Elizabeth Ashley: To define beauty in a person is to sell them short of how wonderful they are. There are no true ways to define what a persons ‘beauty’ is, as we are all different, unique, talented human beings. However, for my, defining beauty in a person is to focus not on the physical aspect of them, but of their soul and their heart. How they treat people, family, friends and most importantly, themselves. Many people do not know that beauty is the whole package, not what makeup you have on.
A: How do you think that society has pressured women into certain standards of beauty?
EA: Society has done a perfect job symbolizing what beauty is NOT. Beauty is not tons of makeup and product in your hair. Beauty is not spending $200 on shoes. Beauty is not what expensive perfume you wear, or what designer you shop from. Beauty should be stripped down to the truth; that is Simplicity. Being able to be yourself with no fear that if you don’t wear makeup then you are a ‘plain jane’, If you don’t have a fancy bag or shoes you are a loser… There is so much pressure to fit in amongst people, to always have the best things, all materialistic. No one pays attention to people anymore. It is all about products and image.
A: How have these standards affected you and other women you know?
EA: The most that societies pressures have affected me have been me seeing a new shampoo to use, or maybe an article of clothing. With that being sent, If you look in my closet most items are from 2 years ago. I don’t follow trends, I don’t care. I buy what I like and I don’t care if it’s in style or not. That’s not me, to be ‘in style’, but to be ‘me’. The pressures have of course affected woman I know. My roommates, for example, splurge on clothes all the time to keep up with the trends since we live in Manhattan. There is a lot of pressure living here to always look perfect, but some people can’t afford that. Like myself. You have to make work what you already have.
A: What advice would you give to yourself when you were in high school? What advice would you give to women in general?
EA: Well, High School was not fun for me as I went to an All Girls Catholic school. Here, everyone was drowning in designer bags, cars, clothes. It was impossible for me to feel like I was ‘cool’. I wasn’t uncool or cool, I just was. And for me that was perfect. I would tell myself to not worry about not feeling pretty because I didn’t like wearing makeup but all the ‘pretty’ girls did. I would tell myself congratulations for remaining true to myself. I would tell girls to really try to be happy with who they are. Instead of looking at others and trying to portray that through emulating products or behaviors. Beauty starts within.
“Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly?
Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know it. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that he sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination.”—W. Somerset Maugham
When most people think of dancers, they think of stunning, almost effortless movement across a mahogany stage with red velvet curtains framing the picture. They think of tiny women flying in midair and twirling in tutus.
But what’s behind the pretty costumes and stage makeup?
What do dancers consider to be beautiful?
“I think that beauty is being comfortable with who you are. If you aren’t comfortable with the way that you are, then you’re never going to feel beautiful.”-Atesha Gifford, age 16
“I’m conscious of weight, I’m conscious of looks, I’m conscious of my outward of appearance. I’ve worked with it. I’ll tell you what’s more of an issue for me now- ageism, more than weight or anything else. I think there’s an -ism in anything, and in dance, it’s huge.” -Judy Tolemai, dance teacher
“To me, beauty in a dancer is them getting at their core and expressing who they are on stage. Not being superficial.”
“In the morning, it’s a rush for girls to look perfect, when the truth is, you’re supposed to try to learn in school.”
“Beauty is a balance of everything of life, where you’re both pushing yourself but are comfortable and happy.” -Darby Drake, age 16