on the

scale, remind them there is nothing to worry about as long as they are eating healthy and growing.

photography by kat leroux

/ makeup & hair by leslyn tungol



MAZIN written by naima karp

Mia Mazin isn’t just a Trainer and Raw Powerlifter who has been in the health industry for over a decade.

Mia (Maria) Mazin isn’t just a trainer and Raw Powerlifter who has been in the health industry for over a decade. She’s also a World Beauty Fashion & Fitness Inc. (WBFF) diva, a fitness and figure competitor, a women’s empowerment coach, and so much more! This inspirational woman represents the motivation and potential that we all carry within ourselves, and the little voice that rises above the negativity, reminding us of our beauty, strength, and the fact that we are enough! Mia coaches clients to condition their bodies and minds, but also to accept who they are every step along the way. She reminds us to love who we are from the inside out, yet still strive to be better. She represents the future female. Q: Can you tell us about Bodymorphology and how it started? A: Bodymorphology (http://bodymorphology.com) was started as a system for

change. Change your view, change your actions, change your body, and change your life. Even if your weight doesn’t change, you’ll look at yourself differently when you think of your body as a tool to perform and accomplish great things instead of just something that looks cute on IG.

Q: Inner strength and outer strength need to be in harmony but people don’t often think of that. For me, working out always made me feel stronger in mind and spirit. How does that contribute to your integration of empowerment speaking into your work? For you, how do the two harmonize and how did you come to multitask them? A: I encourage my clients, and women in general, to think of their lifting goal as

a metaphor for any life goal. You approach it, try and either it works or it doesn’t. If you succeed you feel invincible! If you don’t, you shake it off and you have faced your fear - you see what worked and what didn’t and you create a new plan. I remind them that if life is stressing you out, exert some energy and tension by exercising - it can give you some clarity by offering a reprieve of focus. FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM | 48

Q: What does empowerment mean to you and what does your empowerment speaking entail? A: Empowerment to me is all about discovering your

inner superhero and finding a focal point from which to project your energy and sparkle! Q: As a body positive and inclusive trainer do you think mantras like “strong is the new skinny” are positive or detrimental to inclusivity and accepting yourself the way you are? A: I honestly hate any of those “____ is the new

_____” statements!! It creates a skewed system of idealism and you question your worthiness before you’ve even decided what you want for/from yourself. And why is skinny the “norm” standard? There are tons of unhealthy skinny people and just as many happy, healthy bigger people. There are people missing limbs or with genetic uniqueness who live extremely fulfilled lives, and so on. Q: Have you struggled with body image at any point, and how did you empower yourself to love all of you as is? Do you address body image when you train clients? What advice would you give those who are going on their own difficult issue of body image? A: I’m a woman with social media access - of course

I’ve struggled with body issues, but I remind myself and clients that our bodies are way more valuable than just what they look like, and to try to find and focus on the parts you love, before you dwell on things you would like to change. I also use the exercise of pretending the person in the mirror was a stranger in a store. Would you ever say some of the things you think or say about yourself out loud to another woman? If the answer is no, stop saying it to yourself !

Q: Have you always felt like a leader? It seems like you coach in many realms of your life and act as an amazing (an attainable, not just aspirational) role model to so many girls and women. It’s hard to be a woman and at the same time uplift yourself to be a leader when usually men are fed that rhetoric and encouragement? A: I have found myself in leader or mentor roles

Q: You also seem to hold some record-breaking accomplishments under your belt, holding four records for sub-masters (age 31-39) in powerlifting for your raw class. Do you find that being competitive helps drive one and can bolster your confidence? A: Being competitive by nature can be a help and a

hindrance. I try not to obsessively compare myself to those around me, but it can be motivating to use another’s accomplishments as a step in your goal achievement. But only if you’re able to keep your true inherent value in heart while doing so. Being too focused on another’s life may end up causing you to miss out on the joy in yours if you dwell on what you have yet to do instead of celebrating your accomplishments. Q: Are you part of any empowering and uplifting collectives or organizations for women? A: I’m a part of the Strong Women’s Collective, as

well as an initiative to empower and create representation for women of color in the fitness community (especially as a fitness pro and athlete). Q: Can you provide some techniques and tips on how women who feel disempowered can empower themselves through fitness or in other ways? A: I know women can be intimidated by the gym,

but I always recommend finding a friend (or hire a trainer or coach) whom they trust, to give them a bit of guidance and show them the ropes because it’s a fact that feeling strong (lifting things) makes you feel strong! The minute you perform a task which once was thought impossible, you begin to approach everything with more confidence - physical power (empowerment) bleeds into mental empowerment (and back and forth!) FOLLOW MIA’S JOURNEY


often in my career. I think being a woman helps me understand what women actually go through, and I use my own frustrations to help other get around those - like passing on a cheat code!




