WHAT EYE SEE - SARA PANTON

SarA PANTON

is CEO of Vitruvi, an essential oils company designed for millennials by millennials that she and her brother started three years ago. They will be the first essential oil company sold in Sephora launching in 2018. Now you can find them featured on GOOP and sold in over 300 stores across North America. You can read more about her incredible company here on Forbes. 

Sara is also one of my oldest friends, who I met when we were young girls living in a tiny town on Vancouver Island, and my mom was one of her teachers at school. Now we have had the pleasure of working creatively together at Vitruvi where I have been a contributing photographer and writer.  Fun fact, Sara is very shy about having her photograph taken so I love to constantly snap pics of her behind the scenes with the hopes of helping her overcome this and the results (seen here) are beautiful showing many different aspects of her (in the office, on set, at the beach). She also opened up for this interview to go beyond the title of CEO and go deeper to share some inspirational insight about what it's like working in the wellness & beauty industry, being a boss, and the tools she uses to stay motivated and push past her own insecurities. 

TM: Do you feel like the beauty industry is widening the spectrum of what "beauty" traditionally means or looks like in it's advertising and marketing?

SP: Absolutely without question -- There is a very strong priority to create and find content that feels like a girl or woman IRL (in real life).  Even working with large companies like Sephora, when they ask for video content they want to ensure that it isn't scripted, and that it feels natural and that there isn't edited or harsh lights or fake sounding. This is the same for product photography and beauty 'looks', there is no longer the same desire for air brushed images of lashes that looks the exact 10x lengthening formula that never looks real. Consumers are craving real content and the beauty industry is very aware of it. 

TM: You work with a lot of men in the worlds of beauty and tech. Do you feel like there is equality in the workforce between men and women in those industries?

SP: Great question -- In my experience there is a lovely equality of men and women in the beauty industry and it tends to be a very inclusive environment with a large proportion of women in executive positions. The tech industry isn't the same, nor is the world of venture capital.  This is slowly shifting both from an equality perspective but also because men are realizing that they aren't able to fully understand the scope of some of the deals that are coming across their desks -- they could miss large investment opportunities in industries they aren't personally well versed.  There are more and more female run funds happening as well as I've seen slightly more women in those board rooms as industries like fashion, beauty and DTC (direct to consumer) brands target millennial women and are having huge exits. 

 

TM: Do you have many positive female role models or mentors who you look up to? 

SP: My mom for sure -- Because she is one of the smartest and kindest women I know. I don't have any women senior to me in business who I have directly as mentors nor who I look up to that I have met. However I have an incredible group of girlfriends many of which are running wildly successful companies. This means there are a lot of day time texts and late night phone calls that go back and forth as we are all learning, motivating and mentoring each other in real time. 

TM: You grew up in the small town of Metchosin on Vancouver Island, and you created a company that is now sold in over 300 stores across North America. What advice would you have for someone who has the dream of starting their own company but is maybe afraid to live it out? 

SP: Don't do it unless what you want to build is what you think about 24/7 and something you actively work on in all free hours of the day. Then if you do both those things, get really really focused and build your first viable product, give yourself a timeline. Keep your head down and don't get distracted, don't go on Pinterest -- Build something real and then share it with as many people as you can when it's 70% of what you hope it will be one day. 

TM: What are some of the biggest challenges of being a boss lady?

SP: Finding the balance of being compassionate and direct.  

TM: At Vitruvi you talk about helping women take care of themselves, so they can take on the world. This year Vitruvi has taken that one step further by working with One Girl Can, a Vancouver based charity. Can you tell us a little more about how this came to be? And why it felt important that Vitruvi give back? 

SP: At vitruvi we create products with the intention of helping women take moments for themselves so they can take on the world with even more energy and passion. We were drawn to partner with One Girl Can because they share the same passion for helping women take care of themselves and take on the world through the beautiful model of education and mentorship. Having spent time in Africa, as well as working in rural regions of Kenya, I can confidently say that what One Girl Can is building with the women of Kenya and Uganda is truly unique and their positive impact will be felt for generations. 

The goal for vitruvi has and will always be to give back to women on a global scale. That means making products for women domestically as well as contributing to programs that help women internationally.  We're only getting started. 

