Looking for an outlet during MCAT season, Kudret decided to emulate some of her favorite style bloggers and snap a daily photo to inspire fashion creativity and jump start her brain. Four months later, she’s reflecting on the origins of the project and the personal and cultural journey she has already taken:
I know that I’m not ugly. Far from it. But growing up South Asian in American society, not fitting into white norms of beauty, I think that my perception of self is severely dysmorphic.
I moved to Pakistan when I was 6 years old. When I moved back to the US, at the age of 11, I was in the middle of full-blown puberty. I probably had a distorted accent due to my dramatic transcontinental moves, and still showed the lesions from a full-body outbreak of reptilian Psoriasis. My hair had decided to change its nature, going from straight to wavy overnight. Puberty had only highlighted the problem that most South Asian women have, with my upper-lip hair and unibrow growing darker and thicker by the day. My teeth fell out, but never grew in properly, and I had an adorably unevenly spaced smile.
This project was a way of cheering on that 11-year-old girl, and telling her that she is beautiful. She was never a “not” and she is so much more than just merely “hot”. The simple act of photographing myself in the morning, and putting myself out there, made me take the time to invest in the external. It would be cliche to follow that with, as I focused more on my appearance, I began to feel inner beauty too. But like most cliches, there is a degree of truth in that sentiment.
This project has fueled some interesting debates about morality and modesty, and how modesty is a fluid concept. My older family members see a young girl who has grown into a confident woman, but I see this project as a way to reconcile my bicultural identities in something as simple as my wardrobe. It’s a way to exist more comfortably in this body, in this skin and with these looks, undictated by magazines or TV shows.
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