written by lauren mackay


espite the fact that it’s actually pond scum (and a micro-algae), spirulina is quickly gaining attention as a “superfood.” Hefty claims such as “gram for gram the most nutritious food in the world,” “powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties” and “sure to provide a significant energy boost,” coupled with the fact that my favourite juice bar offers a spirulina blue lemonade that I began to regularly crave, made we want to investigate what all the hype is about. So I got a bottle of spirulina powder and started taking notes. For two weeks, I explored new and interesting ways to incorporate it into my day and see how I felt. Opening the package, I noticed a rather pungent, not quite fishy, smell. The bottle recommended adding the powder to water to ingest it. Given the smell, this didn’t seem particularly appealing, but I tried it anyway. Not good. So I squeezed the juice of a lemon into the drink and it went from being virtually undrinkable to quite tasty. And the colour is lovely! I took the spirulina before I ate supper, which may have been a mistake, as I noticed I had trouble sleeping that night, almost as if I had drunk coffee too late in the day. Were the two linked? I’d have to wait to see. The next day, I mixed the spirulina into my smoothie. The flavour blended. Again, the colour is one of my favourite aspects, as it feels like a treat to eat blue things. And, again, my energy increased within half an hour. The week continued, and I made a “unicorn latte” of coconut milk, spirulina, ginger and honey. It was okay, but I wouldn’t seek this drink out on taste alone. However, there was that energy boost again, which I could get used to. I tried a few more culinary experiments. I mixed the spirulina into my yogurt and berries with a bit of honey. I made some snack balls by blending dates, oats, hazelnuts, maple syrup, coconut and spirulina. They were okay. But the energy boost was no joke! Over half the time, I found myself mixing the spirulina with lemon or lime juice and water, making a note to add some sweetener and turn it into popsicles in the summer.


I don’t know if it is the high protein content in spirulina that affords the energy, or the vitamins and minerals it provides that we may often miss in our diets, but a daily dose does add to my wellness. The taste, however, is something to contend with.


A NOURISHING APPROACH written by lauren mackay

Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or, rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There’s nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this. – C H E RY L S T R AY ED

There is so much bound up with food. Health, weight, creativity, status, and sometimes what we eat even enters the moral ground. There’s no denying it, food and what we do with it, is complex. How can we make it less complicated? Simply put, whatever you choose to eat or not to eat, as the case may be, is no one else’s business. But that isn’t what we’ve been taught to think. As messaging around bodies, even slightly outside of mainstream beauty, perceptions and food deprivation have become firmly entrenched. Prescriptive diets, some rather extreme, have become trendy, and it’s a problem. Let’s just take a step back. As Hippocrates said, “food is the first medicine”. This is undeniable. But food is also personal. What we eat is informed by where we are from, who raised us, what sort of access to food we’ve had, our cultural and religious practices, and our beliefs. It stands to reason that we will eat different things. Our bodies are different, too, and that’s a good thing. A growing, but thriving minority recognizes and supports diversity and the knowledge that all bodies are good. In this process of feeding ourselves, we must take our bodies and eating habits back; they belong to each of us. While we may not be able to change what society believes, we certainly have the right to claim our own choices and experiences. Your job is to nourish yourself. That’s it. All the rest of it, all of the other stuff that other people attach to food and bodies, let it go. Eat what helps you feel well; in every way, feed yourself, and the amazing thing is, if you learn to feed yourself in the right way for you, not only will you be healthier, but you will be contributing to reflecting the type of care we all deserve, so you are also supporting others in the same pursuit. FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM | 54

photography by kat leroux

/ makeup & hair by leslyn tungol

RACHEL MOLENDA Dishes Out Seven Tips for Mindful Eating written by sara maginn pacella

We eat for nourishment, we eat for energy, we eat because we have to survive, but let’s face it, the food we put into our mouths means so much more than that. Sometimes we eat to celebrate, we plan meals to connect with our families and friends, while other times we eat because we’re bored or sad, or use it as a coping mechanism when we aren’t feeling so great. That’s where people like emotional eating coach Rachel Molenda come in. Rachel is a Toronto-based Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Disordered & Emotional Eating Coach. Rachel strives to help women heal their relationships with food and their bodies through a non-restrictive, anti-diet, whole food

(#RealAssFood) approach to eating. Here are seven tips from Rachel to help you change the way you think about your relationship with food. Slimness Does Not Equal Health Although measurements like Body Mass Index (BMI) have been adapted to the health community, they aren’t in any way an accurate assessment of health. Rachel says the problem with BMI is, “It doesn’t consider things like muscle mass. You could be as lean as a chicken breast but still be classified as being obese because a higher muscle mass is going to result in a higher weight.” Rachel’s recommended reading for all of her clients is the book Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, which talks about other measures of health, like good sleep, low stress levels, awesome energy levels and healthy relationships. “My approach to healthy eating is different because I marry both intuitive eating and nutrition in my approach. I encourage people to trust their bodies and the signals it sends, to bring in that FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM | 56

element of flexibility outside of what nutrition says, but to ultimately focus on what makes them feel their best in their bodies. I do that by teaching what I call ‘gentle nutrition,’ which is exactly what it sounds like (nutrition with less restrictive rules).”

