HIDDEN HUNGER

There are a whole lotta stereotypes about supermodels…and let’s let’s face it, most of them ironically, aren’t very attractive.

It’s easy to assume that anyone who makes a living from their looks is shallow, & we’ve seen some spectacular examples of self-consumed models entirely aware of only their, (taken quite literally) “first world problems,” which is where the term “like a spoiled brat” comes from. Babies don’t have the consciousness to know their crying can be upsetting to those around them. It’s their only way of communicating! ”Adults” should have developed communication skills beyond that of a baby. But in our culture, being obnoxious, stupid, rude, even downright psychotic makes you famous (or more famous)…no consequences (a horrific trend as well – thank you internet and all those “negotiating” style parents).

In any case, if we put the words model & hunger together, first things that come to mind are probably juice fasts and eating disorders. Sure, like most things in life it’s unfair, because all that beauty much of the time is far more than skin deep.

Take Karolína Kurková…best known as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, she is also a hardworking mom & advocate for the nearly 1 in 6 American families who can’t always put food on the table. That’s right, 1 in 6 in the “greatest country in the world,” the US of A.

And, it’s not always who you’d imagine—the loss of a job or a chronic illness can put nearly anyone in this position. I can personally attest to how, within just a few months of an accident, or any type of sustained trauma, in a time of stress, when the body / mind is already down or ill…can nearly if not entirely ruin your life over time. It can rob you of your personality, your friendships, your sense of self, your income and eventually your home even! It can happen quicker than you can imagine. When we find we are no longer reaching out to anyone and talking to them about our lives, asking for help, or talking at all, that is when things are in crisis mode and the time has passed for mild action and time to rev up to kick-ass action!

It’s great to support international charities, but sometimes we forget about the hidden hunger in our own backyards – probably because we demonize the hunger in America– making it easy to look away, to live without guilt or sense of shame or responsibility.

I hope you read more about Kurkova’s work trying to make sure ALL children in America have access to (real, nutritious, nutrient-dense) food: http://www.instyle.com/news/karolina-kurkova-charity-work-feeding-america-hunger-charities

This article was a wake-up call, because although I live in a rural area, I can easily think of a few moms’ close to home who would appreciate a homemade pie or surprise meal. How about you?

xo

—Suki

BADASS WOMEN: JENNIFER LAWRENCE

 

at just 25, Jennifer Lawrence kicks a**! she seems to have a wisdom & perspective that belies her youth & many other people’s silly ideals of feminine perfection. she notably refused to lose weight for her role as heroine Katniss Everdeen in the post-apocalyptic Hunger Games movies, & got the chance to respond to a storm of media body-shaming with poised replies like the one above, setting one hell of an example in the process!

she’s been called “the most talented young actress in America” by Rolling Stone, & unlike many, hasn’t let it go to her head. instead, she’s used her success to support charities like Feeding America & the Special Olympics.I applaud Ms. Lawrence for refusing to take part in the deadly Hollywood “hunger games” that lead so many Hollywood starlets & the girls who imitate them into battles with eating disorders & twisted body images!

you keep keeping on woman!!! know your beauty never looked more fabulous!

xo

—Suki

BADASS WOMEN: OPRAH!

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Oprah never stops moving in her external persona as our Oprah Winfrey, inspiration, talk show host (seems so trite to even write this one), ever changeable television / movie producer, book & script finder, & indeed, host & inspirational “speaker” in our homes). she is not just inspirational but truly aspirational & I think this is what she would like most of all, getting us off our asses & thinking/doing for ourselves rather than against ourselves…since 1983.

unlike many sensationalist daytime talk shows of her era (here’s looking at you, Jerry Springer, even with your “maudlin endings”), Oprah used much of her airtime to promote reading itself (a lost pastime in our age of 140 word limits & big graphics that say it without words, heck, we are graduating kids who actually CANNOT read or write – I’m telling you…they allow phonetic writing, OMG can you believe it, & I personally have proof of this guys!), self-improvement & empowerment, spirituality (not necessarily religion) & charitable giving, & hopefully bringing out that impetus in people. Oprah was also Academy Award nominated for her role in The Color Purple, not to mention her involvement, production, finding amazing stories & acting in several other movies including Selma, The Hundred Foot Journey, Precious, Beloved, Nine & too many TV shows, specials & movies to name.

