By Giovanna Silvestre
I grew up when cell phones were only in select cars and as big as your head.
If you’re in my age group, you also might feel that posting selfies on Instagram isn’t your second nature. Your thumb hovers over the posting button and #InstaFear sets in. The little voice in your head whispers, “Is this really good enough?”
I was a sophomore in high school when I got my first Nokia cell phone and if you remember, it came without a camera. So this is a whole new world for my generation.
Six years ago when I started my blog, Confused Girl in the City, I was incredibly nervous to be in front of the camera and put myself out there for the world to judge and criticize.
I thought everything had already been said and done, so what could I really offer?
When I launched my first activewear apparel line, I only wanted to photograph models in my gear. I didn’t think I had the goods to be the face of my own brand.
So what changed?
In my 20s I worked behind the camera in the film industry. If you saw the first Thor film by Marvel Studios, I was Assistant to Director Kenneth Branagh.
I never wanted to be an actress and felt perfectly comfortable behind the scenes.
When I left the film industry and was contemplating what to do next, I met a young female British author who encouraged me to start a blog.
I will never forget what she told me.[quote] “Yes, maybe everything has already been said but no one has your voice.” [/quote]
This really struck a cord with me.
We can hear the same thing from a dozen different people but then someone comes along and says it in a way that resonates with you, all of the sudden, you just get it.
What I realized is that every person on this planet, including myself, has a unique voice only they can express in their own way.
Knowing this gave me the courage to put myself on camera and speak my truth.
I knew not everyone was going to like me, but some would. And some is all you need to get started.
After the blog started to take on a life of its own, my entrepreneurial spirit was in the driver’s seat and I was contemplating what I should create next.
I was doing a lot of yoga at the time and in a strange sequence of events, I met a healer in Los Angeles who gave me two crystals from his collection.
The next day while in my twenty-minute meditation, I decided I was going to create yoga leggings that were inspired by healing crystals. How I created an international yoga wear brand from part time job money is a story for another article.
After creating my first collection, a.k.a. my first six designs, I was hiring models for photo shoots. I posted those photos on my Instagram account and website.
I thought people wanted to see what they normally saw when buying clothes. Tall, thin girls. I’m 5’2 and have never been a size zero.
So what shifted for me?
Again, it was another person I respected who clued me in.
I was having lunch with a successful business man I used to work with in the film industry and when I showed him my Instagram account, he said, “Where are you?”[quote] “I don’t want to see these girls I don’t know in your clothes. I want to see you. I want to see you at the Grove in your leggings and Venice beach doing yoga, in Santa Monica at the pier. You need to be the face of your brand and show your audience how much you believe in and wear your products.” [/quote]
This was the truth anyway. I would wear my leggings to business meetings, dates, movie premiers, the gym, the yoga studio, etc.
I realized I was following a set of guidelines for modeling clothes that even I didn’t believe in. It wasn’t me.
This is when I made the shift to showing my audience my real life, in my leggings.
At last I believed that I had something unique to share with the world and I needed to share my message in my own authentic way.
I discovered that comparing myself to others and following the status quo isn’t who I am. And wouldn’t get me very far.
When we shine our own light, we inspire others to do the same and this world needs more of that.