TM: How do you find the time to take care for yourself when you are running a company? How do you handle that work-life balance? 

SP: I was at a talk with Michelle Obama a few weeks ago and she said her mom gave her and Barak some great advise when they moved into the White House. She said "we will always drag ourselves out of bed in the morning if we are sick and tired to get to work, but we rarely drag ourselves out of bed in the morning sick and tired to go have fun". Make sure you do both. 

I truly believe there is no 'work-life balance' when you run a company.  I prefer to live in a flow where the different parts of my day re-fuel and energize the other aspects of my life. I do a mini workout at home in the mornings, spend most of my day on my feet and eat really healthy.  I take my dog for a walk at lunch to get me out of the office and a quick play on the beach afterwork.  The power of drinking lots of water, learning how to breathe deeply, eating a plant based diet and getting fresh air goes a VERY long way. You don't need $100 smoothies, workout classes, and tumeric lattes to have balance. My work enegizes me, and when it doesn't I get outside, for a power walk, go buy myself flowers, walk the beach and spend time with friends and those quick touch points get me back to the the grind. The key is to be present where ever you are -- and to not fight finding a 'balance' because to me the thought of micromanaging something that is completely theoretical (ie. the balance) sounds very stressful and something I absolutely cannot measure nor win at. 

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TM: As a young women in a high powered position many girls might look at you and wonder what you could possibly be insecure about. I think it's important to talk about our insecurities to acknowledge that we all have our own struggles with them and therefor none of us are alone in feeling this way... care to share yours?

SP: I think this is incredibly important to talk about -- I have a good number of them!  I think everyone does, but I think the secret is to know which ones are futile and which ones are just silly.  One for me that is actually something to work on is being nervous to be too assertive, to not come across as harsh, because my opinions usually come from a place of deep compassion.  Learning to balance passion and delivery is one of my insecurities. The silly physical insecurities I think life is too short for, I've had all those and LOTS of them but I think when you find something you're truly passionate about you dont even want to waste brain space worrying about the shape of your nose or size of your calves -- You've got more important things to do. Onward and upward. 

TM: If you could go back and tell your younger self one piece of advice what would it be? 

SP: Giv'er.  Oh and those people that talk down to you or don't see your vision, not let them bug you -- give it a few years. In the words of Beyonce ... "Always Stay Gracious, Best Revenge Is Your Paper" 

TM: And now the question that is usually the hardest for women to answer...What do you love most about yourself? (a physical trait and/or anything else)

SP: My hands were always super weird and thin and large, but ended up being super photogenic. So now it's my hands are in all our posters and digital ads, and it meant we saved A LOT of money not having to hire hand models to hold our products in photo shoots. So I would say I really like my hands :) 

TM: What is your secret power? 

SP: A genuine interest in people's stories.  

TM: You and I have talked about struggling with anxiety and a lot of the Vitruvi products are beautifully designed with stress relieving rituals in mind. Can you share any other coping mechanisms you have learned that might be helpful for others?

SP: Belly breathing is what has helped me, and being away of my energy. At times I've been at a fancy gala or a large board meeting and without anyone seeing I'll take my shoes off and have my feet on the floor to just get more grounded. I'll take 3 deeper breathes (not big deep yoga breaths... haha that would be alarming in a board room). Remembering to breath is sometimes all it takes. 

TM: I've heard you say you are a naturally shy person and yet here you are in a major leadership position where you give speeches in front of hundreds of people and lead a team of employees. How or where do you find the confidence to do this?

SP: That is very true, I am naturally a shy introvert who would happily create and prefers quiet over music, and a dinner with 4 over any party. But when what you want to achieve and the vision you have for a company is so much larger than a room of people or a scary speech it becomes just a tiny pebble in a very large journey. I look at these scenarios as rights of passages and opportunties to learn from our community, customers, and team (which gets me very excited). 

One of the core values I implemented at vitruvi is... 

"seek the discomfort of the unknown -- that's where the magic happens"  if you're not uncomfortable you're not growing, as a shy perfectionist introvert you dont get a lot of momentum from life staying in your comfort zone. You need to be exploring, and constantly uncomfortable -- In the past 3 years I've been able to shift my perspective and now the only time when I don't feel at ease is when I feel too comfortable and I know too much of what is to come... that just means you're not growing fast enough. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"seek the discomfort of the unknown -- that's where the magic happens"

TM: You are incredibly self-motivated and independent. What do you think drives this?

