International Women's Month 2021:
DMK x Star Shelter
Our dedication lies in creating an impact and standing by the women's community. Our mission is to empower women, ensuring they look and feel good as they embark on their #journeywithcourage.
In March 2021, we commemorated International Women’s Month in a meaningful way. The theme for 2021 was Self-Esteem - an important aspect of looking and feeling good, while believing you deserve all the love in the world. Throughout the month, aspirational women shared stories of how they overcame issues with self-esteem, hoping to inspire and strengthen other women on their #journeywithcourage.
Beyond that, from 1st to 31st March 2021, 38% of proceeds from the #feelgoodDMK collection were donated to Star Shelter, a safe haven that supports survivors (women and children) of domestic violence.
Jessica Tham (@tippytapp)
Full-time Content Creator and Mother of 2
A full-time content creator and a mother of 2 adorable sons, one can't help but be amazed by how Jessica seems to balance both motherhood and her creative career so well. For DMK's 21st Anniversary, she shares about her motherhood journey, some of the challenging issues she faced and how she mitigates issues that threaten her self-esteem.
As a mother, life's battleground often extends beyond personal endeavors to the well-being and success of your children. "As a mother, I feel that there's a lot of competition for your kids to do well in life." The societal chorus, a symphony of comparative comments, plays a disconcerting tune. Well-intended or not, words about their growth, their supposed size, and other judgments can create a dissonance that reverberates deep within.
Initially, these comments disturbed Jessica. She struggled to comprehend that her best might not be universally understood or appreciated was challenging. "I felt that I am already trying my best, and those who commented don't understand certain things." The realization that children grow at different paces and that genetics plays a role became anchors in this storm of judgment.
Yet, time became a gentle healer. "After a while, those comments don't mean anything anymore." Perhaps it was the evolving armor of emotional neutrality that shielded her from the impact. In navigating the labyrinth of motherhood, Jessica learned not to easily let external judgments sway my emotional equilibrium.
Mitigating self-esteem issues became a crucial aspect of this journey. "I think one of the ways to mitigate self-esteem issues is to keep yourself busy." The strategy was to redirect focus, particularly from the online realm where negativity can thrive. "If someone makes negative comments about you online, just don't look at those comments, then you won't think about them." Instead, seek solace in the counsel of those who genuinely care. "Turn to people who will lift you up."
The shift from vulnerability to resilience involves choosing the right moments and the right people. "Of course, this does not mean that one does not take constructive comments." It's about discerning the source and timing. When emotions are raw, seek advice from those who offer love, care, and unwavering support. "Because when you're feeling down and weak, you might not be emotionally ready to hear an objective stand that does not alleviate those negative feelings."
Reinforced by the armor of emotional neutrality, the echoes of negativity gradually lose their power. "After a while, those negative comments don't mean anything anymore." Jessica comments. The evolution from vulnerability to resilience becomes a testament to the strength found in emotional equilibrium. In the intricate dance of motherhood, the rhythm of self-assurance emerges, a melody composed not by external judgments but by the unwavering love and support of those who truly matter.
Ann Lopez (@annlopez.avantica)
As a strong advocate for her culture while infusing her own personal touch, Ann's social media is a sneak peek into her vibrant life as a model, content creator, student and entrepreneur, all of which she seemingly juggles with strength and confidence. Read on as she shares about her struggles in dealing with stereotypes, and how she stays true to herself while pursuing her dreams and balancing self esteem.
In the world of modeling, where beauty often meets stereotypes, Ann found herself navigating a path less traveled. "When I first started modeling, many shared that models of color like me might not succeed here, because the industry was not as inclusive." As an Indian model, growth was scarce, and shoot requests were few. Faced with stagnation, Ann even contemplated leaving the industry, disheartened by the lack of opportunities.
However, a flicker of determination ignited within her. She chose to give it another try, venturing into unexplored avenues. "I started to explore through different avenues, such as social media." The catalyst was the vibrant representation of people of color overseas, confidently sharing their culture through social media. Witnessing individuals who resembled her, exuding confidence in their skin, inspired a shift in her perspective. Ann then realized the power of sharing her own story and culture. "If I ever succeed in the industry, I always want to advocate something that I stand for and stay true to my identity."
Amidst this journey of self-discovery, an unexpected mentor emerged – Disney's CEO, Robert Iger. His words became a guiding light. "No matter who we become or what we accomplish, we still feel that we're essentially the kid we were at some simpler time long ago." The essence of his message resonated deeply, urging Ann not to lose sight of her self-identity. "If there's any advice I could give, it will be like the essence of his message - to not lose your self-identity." Embracing her identity as an Indian became Ann's anchor.
In the face of societal pressures and self-esteem struggles, Ann found solace in the support of others. "When you are facing self-esteem issues, it is important to have people who support you." The journey to independence doesn't mean navigating it alone. Surrounding oneself with supportive individuals becomes crucial, serving as a reminder not to lose oneself. "Be with people who are receptive to who you really are."
In this narrative of self-discovery, resilience, and embracing one's unique identity, the journey continues. The runway may be challenging, but with every step, Ann advocates for authenticity, diversity, and the importance of staying true to oneself.
