SOUL&STORY ft. Katrina
Soul&Story started in Fall 2011. The inspiration came from Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty Videos that addressed the question: What standard of beauty are we holding ourselves to? Soul&Story seeks to do two things. 1) Share people’s stories about how they discovered their own beauty/self-worth 2) Inspire others to brave their soul and get the conversation started about what influences us in our self worth. The reason the featured women don’t wear makeup in the photoshoots is not to shame makeup. Nothing is wrong with wearing makeup. The problem comes when we aren’t comfortable in our own skin. So we go to the extreme: and require that they don’t wear makeup for this shoot. The hope is that we all come to love ourselves for who we are. Despite the unnatainable beauty that we are surrounded by, we can overcome it by pulling our strength from the encouragement of our friends and mentors.
What ethnicity are you and how did that affect your idea of beauty?
’m actually Irish and German, with a little bit of “I don’t know” thrown in – but nothing that easily explains my tan complexion and dark hair. I don’t know that this really plays into my idea of beauty, other than the fact that it lends to a lot of surprised reactions from people.
rowing up, my dad always made sure to tell me that I’m “the most beautiful girl in the world” and that I look beautiful no matter what I wear. The first times I wore makeup (aside from playing dress up) stemmed from someone looking down on me because I didn’t. She made me feel like I was a little kid because I didn’t wear makeup yet, and definitely made me feel lesser. Shortly afterwards, though, I saw the ridiculousness of this pressure and was adamantly against makeup for a time. I never wanted to get to the point where people got so used to me in makeup that they would be shocked by my real face.
’ve since moved back to wearing it occasionally, though not on a daily basis, and usually only to accent my expressions while performing spoken word. Makeup is fun, but I am certainly just as confident without it.
What’s your journey to understading beauty and self-value?
omebody once told me, “we are most beautiful when we know that we are loved,” and I’ve found that this rings true. The moments when I’m most emphatically told that I am beautiful almost always coincide with times when I have been reminded of how loved I actually am. We, at the core of who we are, are loved by God. This is our identity. When I truly know this, my countenance changes. Something about me shines when I live from that truth rather than in a fear-filled cycle of trying to prove myself (to myself, most often). It’s authentic, and it’s contagious.
How did it feel to not wear makeup during the shoot?
t wasnâ€™t an issue for me. I donâ€™t wear makeup very often, but happened to put on a bit in the morning. Washing my face before the shoot seemed a little opposite, but that just made me smile. It felt honest.
Best compliment you've ever received?
You are marked by authenticity.” This simple statement meant so much to me, because I’ve been praying for years that God would do this work in me. I want to be honest and real (even when vulnerability is scary), and want to authentically live as who God has created me to be.
n terms of a physical compliment, someone recently commented, “Katrina, you grow more and more beautiful every time I see you.” This one particularly resonated because it was said in a season when I was very aware of the dramatic growth that God was doing in my life: sowing truth in my heart and uprooting lies. That inner process of healing and joy was reflected outwardly: I was growing more and more beautiful in others’ eyes because I was knowing more and more that I am loved.
When was a time that you felt beautiful?
feel beautiful right now, sitting in the caf writing these answers, but that’s a less exciting story.
moment recently when I felt beautiful was Friday, spending time with someone in whose arms I had cried for an hour the night before. I never used to be a crier. And by that I just mean that I stuffed my emotions and refused to cry in front of someone outside my family. I guess I saw tears as weak and unwelcome, maybe thinking that my vulnerability would scare people off. That fear is being put to rest. I felt beautiful knowing that I’m loved, knowing that I matter somehow, knowing that my crying face doesn’t make my friends think any less of me. It might, even, allow them to care for my heart even more deeply. And that, dear ones, is beautiful.
What is your favorite part of your body?
â€™m laughing at myself a bit for this answer, but I actually really love my shoulders. They are strong, holding stories of travel and tears. They allow me to hug people, reminding me that relationships are why those adventures mattered in the first place. And they are my defiant reminder that being beautiful and being strong are not mutually exclusive concepts.
How do you remind yourself that you’re beautiful when you may not “feel” it?
am loved and nothing can change that. It doesn’t matter if I “feel it” or not. Feelings are real but they are not always truth. I am beautiful, at my core.
hen I doubt, I look for truth. I turn to scripture, I ask people to “tell me something true,” and I remind myself of the moments when I did feel loved. I choose to dwell upon those things rather than let my thoughts spin in a selfdeprecating direction.
What is a piece of advice you want to leave?
et what God says about you be what you found your sense of identity upon. His words are the only things that will never change. Someday, you will age; you will have wrinkles and lesstoned muscles, your body may not allow you to do the things you define yourself by now. But being loved by God? That will not change. Let truth be your footing. You are worth more than those lies.
Photography by Megan Won