SP: A fear of failure -- Which to me is defined as not exploring my fullest personal and professional potential.  

TM: What is a goal that you have for your personal life this year?

 SP: To learn guitar. 

TM: What are you more afraid of? Failing or succeeding? 

SP: Great question.  Failing.  100% my only and biggest fear -- It's just not an option. 

TM: Are there are any inspiring books that you keep coming back to?

SP: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People -- Steven Covey  

Shoe Dog - Phil Knight: No other book Sean and I have read have helped to understand and relate what it means to build a fast growing company. 

TM: What does your perfect day off look like? Can you share any self care rituals you like to practice on the regular?

SP: COFFEE (the ultimate self care ritual), but I dont let myself have espresso until I've had 3 glasses of water.  So I drink a 1L of lemon water while doing my hair and makeup in the morning and then have coffee -- this is a game changer.  Your brain is already slightly dehydrated in the morning so by getting really hydrated instead of dehydrating more with coffee first thing in the morning it really helps start the day with more clarity. 

Self care rituals wow I have too many-- I need a whole other blog post for this... or a book ... Which we are releasing next year :) shhhh. We have lots of them that I've created on our blog basenotes.

Do yourselves a favor and head over to VITRUVI to learn more about Sara's company!

WHAT EYE SEE - DIANE RIZZARDO

Physiotherapist Diane Rizzardo on 

women in the athletic world,

confidence, insecurities, & goals…

I moved around a LOT growing up and when you are always "the new girl" you never forget the people that genuinely welcome you. I met Diane when I was the new girl at Point Grey Highschool. She was a year older than me and I remember looking up to her because Diane didn't have an air of pretention. She had a beautiful warm smile, she was kind to others, and I remember thinking how cool it was that this petite blonde was this strong force on the soccer field (a place that I was TERRIFIED to step foot on).

So I guess you could say she was one of my first girl crushes before the term "girl crush" was a thing. It was no surprise to me that Diane grew up to work in a profession that involves helping people & sports: Physiotherapy. I recently reached out to her when I was recovering from an injury, and found she was filled with knowledge and positive insight too good not to share... thus we set up an interview. 

TM: Can you tell us a bit about your journey as an athlete?

DR: When I was 2 months old I started spending my weekends on the sidelines while my dad coached a college soccer team, and soon as I could walk I was playing. When I was in high school I began focusing on soccer and wound up competing for UBC's Varsity soccer team and the Whitecaps FC Women's squad. After University soccer finished I felt like I had lost my identity, so I began running, and now I run half, full marathons and trail races. Just this year I have gone back to playing competitive soccer after 6 years away from it and I'm loving it. 

TM: Are there any changes you wish to see for women in the athletic world?

Women in power positions.

We finally have strong female athletes for young girls to look up to on the field or court (Christine Sinclair, The Williams sisters, Ronda Rousey, Danika Patrick, Lanni Marchant etc) but we need to see women in more executive positions for the major athletics clubs/associations to ensure that females are truly supported across the spectrum, from youth development to professional levels and into masters athletics. 

— DR

 

TM: What inspired you to become a physiotherapist?

DR: Again, family. My dad and two cousins are physiotherapists, so I've been exposed to the career from a young age. I love the problem solving aspect of the profession and the challenge of helping everyone find their best health. I also get to put my own spin on my approach by incorporating the latest tools we have like pilates physiotherapy, and I have the opportunity to be my own boss in business and eventually run my own clinic. 

TM: What is the biggest thing you have learned in your job so far? 

DR: Everyone just wants to be heard. The biggest feedback I get from clients is that they are frustrated with past medical treatment because they've felt rushed in and out the door and don't feel like the healthcare professional working with them is listening to them. I find that especially in the pilates physio environment, people's walls come down and once that happens they are more able to fully connect with their body during the rehab process.

