Know when to say yes, & then scream it. Know that there will be nights when the best move is to go home and crawl into bed. Know when the party is going to get better, and then stay out later. Know that you deserve it.

What do I mean by this? It means don’t waste your time, money or energy attending a show or event that isn’t exactly what you’re craving.

We’re extremely lucky in Toronto.

There’s a dance music subculture for everyone- disco deviants, the house heads, the techno snobs, the AM Acid listeners and everything in between. I urge you to explore all these subcultures and find the one that fits you and your tastes.

So, after years of attending, hosting, reviewing and promoting parties, this is what I look for.

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Music: What’s being played? Do you like it? Does it make you want to flail around like a madman without any regard for what you look like to others? Is it that can’t eat- can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence world series kind of feeling? If yes, stay.

People: The people at events matter. Look beside you, now look to the other side of you. Are they your friends? Are they smiling? Do they look as excited as you are about being in this space, listening to this music, and being in this moment as you are? If you answer yes, you’re probably with who you were meant to be with.

Price: Yes, I like free/cheap events as much as the next person, but good events cost money. In order to ensure the organizers can continue to throw parties, they have to make back their costs. What does this mean? Pay for a ticket. If you want to support a culture, the first thing you can do without much effort at all is pay for a ticket. This shows more support than you know. Selling tickets in advance help organizers plan a better night for you. So while you may want to message this ex girlfriend or your best friend’s sister’s boyfriend to put your name on list- don’t. If you want to attend an event and see more of those events- pay for it.

Venue: Make it cool, and abstract. There’s so many great spaces and venues in Toronto, but often we get stuck thinking inside the box. I don’t have any time for that- pretend the box doesn’t exist. Then think about where you want to go.

Sound: I want to feel it. I want the sound to be clear, crisp, and bold. if you’re paying money to see an artist, a label showcase, or anything in between and the sound isn’t of the highest quality, I suggest you re-evaluate. Make sure the highs are as noticeable as the mids, and the lows you can feel in your soul. This is good sound. Don’t settle for anything else.

Production: What are the visuals? Are you inspired? I’ve seen shows play old black and white movies, moving shapes and graphics, minimalist videos, lights and everything in between. Sometimes the show is presented in conjunction with an art exhibit or gallery opening- which I’ve always loved. Creativity fosters creativity. It turns the event from a concert, or an art show, to an artistic and creative experience. These are the little extra bits that you’ll remember and tell your friends about a month down the line , when you can’t really remember the full set or have trouble remembering who was there. The extras will remind you why you loved the whole experience.

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These are the factors and characteristics I look for and think about when at an event. These are what I think about when I first contemplate going home. I think about the music, the people, and the space. I ask myself will this event or show ever happen again to this degree. Sometimes, the answer is yes, and you head home. But most of the time, the answer is no, so you put  your phone back in your pocket and surrender your soul to another dance floor.

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fkn rookie

A photo posted by claire mcarthur ✨ (@thatcbear) on

In short, the answer is obviously no.

Not everybody can be a DJ.

But if you look at the root of the problem, it lies in its definition; It is an assumption that all people can DJ. Being a DJ, like many things, is an art form of multiple factors. There is a strong amount of talent and practice that goes behind this art just like any other, inside of many different areas.

Not every sculptor can be a great painter.

Not every celebrity can be a DJ.

Or can they?

The term “DJ” is the problem.

Nobody really understands what a DJ does, in reality they just suppose they play music for their raving-mindless fans. All the while, there are some outlets focusing on bringing these fans into the “limelight” and exposing “certain truths” about the culture. If you really think about it, creating a great mix can be about as (if not more) difficult than composing a piece of music, for example. This is how we separate artists from actors in electronic music. There can be both a DJ who represents a label, playing out certain key tracks to an audience (similar to how an actor would represent a film) and then someone who either produces, engineers, or composes music (similar to someone who would as an artist).

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Don’t be confused about the two, because believe it or not they are entirely different (see the hundreds of articles distinguishing the two), while some DJ’s enthuse the area of representation, style, and formalities of turntable-isms, others emphasize creativity, spontaneity, and raw force of the underground sounds being created.  These differences do not break the DJ, but instead, they make and mold their image.

