A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.- Carly Simon
About a week ago I posted a very personal photo on instagram where I publicly addressed one of my biggest insecurities, my keloid skin. This was a HUGE stepping stone for me and I was very nervous about letting every one know about it because it was something most people didn’t know other than my close family and friends. It has also been my biggest demon I have fought hard to conquer..until now.
I get comments all the time on my photos that state I am “Flawless”, that my “skin is gorgeous”, and fluently get messages from people asking me about my skin regime and all I can think when this happens is…”they have no idea.” I mean, since I was 12 I have lived my life in fear of every cut, scratch, burn, or blemish hoping my wounds would heal correctly and not turn into some huge scar that doesn’t stop healing. What made it harder was not knowing anyone else who had this problem though there are more than 3 million cases a year. It was just something I had to deal with on my own and it was a rough road because I felt no one every really understood how frustrating it was for me.
I’ll give you the textbook description of what a keloid is.
Research says they are harmless and though they might be, it still doesn’t change the fact that they are annoying. My keloids sometimes hurt and sometimes they itch. They are also contagious to any part of the body a single keloid forms which means if I get one keloid on my chest, chances are others will pop up around that area. As I said above, I get keloids from any type of trauma to the skin wether it be acne, scratches, burns, or even something as small as a paper cut. Basically, I should wear mittens and live in a giant bubble.
I got my first keloid when I was 12 years old and that keloid went from the size of a grain of rice to almost an inch and a half long. After that it was one keloid after another and now I have 15-25 keloid scars on my body. Most of my keloids are on my back but I have a few on my chest. I also have tons of other minor keloid scars on my legs as well but they haven’t risen.
My goal here is to shed some awareness. Sadly there isn’t much information out there about them and there is no real cure other than laser removal which isn’t much of a cure because there’s a 50-75% chance of that new scar becoming a keloid. To make sure the procedure has a greater chance of working doctors suggest radiation treatment which is really scary to me so I shy away from the whole idea. I spent years getting steroid shots, about 15-25 needles a session every 6 months, which are extremely painful and only flatten the keloids temporarily before they start growing again. A few years ago they put me on Accutane which made me very very sick. I can’t tell you how infuriated I get when I see people referring it to someone with skin problems all over the net. Sure you will be acne free but the trade-off is having such DRY skin you could literally peel your skin off, having to use chapstick every 5 minutes because your lips are so dry, and feeling dehydrated 24/7. How can I enjoy my face if I look like my face is chipping? It’s all a bullshit gimmick. It can and it will get you sick. I got off of it after 9 months of use and got the worst allergic reaction ever. I had a pinched nerve in my neck, the worst sore throat I have ever had in my life, and now I have arthritis. The turning point when I realized this was making me sick was when I got fluid in my leg. I never ever broke a single bone and NEVER ever had fluid in my knee until Accutane. My doctor shrugged it off like nothing because she was friends with my dermatologist who prescribed me Accutane. They did not listen when I told them it was making me sick. Remember the medical field is a business and companies like Accutane sell their products to Doctors who then sell those products to their patients. There are lawsuits being filed against them everywhere and still nothing being done to take them off shelves.
My keloids made me feel like a mutant. For a few years I wore shirts to the beach, hid my back behind my hair, and photo-shopped my keloids out of my pictures (which I still sometimes do now). For years, I had a problem with physical intimacy because I was so insecure about anyone touching my skin. For years I kept this a secret and tried my best not to show that this affected me so deeply. Sometimes I just wanted to tell my followers “You really want to know my skin regime? Well I travel with alcohol pads, neosporin, and band aids. My mornings consist of a 3 step treatment by Murad (it works great for acne!). My night-time regime is cleanser and night serum (Kiehls) and I have to wear band aids on my face to sleep when I break out so they don’t get affected and turn into keloids.” It really effects my every day of life and still sometimes does. I mean, I used to want to do burlesque and realized I would never be comfortable because I don’t have porcelain skin. I also used to wish I could wear backless dresses and not have to wear giant necklaces to hide my keloids. Sometimes I even catch people staring at my keloids which is really really uncomfortable for me. I exhausted myself with this one insecurity and watched it eat me alive until I got fed up and said fuck it. This is who I am. I can either accept it or live my life hating myself for it forever. Accepting it sounds like a more pleasant road.