TM: Words of wisdom for anyone in recovery mode? (Or anyone wanting to start taking better care of themselves/get in shape)

DR: Don't make it a chore, find something you love. Exercise is your best preventative medicine and rehab tool. So if you hate the gym - don't go! Instead try swimming, yoga, pilates, Zumba, boxing, hiking...in BC we have limitless options indoors and out! I'm personally totally addicted to Lagree right now because it challenges the muscles I generally ignore. 

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TM: What are some rituals you like to do to set yourself up for a productive, feel-good day?

DR: I need to eat as soon as I get up or else I get "hangry", and then I try to get a movement session in (usually a quick run or gym). I'm a morning person and I love the feeling of getting going before most of the world is awake.  I'm somewhat crazy I know.

TM: What are some insecurities you face and how do you try to overcome them?

The fear of failure drives my ambition both in sport and life.

It's something I have been working on accepting more lately, and valuing my imperfections because that is what sets me apart from others. There are always physical flaws I can point out (my crooked smile, pointy left shoulder...things that I'm sure nobody else would even notice) but I'm working on cutting out negative self critical talk. It's definitely a work in progress. 



TM: On that note...What do you LOVE most about yourself?

I love my scars. They each tell a story and are a reminder of a certain event, emotion or person. They are a physical sign of resiliency. -DR

 

TM: If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice what would it be?

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"Courage without fear"

 

 

TM: What is your approach when it comes to eating healthy / finding balance? 

DR: 80/20. 80% of the time I'm a healthy eater and I'm lucky because I actually love the taste of (most) clean natural foods so it's not hard for me, but anyone that knows me knows that I have an insane sugar tooth. Especially when I'm running more and my body craves quick carbs. Training for the marathon this past spring I adopted Sports Nutritionist Sarah Cuff's advise and I would recommend any runner talking with Sarah about their specific dietary needs for marathons... she is phenomenal! 

TM: What is a personal goal you have? 

I've always wanted to own my own physiotherapy and integrated health clinic. I think the public's needs are changing and people want their healthcare to be combined into one place where all of their physio, RMT's, personal trainers, dentists, etc. are in communication with each other.  It comes back to the idea that everyone wants to be heard as a patient.  

Athletically I just want to keep finding new ways to challenge by body, I'm looking forward to running the Boston Marathon this spring and then I think I see a triathlon or longer distance trail race in my near future.

Diane is a Vancouver based licensed BC Physiotherapist, with a Kinesiology background, STOTT Pilates training, and is completing her Sports Physiotherapy and Manual Therapy levels. She also runs half marathons and middle distance sprints both locally and around the world. You can find her along the Vancouver running paths, with friends in a local fitness class or exploring the world-class trails throughout our local and whistler mountains, or back on the soccer field.

IG: @the.athletes.physio

website: www.drphysiotherapy.com 

email: info@drphysiotherapy.com

WHAT EYE SEE - ERIN CARTER

Actress, Writer, Producer, and soon to be Director...

Erin studied at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles and was a part of the Canadian Film Centre's Actors Conservatory. Since then she has been on a journey of creating films of her own. Her latest feature film Suck It Up premiered at Slamdance and is making it's rounds in the Canadian Festival circuit this fall. You can catch it in theaters this October. 

I shadowed Erin around her creative space as she shared some rituals of her artistic process. 

You can watch the behind the scenes video of our shoot here...

TM: What is your daily inspiration to get up and make films? What keeps you motivated? 

EC: I am definitely one of those people who has dozens of notes on their phone full of mundane observations, just waiting for the right project. It’s so satisfying when I can translate a situation from life into something on the page. 

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TM: What are some of your creative rituals?

EC: It’s a kind of an organized chaos thing. I’m very visual, and I love being surrounded by my work in the most literal way. Scripts, photos, references, I love having all of that up on the walls of my apartment. Lots of brown paper and collages. 

I think the word for what I do when prepping is meditation. It’s all about focus for me. Bringing the organized chaos into a focused objective before the shoot itself is key.

TM: What are some changes you would like to see in the film industry?

EC: I would love to see an unbiased system for fostering new talent. Mentorship is underrated. 

TM: When you want to feel good you… 

EC: Sometimes I just need some space to put thoughts onto paper, sometimes I very much need to watch Netflix alone… but on any given day the answer is more than likely one of the following: a damn good coffee, a well made green smoothie, or a dirty martini. Admittedly I have consumed all three in the past 24 hours. So, I guess sometimes all three. 

