I was born in California, but moved several times as a child. I lived in Washington, Panama and Virginia before moving to a picturesque small town in Georgia called Dahlonega. This is where I came of age. Developing in a politically conservative space, there were things that I struggled with emotionally. Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell my younger self this: learning to love yourself and waiting for what you know you truly deserve can sometimes feel lonely, quiet and eternal. Staying true to yourself without settling or compromising your values will allow you to have the life you actually want.
Art is what my world often revolves around. Whether I’m creating something myself or experiencing works of art by others, I find that art seems to have a place in most aspects of my world. I believe that the desire to create is so uniquely human — whether that creation is for the purpose of reflecting on society, for beauty or for no reason at all. It’s something that unites us to our ancestors and to one another globally. I feel most alive when I feel creative, productive and safe enough to be vulnerable. Now I live in New York, working as an artist. My main focus is analog photography, and I’ve recently been exploring making films. Typically, my work is centered around the female experience. I have a deep hope to create work where everyone involved feels seen, connected and beautiful.
To me, beauty is empathy, nostalgia, aspirations and health. I see beauty when people treat one another with reverence. I see it when I remember or dream something sweet that happened or when an old story is told to me from someone I love. I experience beauty when I see or meet someone inspiring who I hope to be more like one day. I also see beauty when things are well nourished, in balance and working together. Treating ourselves and one another with kindness is where I believe beauty begins. When we celebrate each other, we all lift up. When we work towards allowing ourselves to feel truly beautiful and worthy in nothing more than our own skin, we create potential for a life filled with peaceful and beautiful moments.
I feel most beautiful when I feel healthy, a little sunkissed and moisturized. I feel beautiful at the end of a day where I created something I’m proud of. I also feel beautiful when I feel safe and loved either by myself or when I’m with my partner, family or closest friends. It can feel really nice to see myself through their eyes sometimes. I try to be pretty healthy with what I consume, and I try my best to stay hydrated. So I try to start from the inside. Every night I wash my face with a gentle cleanser and then apply serum. Every morning in the shower, I wash my face with either a gentle cleanser or an exfoliant (I probably over exfoliate, to be honest). I wear SPF 50 nearly daily and use a light moisturizer with sunscreen. When I wear it, I keep makeup pretty simple most days. I use a little concealer under my eyes to brighten, and love a little mascara, and the same lip color I’m wearing smudged onto my cheeks a bit. I love doing this last part because I have sweet memories of watching my grandmother and mother doing this when I was a little girl.
My family has shaped me most, but especially my mother — she’s taught me how to value myself, stand up for what I believe in, treat others, find the humor in everyday life and how to protect myself while remaining open-hearted. My incredibly dynamic, creative and beautiful friends have shaped me by simultaneously being my inspiration and my support system. My partner, Ford, has also shaped me. He’s shown me that romantic love, friendship and understanding can exist in the same place.
I hope that we can all take steps towards treating one another with deep respect and more empathy. I hope we can learn to take a moment and listen to one another before making any assumptions. I also hope that we can take action to allow all people to have autonomy over their own lives filled with equal opportunities. My greatest advice for life? Listen to yourself and try to remain true to what feels right for you inside. There are so many external influences - some good and some not so good. Sometimes it’s terrifying or uncomfortable, but I believe that when we’re honest with ourselves first, everything else has more opportunity to fall into place, and we create potential to live our most fulfilling lives.
Find Carolyne here.