“Beauty is an inside job.”
We can hear it said a million times. We can genuinely believe the statement. And yet the desire for external attractiveness remains paramount, both within our society and across cultures. The importance placed upon aesthetics may be due, in large part, to the fact that one’s assessment of one’s own appearance can directly correlate to one’s inner dialogue and self-esteem. This link between the internal and external is a powerful one, and the beauty industry capitalizes on this connection, raking in about $445 billion annually in the U.S. alone.
Now there is a new initiative inspiring major beauty brands to use their immense power for good. During the month of May, Mentari and Beauty for Freedom—two nonprofit organizations that are bettering our world through anti-human-trafficking advocacy and support for trafficking victims—joined forces to co-host an art and self-esteem workshop series for adult survivors in the New York area.
The three-part series featured art classes as well as workshops on makeup, skin care, hair techniques and self-esteem. A team of makeup artists was enlisted to provide makeovers and skin and hair tutorials for each of the women participating, and after each class, participants received a deluxe gift bag, valued at more than $250 each and chock-full of luxury products donated by Sisley Paris, Armani Beauty, Nars, Kiehl’s, Clarins, Clinique, Charlotte Tilbury, SpaceNK and Josie Maran.
For the women participating in the workshop, self-esteem remains a work in progress. Abigail, a trafficking survivor and a Mentari client, acknowledged that “when I look in the mirror, sometimes I don’t like what I see.” While she is still working to silence her inner judge, Abigail was grateful for the new products she has acquired.
“I feel like ‘queen for the day’! My skin can sometimes be dry or sensitive, but the creams and moisturizers really made me look more beautiful than I am,” she said.