Sarah

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

Pretty much every day. I work in fashion and feel naked without make up. I also enjoy makeup and how it makes me feel. I don't wear the same makeup every day, I experiment and change my look.

2. What made you want to participate in this portrait series?

It was out of my comfort zone and a bit scary but I loved the honesty and strength of the pictures I saw online. 

3. Is being completely makeup free something that makes you feel in any way uncomfortable?

Yes absolutely- as an ex model (over 20 years ago!) am so used to being painted  and re touched it's quite daunting to face a camera naked. I don't think I have ever been photographed with a bare face.

4. Are there specific factors (positive or negative) that have influenced how you feel about how you look?

Last year I was treated for breast cancer and it's made me realise there are much more important things than how you look. It was a humbling experience. During my treatment and post surgery I obviously didn't wear makeup but bright lipstick was definitely a tool I used afterwards to give myself a lift. Post treatment I had a bit of hair loss so cut my long hair really short which was liberating. I found I wore more makeup though to compensate for lack of hair!

5. If there was one piece of advice for the future you could give your younger self, what would it be?

You don't need to wear a mask. I can't bear it when I see young girls caked in make up. Fake lashes, tan, nails etc...

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

Probably right now eighteen months post mastectomy. I feel fit and healthy and very blessed.

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

My daughters aged six and seven, they are completely innocent and uninterested in self image

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

Strength, it's come in useful recently

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

Getting through the last two years and still smiling. What a lot of people don't realise about a cancer diagnosis is that post treatment is often the worst time for a patient. Learning to live with the worry of re-occurrence, people expecting you to snap back into your former life, it's hard. Happily though it also helps sort your priorities out and I think I have a much better work life balance these days. My proudest achievements though are my two daughters and my marriage.


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

So many! We have so many external pressures  from media and the internet but I believe the most damaging are the ones which we impose on ourselves. Particularly those centred around our appearance- to look thinner, have perfect skin and hair and dress well. I was brought up to think as a woman I could have it all but realise now it's just exhausting to even try. Pick your priorities and your battles....