The Most Important Meal of the Day Starting off the day with a nutrition power-packed breakfast can make you feel like you can take on anything. Rachel loves recommending make-ahead meals for quick nourishing breakfasts for her clients, like overnight oats, chia pudding, frittata muffins or even chili. Rachel says of her breakfast choices, “I love throwing the chili one in there because so many people are like ‘What?! I can have that?’, when in fact it’s actually such an ideal breakfast to have, giving you that healthy balance of carbohydrates, fat, protein and fibre that will help fuel you for the day.”

Night-Time Noshing Rachel reminds us that when you’re feeling the urge to snack, to take a moment to reflect on whether what you’re feeling is emotional or physical hunger. If it’s not emotional, looking into what other need you might be trying to fill and says,” This hunger could be your body’s way of telling you it needs socialization, fun and relief from boredom.” For physical hunger, Rachel recommends loading up on foods you really enjoy that are high in fat, fibre and protein—that will really satiate you. Great options Rachel suggests include apple and almond butter, energy balls, medjool dates stuffed with almond butter or goat cheese, or beet hummus and crackers.

Change the Goal So many of us set weight loss goals that focus around a pair of skinny jeans or a number on the scale. Rachel’s solution is simple—change the goal to feel the absolute best in your body! That also means buying yourself clothes that fit now. Rachel says, “Nobody feels good going about their day in a pair of their old “skinny” jeans that pinch into their sides and don’t fit their body properly. Discover how AMAZING you can feel when you wear clothes that feel really good.”

Filter Your Social Media Take a moment to think about how your social media accounts are making you feel. Rachel says, “If you’re scrolling through your social media feed and wondering why you feel upset after, maybe ask yourself how the accounts you’re following are serving you. If they aren’t—and if you don’t feel very good after scrolling—consider doing a social media clean-up and unfollow the accounts and brands that are making you feel this way. Follow the accounts/brands that lift you up and share realistic and diverse representations of real bodies.”




Being Kind to Yourself on Bad Body Days There are days when all of us experience what Rachel calls “bad body days,” and even she can have off days where it can be a challenge to continue to be positive and incorporate her teachings. Rachel says, “In the past, I would’ve responded with self-punishment through over-exercising and restricting what I ate. Whereas now, I respond with nourishing foods, gentle movement, sleep and self-compassion.” Rachel is fortunate her clients remind her and reaffirm that a positive or negative body image is a mindset. “Clients tell me how they felt really good in their body one day, and the next day they didn’t feel good in it at all. But the reality is that nothing has changed. Your body cannot change that much in less than 24 hours. All that’s changed is their mindset. It’s a good lesson that it really is within our power to decide how we want to feel.”

Removing “Right” and “Wrong” Eating Rachel says, “It’s always a bit hard for me to say this as a Holistic Nutritionist, but the problem with health [at times] is that when we’re being healthy, we’re doing it ‘right,’ but when we’re being unhealthy, we’re doing it ‘wrong,’ which often comes with a lot of reactive, negative behaviour (i.e. dieting, binging, guilt, the cycle continues).” She says it’s important to make room for the in-between zone and say it’s okay if not every morsel of food that goes into your mouth isn’t healthy. “It doesn’t change your worth or impact who you are. That’s what I want to encourage people to bring into their diets, because the reality is, if we were all to bring more of this flexibility into our eating habits, a lot of the negative reactive behaviours wouldn’t exist and people wouldn’t constantly have to cycle on and off diets.”




1 package (450g) of rice noodles (or half to make it less noodle-y) 1 head of romaine, sliced thinly 1-2 cooked organic chicken breasts, diced 1 red pepper, julienned 2-3 carrots, julienned 2 green onions, minced 1/4 cup raw cashews

2 heaping tbsp. almond or organic peanut butter 3 tbsp. tamari 2-3 tbsp. avocado or olive oil 1-2 tbsp. raw honey 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed 1-inch knob of ginger, minced


2. 3.

Fill a medium-large pot with water and bring to a boil. Toss noodles in and cook for 7 minutes (don’t let them get to a mushy state). When done cooking, transfer to a strainer and rinse under cold water until noodles are completely cooled. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil or sesame oil to prevent noodles from sticking together. Prepare romaine, carrots, red pepper and green onions as directed. Toss into bowl with noodles with raw cashews. Whisk dressing together in a separate measuring cup and drizzle over noodle salad. Toss with tongs to ensure salad is completely covered.

