In recent years, we’ve witnessed a growing emphasis on the beauty industry’s psychological effects on us, particularly how it can be detrimental to our self-esteem. RAW Beauty Talks is among the organizations speaking out, while simultaneously building an empowered community to help set a more realistic standard of beauty.
RAW Beauty Talks was started by Erin Treloar, a Pilates studio co-owner in Vancouver who struggled with an eating disorder in high school. Now 28, she recently launched a website she’s been dreaming of for several years: rawbeautytalks.com. The website is a collection of “raw” photos—images of everyday women without makeup, without PhotoShop, and without filters. If the models happened to show up with a blemish that day, then those blemishes would be featured in the final photo on the site -- and likely help drive the message home more clearly: real women don’t look like airbrushed models.
The RAW Beauty Talks mission, as posted on the site, is to: “Help women find a deeper level of confidence, self love and acceptance so we can shift our focus from the superficial to accomplishing the unimaginable.”
Accordingly, each RAW photo shoot is accompanied by an interview with the featured woman in which she answers questions ranging from ‘When do you feel most beautiful?’ to ‘What part of aging scares you the most?’ to ‘Have you ever had cosmetic surgery or treatments?’
“It’s almost symbolic of us stripping down and getting raw so that we can talk to one another,” Erin told Huffington Post. “It’s not an anti-make-up movement.”
The RAW Beauty Talks website attracted 15,000 views on its launch date on January 14, 2014, and buzz continues to build as more women pose for the site (over 100 women from across North America have posed for the website already, including a few local celebrities). Now Erin is asking others to join the conversation by tagging their photos with #RawBeautyTalks; those photos will then be displayed on the website.
In addition to the photos and interviews, RAW Beauty Talks is focused on putting on educational seminars and helping facilitate dialogue to help cultivate self-acceptance and foster self-esteem.
Photographer credits: Melissa Gidney, Chris Thorn, Christine Chang, Karolina Turek