To be beautiful is to be.
September is officially Real Beauty month at Valentia HQ. We’re celebrating stretch marks. And moles. And large pores. And loose skin. And freckles. And bloated bellies. And skin folds. And acne. And cellulite. And postpartum bodies. And scars.
We want to take this time to think about how we would move through the world if we looked in the mirror and knew we were enough. If you weren’t bound by society’s ideals of how you should look, feel, care for your body—would you be emboldened to be your truest self?
Join us in a celebration of you, me, her, him, they—anyone who has ever felt less than for their imperfections. We all deserve to love every inch of our bodies. We all deserve to just be.
Our collaborators are helping us appreciate the depth of beauty and all its intricacies—the light and love waiting to be discovered in these bodies we call home.
These are their stories.
“Years from now this will be a small c-section scar, but for now it’s a wound healing from complications I never saw coming. It’s nothing I’m ashamed of, nothing I will ever hate because it’s a reminder of my survival to be here for my sons. Never stop advocating for yourself and using your voice. It can save your life one day.” —Ariana Gadwa | @ariana_n07
"I love myself and always will, but I get comments now about my body that I never did before, and they can sting. I’m working every day to feel okay about allowing myself the space to feel how I need to feel, to eat to nourish my body however it tells me to, and to workout for strength and endurance instead of weight loss. I’ve never shown myself online with rolls showing before, but I’m confident in myself and I know that even though I’m not super thin like I used to be, I don’t have a thigh gap and I have some curves, that I am still worth love and acceptance.” —Shelby | @shellzi
“Wearing disposable masks led to skin irritation and breakouts in places I don’t normally have any issues. It is definitely frustrating to deal with, but I’m trying to keep the larger goal in mind of staying safe regardless of the minor inconveniences it causes for my skin. Rather than a flaw, it’s a reminder that I have so much to be thankful for, including safety and the ability to work from home.” —Farheen | @Business.Of.Beauty
“My name is Shaina and I’m 32. It’s taking me a long time to love my body as it is. And I’m still working on it daily. I had my first baby when I was 29 and then got pregnant with my second baby 7 months later. Both were born by c-sections and they have left visible scars. I love and respect my body for carrying each of my children for 9 months and enduring two major surgeries for their births. My scars remind me to be proud of it!” —Shaina Wigg | @shainawigg
“Every time I look at my scar, I see strength. I see the sacrifice that is motherhood. I see beauty." —Cait Regan | @caitregan_
"I’ve been most insecure about my small/flat chest. I’ve been teased a lot for majority of my life for having 'nothing' there which made me feel less feminine but I’ve grown to love them and embrace them. It’s one of my fave parts of my body regardless of others' opinions." —Tee Hsu | @tee.hair
“I was 10 years old when our family's car spun out of control, and I woke up in the hospital. I received 50 stitches, including on my muscle. It left me with a crooked smile and a bright red scar, which I tried to mask with makeup for many years. Although I still struggle with it, over time I've learned to love and accept my flaws and imperfections. Scars tell us that we've been healed, and there's a certain beauty in that.” —Clara Wang | @itsclarawang
“Acne was something I didn’t struggle with until I was 23. It came on during an extremely stressful time in my life, and it took me years to get it under control. I still struggle with it, but what’s worse is the scarring and PIH left behind. Even when my skin is clear, it never actually looks clear. Social media doesn’t make it any easier. Filters and photoshopping are constantly creating false realities of what I think my skin should look like. Seeing and sharing real skin has been the one thing that has helped me start to appreciate my skin as it is, and understand that I’m not alone in this struggle. As hard as it is for me to showcase these 'flaws' that I usually try to hide, I feel like it’s so important (now more than ever) to show what real skin truly looks like.” —Nikki | @aesthe_skin
"I have learned that I don’t have to settle for 'normal.' I can chase my dreams, do big things, & make a difference with the body & mind I have been given & no one will be able to do it the way I can. I have a purpose. I am meant for big things. & I love myself just the way I am.” —Amanda | @amandaelizabeth.x
"This self conscious little girl grew up to be a fighter. This burn is not just any burn but a symbol of me rising from the flames of adversity. A reminder I am resilient. I am a Phoenix rising.”—Kyra | @kyraariana_