Your Fittest Self

Tips by Personal Trainer DALIA DISSANAYAKE to Keep You Fit in your 20s, 30s, 40s & 50s written by sara maginn pacella

Many of us have a preconceived notion about what being fit means. Maybe it’s a hold out from when we were teenagers and really insecure about our changing bodies, or maybe it’s evolved over time as we struggle with how our body doesn’t work quite the same as it used to as we age. Either way, we want to be our best and feel our best, whether we’re 25 or 65. Dalia Dissanayake has worked in the fitness industry for nearly 15 years as a personal trainer, registered massage therapist, women’s boot camp specialist, yoga instructor and kickboxing instructor. Dalia’s company, True Fit You, strives to help others reach their fitness goals in a healthy and friendly environment. Dalia says, “Based on my experience with my clients and their journeys, it starts based on aesthetics and a physical transformation, as well as losing weight, getting toned and increased muscle mass. As

I work with them, and when they get into a really good fitness regime, their focus switches from aesthetics towards how they’re feeling, embracing their strength, their energy and their mobility—and that’s what fitness should really be about.” Looking a specific way does not always mean someone is healthy. Dalia says, “For the most part, looking great doesn’t add up to feeling great. When we look at muscle competitions and a person is photo ready with ripped muscles, they have gone through dehydration.” She adds, “Even though they look like that, it doesn’t mean they feel great at that time. What being healthy really is about is if someone is feeling well, sleeping well and energetic. Doing great is something more long term, and being a size four is not going to be achievable for everyone, so it should be about being able to keep up with your kids and being able to take the stairs. “

Dalia has worked with Future Female Magazine to create tips to help keep you fit and healthy at any age:

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In Your 20s • • •

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Now is the time to really challenge yourself and take the time to explore what types of physical activities you enjoy. Work on building the foundation for good habits in terms of making physical fitness a priority. When you’re younger, you will need less rest days and be able to take on more strenuous activities; lift heavier weights, push yourself really hard in an intensive cardio class, take advantage of this and learn what your body is capable of doing! Begin developing healthy eating habits, and ensure your diet includes foods rich in vitamin K and calcium to build healthy bones. To boost your vitamin K, eat foods like green leafy veggies (kale, spinach and leafy lettuces), Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fish, liver, meat and eggs.

In Your 30s

Your basal metabolism has begun to slow down, which leads to loss of muscle—increase your focus on maintaining muscle mass. Work on proper techniques and perfecting your form and posture to prevent future injuries. Our 30s is when our sedentary lifestyles begin to take a toll. Most of us sit a lot, which causes our metabolism to slow as it adapts, so get moving throughout the day to fight this. Get up during the day regularly, stretch, walk around and make cardiovascular fitness a priority. Remember that exercise can be cumulative, so if you don’t have time, split it up (walk for 10 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch, and then a little more in the evening). We always think it’s our muscles that need to repair, but it’s our nervous system as well. When we over-train, injuries can happen. Symptoms of over-training aren’t just injuries, it can also be poor sleep, so keep all of this in mind. Consume calcium to build healthy bones. Calcium rich foods include seeds, cheese, yogurt, sardines, canned salmon, beans, lentils, almonds, whey protein and leafy greens.


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In Your 40s

In addition to a slowing metabolism, a shift in hormones may impact energy levels and make it even more difficult to maintain muscle mass, so really take some time to focus on strength training. Exercise can be a fantastic way to boost your energy, so make it a priority. Our 40s is when we may begin to develop aches and pains from wear and tear, and when posture becomes increasingly important. Connective tissue thickens as we age. This could be due to collagen in ligaments changing, which in turn can create restrictions in joint mobility causing issues in areas like the ankles, knees and hips. Exercises to help prevent this include Wall Angels, Super Man, plank, and walking with movement, providing excellent “lubrication” for the joints. Add some lean proteins to your diet (beans, lentils, lean meats, fish, tofu, nuts and eggs) and essential fatty acids (hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, olive oil, dark leafy greens, whole grains and eggs) to help ensure you’re getting the protein you need to repair, maintain and grow your muscles.

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In Your 50s & Beyond

Now is when exercise becomes really important for strengthening your back and coping with some of the chronic diseases, like diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, osteoporosis, arthritis and other ailments often associated with aging. Keep in mind the ultimate goal is to stay your best and remain strong while doing what you can, and continuing to push yourself. A recent UNC study found that our water reserves deplete as we age, meaning when you’re working out and in your 50s, you’re going to need to drink more water than someone in their 20s or 30s would, which may be even more evident with someone on specific medications. As we age, we may want to add more fibre to our diets to help compensate for medications that can cause constipation.

Exercise can be a fantastic way to boost your energy, so make it a priority.

For Women of Any Age • •

Remember, you don’t need to be a specific dress size or number on the scale to be in shape. Our shape does not determine our fitness levels. 10,000 steps a day and 150 minutes a week of physical activity are good ideas for everyone, as we have sedentary lifestyles, and no matter what your step count is today, we should always strive for a little bit more if possible. Some equipment-free basic exercises can be adjusted easily based on your age or fitness levels: 1. The plank (with or without knees on the ground) 2. Push-ups (practicing them from the wall, the floor or with your knees on the ground) 3. Squats (basic or wall squats) Quadruped opposite arm and leg: 1. Begin this core exercise in table top. Hands are directly beneath the shoulders and knees are directly beneath the hips. 2. Maintain good posture and activation of your abdominal muscles throughout the exercise. 3. Slowly raise one arm and the opposite leg and then return to the starting position. 4. Keep your spine and pelvis still throughout the exercise and breathe normally. Bridge pose: 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat

on the floor, approximately hip distance apart. 2. Take a deep breath in, drawing your navel in towards your spine. 3. Exhale, keeping your spine neutral, press your feet into the mat and squeeze your butt as you lift your hips up off the mat. Come up high enough that your body makes a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Don’t press up so high that you can’t see your knees. 4. nhale, maintaining the bridge position. 5. Exhale, still holding the bridge, think of drawing your ribs down to your belly, squeeze your butt, and try to lengthen through the front of your hips. 6. Inhale, holding the bridge position. 7. Exhale, maintaining a neutral spine as you come back down towards your mat. Mix it up and add variety to your work outs in terms of activities as well as intensities to help your body remain challenged and overcome plateaus. Test your body by trying a new class, mix it up and explore your options.