The position of the DJ is no doubt important to dance music culture and clubbing, without it, we would see a less representative part of the culture. “To replace the DJ,” in all their individual and separate powers of shamanic influence. It’s not just about beat matching, and that argument hilariously was laid to rest a long, long time ago. It’s perfectly fine to sync. In fact, some artists are almost required to, as due to the complexity of their performances, using multiple sources to manipulate the tracks unlike a simple old-fashioned SL-1200 setup. This type of setup deserves protection, as it may outlast many DJ techniques as a form of culture.

None the less, these things are never brought forth into the “limelight” of most clubbing fans. There is a whole new world of discovery much further deep into DJ culture. This world involves the open and active expression of many artists working together to forward a particular style of electronic music. This isn’t your celebrity DJ we are talking about, but instead, the guy you actually have never even heard of. Here’s the big question about the art of DJing: performance or expression?

You can perform all the latest demos that have been sent in by artists representing a label, or you can express your own demos in art form. You can perform the songs that will make people dance, or you can select the tracks which will have the most impact on the moment. These differences are observed as crucial to defining a DJ’s style.

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Geography should not affect the way their styles can be differentiated. It does however create separation between the two different areas of performance versus expression. I’ve personally always thought that the DJ is most effective when he is closest to the culture or the underground scene that they belong to. Take for example Richie Hawtin; Growing up in Windsor and moving into Detroit, playing the tracks which most expressed the sound he loved at the time. This isn’t something you can hear on a radio, but none the less, there were DJs present there. I think this closeness factor helps differentiate between expression and performance (for an audience). A DJ could be measured as more close when he is more expressive and connected, and less close when he is performing and acting for the sake of the music and his job. This lies in motives as being either intrinsic or extrinsic in nature. The intrinsic nature of artistic expression only grows the underground dance music culture, where the performance can makes it more competitive.

Technology can make the job of the DJ easier, it will allow for a larger scale of proportion which in turn can result in bookings and money: These are all comparative factors for competition.

We need to get to the source of why the question of death is being asked: expression or performance?
Once the expression of the DJ is eclipsed by social comparisons about style and technologies, we will see a much more ambiguous question: Is the DJ expressive, at all?
Yes, we know they all press play, but pushing a button does not define the DJ or his performances, rather, it is what comes after the button is pushed.

Think of these buttons as piano keys, and Beethoven as the pusher. Was there expression present in his notes? There most definitely was. It is up to the underground dance music community to show appreciation of the difference between these two factors of performance and or expression. If there is no expression present, the DJ is largely lacking a crucial concept and is more so an “actor” of sorts doing what they have been told, in order to make money and further their external causes.

I wrote last about the struggles DJs face based on their cultural locations. I found it fascinating that DJs in rural locations were more often expressive and on the cutting edge of what was happening in their genre (technology STRONGLY insignificant in this). Additionally, as the DJ became more city-based their external motivation seemed to increase more and more, based easily on social comparisons from having the scene so closely knit around them. Is this difference creating the art form of the DJ or destroying it?

However simple to answer, the fact that DJ culture is becoming diluted with sad competition and social comparison is underwhelming. What should be said about the art of the DJ is that expression and individual connection to the music should always be present a main factor, even above performances, venues, or technologies.

It really truly is about the music people!

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Let’s go back to basics and face the facts;

We get up each day and put on our favorite black V-neck tee, some jeans, and short-walk ourselves to the downtown record store to listen to the tracks just released from producers around the world… Right?

Wrong.

Most people don’t consider the large amount of work that goes into finding and selecting the tracks played by our favourite DJs, and consider it simple to go out and create great mixes from actually much unheard tracks. We have to consider the implications: some DJs are born with an ear for music AND this music is strongly available to them through some means of access. So not only talent, but the situation in which they use the talent is widely considered.

Moving forward, let’s talk about locality.