  1) COFFEE   2) GREEN SMOOTHIE   3) DIRTY MARTINI                                                                              

1) COFFEE   2) GREEN SMOOTHIE   3) DIRTY MARTINI                                                                             

TM: What is your idea of "Health"?

EC: I think when I moved into my mid twenties the idea of ‘Health’ really shifted for me. It use to be just a number, a hip measurement or an ideal weight, but I think recently I have seen it as more of a lifestyle than a weekly quota. Instead of looking at a scale I started looking for ways to live a full life that would not come back and bite me in the ass in ten years. 

For me mental health is as important as physical, so it also includes things like therapy and time to decompress and reflect. 

TM: What do you love most about yourself? When do you feel most confident? 

EC: The eyelashes on my right eye are all white, and the eyelashes on my left are all brown. I struggled as a child quite a lot with bullying because it was so prominent. But I have to say some eyelashes on the right are growing in darker and I am just now realizing its beauty. I use to hate how it set me apart, and now I love it’s divergence from the norm. There’s a metaphor for life in there somewhere, I know it. 

TM: If you could go back and give your younger self advice what would it be? 

EC: I wish when someone had told me I wasn't good enough, I had spent less time thinking about how they were right and more time thinking about how to prove them wrong. 

TM: Are there any projects you are working on right now that you can tell us about? 

EC: I am currently working on a short film I wrote, that I will be co-directing with Sam Coyle. I’m very excited to have my first directorial experience by her side. It’s a story about a female rock singer, Emmie, and it’s a lot more stylized than anything I have done as both an actor and as a writer.

I am also working on a series called Made With Love. My co-creator and partner, Justine Stevens, are pretty stunned with the amazing feedback we have received from the fanbase. I am really excited about getting Made With Love to a wider audience! 

Insta: @erinmcarter

WHAT EYE SEE - KALEIGH DEY-DIDIER

On being a Model, Humanitarian, Teacher, and Mother...

Kaleigh is one of the most positive, nurturing souls I know, and when you’re around her, you can’t help but get on her level. Radiant, energetic, relaxed, open minded, and graceful are just a few words that come to mind. I followed her and her 1 year old son Koa around their beautiful home filled with eclectic worldly trinkets, to find out more about her journey and her insight on how she works to cultivate a full, balanced life.

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Kaleigh began modeling at the early age of 12 years old. After she finished high school she went on to travel around the world for modeling and also worked in Morocco and Tanzania as a volunteer. Now Kaleigh is a teacher, and mother.

TM: What inspired you to become a teacher?

KD: There were many factors that led me to teaching. While I was modeling and attending university (I have a Specialist in Fine Art History) I began doing a lot of volunteer work with kids. I came to often enjoy my volunteer work even more than my paid work in the fashion world, so I realized that perhaps my calling was in education. In Los Angeles there was a great organization called Do Something that put me in touch with an amazing art therapy centre to volunteer with. I also travelled to Morocco to volunteer in a centre for abandoned children, with a particular focus and facility for children with exceptionalities. This experience changed my life.  And then later, back in Toronto I started volunteering with the Ontario Early Years Program which really contributed to me applying at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) and ultimately becoming a teacher.

TM: Can you tell us about some of the trips you took? How did you get involved? What have you gained from these experiences?

KD: I have volunteered and travelled predominately through an American organization called Cross-Cultural Solutions. The first trip I did in 2009 I went to Rabat, Morocco and just fell in love with the people, the culture and the amazing children at the orphanage where I was placed.  Many of the children had physical, mental and behavioural exceptionalities and required a great deal of care. My experiences in Morocco was another reason I changed career paths and decided to go into education. I believe every child should have the opportunity to go to school – to grow and learn and realize their own unique potential. 

I also travelled with the same organization to Moshi, Tanzania and taught kindergarten in a one-room school house.  It was so wonderful to see how joyous the children were to be learning each day, even with so few resources. Many of the Swahili songs and stories I learned I still share with my students and my son Koa today with great results. Overall, I think these experiences have given me a greater understanding of the world we live in; they have helped to broaden my own horizons and helped me become a more empathetic teacher and person.

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TM: If you could make a major change in the world what would it be?