Recovery & Self-Care


photography by irene dominguez


makeup by leslyn tungol


jewelry by ola finesse

An Interview with High Heal Diaries Founder Natalie Wilson written by sara maginn pacella

There’s an expression that most of us know—“When life hands you lemons,

make lemonade.”

Natalie Wilson was diagnosed with cancer at just 35 years old, just months after giving birth to her third and youngest child. As part of her journey, she didn’t just make lemonade, she set up an entire stand and serves lemonade to the people who need it the most. Natalie is a three-time breast cancer survivor, who has become a motivational speaker, life coach (Certified Coach Practitioner under the Certified Coaches Federation) and the founder of High Heal Diaries, where people can share inspiring stories of triumph and help guide their quests to enjoy a more positive and healthy way of being a woman. After going through many stages of healing, and still having three surgeries on the horizon, Natalie finds that she’s happiest when she’s giving back to others. She speaks to the inspiration behind the name High Heal Diaries. “We tend to walk strong. We walk strong in our heels and even though those shoes are hurting us, we push ourselves and only when we need to take our shoes off and take a break from what’s going on can we really regroup and heal.” She adds, “People record their stories in a diary because it won’t judge them, and we all have a need for a forum similar to a diary where we can talk about our own experiences, struggles and pain without fearing judgement from others.” High Heal Diaries is this space. Launching High Heal Diaries has been a cathartic experience for Natalie. “I learned I’m not alone and at the end of the day, we bleed the same, we feel the same and love the same, and people in general want to talk and want people 65 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

to listen. This made me realize why I needed to talk about my experiences and people wanted to know how I was up and talking about things without saying ‘woe is me.’ It’s because I’m not the only one, and I know it could have been worse. Your experiences are what they are to you. I know losing both breasts, undergoing 18 surgeries and sharing my experiences are a way for me to heal and help heal others.” Natalie marvels at the gift of connecting with and helping other women around the world, and how High Heal Diaries has made this possible. In her one-on-one coaching sessions, Natalie helps women who are not yet ready to tell their stories, and teaches them the steps to take towards living their best lives. “My plan is to take the show on the road and have life coaching seminars throughout Canada,” she says. Natalie has seen firsthand the preconceived notions people have surrounding invisible illnesses. “People look at you and you almost literally have to prove that you’re really sick. They think you must be okay, when internally you may not be well. I got tired of keeping up appearances and people have to understand that being up and about, looking well and dressing well is for me, not them.” She adds, “Appearances on the outside don’t tell us anything. We don’t understand what’s going on inside for anyone else, which is something we need to remember.” A point of pride for Natalie is her recent work on her High Heal Diaries talk show on YouTube. “The show focusses on interviews with women who have gone through previous struggles, whether it’s physical or emotional, and have come out on the other side with a positive message to share. The purpose is to get women talking and to share with others so that they can heal and know they’re not alone. My ultimate goal is to have the show broadcast on a larger platform so we hear from women across the globe. I want to be the Canadian version of Oprah one day.”

WE BLEED THE SAME, WE FEEL THE SAME AND LOVE THE SAME Natalie is fortunate enough her family can live off a single income, but knows everyone is not this lucky. “There are so many financial considerations we don’t think about until they’re our own reality. When you aren’t working, you still need to find the resources to get healthy food, enroll your children in programs, take transit to appointments or even pay bills.” Simple things like a grocery store gift card or a day at the spa to get away from one’s illness can have a huge impact on someone undergoing treatment. This is why Natalie decided to raise money to help people pay for these important aspects of their lives beyond treatment. For anyone who wants to pay it forward and lives in the Ajax area, take note that August 26th is the inaugural High Heal Diaries “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” event, designed to not only celebrate women walking through every day with strength, courage and perseverance, but to help raise money. You can register to participate for a minimum $60 donation, and in addition to this experience of giving, you’ll get a High Heals Diary t-shirt and water bottle. FOLLOW NATALIE’S JOURNEY


www.highhealdiaries.com FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM | 68



written by kelly zemnickis 69 | FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM

