Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past month or so, you can’t have failed to hear lots of chatter about a wonderful initiative Makeup Free Me.  In our world of digitally-enhanced fantasy, greeting us from the cover of every magazine, billboard and movie, it’s easy to forget that 99.9%  of people are not flawless and perfectly proportioned.  There are numerous mental heath and body image issues that are growing at an epidemic rate amongst young women and men.  “Makeup Free Me” is a great step in the right direction, to raise awareness and nurture positive body image. This has been instigated by the fabulous Merissa Mathew.  I got the low-down from Merissa about how this all came about and the purpose of it.

Merissa, while still young in her career was climbing the corporate ladder when something stirred up internally to make a difference in society. Not knowing exactly what that looked like, she said a prayer asking for direction in her life and it was at that moment that the idea for a makeup free day came about. Dramatic but true.

Who is Makeup Free Me?

Makeup Free Me is a movement of women that are seeking to champion positive body image in our society. Our mission is to empower women to develop and nurture positive body image.

What is the Makeup Free Me challenge and what do you hope to achieve through this initiative? 

On Friday 30th August we are encouraging women all over Australia to take on the challenge of going without makeup for one day. By asking women to go makeup free for a mere 24 hours, we’re showing the world that beauty is more than just skin deep. At the same time we’re raising vital funds to support the Butterfly Foundation. The Butterfly Foundation provides support for Australians who suffer from eating disorders and negative body image issues and their carers.

Do you have any celebrations on the day itself?

We have the Makeup Free Me Girls Night event on Friday 30th August at Rivers Edge in Melbourne. Whether women are registered for the campaign or not we’re encouraging them to join us at the Girls Night event. Tickets are only $55 which includes canapés, drinks, giveaways and lots of entertainment. And of course all the proceeds go directly to the Butterfly Foundation. Channel 10’s, Natalie Hunter will be our guest MC for the night and we have a few other special appearances including Emma Notarfrancesco our Golden Girl in the sky (Traffic Reporter). Tickets can be purchased at http://www.makeupfreeme.com.au/events. And for the ladies in other states, we’d encourage you to get together with your girlfriends for a girls’ night out too!

What inspired you to start this movement?

There’s a saying ‘be careful what you wish for’. In my case it was ‘be careful what you pray for’ because I said a prayer one day asking for direction in my life and it was at that moment that this idea came about.

Do you ever go without makeup?

I never used to leave the house without makeup on and when the campaign idea first came to mind I laughed out loud because I thought to myself could I really do this. I soon realised that my own insecurities made me perfect for this venture. Since then I have gone out a few times without makeup on and the feeling is one of freedom even though I feel somewhat bare without my ‘face’ on. I’m only now starting to learn how to love my natural self.

Where do you see this campaign in a few years to come?

Negative body image is not just an issue in Australia. In fact, only 4% of women globally consider themselves beautiful. In a few years to come we hope to expand to other countries so that we can empower women across the world to develop and nurture positive body image.

Do you have any personal stories to share around body image?

I believe I’m like many women out there, I have good days and bad. Sometimes I feel great about how I look and other times I feel quite awful and the reality is that I don’t actually look any different. I know I personally place too much emphasis on the way I look and somehow I connect it with my self-worth. So in essence I’m far from having it all together and I’m very much on a journey in discovering my value in who I am rather than what I look like.

Any tips on embracing who you are and affirmations we can all try and remember for those times when we feel not so great?

This is a great question. Positive self talk has always helped me. Sometimes speaking aloud all the great things about yourself or even writing them down can really boost your confidence. It may sound like a bizarre thing to do but this has honestly helped me in many aspects of my life, not just in relation to body image.

Thank you sooo much Merisa for sharing the background to Makeup Free Me. I have got no doubt at all that this will lead to many more similar events and initiatives, promoting positive body image!

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