KD: Change begins with knowledge and understanding and therefore being educated is so important, so that we aren’t misinformed.  I think so many of the world’s issues stem from misinformation and ignorance. That being said, if I can teach my own children and students to be critical thinkers, ask important questions and make educated decisions then hopefully the world will be brighter because of it.  I love this poem by an unknown writer:

RIPPLES

When you create

A difference in someone’s life,

You not only impact their life,

You impact everyone influenced by them

Throughout their entire lifetime.

Go create waves.

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TM: What impact did modeling have on your self esteem? 

KD: I think that modeling definitely gave me a thick skin.  I learned very quickly about rejection and how to bounce back and not take it too personally.  Obviously there were times it stung more than others, castings can be totally unforgiving and cruel and I definitely have had/have insecurities.  I know all my so-called flaws:

-the bridge of my nose is wide

-my jaw isn’t pronounced

-I have a baby face with no nice bone structure

-my teeth are crooked

At times I’ve been too thin and at other times not toned enough (by modeling standards), but you learn to brush it off and focus on what you do love about yourself.  With modeling there is always going to be someone taller, thinner or prettier than you, but you just have to be the best version of yourself and eventually along comes a job that you are the “perfect fit” for.  It’s a crazy business.  The modeling business has actually changed so much now with social media. I definitely don’t miss being judged solely on my looks, but many of the life lessons I learned modeling carried forward and gave me the independence and strength to be the person/mom/teacher/wife that I am today.  What many people don’t see of modeling is how hard you work getting the jobs, trekking to 10+ castings a day in all corners of the city in all types of weather (in my day it was getting lost trying to use a laminated map), having new roommates at every location that you’ve never met before, working with people who don’t speak the same language as you, traveling constantly and always at the last minute, going with the flow when someone wants to cut your hair and then dye it, and then cut it and dye it again only to end up putting in extensions, working long hours and sitting around and waiting - that gives you an incredibly strong work ethic, not to mention patience and confidence that you can survive and thrive anywhere.

TM: Has being pregnant and experiencing motherhood made you more in touch with your body, and strength as a woman?

I think I am less critical of myself and realize there is a greater purpose and meaning to my body.  I also marvel at how little sleep we can function on.

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TM: Any advice on motherhood?

KD: Be easy on yourself, so many things won’t go as you planned; for example, I wanted to have a natural birth and everything was pointing to that being possible and then my water broke and I was 8cm dilated at the hospital when they told me Koa had flipped and was breech and I had to have an emergency C-section. It was a shock and I wasn’t happy about it at the time, but I gave birth to a healthy baby so that’s what matters. I also thought breast-feeding was going to be second nature, it took some hard-work at the beginning. It’s all a learning curve and just when you think you’ve got something figured out you enter a new stage and it changes again. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your partner, your family, your friends, or even strangers (there are some great online Mom groups). Also, stay firm with what you believe in, many people will kindly share their opinions but just follow your intuition, you know what’s best for you and your baby and your situation. And make sure you carve out a little time for yourself!

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TM: What are some things that help you to try and create balance between family, career, and fun.

KD: Prioritizing health, carving out time for exercise (this always contributes to good mental health for me), getting regular massage, eating well and trying to get a good nights rest are all goals.  I am old-school and still use an agenda and a desk calendar to keep track of our busy schedules, and my husband Mike and I usually sit down at the beginning of the week to set out a plan. We also use a journal together where we write down our individual and joint goals and then quarterly we reflect and on them and set new ones.  During the school year I also rely on meal planning and we use Fresh City Farms, a local sustainable company that delivers recipe kit meals weekly, which make cooking/shopping so much easier.

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TM: You really nurture your friendships with your girlfriends. How do these friendships influence your life?

 KD: I think it’s so important to prioritize friendships, I greatly value all my friends opinions and love hearing their different perspectives.  They have kept me strong through some rockier times with my family and also in my personal life. Their love and support is always so appreciated. And there is nothing like a fun night with friends to rejuvenate your spirit.

TM: As your friend I can attest that you have a wonderful relaxed balanced approach to health. What does health mean to you?