credit: hannah rose sims

Whether you are about to get your first tattoo or piercing, or maybe you just need a refresher on proper care, we sat down with some of the best in the business to talk about everything from how to prepare for your tattoo to strangest client requests. Joining in on the body art chat fun is: Samantha from I Love Mom Tattoo Studio in Toronto, Hannah Rose Sims from Skinner Ink Tattoos in Barrie ON and Evan Miller & Luke from Adrenaline Tattoo and Piercing Shop in Toronto. FF: OKAY, LET’S START OFF WITH WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST TATTOOS? SAMANTHA: My first tattoo was just a little heart, a little broken heart. I was really young and I really wanted to get tattooed. EVAN: My first tattoo was a ball of yarn with knitting needles, with the name of my grandmother after she passed away. I just turned 18 and I wanted to get tattooed with something to remind me of her. HANNAH: Technically, I got my first tattoo at 14 when my best friend and I got hold of a tattoo machine. I would not recommend doing this EVER! But my first properly done tattoo was at 17, a portrait of my cat, on my thigh. LUKE: I’m a body piercer but my first tattoos were two fairly large Road Runners on my chest when I was 15/16? They’ve since been covered up with large roses, but they’ll always have a special place in my heart. FF: WHAT IS THE AGE RANGE OF CLIENTS THAT YOU SEE? ANY BUCKET LIST VISITORS? LUKE: My oldest client has been late 60s, early 70’s? She got her Helix, so just a little bit above the lobe where the ear arches up. It was a bucket list item for her; she came with her great-niece and they got pierced together. SAMANTHA: Oldest client for me has been 65? My partner has


1. Keep your tattoo bandaged for the time suggested by your artist. There’s a reason why you bandage a wound! 2. Wash with a mild, unscented soap with clean hands. You’re not trying to get a stain out, so be gentle and then pat it dry. Follow with a bit of non-scented, light moisturizer. (BTW- Your artist may recommend dry healing, it depends on the area and the tattoo.) 3. Don’t pick at it!! You can risk getting an infection and you’ll affect the tattoo, which ruins all the hard work that was put into it.

credit: hannah rose sims

actually had older clients. But nowadays the age range is 18 to 65. My oldest client had a double mastectomy and she was a breast cancer survivor. She decided she didn’t want to get reconstruction, she wanted to get a tattoo, so that was her first and only tattoo. It’s very personal, just for her. EVAN: Bucket Lists are a big one. When you start tattooing people over 30? They’ve really thought a lot about it and it usually tends to hold more meaning for them. LUKE: They were younger, but three girls came in together who were sexually abused and they were doing it as a re-claim for themselves. They all got the same nipple pierced, same side. That’s one of the more special moments. FF: HOW DO MEN AND WOMEN DIFFER IN THEIR TATTOO AND PIERCING REQUESTS? SAMANTHA: I think women take placement into consideration more than men do? LUKE: Yes and no! That’s a hard one, because every time I say ‘yes’, someone comes in and completely changes it. There’s definitely trends in piercings, so I can tell when a famous person gets a piercing because everyone will be getting it. That’s when I’ll notice girls will be getting that piercing more than guys. And then it’ll switch! EVAN: The sternum, that’s been very popular for several years. Rihanna got it, and it’s a boom! It’s not fun at all, it’s painful. SAMANTHA: I find women love to work with certain parts of their body, for example the hips. The placement is important too. It needs to work with your body, not against you. So you can have a beautiful design on paper, you place it on some part of the body and it just doesn’t do any justice. Move it over three inches and it looks great. Men love to show off their tattoos! Women love to choose along the breast, hip line, the ear was quite popular to have it sort of showing for a while. FF: OKAY, WHAT IS THE STRANGEST REQUEST YOU’VE RECEIVED AND HAVE YOU EVER SAID NO? EVAN: I’m not a shy person at all, but the strangest tattoo… a stripper came in and I tattooed a star around her butthole. HANNAH: Probably a favourite was a friend who asked (while intoxicated) if I could tattoo a stick person coming out of her butt crack with a speech bubble that said “Help me!” I agreed to

do that one, but unfortunately she never followed through. SAMANTHA: Occasionally on a crazy weekend, some people come down from the bar up the street to see what’s up. And this girl came in and she had a giant gash on her leg. She was really persistent that she wanted to get a tattoo in the cut. Like, not around it or not under it but in it. We were just like no, no, no! LUKE: With piercing and anatomy, curveballs happen all the time. So people need to come in to see me with an open mind ‘cause sometimes things don’t always work out. I won’t say no, I’d say maybe you should think about it for a day or two. Maybe come back. FF: ARE PEOPLE WHO COME TO SEE YOU FOR AN APPOINTMENT GENERALLY PREPARED? HANNAH: This one is really hit or miss! I find maybe half of people are well-prepared and researched. The other half are a combo of either not researching at all OR have spent way too much time on the internet and have made themselves paranoid about everything that could go wrong. EVAN: Exactly, it’s hit and miss. And not saying that there’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous and getting a walk-in tattoo. There’s some people who if they do something, they’re going to do it wholeheartedly and think about it and know all of their options. FF: ANY SPECIFIC SUMMER CARE TIPS TO OFFER YOUR CLIENTS AND FOLKS WANTING TO GET SOMETHING DONE THIS SUMMER? SAMANTHA: Summer is hard because a lot of people want to get it and show it off, with no time in between! Let it heal! It’s a wound. HANNAH: Avoid tanning and sunburns. EVAN: Yeah, sun is your tattoo’s worst enemy! We’ve all seen those tattoos that are just aged to hell and they’re like, two years old. It is important to use sunscreen on your tattoos if you want to protect them. And as great as lakes and pools are, there is bacteria in them. LUKE: If you’re on vacation, you want to be in the sun and in the salt water ocean- it makes sense, right? But it’s not the cleanest place. It’s the fish’s toilet!

