On the first Saturday of June, nearly 60 women of all ages came together for the second annual Occupy Beauty event at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where they embarked on day of community, playful exploration, and yoga. (See here for a report.) The event was designed by Melanie Elkin, founder of Yoga’licious (melanieelkin.com), who helps women discover their own unique beauty by giving them the tools to practice self-love in a world that often encourages the opposite. “Occupy Beauty is a model for the way women can come together and be in such sweet and delicious support of each other,” explained Elkin, who offered these thoughts during and after the event.
What beauty means to her: Beauty to me is a feeling, and living from my essential self and expressing her to the world and to myself. It’s also lovability and knowing that all parts of me are lovable.
What to change about culture’s perception of beauty: Less focus on beauty being only one physical way of looking. If I could put it on a billboard, it would read, “It’s beautiful to have feelings and express yourself.”
One piece of beauty advice: When it comes to your own beauty and care for yourself, it doesn’t have to look a certain way. It can be as simple as enhancing what you’re already doing. It can be the way you rub soap on your body in the shower.
On her teenage fight with anorexia: I thought if I looked the part, I would be beautiful. I got a lot of attention for my beauty in a physical way, but I wasn’t happy. I hid who I was; I was afraid to be seen.
On being a woman today: In this day and age, there’s an idea that you have to be a good daughter, sister, mother, partner, friend — and we often put ourselves last.