KD: Such a good question… I hadn’t really thought about it but definitely when my mind and body are both in sync and feeling strong is when I feel healthiest. Now that I am a parent and also am getting older and watching loved ones get older I think I place an even greater emphasis on health, and not just so that I look my best but so I am my strongest. I also don’t deprive myself of anything. I am definitely more in the everything in moderation type mindset.

TM: How do you like to stay active?

KD: I love running but it can be hard on my body (knees, ankles, hips) but the mental component is amazing, so I try and work it into my routine in moderation. I also love pilates – I did it throughout my pregnancy and post-natal, and it kept me feeling strong and pain-free. Overall I try and keep it interesting by mixing it up. I also love any kind of cardio dance work or ballet inspired workout, and yoga. I try and walk a lot, especially with Koa – he keeps us pretty active and outside as much as possible.

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TM: Biggest obstacle you have overcome?

KD: With my family we have encountered some pretty challenging times due to divorce, addiction and mental health issues, but throughout it all we have all remained incredibly close. Our ability, as a family to support one another, communicate, find the humour at times and most of all stay strong and united is something I am very grateful for."

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TM: What do you LOVE most about yourself?

KD: I am a fast learner.  I’m up for anything.  I am positive.  And my favourite features are my eyes and my lips, especially now because they are similar to Koa.

TM: What is one piece of advice you would tell your younger self?

KD: "Don’t stop manifesting your destiny but know that it will all work out the way it’s supposed to." – a cliché but true!

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WHAT EYE SEE - KATIE BOLAND

BOLD. BRAZEN. BOLAND.

Interview & Photography by Taylor McKay

Chosen by Elle Canada as one of the three Canadians to watch, Katie Boland is an Actress, Writer, Director and Producer. She has 4 feature films to be released in the coming year. This year Katie also directed the short film Lolz-Ita that she wrote and starred in. She has a production company called Straight ShootersShe is the author of the book Eat Your Heart Outand has also written a column for the Huffington Post called “What’s Actually Happening with People My Age”. Katie has also been a cultural advisor for the Trudeau government.


While only scratching the surface of the amount of content Katie is creating, you can see from the paragraph above that Katie is truly an inspiring renaissance woman. A dear friend of mine, and also someone who's work I admire, I am fascinated with the unapologetic honesty Katie puts into her work. I got the chance to photograph Katie in her element as she shared some of her artistic insight.

 

TM: How do you have the courage and confidence to put your personal life out into the world in your work?

KB: There is an amount of reflection that's important for me and I like to be able to write to process my life. If you're not writing about yourself I don't really know where you would start. 

TM: How do you have the self-discipline to prioritize and manage so many different creative projects?

KB: It is my personality type. I'm pretty A-type. When I was growing up I was always an actress and in school at the same time, so that sort of set the tone and pace of my life. Then when I was out of school and just acting, I really floundered because I didn't have enough to do and I didn't like being so unstructured. So I think I’ve created this kind of very rigid structure and pace for myself. 

TM: If you are setting yourself up for a productive & successful day what does that look like?

KB: In Toronto I wake up and go have coffee with my Dad at the corner coffee shop. We talk about the world. We talk about our days. Connecting with family gives me a lot of perspective. Then I’ll write and try to put pieces together for different projects I'm working on. Do emails. Then I like to exercise. It’s important for my mental state for sure. It’s like an anti-depressant. I like to do a lot of cardio and walking around the city. Then I like to see someone like you, true friends. That means a lot to me. 

TM: You grew up immersed in the industry since you were a child. Your mom is a celebrated Canadian Photographer, Director and Producer. Did you ever face challenges trying to establish yourself as a filmmaker?

KB: My mom is so supportive and so proud of me and my brother, it was never about her. Which looking back I'm like "Mom maybe it should have been about you more!". She'll casually tell me things about her 20s that I never knew- like that she was the 3rd woman in the world hired by the united press as a photo journalist. Or "Oh yeah I took pictures for a bestselling book on Terry Fox", or "Oh that picture on the Penny, I took that." My mom is a very quiet and humble person about her accomplishments. Having said that, there was definitely a bar set for me to become a career woman. 

TM: What insecurities do you struggle with? 

KB: I am always very conscious of my weight. It fluctuates. So I would say my biggest insecurity is being hyper aware of my weight.

