During this past series of posts, I’ve shared some different skin concerns (acne, ingrown hairs, stretch marks) that are not what people usually celebrate most about themselves. In the age of well-curated feeds and expertly edited or face-tuned photos, it’s easy to get caught in a comparison game. This is what often depletes our confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, and overall mood after scrolling through social media.

As a blogger and influencer, my goals are to inspire others to live their best lives and celebrate their inner and outer beauty. I love sharing what I learn in my relentless study of skincare through all of the products I try and the amazing experiences I get with brands and their creators. I realize that it could be very easy to see only the perfect parts of me and think that I’ve perhaps never felt self-conscious, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I grew up in Romania, where I was the only dark-skinned person that I knew. I felt like an outcast in a communist country under the Ceausescu dictatorship, and was often bullied for my skin color. Looking back, the irony doesn’t escape me: what was once the hardest part of myself to love has become my passion and favorite way to practice self-care!

Looking back, the irony doesn’t escape me: what was once the hardest part of myself to love has become my passion and favorite way to practice self-care!

When I was seven years old, I moved to New Zealand. I was hoping that since this was a more progressive, modern, and developed country that I would find more welcoming people, but I still endured poor treatment. There was a language barrier, and I was still teased for the color of my skin. Even my own uncle joined in, nicknaming me “Amokachi” after a soccer player who also had a dark complexion. All of these mean words and actions from others left me feeling weird, like an outsider or “other,” where I didn’t belong.

Instead of letting this feeling take over and define who I am, I turned it on its head. One of the ways that I honor myself best is with the time I take each day to nourish my skin from head to toe. I’ve fallen in love with my skin, and helping it look its best, even though it was the part of me that others saw as a flaw. And since my life has been transformed by embracing my insecurities and falling in love with them, I hope sharing my story will inspire you to do the same.

Instead of letting this feeling take over and define who I am, I turned it on its head.

Our differences are what makes us unique, and it is our uniqueness that makes us beautiful. I challenge you to look at yourself in the mirror and rethink the characteristics you’ve been hard on yourself about. What is something that is amazing about those “flaws” or insecurities? Scars are evidence of overcoming challenges. Our bodies change when we have babies, but that’s also a part of the miracle of motherhood. There are infinite ways to take a second look and reframe our self-image. It just takes time, creativity, and the courage to love ourselves – something we all deserve and all should do. I’d love to hear about some of your transformations as well!

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