cited as the richest African American of the 20th century & born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, a former maid, & Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner, barber, & city councilman. she was raised by a single, teenaged mother in the city of Milwaukee, & shortly after her birth, her mother left & Oprah to be raised by her grandmother, Hatti Mae Lee in terrible conditions. her only friends? farm animals. however, even at that age Oprah had a very imaginative mind & would frequently give the animals dramatic parts & include them in games. due to her grandmother teaching her to read & write before the age of three, she was often promoted several grades ahead of her age in school. (sorry, but suck it Waldorf “we wait till our kids express the desire to learn” theory…ugh).

sadly, at nine she was raped by her nineteen year-old cousin, & this wouldn’t be the only sexual abuse she experienced. her cousin, a family friend, her mother’s boyfriend & her uncle during her stay in Milwaukee rack up the list of the core challenges that made her not only the strong woman she is today, but the empathetic one. like many of us who have had such experiences, she never told a soul because the predators swore her to silence. at thirteen, Oprah ran away from home & at the age of fourteen became pregnant with an ill son who died shortly after birth. she took the death as a second chance in life, but was sent to live once again with her father in Nashville. Oprah’s father was very strict & made education the number-one priority.

in high school, she began reading news on the radio & later, during college, was offered a job as a co-anchor on the CBS television station, declining several times before being convinced by her speech professor that it could be the ultimate step to launch her career. Oprah wanted to find work outside of Nashville & was soon offered a job in Baltimore. the job offer came a few months before graduation, so she had to make a choice between taking it & finishing her degree. she turned out to be not the best reporter & was shortly fired…just going to show that even immensely talented people sometimes take a while to find their niche. however, in 1981, Oprah sent recorded tapes of her show to a talk show in Chicago called “A.M. Chicago”.

during this time, I actually met Oprah filming an interview at my high school! this was a performing & visual arts “fame school” as folks called it, where famous folks came & went to inspire us “future creative types”. I have to say, Oprah is one of those people who burned an image in my mind that I still see clearly. she was, even then, totally in charge. I remember her as the lone woman on set, demanding & directing the men to get it done & moving around like a hurricane. I’d literally never seen anything like it. I watched intently, & little did I know then that it would be a reminder to me during dark times to stick to my instincts & vision to matter what. needless to say, she sunk in…& I am privileged for the seeds planted early on which I have tried to manifest, & continue to! 🙂 I’ve been lucky enough to have others pick up where my vision left off, but Oprah was one of my first images of what a woman can do when she puts her mind to it, throws outside constructs to the wind & holds her vision & goals as most important. I’m quite sure Oprah’s goals have shifted multiple times over the years to where she is today, & they will continue to shift, but her role is clear to all of us.

in September 1985, she changed the name of her show to “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, which ran ‘til 2011, sweeping 47 Emmy awards & inspiring millions. Oprah has published numerous books & her magazine “O” reaches over 2 million people each year. in 2006, Oprah held her Legends ball—the first of its kind—honoring African-American women, including Maya Angelou, Aretha Franklin, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Toni Morrison & so many more, including women from all ethnicities, all inspirational for what they offer the world. & now her “Master Class” which includes topics from A to Z has broken barriers & continues to inspire in new ways we’ve never seen on TV.

the real take away from Oprah is not her fame, her money, her largess…to me, anyway. it is how she rose like a phoenix from the atrocities in her childhood & utilized her past to recreate herself anew, for the purpose of helping others. she isn’t hiding her story in the shadows, it’s right out there for all of us who can identify with so much of it. we know we can do so much more than “make it through.” we can thrive, achieve, succeed, struggle through our relative challenges & come out the other side incorporating the totality of all our experiences. I see them as our histories, that make each of us, indeed, who we really are. none of us are perfect, nope, not even Oprah herself…but like her, we can use our experiences to show empathy to others, show them they aren’t alone & so importantly, be inspirational ourselves, saying with our actions…anything IS truly possible! through aggressive effort, through love, through assertiveness, through not “guilting” or “shoulding” ourselves, but going after our deepest desires for our lives & being in our own corner! I think Oprah has lived that example – & I’m grateful for that aspect of her bigger-than-life icon status & the chance to look deeper into the person she actually is.

xo

—Suki

BADASS WOMEN: GWENDOLYN BROOKS

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Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks (1917 –2000) was the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950 for Annie Allen, the tale of an African American girl’s transition from child to woman as she faces racism, war, death & ultimately falling in love.

Brooks was, like me, a Chicago native. she always wanted to be a poet & didn’t bother going to college because she thought it was unnecessary—to be a writer, she believed (& proved) all you have to do is write. she was already published at thirteen & as a young woman, she created poetry workshops for African American woman in Chicago’s South Side. Brooks helped lead a whole generation of black woman (& white male poets & reviewers) to realize that great poetry is universal & not restricted to any race, gender, age or class.