It’s implied that not every DJ was born in Ibiza, nor were they apart of the recent resurgence of house and techno in the UK at age 16. Some DJs come from small towns, and not only this, but towns which virtually have little to no access to these types of music. This duality exists for a reason: some DJs have more access while others have more ear. Time to face the facts. We are all unique in our own way and see each situation differently, and that situation is very powerful. “Rural” DJs act in order to demonstrate ability through opportunity. “Local” DJs act to become connected with a situation, in both terms to people and availability of parties.

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These ideas lead us to believe that both the access to music and the ear for music may be universal on their own. Some may have more experience in access while others have more experience in seeking out unheard tracks, resulting in the ability to create strong mixes. One thing cannot go unnoticed: the importance of the situation. It might be cool to go down to the “local dubstep” spot and jam to the techno heard at Berghain the night before, but believe that this could very well be situational suicide. DJs access music through the connection with the scene, and through the music that exists inside of it.

Now let’s consider some striking new implications: What if there is no scene?

We now understand the importance of the rural DJ.
The Rural DJ lives for music… he’s breathing it… spending all night searching for the latest tracks just to listen to them on his IPod the next day… over and over.  This guy thinks: who cares about how technical your routine is? If you can do more and say less, it’s much more worthwhile and important to the listener. Rinse and repeat. He doesn’t have a scene, and he doesn’t need one. His scene is inside his head, and it is an intimate spiritual connection through the music that had him hooked from the beginning. One day, our rural DJ decides he wants to make a mix, and the long trial and error journey begins.

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How does he talk to local DJs? How does he find a management company able to seek out gigs? Are his tracks even loud enough on a club system? Can rural DJs actually call themselves DJs? The questions come pouring in. Meanwhile, the local DJ is smiling and drinking champagne in your local VIP section while “some international DJ” is closing the night they just opened. Now the duality returns, and the situation is everything: the rural DJ never got invited into the VIP, nor did he know how or why it was even important in his goal to show his ear for music.

Again it is fact time: without the strong means to access, the difficulty of finding these tracks and playing them for others becomes impossibly challenging. The journey suggested by peers and scene becomes null next to the rigorous soul-searching through whatever means necessary. While the internet is wildly popular itself, some demos are only heard incidentally in the VIP. The rural DJ watched each “boiler room” episode to figure out which demo it was. Both areas have a struggle, and confusion about what is popular. Thus stemming the confusion in what most prominent DJs consider important: the ear.

Electronic music is a tough grey area. It is diverse and confusing with many derivatives. A strong importance lies within DJs to expose these differences. DJ “class warfare” is apparent in the design in which the music industry functions. While money may not be much of an issue, access to the industry definitely is. But we must all ask ourselves the question: what is the importance of access without the ear? The answer very well may be nothing. While both access and an ear for music may push DJs to success, the widely unconsidered difference between the two is mostly unnoted.

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It’s safe to say that many celebrities have dipped into the music realm to pursue a new type of career, from movie stars to rappers to models, a handful of celebrities have become DJs and are playing at some of the most well-known clubs in the world to date – but is it because of their talent or based on their celebrity image?

We break down a few of Hollywood’s favourites to get the answer.

LATEST:

DJ Snoopadelic aka Snoop Dogg
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He’s played before – Hip Hop, Reggae and the whole urban side of the scene which in particular makes perfect sense but today is August 4th 2015 and DJ Snoopadelic is set to play  Ibiza for Tribal Sessions alongside Argy, Boddika, Jozef K, Manu Gonzalez, Scuba and Sis.
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He probably doesn’t have a collection of House & Techno to match anyone on the line up which has us asking WHY in the first place? With the number of talented artists in the world of House music, they couldn’t have picked someone actually attempting to better their own career, style and music rather then “DJ Snoopadelic” who will more than likely pick up the mic to rap on-top of some of his classics.

 

ALL TIME WORST:

Paris Hilton

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It makes sense why any club owner would want any of the Hilton’s to be apart of a show: Money. But is she worth the public damage? Amnesia Ibiza was the first venue to give Paris a residency and though numbers have been amazing from the get-go, the music has been nothing but brutal along with the fact that she can’t mix. It’s unfortunate to say the least, but money has driven the world of music for a very long time and seems to be continuing its trend by letting some of the worlds elite take the stage regardless of how bad they may be.