So now, I don’t get anymore keloid shots. I still live life cautiously with crazy skin care regimes but I do not allow my skin issues to disable me from wearing what I want and feeling beautiful. It’s really all about perspective…I look at it this way, I’m sorta like Wolverine (or X-23 since she is practically the girl version), I heal faster than most people, sometimes all it takes is a day or two and I think that’s kind of amazing. I figured if I am going to feel like a mutant, It might as well be a super human mutant like Wolverine haha. As an advocate of body positivity I felt it was my duty to discuss my own insecurity and how I overcame it by just accepting THIS IS WHO I AM. At the end of the day your physical insecurities do not determine your true beauty, your character, compassion, and how you treat people does. Knowing that I am a wonderful person with a heart of gold made me realize that my physical insecurities do not matter at all. As women we are so concerned with what people think of us or what a man might think of us, and it doesn’t really matter. Someone who truly loves you will see you for the beauty you are and if someone doesn’t, it only means they are incapable of thinking beyond the surface. Don’t give small minds the authority to make you feel any less than wonderful. Don’t give small minds the authority to make you feel less than beautiful. Don’t give small minds the authority to tell you WHO YOU ARE because only you can do that. Only you have lived in your skin throughout your life. Now learn to embrace it like I have.
I want to thank all of you for being so supportive when I addressed my keloids on instagram and Facebook and even messaging me to let me know you can relate because of your skin issues. It made me realize that my scars was someone else’s sign of hope and that I wasn’t alone. Your responses were beautiful and made me cry tears of joy. It really restored my faith in humanity and showed me that I have such a great following of incredible people who see me for who I am, flaws and all, and still love me anyway. I am living proof that you can have scars/acne and still be accepted and celebrated for who you are. Let that be a positive message to all of you who are struggling with your skin today.
As women, as people, we often have unrealistic expectations of beauty and become so concerned with the outside instead of working on the inside of ourselves. We are all flawed and none of us are perfect (yup, not even all those girls you see on instagram) so you might as well live life loving the person you are (or working towards loving yourself) because you’ve only got one life to live. Here’s to conquering our insecurities and learning to embrace that they make us unique!
I recently collaborated with Daniel Rodriguez of DMR Depictions on a 3 look photo shoot. The theme was supposed to be the “teen dream”, an ode to teen style in the 1950s, but we ended up with a few wild card outfits that went off track haha. Luckily the other two are still of the 1950s era with my own modern spin of course. However, this one is one of my favorites. I found the most amazing vintage varsity jackets a year ago with the title “Panthers” and happened to stumble across a vintage skirt in the same color way. They both matched perfectly (I’m a lucky thrifter!) and I came up with the perfect 1950’s Cheerleader look. I loved it so much I just had to shoot in it! Hope you guys love it like I do! This is one of my favorite shoots to date and it was so much fun to shoot at his studio. I love collaborating with a photographer who gets my vision. We make such a great team! Read More
I have been looking for a gorgeous Turkish bohemian necklace for months now but as a perfectionist I haven’t found the right style at the right price. Thankfully some of my girls at PUG came across this amazing Turkish jewelry brand called Chanour. I am OBSESSED with everything on their website and plan to expand my collection of Turkish pieces now that I have found the holy grail. See how I styled it with my other jewelry pieces. I love culture and I love to incorporate a plethora of them into my personal style. I paired my new Chanour necklace with my Tibetan bangles and it looked great. See photos inside.
One of the highlights of my last trip to New York was shooting with Erika (@riot_red) of @haguenyc. I normally just shoot with the same photographers most of the time because I happen to have some really talented friends but Erika was an exception after seeing the work she did with my Aunt and her children (who happen to be extremely stylish). Her work is a breath of fresh air and not the same boring Street Fashion stuff I see all the time. Sorry, but its the truth. She manages to shoot the most fashionably creative people all the time and I am honored she wanted to shoot me too. We only had 2 hours (if that!) of sunlight after our busy schedules but we made it work and shot two different looks in my hometown, Queens. One look was a vintage two-piece polka dot set I bought at Buffalo Exchange just the day before. We shot it in front of a wall graffitied by Queen Andrea. The other was a two-piece tiger printed Deadly Dames set I had been itching to wear that we shot by a tennis court by my mothers house. All of these images will serve as memories someday of the place I grew up in now that I reside in Las Vegas. They are so special to me. See inside. Read More
I know I haven’t been posting as much as I should. Instagram has practically become my blog and that’s really where all of the action is at. I have tried redesigning my blog to give me a little boost but after several failed attempts this weekend I realized my blog is fine the way it is. I was going to give it a clean white simple look but I am not simple, I am colorful, creative, artistic, and funky. I realize that it’s not my blog that’s the problem, I’ve just been doing this for so long that I am ready for the next step. What that is, well I don’t really know but I plan to find out.
Before I left to New York for a few weeks I told you guys something very personal. I was having non-stop anxiety attacks. They were completely paralyzing and affecting me terribly. Lots of people had no idea this was going on. I thought it may have been some kind of PTSD from past traumas but really… Read More