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“we are each other’s harvest” reminds me, this holiday season, to be grateful for more than any material possessions I’ve accumulated—it’s the loved ones in my life who are my greatest wealth & bounty.

xo

—Suki

BADASS WOMEN: MAYA ANGELOU

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Maya Angelou (1928 –2014) was a woman unafraid to live as boldly as she wrote. throughout her life she worked as a fry cook, opera singer,  journalist, actress, director, civil rights leader, nightclub dancer & yes, a prostitute. of course, she was most famous for her plays, poetry & autobiographical writing.

although she was open about her past & the traumas she suffered, she never let herself be defined by them, or by the gender & racial labels that suffocated so many voices in her time. she won three Grammy awards for her spoken-word albums & her childhood autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings reveals the struggles of growing up black & female in the pre-Civil Rights era to new generations of high school students & other readers across the world.

Maya Angelou’s life was fearlessly far from “normal” & without a doubt amazing!

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xo

—Suki

BADASS WOMEN: MONICA LEWINSKY ON CYBER-BULLYING & SHAME

here’s a fabulous TED talk @ cyber bullying & our ever-growing culture of disassociation, cowardice & schadenfreude. Monica Lewinsky’s story will make you think… & maybe make you feel connected to something real!

bullies have existed forever…I mean, wherever the humans are, you’ll find idiocy & insecurity. & where there are insecure humans, there is going to be bullying. but, try explaining that to a broken child, scared to face another day of school.

these days, victims of bullying have it even harder than we did (hard to believe, huh?). we now have unprecedented numbers of cowardly, angry, manipulative people sitting safely behind their computer screens with one goal: to harm, attack, “take down” & humiliate the objects of their obsession. we have websites that allow multiple unscreened posts from people whose sole, sick agenda is to attack without credibility & with no chance for the victims to defend themselves.

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so if you think bullying is only child’s play, think again…it’s a totally non-at-all-brave new age called cyber-bullying, a phenomenon specific to progress. as Ms. Lewinsky says, all this progress has made personal life “public without consent, public without context.” our culture has devolved to be totally disconnected &anonymous…cyber-bullies can gutlessly shame their victims without any personal consequences. how many of us have typed out something we’d never say face to face & regretted it later? so far, thankfully, only the most psychologically disturbed of these “trolls” actually post or encourage cyber-ranting that clearly borders on the sociopathic.

however, reality tv & celebrity scandal pop culture has certainly paved the way for people to displace their self-hatred instead of working on their issues through self-examination or therapy. we have website owners who allow their own “rules” to be broken & allow victims to be clearly abused. I believe people online should be forced to live & die by the same standards we must follow in our daily face-to-face lives. right now, the web is the wild west. there is no face, no name, no accountability, no proof, no truth…& who cares! anyone can say anything!

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back we come to Ms. Lewinsky (the young, fresh faced intern…but who remembers her that way?), who understandably retreated  from the public eye after the 1998 scandal that rocked the White House & beyond.

but did any of us think  or care about what really became of her?

in her brave TED talk, Ms. Lewinsky reveals what it was like to be at the center of the first major scandal to take place in the internet age. compelling & very much worth a view!

xo

—Suki

THE INSPIRING KATE DILLON, ACTIVIST & “KNOW YOUR BEAUTY” SUKI SPOKESMODEL

i met the amazing Kate Dillon long ago, during NY fashion week, when I was way too shy to be on camera but somehow always had the nerve to go up to strangers & strike up conversations with them, even if I, like with Kate, had been a fan for a long time…go figure!
she’s an activist, humanitarian, had been a supermodel for years &, as I was shocked to find out that very day, a sukifan (she actually KNEW WHO I WAS?!!) of course, straight away, as is my way, i asked her if she would ever want to oh, you know, represent suki skincare out in the world when I had nothing to offer but well, the gift of amazing skin 🙂 which of course to say to her, already perfection, was funny..but since she was already using my product, meant to be I guess, & I will always grateful for this!
Kate is inspiring – her story, her self-awareness, her inner strength, she is the example she wishes to see in the world! she lives her ideals & truly embodies her own true self, her individual beautiful, real self every day, thereby embodying my philosophy of “know your beauty” totally!
today, Kate is focused on her humanitarian work as the founder of several charities including ECHO Prosocial Gallery, Curves for Change & the Komera Project. her ultimate goal always to help women though fundraising & increasing awareness related to women’s rights, eating disorders & sustainability. here are Kate & I winding our way through our & her stories…:)
enjoy!
xo
—Suki

suki® spokesmodel Kate Dillon’s story

Suki & suki® spokesmodel Kate Dillon