Emily

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

I really don't wear much makeup - mostly because it irritates my skin.  It was never something I got into much as a teenager either. I had very sensitive skin and most of the stuff my friends wore made me break out.  I wear a little more when I go out, or for a special occasion, like a wedding, but then it's still fairly simple.  I think it's because I don’t really know what I'm doing half the time.  I know that the 'natural' look suits me.  If I try to wear lipstick it looks like I raided my mum's handbag!  

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

I heard about the project through a friend.  It sounded interesting and empowering and something that might make me feel more positive about how I look.  

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

Not really - It's a fairly normal thing for me.  I think wearing makeup makes me feel more uncomfortable and less like myself.  

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

I mostly like the way I look and after years of battling hairdressers insistent on straightening my hair, I have finally come to appreciate my natural curls.  I've worn glasses since I was two (I also had to wear an eye-patch for a while!)  People have asked me why I haven't got laser surgery, or why don’t I wear contact lenses but glasses are so much a part of me now, it feels strange to not wear them.  Curly hair and glasses is very much my 'style'.  It's how people recognise me.  I been rocking big thick glasses before hipsters made them cool.

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

Listen to your mother - she is right about everything!

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

I definitely feel the most comfortable and happy right now.  I've settled into myself and I feel that both my personal and professional lives are the most in sync and happily balanced at the moment.   

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

I've grown up hearing about the lives of my grandmothers; my paternal grandmother raising ten kids in a variety of strange countries while my maternal grandmother was sent away from Scotland to western Canada as a young teenager after the death of her father but made her way back home alone.  I'm very fortunate in that I have grown up surrounded by strong, independent women like them but my mum especially. My parents taught me to pride in myself and that hard work, intelligence and independence were valuable qualities to have.        

8. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I find questions like this really hard to answer.  I'm really bad at picking out strengths (being so self-deprecating, I find it easier to talk about what I'm abysmal at!)  I'm suppose I'm kind and patient and quite resilient.

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

I suppose most of the things feel proud of relate to my professional life – projects I've worked on that have been successful or pieces of work that have been recognised.  Usually it's after the first night of a show or the end of the first week of Fringe when you realise all your hard work, long hours and tears have finally paid off.      

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

I think body image and misleading ideas of beauty affect everyone to an extent – that women 'should' be slim and have long lustrous 'shampoo ad' hair.  At times I've felt pressured into feeling that in order to feel beautiful I should spend hours ironing my hair out and get rid of my glasses, because who wants to look like Velma from Scooby Doo when you can be Daphne! Teen-movies reinforced the power of the 'Geek-Girl' to 'Glamour-puss' makeover – put a girl in a strappy dress and lose the goggles and voila – the ignorant romantic lead finally sees what he's apparently been missing - because that's what's life is all about, isn't it(!)  I've stopped taking notice of mainstream media, stopped buying fashion magazines (it's hard when they have a cool freebie) and embraced my own weird, wobbly, slightly messed up style.