 

MAKING A NAME:

Rony Seikaly 

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NBA star turned DJ – just another celebrity using money and image to push a new “money maker?” It was the underlying though when we first worked with Rony back in 2011 but even at that point in his DJ career – he was already being chimed by some of the best in music for his talents while playing. Taking things a step further – Rony began to produce and has now graced the stage with some of House & Techno’s finest as well as playing at some amazing events in Ibiza & the BPM Festival in Mexico – not all are horrible!

 

DON’T WANT TO BELIEVE IT:

Kim Kardashian

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Though it’s still hard to tell wether this story will come back to haunt us; Kim Kardashian was behind the decks for a number of shows in Vegas over the past year – Playing a mix of Top 40 and obviously an entire section dedicated to Mr. Kanye West – Kim, along with Paris Hilton are prime examples of celebrities who need to quit while they’re ahead and let the professionals do their jobs. Thankfully, reports have emerged that Kim’s “DJ Career” was nothing but a phase – lets hope she keeps it that way.

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It isn’t everyday that DJs, Producers or artists in general get the chance to actually play a show with people in the crowd – It’s rare for any up and coming artist to have the opportunity to wow an audience, an event team or venue but with the continued “Celebrity turned DJ” the chances for international success becomes thinner each time.

At the end of the day, if someone wants to become a DJ and play music – all the power to you – but pay your dues, play to the empty rooms, make music and stress out about it – maybe at that point the rest of the music world will begin to gain a few ounces of respect for you because taking over a venue purely based on money and image and then bombing a night is nothing short of disastrous for everyone involved.

 

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Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Celebrity turned DJ” – Do you want a celebrity mentioned? Email us your most hated or loved celebrity turned DJ’s and they may appear in the next article!

Contact: info@pressplaypro.ca
Subject: Celebrity Turned DJ


Fighting For A Place To Call Your Own

 

 

Identity has always been such a huge topic for me.

 

You can read any past post on Threads & Soul and come to the conclusion that I am a champion of one being the truest version of themselves.

 

This idea of self love.

 

The fashion industry has such a juxtaposition on this notion.

 

On one hand there are models giving up the necessity to eat just to fit into a sample size garment, while others are trying to pave the way, albeit under extreme circumstances, for acceptance and understanding across all fronts.

 

It is these extreme circumstances that make these self love warriors all the more noble.

 

Yes, I am referring to the Bruce Jenner’s, the Chaz Bono’s, the Laverne Cox’s of the world.

 

But not just them.

 

The 15 year old boy who walks into the make up store to make himself feel pretty.

 

The girl with an eating disorder everyone is too nervous to address.

 

The people fighting everyday, to try and love themselves.

 

Let me be clear: I love fashion.

 

I love it’s ability to create magic where there was none. The history, the culture of it – the reflection of a spirit of the times.

 

But…

 

I love myself more.

 

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is this; fashion is amazing, but you.

 

You little star, you are beautiful no matter what size, shape, colour – you are everything.

 

Fashion is what you make it, be the truest version of yourself.

 

Always.

 

“My pocket’s full of nothing and it’s keeping me light.”

Hot Tonight, Tokyo Police Club

 

“So, I’m poor,” one of my sisters texted me from her bedroom down the hall two Wednesdays before I left for Paris.

“Same. Always,” I replied.

“What do you want to do?” she asked.

“I’ll think of something cheap. Wednesday night is usually good for that,” I said.

“Okay. You’re good at finding cheap,” she responded.

“I have to be,” I told her. “Otherwise I’d never be able to afford my social life.”

 

***

 

I go out a lot. There are whole weeks that my family doesn’t see me. To prevent double booking, I have a social calendar to keep track of it all. Given my busy calendar and the fact that knocking restaurants off my to-eat list is my go-to thing to do, it might seem like I spend a lot of money; but by comparison to friends, I’ve noticed I spend less in a couple weeks of going out than some people do in a couple nights. Like I told my sister, I have to be good at socializing cheap, because if I want to maintain my active social life, it has to reside within my financial means. For those who find that they’re social lives are getting pricey, below are some tips on financially smart entertainment.