I also struggle with impostor syndrome a lot. So emotionally, I'm insecure that I am not smart enough, or talented enough or really anything enough to be in the work situations I'm in. But then there are a lot of moments where I have a ton of confidence in my abilities.

"I think the goal is to leave space for some insecurity because it inspires but not let it dictate your perception of reality. Tavi Gavinson, who I really admire, has a note on her mirror that says, "There is not enough time for hating yourself. Too many things to make. Go." I try and adhere to that. "

TM: What is something you love most about yourself? 

KB: I think I am good listener. I also love the beauty mark on my face, because my mom had one when she was my age and my dad has them, too. 

TM: If you could change the way the film and fashion industry depict beauty, what would you change? 

KB: I wish there was just less discussion of beauty all together. I hate that anytime you read an article about an actress who is an average BMI that that's the first thing mentioned. Her dress size! 

I think the self-love beauty movement is good-intentioned but lately I've been reading Why I'm Not A Feminist, by Jessa Crispin, and I'm moved by her writing. Politically speaking, where has the self-love beauty movement gotten us? Has it sanitized feminism, and made it more palatable, while making all of us less angry or less politically active? I don't know, but I do worry that we're missing the bigger picture. I think that being focussed on beauty is what's distracting us.

TM: What changes would you like to see for women in the film industry? 

KB: I wish young women were given more opportunity to create. We need more female film makers, writers, producers. I also wish that people saw me for my resume and experience, not my age and gender. As far as roles, I think women need to keep creating roles for themselves. I really think that's the key to creating nuanced female characters. We have to do it for ourselves. 

TM: You and I talk about how sometimes we both struggle with taking ourselves seriously. Why do you think it is important to be conscious of this?

KB: Ultimately I don't believe compliments people give me so I'll always reject them in the moment. So I think as you build some self-esteem you can work on just saying, 'Thank you,' instead of, "Oh no, my skin is crazy!" I think it's important to accept nice things people say because then you can internalize them and maybe even start to believe them.

You can read more about Katie's work here: www.katieboland.com

Instagram: @katieboland13

Twitter: @katieboland

WHAT EYE SEE - STEPHANIE CHRISTIAN

More than a Model.

Interview & Photography by Taylor McKay

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Some of Stephanie's clients include: Teen Vogue Magazine, GQ Magazine, Nylon Magazine, Elle Magazine, and H&M. 

Steph and I met at FORD Models and I remember noticing her wicked Lara-Stone-esque (if you don't know that bombshell model google her) gap tooth and tom boy don't-give-a-f*ck vibe. When we got talking in the lobby of the agency she wasn't all roses and butterflies about the fashion industry, she was refreshingly real and honest about her own experiences in it. I got the chance to photograph this beautiful (inside and out) specimen, and ask her some personal questions.

TM: What is your favorite personality trait that you possess?

SC: My overall positivity. When people are positive good things happen. 

TM: What are you most insecure about?

SC: I used to be insecure about my weight, thinking that all of the other models around me were skinnier (thinking this meant they were more worthy than I). My breasts were always an issue for me because clients would call me overall "too big". I was barely welcomed into the industry for having a womanly body. And I have come to realize that this is not my issue, it is theirs. Totally out of my control. I love my body and I will no longer let people morph my ideas about myself.  

TM: What are you most afraid of?

SC: I guess I am most afraid of letting those thoughts come back. I don't want to one day be out of the modeling industry and be left with dysmorphia issues. So I try my best to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible and I surround myself with positive people. I feel the best in my skin most of the time. When you surround yourself with positive people and maintain a healthy lifestyle you can let go of the stupid expectations we think we are supposed to live up to. 

TM: What is a healthy habit you rely on to pick yourself up and make you feel good inside?

SC: My healthy habit is going for long walks. Everyday I try to go for at least an hour walk. It's not the same as going to the gym for me...because at the gym Im focusing on not dying haha. When I walk, I get to really think about things. It's a great cleanse for my brain. 

TM: Love it. Looking at your gorgeous modeling portfolio people might not assume you have shared similar insecurities as they have. Thank you for sharing your experience. Your truth is the most beautiful part about you.

Stephanie is Represented by: Plutino Models, Toronto

Instagram: @stepholicious