It’s been a while…
So much going on…but it’s all good! Those of you that follow me on Twitter (that’s you right??) will have seen that I recently completed my number 10 speech from the Competent Communicator manual – which leads to the first accreditation on can achieve as a member of the global public speaking organisation that is Toastmasters International.
Being able to communicate and make your point heard is critical to ones success and apparently speaking in front of an audience is something people fear so much that it is trumped only by death itself!! Your local Toastmasters club (there are over 13,000 clubs in 116 countries) is an ideal place to develop your speaking skills and build your confidence.
I joined Toastmasters because I am as passionate about personal self development as I am about beauty – in fact I believe that the two go hand in hand – looking good on the outside plus feeling great on the inside does wonders for ones self esteem! This was the topic I chose to speak about in my 10 minute speech which I entitled Beauty and the Best.
I showcased the behemoth that the beauty industry is – according to the market research agency Euromoniter International it is estimated that it worth a staggering $350 billion US dollars a year (!) and how much I LOVE the industry – the glamour, the fantasy and its power to transform are just a few reasons for my adoration.
However, sometimes I am plagued with a tension – because the tyranny of the beauty industry is that whilst it promotes style and well being, it generates the vast majority of its revenue from products that exist to remind the user of her supposed ‘ imperfections’. “Youth”, “vitality”,” radiance”, “revitalise” – words such as these pepper the advertising copy of beauty brands and many of these adverts are heavily doctored and have undergone extensive airbrushing.
This Lancôme ad, featuring the Oscar winning actress Julia Robert is now banned in the UK – the Advertising Standards Agency upheld complaints made by the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson that the images were overly airbrushed and did not reflect reality.
Irrespective of such challenges, the industry continues to be a source of delight and one of the reasons why we happily part with our hard earned cash to ameliorate our outer appearance seems to be linked to our self – esteem.
A study commissioned by the Cosmetics, Perfumery and Toiletries Association entitled the ‘Self-Esteem Society’ stated that of the people polled, an overwhelming 93% thought feeling confident about their appearance was an important factor in building self-esteem – and I certainly attest this finding– as I have experienced firsthand the very tangible effect beauty products have on the self–esteem of myself and on that of others.
Whilst I advocate caring for ones outward appearance, I sincerely believe that one’s inner beauty requires just as much – if not more – meticulous attention.
We must learn to love and value ourselves and to appreciate our intrinsic and inherent qualities –the qualities that make us unique.
The brand managers state that “My Black is Beautiful, celebrates the diverse collective beauty of African-American women and nurtures black self-esteem. The movement encourages black women to define and promote our own beauty standard — one that is an authentic reflection of our indomitable spirit. Recognizing that beauty and self-confidence are intrinsically linked, My Black is Beautiful is designed to ignite black pride and support a sustained national conversation by, for and about black women — the way we are reflected in popular culture and how we serve as the catalyst for a movement that effects positive change”.
It is still very much an African-American program – it would be fabulous to see a similar initative launched to serve the UK and Ireland – because our Black is Beautiful too!!