TOP 10 PRE-APPOINTMENT TIPS 1. Don’t have a crazy night the night before - get your rest. 2. Eat before your appointment. Have a big breakfast or a big lunch. 3. Research! Know who is going to do the work for you and where you’re getting it done. Choose an artist that you relate to, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them. You want to enjoy it and feel comfortable! 4. Stay home if you’re not well. Your body and your artist will appreciate it! 5. Dress comfortably. 6. Ask questions! Don’t get scared to ask your artist or staff at the shop any questions you have. 7. Don’t bring an entourage. If you need to bring someone, bring just one friend. 8. Don’t do drugs or drink alcohol the night before! It will thin your blood and getting tattooed hungover is a nightmare. 9. Be hygienic and considerate of your artist! Being clean and smelling nice is appreciated and will help reduce the risk of any infections. 10. Mental preparation. Really think about if you’re doing the right thing and if it’s what you really want. It will hurt, so feeling your best and being as relaxed as possible will help.

LUKIE DUKE’S POST-PIERCING TIPS: 1. Do not touch it!! Only spin it if you’re cleaning it. 2. Clean your piercing twice a day. Use a mild, unscented soap and be gentle. Rinse it clean and use an after-care spray. 3. Take 1/8th of no ionize sea sat and boiled water, BUT BOIL THE WATER BEFORE ADDING THE SEA SALT! Let the salt dissolve and let it cool down, then either dip your piercing in it or use a clean cotton pad so it doesn’t fall to pieces when it gets wet. 4. A little bit of itching is fine! It means it’s healing.

credit: lukie duke

FF: WHAT IF YOU’RE AT A POINT WHERE YOU’RE NOT HAPPY WITH A TATTOO OR YOU HAVE FOUND OUT YOU’RE PREGNANT AND WANT A PIERCING REMOVED? SAMANTHA: I always tell people, if you feel that you’re not connected to this tattoo anymore come and see me and we can talk about it. Because I designed it, I’ll know how to cover it and I’ll know how to deal with that. I just want to make sure that that’s a comfortable decision that they’re making, they want to make it and it’s not someone else that wants to make the change for them. HANNAH: I see that happen a lot, someone pushed to getting a tattoo in the first place and it makes me really sad. If the client is still going along with what their friend is saying and I can tell they’re not comfortable? I’ll explain that they should go home and really think about why they are wanting this tattoo. SAMANTHA: Yes, [because] tattoo removal does not always go so well. I had a client who had a tattoo on his removed (on his neck) and it left a discolouration in the shape of the scar that was removed! So then he was sort of left with a ‘well, what am I going to do now’? LUKE: I will be glad to take out any piercing, it’s their body. You want to look into the mirror and see what you want to see. I always ask, ‘why do you want to take it out?’ The only downfall is a minor scar. Pregnant and breast feeding women, we turn down for the safety of the child. Wait until that’s done and then get a piercing. Your body will change, a naval ring might have to be re-done because of how it can be stretched. It may not fit as well as it once did.

FF: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB? WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SEEING WOMEN WITH BODY ART? LUKE: It sounds corny, but I think about it every day. The moment I pierce someone, and they turn around and look in the mirror and it’s just this dumb toothy smile that they give back? That’s the best part of my job. It’s them doing it for themselves. Finding this job it’s like thank you! I found home! SAMANTHA: I feel my tattoos were always meant to be there, and I say that to my clients too. It’s like a birthmark, it just becomes a part of you. But what makes the tattoo game kind of fun is that I never know what I’m going to get. I never know if someone walks in the door what that someone is going to ask for. EVAN: I love learning, tattooing is a non-stop learning process. I talk to artists who have been tattooing for 20 years and they’re still learning! I learn something every day. And women who have tattoos are just like the rest of us! There’s confidence there, they’ve accepted who they are and they’re okay with letting that show. HANNAH: I really couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else for a living, I mean what could be more fun than making sweet art on people every day?! I get to be creative and a big one is I get to help people through tough times, whether it’s getting a memorial tattoo for a loved one or helping them love their body more. It’s always amazing the positive impact I can have on people.

