August 5, 2019
Emma is the newest friend I have included in this series. We’ve got to know each other well in a small amount of time as we live together. I met her through a good friend from university so I knew we’d get on. Friends of friends and all that. It is, perhaps, harder to describe someone you haven’t know for that long, but her qualities that stood out to me were her gentle kindness, immediate empathy and – well – her amazing hair and cheekbones. We are also both half Creole (her Mauritian, me Réunionnaise) which was a discovery we made when watching Homecoming together, and something we decided not only bought us closer together, but also us closer to Béyonce (haha).
Emma has gone through a lot of change since we’ve met but has handled it all with openness, a quality I’m always in awe of in others. We shot these in our flat, and I hope they are a great way to commemorate a new era of her life, too.
What makes you feel beautiful?
For me, feeling beautiful has a lot to do with connectedness – with myself, people, what I’m doing in the moment. I think aesthetically, feeling beautiful has also meant some unlearning over the years about what beautiful should look like, and embracing what I have; the particularities that make me authentically myself. Also, when I’m surrounded by my closest friends. Being with such supportive, powerful, loving and positive women makes me feel radiant.
What is beauty to you?
I think beauty is about feeling. I think it can’t really be bought or owned by anyone else, it can’t be given to you. It’s to be experienced. I think it feels like love, compassion, empathy – seeing people’s vulnerabilities and rawness – the things that bring us together and make us feel human…Beauty is also about diversity. Thankfully we’re starting to see a shift in global standards of beauty and more recognition for the different colours, forms, ages and sizes we hold. I think being able to own who you are and what you’re about is a really beautiful thing.
What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
The ocean and mother nature are the first to come to mind… diving with my brother in Mauritius was so special (also being half Mauritian) I saw living things I didn’t know existed – shapes and colours I’d never seen before. Also, more recently I was in Goa with a friend and we got stuck in a beach cove in the middle of the night (the tide came in whilst we were celebrating her 30th birthday) and we had to walk through water to get back on the mainland. The sky was lit by stars and the biggest full moon I’ve ever seen, and we saw schools of bioluminescent plankton in the water. That was pretty up there too.
gIRL stands for Girls In Real Life and is a personal photography project of mine to capture the women in my life and talk to them about their ideas on beauty. You can see more of the series here.