India

1. If you wear makeup, why do you wear makeup and how often do you wear makeup?

I don’t wear makeup every day, maybe a few times a week depending on what I am doing. I don’t often wear makeup to work unless I am hosting a public tasting in front of lots of people, for some reason it make me feel more professional. I have had the same makeup routine for a long time – I could do it with my eyes closed! So if I am putting makeup on it will always be the same, probably with a red lipstick for the weekend. 
 
2. What made you want to participate in this portrait series?

I saw some of the photographs & thought they were very beautiful & atmospheric. The photos looked as if they were full of the person's character & mood rather than just about her non- made-up look.
 
3. Is being completely makeup free something that makes you feel in any way uncomfortable?

Wearing no makeup doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all. I have always been lucky with good skin so covering up spots has never been an issue or a worry for me. I really like wearing make up & enjoying applying it before going out but I don’t feel like I have to have it on to feel like myself.  When I was younger I used to do that thing of sleeping in your makeup if you were sharing a bed with a boyfriend so you could get up in the morning, run to the toilet & re apply a bit so when he woke you looked fresh faced & gorgeous. It didn’t take me long to think that this is completely ridiculous & if I liked this guy then he should probably see what I really looked like.
 
4. Are there specific factors (positive or negative) that have influenced how you feel about how you look?

My Mum is quite a hippy & I grew up surrounded by lots of interesting people & strong women, there was not a lot of makeup in my house (even though my Mum had modelled makeup when she was younger) She was always make up free & looked incredibly natural & beautiful to me, in fact I don’t really like it when she wears make up now – she doesn’t look like my mum! 
I was complimented a lot when I was growing up by the women around me. This made me realise that you don’t only rely on compliments from men. It also taught me that compliments are not always appearance related, they can be about your talents, skills & attitude. 
 
5. If there was one piece of advice for the future you could give your younger self, what would it be?

Don't do things because you feel you need to impress anyone. Somehow I gained a reputation when I was younger & I sometimes felt it was bigger than me... I had amazing friends who reminded me who I really am & laughed at me when I was too big for my boots.

6. When have you felt most empowered in your life?

I feel very empowered walking around Edinburgh... I moved here knowing just 3 people 6 years ago & I now have built a life for myself here, filled with true friendship & love. 'Friends are the family you choose' - I would never move back to England. I feel truly at home in Scotland & it is empowering finding somewhere where you see yours & your children's future.


7. Is there a woman fictional or real that you admire? Why?

I admire so many women that I know. Friends & family who are more powerful than they realise. I think that is maybe what attracted me to this series... real people who have real stories about actual real life. Real life throws some pretty challenging crap around & normal people deal with remarkable things every day. My paternal grandmother is a good example of this. We are very close & in all 29 years of knowing her I don't know if I have ever seen her without a face of make up. Her lipstick choices are always bold & suit her beautifully. She has a confidence that comes from a wonderful self assurance, she is 90 years old & I admire the way she commands a room. 
 
8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I am very kind. I would do anything for those I love. I have been called fiercely loyal & I think this is both admirable & stupid at times.

9. Is there an achievement you are particularly proud of? Why?

I am proud of buying my first house with my partner. We are incredibly happy together & can't wait to move into our little Leith colony house. It has a balcony & I want to drink tea & eat biscuits there! 

10. In daily life what are the pressures you feel most exposed to specifically as a woman?

I feel keeping my emotions hidden because I am a woman very frustrating. When a man is emotional it is called passion or anger & is something which adds to his power. 
I am an emotional person but I feel it is a detriment to me as a woman, it makes me seem unhinged or less professional.