When I Look in the Mirror
() - March 29, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - It has been said many times over that beauty is an idea; and therefore the meaning of beauty varies from one person to another. For renowned fashion photographer Sara Black, real beauty can be seen in the flaws. Together with Dove, Sara puts forth a book entitled “When I Look in the Mirror.”

“When I Look in the Mirror” showcases the portraits of 46 real women who exhibit unique features such as a huge mole, a sprinkle of freckles, a bulging forehead or a lightning-shaped scar. While many others would resort to drastic measures to conceal these “flaws,” these women have chosen to rise above, some even further highlighting their so-called imperfections. A pictorial representation of how diverse and distinct authentic beauty can and should be, “When I Look in the Mirror” aligns with Dove’s Real Beauty advocacy to build awareness in women of all ages to embrace their natural physical attributes, regardless of how imperfect societal standards say they are.

A number of women featured in the book are familiar to many, with stature borne, not just of exceptional looks, but of recognized talent. They are all formidably-beautiful women who, through this book, are held up as shining ideals for other women to emulate. Their lives, and looks, are proof positive that beauty indeed comes in many shapes and forms.  

In the words of Sara, “All the women in this book have imperfections that are highly visible — something that’s necessary for us to see it in a photograph — and yet they’ve embraced these. There’s something we can all learn from them.”

Timi Gomez

“I’ve had my freckles ever since I was a kid. But when I was 13, an aunt told me that I shouldn’t spend too much time under the sun, and this made me realize a lot of things about skin care. Since then, I became the most self-conscious person. But after some time I realized, when you stop thinking about yourself too much, you start to see that there are so many other things you can do in the world.”

Tina Geronimo

“Unang nakikita talaga ng mga tao ay yung ears ko, hindi yung mukha. Kahit mga kapatid ko, inaasar ako. I was not the typically pretty kid! I was always in the shadow of my friends who achieved more than me. My job now involves a lot of public relations. It brings out my capabilities in communicating and dealing with people. Now I think that’s what makes me beautiful!”

Ana Pulido

“Your flaws don’t wholly make you. They’re only a small percentage of who you are. If you give much emphasis on them, it’s like devaluing the rest of your being.”

Johanna Garcia

“When I was in New York, I’d get compliments from people because of my curly hair. In time, I’ve learned to embrace it along with everything else.”

KC Nina Pusing

“I presume my life would just be the same, with or without my birthmark. True, people would immediately notice the visible birthmark on my face, but I’m confident that I’m judged based on my abilities and experience.”

Aimee Marcos

“Apparently, my teeth are a flaw. They never bothered me though and I never thought of them as a flaw. For me, it’s a character thing!

Tippi Ocampo

“At an early age, I was always presented with an alternative idea of beauty. My mother had always reminded me not to bank on my looks. I wasn’t even pressured to wear dresses. Beauty and fashion are inseparable — it’s all about offering a different perspective on what people consider aesthetically pleasing.”

Ina Vergel de Dios

“What you are on the outside does not define you. I remember having to shave my head because of my chemotherapy. Even my kids were worried about what people would say about me. Getting my second chance at life basically inspires me to live on and give back by helping other people.”

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