01/22/2009 08:50 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Ideal Beauty: Bold n' Brave in Your Underwear

A Perfectly Beautiful Conversation with Janice Taylor, Life & Happiness Coach, 50-pound big-time-loser, and Natalie Fournier, photographer and performance artist.
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Janice: You are bold and brave, in your underwear ... and clearly making a statement about your body, the collective body and how we see beauty, and about your relationship with Minnie Mouse ... please, tell us!

Natalie: It started early on ... Like most little girls, the fantastical world of Walt Disney, with its princesses and fairies, inserted itself in my mind. Those Barbie-like princesses became my ideal of beauty, with their small waist, their perfect legs and long silky hair. As I became older, actresses in movies and models in magazines replaced those princesses.

Janice: I know what you mean. I was taken with Snow White and now Catherine Zeta-Jones, who could play Snow White! I know it played with my mind, making me feel less than ... longing to be that form of beautiful.

Natalie: Exactly. This picture of what "perfect beauty" looked like contaminated my mind, as well, and played with my self-esteem. After putting myself down over and over again, it became pretty clear to me that I would never be able to attain that ideal (or myth) of beauty. I realized that trying to be something that I'm not is just simply ridiculous.

Janice: It is ridiculous! Did you know that twenty years ago, models weighed 8% less than the average woman. And today they weigh 23% less. It's a total myth! Airbrushed photos, you know. Nobody is that perfect, especially in the morning. And now ... how do you feel about your 'real' body?

Natalie: Over these last couple years I have learned to love my body, and its every curve!

Janice: Your work speaks so beautifully to this love and acceptance of self. I admire your 'performance.' Your form of expression.

Natalie: Through my art, I try to expose the absurdity of trying to look like something else than yourself, of the ridiculousness of wanting to fit in a mould of what is
"desirable" or "beautiful."

Janice: No point in trying to be someone else ... as Cornell Wilde says, "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

Natalie: Great quote!

Janice: And finally, your reference to Minnie?

Natalie: Even if Minnie Mouse and her friends don't think I fit in with them, in my eyes, I am beautiful and that's that!

Janice: You are beautiful! And that is that! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your art!

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