Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mountains to Climb

We talked in church today about trials, and it's something I know everyone can relate to. We all go through tough times. Any person you see, meet, or hear about has struggles, regardless of how happy they seem or how perfect their life looks to you.

Trials can be really hard. Even the little ones, that we look back on and laugh about how ridiculous they were. Those can seem like the end of the world while we're in them. Sometimes they're more serious, like financial problems or the passing of a loved one. At times like these, it can seem like there is no hope, that there is no way out.

PLEASE do not believe this. There is always hope, there is always a way out. Heavenly Father will never give you a trial you can't handle. You will have to rely on Him, there's no doubt about that. But He wants you to, He is pleading with you to ask for His help. He is there for you.

This video is based around the talk "Mountains to Climb" by Henry B. Eyring. It is a really beautiful video, teaching that if you put your faith in Christ, you can overcome any obstacle.

Source: youtube.com/mormonmessages

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gatorade and Tissues

So this past weekend my friend Kevin and I went on an adventure to a sort of but really but still kind of ghost town in Utah called Eureka. There were people who lived there and everything, and they even had a school, so it wasn't really a ghost town. But the entire main street was buildings that had been completely abandoned, so then it kind of was.



Either way, it was pretty cool. We spent a good two or three hours here looking at only about 12 buildings, so...yeah. That should explain something. 





















Oh, and then we got stuck. Like, waaaaaay stuck. It doesn't look that bad, but we weren't going anywhere. Luckily, a couple of good Samaritans came and rescued us. We will be forever grateful. 




And we found this cool abandoned railroad. 



So that was that. A beautiful, mysterious, kind of creepy but still way cool city that created an amazing adventure. All we did was drive for an hour and take some pictures, but I now have some memories I will never forget. The greatest adventures come from the unexpected. Just get out there and do something. You won't regret it. 




Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Model's Perspective on Looks

In my Sociology class the other day we were talking about gender inequality, and my TA showed us this video to prove a point he was making about women are controlled by beauty. 


Cameron Russell is an American fashion model. She has worked with numerous famous fashion photographers, has been featured in advertising campaigns for companies like Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein, and has walked in fashion shows for designers including Chanel, Prada, and Victoria's Secret. What a life, right?

Well, not really, according to Cameron. She enjoys her career, I'm sure, and I know she is very grateful for all the opportunities she has been able to have in her life. But, as she tells us in this TED Talks she did, there is a lot more to modeling than skinny women and pretty clothes. Her main focus in the power  of image, and I think it's a video every girl needs to watch.



Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_russell_looks_aren_t_everything_believe_me_i_m_a_model.html



Here is the transcript to the video as well:

So the first question is, how do you become a model? And I always just say, "Oh, I was scouted," but that means nothing. The real way that I became a model is I won a genetic lottery, and I am the recipient of a legacy, and maybe you're wondering what is a legacy.Well, for the past few centuries we have defined beauty not just as health and youth and symmetry that we're biologically programmed to admire, but also as tall, slender figures,and femininity and white skin. And this is a legacy that was built for me, and it's a legacy that I've been cashing out on. And I know there are people in the audience who are skeptical at this point, and maybe there are some fashionistas who are, like, "Wait. Naomi. Tyra. Joan Smalls. Liu Wen." And first, I commend you on your model knowledge. Very impressive. (Laughter) But unfortunately I have to inform you that in 2007, a very inspired NYU Ph.D. student counted all the models on the runway, every single one that was hired,and of the 677 models that were hired, only 27, or less than four percent, were non-white.
The next question people always ask me is, "Can I be a model when I grow up?" And the first answer is, "I don't know, they don't put me in charge of that." But the second answer, and what I really want to say to these little girls is, "Why? You know? You can be anything.You could be the President of the United States, or the inventor of the next Internet, or a ninja cardio-thoracic surgeon poet, which would be awesome, because you'd be the first one." (Laughter) If, after this amazing list, they still are like, "No, no, Cameron, I want to be a model," well then I say, "Be my boss." Because I'm not in charge of anything, and you could be the editor in chief of American Vogue or the CEO of H&M, or the next Steven Meisel. Saying that you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying that you want to win the Powerball when you grow up. It's out of your control, and it's awesome, and it's not a career path. I will demonstrate for you now 10 years of accumulated model knowledge, because unlike cardio-thoracic surgeons, it can just be distilled right into -- right now. So if the photographer is right there and the light is right there, like a nice HMI, and the client says, "Cameron, we want a walking shot," well then this leg goes first, nice and long, this arm goes back, this arm goes forward, the head is at three quarters, and you just go back and forth, just do that, and then you look back at your imaginary friends, 300, 400, 500 times. (Laughter) It will look something like this. (Laughter) Hopefully less awkward than that one in the middle. That was, I don't know what happened there.
The next question people always ask me is, "Do they retouch all the photos?" And yeah, they pretty much retouch all the photos, but that is only a small component of what's happening. This picture is the very first picture that I ever took, and it's also the very first time that I had worn a bikini, and I didn't even have my period yet. I know we're getting personal, but I was a young girl. This is what I looked like with my grandma just a few months earlier. Here's me on the same day as this shoot. My friend got to come with me.Here's me at a slumber party a few days before I shot French Vogue. Here's me on the soccer team and in V Magazine. And here's me today. And I hope what you're seeing is that these pictures are not pictures of me. They are constructions, and they are constructions by a group of professionals, by hairstylists and makeup artists and photographers and stylists and all of their assistants and pre-production and post-production, and they build this. That's not me.
Okay, so the next question people always ask me is, "Do you get free stuff?" I do have too many 8-inch heels which I never get to wear, except for earlier, but the free stuff that I getis the free stuff that I get in real life, and that's what we don't like to talk about. I grew up in Cambridge, and one time I went into a store and I forgot my money and they gave me the dress for free. When I was a teenager, I was driving with my friend who was an awful driver and she ran a red and of course, we got pulled over, and all it took was a "Sorry, officer,"and we were on our way. And I got these free things because of how I look, not who I am, and there are people paying a cost for how they look and not who they are. I live in New York, and last year, of the 140,000 teenagers that were stopped and frisked, 86 percent of them were black and Latino, and most of them were young men. And there are only 177,000 young black and Latino men in New York, so for them, it's not a question of, "Will I get stopped?" but "How many times will I get stopped? When will I get stopped?" When I was researching this talk, I found out that of the 13-year-old girls in the United States, 53 percent don't like their bodies, and that number goes to 78 percent by the time that they're 17.
So the last question people ask me is, "What is it like to be a model?" And I think the answer that they're looking for is, "If you are a little bit skinnier and you have shinier hair,you will be so happy and fabulous." And when we're backstage, we give an answer that maybe makes it seem like that. We say, "It's really amazing to travel, and it's amazing to get to work with creative, inspired, passionate people." And those things are true, but they're only one half of the story, because the thing that we never say on camera, that I have never said on camera, is, "I am insecure." And I'm insecure because I have to think about what I look like every day. And if you ever are wondering, "If I have thinner thighs and shinier hair, will I be happier?" you just need to meet a group of models, because they have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes, and they're the most physically insecure women probably on the planet.
So when I was writing this talk, I found it very difficult to strike an honest balance, because on the one hand, I felt very uncomfortable to come out here and say, "Look I've received all these benefits from a deck stacked in my favor," and it also felt really uncomfortable to follow that up with, "and it doesn't always make me happy." But mostly it was difficult to unpack a legacy of gender and racial oppression when I am one of the biggest beneficiaries. But I'm also happy and honored to be up here and I think that it's great that I got to come before 10 or 20 or 30 years had passed and I'd had more agency in my career,because maybe then I wouldn't tell the story of how I got my first job, or maybe I wouldn't tell the story of how I paid for college, which seems so important right now.
(Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_russell_looks_aren_t_everything_believe_me_i_m_a_model.html) 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Father

I have had a lot of lessons in church lately about Heavenly Father and the Atonement. This was a video we watched in Relief Society, and thought it was absolutely beautiful. We are just like the children the the video- relying on the Lord for so many things, and trusting that he will provide for us. And I especially love the very end quote, that out of all the names we could call Him, He wishes we address Him as "Father".  


Saturday, February 8, 2014

White Boots

One of my church leaders from back home just sent me the link to this video, and I loved it so much. The message is beautiful, and it's one that has been terribly lost in today's world.



It is a video for the song "White Boots" by Jamie Grace.







Source: https://www.youtube.com/user/jGracePro





I mean, the song is super catchy and I fall in love with Jamie Grace's voice every time I hear it, but read the message. You don't have to rush things when it comes to love! Countless movies portray beautiful women going to bars, meeting an attractive man, going home with him, and sleeping with him that night. And even girls who would consider that to be skanky still think it's ok to have sex before marriage. I know this is a touchy subject, but I just can't stress enough how much happier girls would be if they waited. I know there are plenty of people in healthy, happy relationships who have lived and slept together before they were married, and are still doing wonderful. But there are also plenty of young, unmarried girls with STD's and pregnancies who are having to now carry a lot of responsibility and pain, often without a man anymore.



Can you imagine how wonderful it will be to see your true love on your wedding day, and know that he is clean? Not having to wonder how intimate he has been with other girls, or how "dusty" his boots really are? That is something I look forward too so much. But to have a man like that, you have to be that woman who is clean and pure as well.



We all make mistakes. I don't want anyone to think that I'm sitting here saying I'm perfect, because I am NOT. I have made so many mistakes in my life, and I continue to make them every day. Some mistakes can't be undone, but it is never to late to repent and be forgiven. Never, never, never too late.



You will find your true love one day. It can seem really hard to believe that sometimes, I know. I'm turning 19 in five months and I still haven't had a boyfriend, or even kissed a boy! Yes, I get really discouraged sometimes, and I wonder if anything like that is going to happen to me. And I totally understand how tempting it could be to go too far with someone you really like or even love. Maybe you're afraid you won't find that kind of love again, or maybe you just want to express that love and this seems like the right way to do it.



I know most people reading this are going to think I'm that annoying Mormon girl who is trying to shove her religion down your throat. I'm not, I promise. I don't know how to say it more clearly than that. I just want people to be happy, and waiting and staying clean is one of those ways. I guarantee it.