SOUL&STORY ft. Grace
est. 2011 Soul&Story is about letting women know that their natural beauty is worth a photoshoot. Their story makes them unique and sharing it in this way brings encouragment to others. In a world of comparison, Soul&Story exists to inspire and lift each other up. contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org instagram @soulandstory
What is your ethnicity and what is considered beautiful in your culture?
y family moved to the United States from the Philippines, an island nation off the coast of Asia with a very unique culture combining a Western influence from Spain and the United States with a traditional Asian influence from the nearby mainland Asian countries. The standard of beauty in the Philippines stems from its ancestral Spanish rootsâ€”Being tall, lean, and light-skinned was an image of wealth and power throughout history.
s a first generation Filipino-American woman, it has been a long journey understanding my cultural identity. Growing up in the United States, my parents did everything they could to integrate my siblings and me into our predominately white, suburban community, and in the
process, I fell out of my cultural roots. I remember encounters where my friends would tell me they consider me no different than themâ€” they considered me whiteâ€”and the worst part was that I took it as a compliment! Now, as a young adult, I have finally felt comfortable embracing the beauty of my Filipino roots. From stories of my grandfather growing up in the jungles of Mindanao, to my mother leaving her entire family to pursue her professional dream of being a resident nurse in the United States I now have nothing but pride for my Filipino heritage.
Whatâ€™s been your journey to understanding beauty & self worth?
am still on my own journey of understanding my beauty and self worth, but what I have learned thus far is that I am my meanest critic, and I need to give myself grace. Striving for perfection is a tiring and painful way to spend a lifetime, and I have decided to let it go. My quirks make me a real human being, and day by day I have been more comfortable growing into my own skin.
How did it feel to not wear makeup during the shoot?
ot great. A pimple on my upper lip decided to grace itself on my face the night before and I was mortified.
What was the last time you felt beautiful? During this photo shoot! Megan showered undeserved compliments on me and made me feel like a million bucks.
What is your favorite part of your body? My brain, because I believe the human mind is the most intricate and beautiful thing in the universe.
What was the last meaningful compliment youâ€™ve received? A very good friend of mine told me that one day I am going to be a wonderful mother. This compliment was so simple, but meant so much to me. I have ambitious career goals for myself, and at times I worry that they will take me away from providing for my future family. Hearing a friend have so much confidence in me gave me confidence in myself, and Iâ€™m so grateful for that.
How do you remind yourself that youâ€™re beautiful when you may not feel it? There is nothing worse than looking at yourself in the mirror, and hating what you see. We have all been there. On days like these, I remind myself that beauty runs deeper than what I see staring back at me. I tell myself that this is only a version of me, but not the whole picture of who I am. I have learned to accept what I seeâ€”sleep-deprived eyes and all.
Last Comments My advice would be to invest in friendship with strong women who will walk through life with you and remind you who you are when you are struggling. The women in my corner are the most ambitious, hard working womenâ€”each one so uniquely brilliant in their own way. I have made a conscious effort to surround myself with women like this because they inspire me everyday to be my best self. They push me to be driven and encourage me when I am having doubts about my confidence and beauty. We were not created to struggle through life on our own, find women this in your own life, and never let those friendships fade.
Photography by Megan Won