If one of the telling signs of confidence is expressing one's vulnerabilities, Brenda would be the epitome of confidence. In her podcasts and YouTube videos, she frequently shares about her personal struggles and what she does to overcome them, while inspiring other women to do the same. Read on as she shares about her biggest insecurities, her self-acceptance journey and what she does to mitigate feelings that threaten her self-esteem.
In the dazzling world of PR events, where lights flicker and cameras capture every moment, the glamour often becomes a mirror reflecting one's insecurities. "To a certain extent, I still have imposter syndrome," Brenda admits, suddenly hyper-aware of her appearance, feeling like an outsider in a crowd that seems to effortlessly belong. The struggle to fit in, a lingering imposter feeling, casts shadows on the facade of confidence.
The journey of self-image began in the crucible of youth, where eczema painted uneven patches on Brenda's skin, and stature set her apart in less-than-flattering ways. "Body image is something I struggled with growing up, even till now." The echoes of those early years still reverberate, as societal judgments left scars deeper than skin. The realization that people were kinder to conventionally pretty girls fueled a narrative that she wasn't "pretty enough." The labels and insecurities clung to her into adulthood, amplified by the scrutiny of being a public figure.
Recently, Brenda even made the brave choice to publicly come out as pansexual. However, this revelation was met with skepticism and accusations. "A lot of people accused me of lying about it and doing that to gain attention." The judgment extended to her partner's appearance, adding an extra layer of scrutiny. Amidst the accusations, the question lingered, "but how do you even fake this?"
In the labyrinth of self-discovery, a turning point emerged – the concept of body neutrality. "Over the years, I have learnt that instead of learning to love your body in its entirety, you can first learn to achieve body neutrality." The wisdom of Ashlee Bennett, a body image therapist, resonated deeply. "Regardless of whether I like or dislike how my body looks, I can still treat myself with dignity and respect." The pursuit shifted from unconditional love to a more achievable neutrality.
When the spotlight intensifies, and insecurities threaten to surface, Brenda learned to employ the art of distraction. "If I don't feel secure about myself, for example, at events, I force myself to not get into my own head, perhaps to even distract myself." In the midst of distractions, the grip of insecurities loosens, and the focus shifts away from comparisons with others.
Reflecting on this journey, Brenda shares a piece of advice born from personal evolution. "If there's any advice I could give, it's that I realized a lot of people equate their self-worth and self-love to how they look." The realization that self-love transcends physical appearance becomes a beacon of wisdom. "But if you can't love yourself, how can you love anyone else?" In this mosaic of struggles and triumphs, the path to self-love unfolds, a journey where neutrality becomes a stepping stone to embracing the intricacies of self-worth.
Sonia Asyira Arman (@soniaasyira)
A content creator since she was 14, Sonia's social media page is filled with colourful content - a reflection of her vibrant real-life personality. But behind those happy scenes were years of struggles to finally achieve her current state of self-acceptance and self-love. Read on as Sonia shares about her struggles with anxiety, how she moved on from her dark past and what she does to mitigate feelings of insecurities that threaten her self-esteem.
Amid the vibrant facade of positivity and happiness, there lies a chapter untold, a journey through the shadows of anxiety and nightly battles. "I seem like a positive and happy person now, but what many do not know, which is also the first time I'm sharing on public record, is that I used to have anxiety attacks on a nightly basis a few years ago." Sonia mentioned. The darkness within, concealed by a cheerful exterior, held a silent struggle, where the very notion of happiness seemed elusive.
The origin of this internal turbulence traced back to a period marked by personal challenges and toxic relationships. "I was going through a lot of personal challenges a few years ago as there were toxic people who hurt me a lot emotionally and always made me feel very guilty." The toxicity of emotional wounds manifested in nightly panic attacks, a harrowing ritual that left the question lingering - "Am I just going to accept that this is my fate?" The dichotomy between the bubbly persona by day and tearful nights became an excruciating paradox.
Breaking free from toxic relationships is an intricate dance, especially when love and care exist despite the harm inflicted. "Most of the time, the hardest thing about letting go of toxic people in life (including mine), ironically, is that you love and care for those people, even when they don't feel the same way towards you." The emotional entanglement, coupled with guilt, creates a web that's challenging to escape.
Yet, the story doesn't end in despair. The turning point emerges through the support of those who truly cared. "All the support from people who truly cared for me helped me to leave my past in the past, and walk away from those toxic people." Counting blessings became a source of strength, a realization that life held treasures beyond the toxicity. The journey of healing, self-acceptance, and learning unfolds at its own pace, marked by moments of clarity and growth.
Reflecting on this transformative journey, a nugget of wisdom surfaces. "If there's any advice from my personal experience that I can share with someone facing self-esteem issues, it would be to fill your time with productive activities, and spend more time with people who care about you." The path to self-pride is paved with purposeful engagements and the embrace of genuine connections. And in a poignant proclamation, a reminder emerges - "Be proud of yourself for pushing through every day."
Lastly, a beacon of guidance illuminates the path forward. "Live for yourself. Because if you live for others, it's hard to feel happy and whole." The essence of happiness and completeness springs from an internal well, a self-nurtured garden of joy. In this tale of resilience, the protagonist discovers the strength to rewrite the narrative, forging a path toward self-love and liberation from the shackles of the past.
To overcome self-esteem issues, begin by embracing self-affirmation and acknowledging personal strengths. Cultivate a positive mindset through self-reflection and gradual challenges, fostering a resilient self-image grounded in self-acceptance and growth.