FOLLOW THEIR JOURNEY hannah rose sims @hannahrosetattoo samantha @malibustacey7 evan miller @stillinthewind lukieduke @thelukieduke FUTUREFEMALEMAG.COM | 72

BREAKING STEREOTYPES SITTING DOWN WITH TORONTO’S FIRST ALTERNATIVE BRIDAL DESIGNER written by naima karp When a woman thinks of her dream wedding, she envisions the puffy white princess dress, tiaras and meters-long veils that royalty dons, right? Wrong. As a matter of fact, for my own upcoming nuptials, I’d love to opt out of all that drama and instead go for something that more accurately expresses my true identity as a woman, as complex and layered as that may be. Luckily, one Toronto bridal designer is here to address all those woes, and come up with some breathtaking and inclusive alternative designs for your big day. Simone Vanessa is here to break all of your bridal stereotypes: “I want to change what a ‘traditional’ bride looks like. We should be able to write our own narrative and not every woman wants to look like Cinderella. I want to give a voice to the androgynous bride, the brides of colour and the out-of-the-box brides.” But wearing an unconventional wedding dress isn’t simply a way to define your style. Wearing something that pushes the envelope takes unbridled confidence and courage. Simone’s own confidence stems from the knowledge that many women out in the world stand in solidarity with not wanting to wear a traditional white gown, or even a traditional prom dress. Unfortunately, society has put a lot of stereotypes and expectations on brides regarding their dresses and the concept of femininity. “The biggest issues I find in the bridal wear world is diversity and inclusivity. We don’t often see people of minority in the industry, let alone thought about when it comes to the actual creation of the garment; I create garments that are thoughtfully inclusive to all demographics,” Simone says. Simone designs contemporary bridal wear, which to her means modern, sophisticated garments that are both of the era and thinking ahead. “I believe the future of contemporary bridal wear lies within the inclusion of smart textiles, cultural influences and classic radiance.” Outside of her own work, Simone hasn’t yet

come across any designer that caters to a wide range of demographics in terms of bridal wear, so most of her inspiration is sourced from her own mind. Outside of bridal wear, she looks up to the late Alexander McQueen as well as Zac Posen (we can see the similarities and influence in terms of structure and draping). “Most of my inspiration actually stems from music, nature and the energy that others project into the world. Musically, Nina Simone, Marsha P. Johnson and Prince are where I look to. I’m also inspired by my grandmother and my mentor,” Simone shares. Simone’s current favourite garment are her bridal pants from her Spring/Summer 2018 collection—one pair offers a looser fit with a train, while the other is a wide leg pant that imitates a skirt. We love the tomboy-chic innovation here—how cool are trousers with an attached train? Simone aim’s to inspire diversity and self-awareness, and thinks that the two go hand in hand. She uses a unique blend of models, including ones in Hijab that are currently on her website’s homepage. She includes different nationalities and looks, promoting those who stand apart from the traditional beauty standards of society. Hopefully through this, people will normalize these beauties outside the margins and become a little less ignorant.“My goal through this journey is to inspire at least one person, and to let them feel beautiful, comfortable and confident in their skin,” Simone says. Simone’s next full collections will be released in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. As of now, fans can purchase, schedule consultations and request custom pieces from her website. FOLLOW SIMONE’S JOURNEY @simone.vanessaa simonevanessa.com/shopsimone


Vanilla Latte exfoliating bath bar recipe by logan dunn

Taking your skincare routine to zero-waste may seem like a daunting step, but the beauty of it is that you don’t have to commit all at once! Slowly replace old products as you finish them, and in time you’ll have a full regimen that is plastic free! In avoiding products that come wrapped in layers of plastic packaging we can easily cut down on the amount of non-degradable plastics that end up in our landfills, or entering our water systems and harming the wildlife that inhabit these spaces. It may be tempting in the beginning to purchase many package-free products from companies such as Lush (their Jumping Juniper shampoo bar is my current secret obsession), and this is a great starting point, but you don’t need to spend all that money to get silky smooth, exfoliated skin. The secret is (and you’ve probably already guessed it) coconut oil! This liquid gold is super moisturizing, antibacterial, and anti-fungal to help with alleviating any skin conditions, and will rehydrate your skin after a quick buffing from the ground coffee beans. With only a few main ingredients, this deliciously-scented body bar is super simple and quick to throw together. There’s no longer any excuse to continue neglecting this key step in your skincare routine! Grab an ice-cube tray, melt down some coconut oil, add a few drops of pure vanilla extract (or your favourite essential oil), throw in a dash of sea salt and some ground coffee beans, freeze and you’re done! How easy was that? Store your bars in the fridge and use 2-3 times a week for nourished, and renewed skin without any of the guilt or the price-tag that comes with those store purchased products. *reprinted from the blog lavender and lavish with the permission of logan dunn


Makes 3 Bars

ingredients 1/4 cup Unrefined Coconut Oil 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract (or favourite essential oil) 4 tbsp. Coffee Grounds 1/8 tsp. Sea Salt

steps 5 minutes prep, 20 minutes to set 1. Begin by melting the coconut oil either over a double-broiler or in a microwave. 2. Add the vanilla extract (or favourite essential oil), coffee grounds, and sea salt. 3. Pour the mixture evenly into 3 cubes of an icecube tray or into a small glass-container. 4. Place the mixture in the freezer to set for 20 minutes, or until solid. 5. Pop the cubes out of your ice cube tray, or if using a glass container, slice the larger square into 3-4 equal portions. 6. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for use as you please!