1. Google free events.

This is easily the best thing you can do for your bank account when making plans with friends. Plus, it’ll help you get creative. In searching for free things to do, you’ll come across events that you wouldn’t normally have thought to attend or just didn’t know were happening. The summer is particularly good for this, given all the free outdoor festivals held across the GTA.

2. Pre-eat.

I love food! (See Insta.) I make it affordable to eat downtown by mostly ordering off appetizer menus, as Toronto main courses are up-the-ass expensive. However, when out but not at a restaurant or food event, I don’t eat. I won’t grab food at a festival or a concert or something. Instead, I pre-eat from the fridge before going. An extra $10 spent on food might not seem like a lot, but you can multiply that by how often you go out to see how much pre-eating can save you.

3. Do the free or super cheap version.

There are many things that can cost money but don’t have to. It’s about whether or not you choose to spend. If an activity or an event is free and you’re on a budget, let free be free. You don’t have to eat. You don’t have to buy a drink. You don’t have to play a carnival game. Take in your surroundings, laugh with your friends, and just have a good time.

If you want to eat, drink, or et cetera, do it up; just don’t do it up big unless you can afford to. Cheap out. For example, I simply can’t justify a glass of wine for $8 when there are bottles of wine that go for the same price. And about those handcrafted cocktails that start at $12, Toronto, are you crazy? First of all, that egg mixed with that bourbon costs less than $0.25. Second, all cocktails are “handcrafted.” If I’m drinking, I’m going for max millilitres per dollar, which means I’m going to the LCBO.

4. Don’t pay for parking.

I refuse to waste money on parking when I can park on side streets (and most main streets after 9 pm) for free. (Warning: Do not park on King during rush hour. Your car will be towed. #beenthere) Don’t know how to parallel? If I can learn, you can learn. After two years of frequent parallel parking, I now only sometimes need my passenger to step out of the car to guide me. #progress

5. Walk and talk.

Walking and talking is underrated. Some of my most laughable stories with friends, my most charming moments with guys, and my most memorable adventures with strangers have happened while walking and talking. So walk and talk, friends. It’s completely free, and your social life is more about who you’re with than what you’re doing anyway.
About the Author

Maria Bellissimo was the protagonist of a sad, boring life until she turned her story into a happiness experiment. She chronicles her search for happiness on her supremely awesome and appropriately named blog, The Happiness Experiment, which she hopes will inspire others to launch their own happiness experiments. Follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ever the inquisitive one I have found myself quite often wondering about trends in fashion and how old becomes new and vice versa. As I sit here writing this; an old jacket once owned by my grandmother sits on a hanger in my closet, waiting to be loved again. You see dear reader, a grandmothers closet to a fashion girl is the equivalent of a child wandering loose in a candy store, there are so many goodies everywhere one doesn’t know where to start.

 

This idea of old becoming new had me thinking, is it possible that however old something in granny’s closet may be, is it better than all the pieces I’ve purchased at stores who perpetuate fast fashion?

 

Maybe?

 

… Absolutely.

 

And on this theme of old clothes/new ways; I stumbled across something that brought a strong feeling of nostalgia one can only experience through great imagination since this particular something I stumbled upon happened way before I was born.

 

The Battle of Versailles.

 

No, no I’m not talking about any type of war or fight I’m referring to the designer show down that took place in Versailles (France for you less geographically inclined) in 1973.

 

Fashion houses from Paris to London to New York gathered to show off their best not only in clothing but in musical tastes too.

 

New York magazine put together a youtube playlist of the music featured in the shows. Take a listen and let the music take you to a place less chaotic and certainly not fast.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLtmzdzCeRsyEuXCgZJW1UvR8pCJp0yBDf&feature=player_embedded&v=fMBOEagZq6I

When such a word that gets thrown around quite a bit one wonders: what does it really stand for?

 

I am often reminded of the fact that I am of the millennial generation and although the reference is sometimes tinged with a smidge of disdain, the term for me means a plethora of positive attributes.

 

The generation of millennials however selfish, bombarding, and impatient we may come across, we are also responsible for leaps forward in the rights of many.

 

Case and point: Androgyny.

 

The designer J.W. Anderson, famous for designing garments for men that bordered on the feminine side – often referred to as a man who created “unisex clothing”, recently stated;

 

I never set out to work on the concept of androgyny. For me, it was more about trying to find a wardrobe that would fundamentally appeal to both men and women”.

 

There, that’s it.

 

In our ever increasing need to label everything in order to understand, have we as millenials missed the mark?

 

Is it possible that men and women can dress similarly without it being a discussion? Or is it the discussion that allows for streamlined attire?

 

The in-between.

 

Both sides are consistently testing gender barriers; a man that appears put together and secure about his looks?

 

Metrosexual.

 

A woman whom prefers a clean minimalistic visual approach to her attire?

 

Tomboy.

 

Where is the line? Where are the rules? And can we as a generation, push them further?

 

Check out J.W. Anderson’s Mens Fall 2015 campaign below and see gender bending for yourself.

Uniforms are a way to easily identify a specific group and yet it makes me wonder, does the uniform make the man?

 

I recently discussed the benefits (or disadvantages depending on how you look at it) of uniforms that people are required to wear in their day-to-day work and it all had me wondering; does a unified look determine a person’s actions on and off the clock?

 

Take my friend as an example, he wears a uniform for his job and it has made me wonder if the uniform and the person are blended. When does the job stop and the life begin? Once you take off that uniform, do you revert back to your natural self? Or is it in fact possible that perhaps one correlates to the other?

 

Does the line blur when you’ve been wearing this uniform for so long you’ve forgotten who you really are?

 

I’ve always believed that who you are and what you do are two different things but when your fashionable choices consist of the same outfit day in and day out, does the disadvantage of a uniformed material attribute multiply when one is on the road to self discovery?

 

I fail to see how wearing a uniform in the work force could be so much of a shortcoming but then again, I’m all for seeing the best in a situation. A trait which more often than not leaves me a little head dizzy when all doesn’t fair out as best as one hopes.

 

Uniforms don’t necessarily equate to stability; becoming what you are and not who you are is a slippery slope – a slope harder to avoid when you’re wearing polyester and not say…

Neoprene.

 

 

 

 

Make Up / To combat everyday life or hide from it?

 

We’re going to take a sharp turn to the left here and talk about something in relation to fashion but not necessarily fashion itself.

 

Make Up.

 

Yes – that’s right. I’m talking about that stuff you put on your face.

 

Working in the cosmetic industry for over two years now has shown me many things but most of all it has shown me the power of a make over. Please don’t misunderstand me when I say this but make up is a crazy concept if you think about it. You cover your face to look like someone you are not, or do you?

 

Everyday men and women walk into cosmetic stores with the tenacity of a four year old with the unwillingness to let go of newly acquired candy. Why?

 

Because it makes them feel better.

 

I have this friend, a truly talented make up artist, one who always displays the precision and talent of make up application that makes a very many jealous of such greatness. What I love about her technique is her ability to enhance her client’s appearance, not mask it.

 

That’s the debate. Is make up a compliment or a way to hide a reality you don’t want to face? (No pun intended)

 

Perhaps it is neither. Or at least, doesn’t have to be.

 

Someone once told me that working with make up gave us the ability to give someone their dignity back, to feel better about themselves; it is a tool in which to empower someone. Whether that empowerment is helping a woman fighting cancer whom hasn’t been able to grow eyebrows in months because of her chemotherapy treatments, or a young girl trying to cope with the effects of growing up in an age of Instagram models with unrealistic physical attributes, make up or war paint as my friend so eloquently put it one evening over a bottle of wine – provides a person with the tools to combat everyday life.

 

So how do you see it?

 

When you look in the mirror are you content with what the face staring back at you? Or do you feel the need to mask it?

 

Or do you see those flaws and celebrate them?

 

Or perhaps you’re really digging that contour look? As is all the rage right now.

 

Thanks Kim – again.