Bold beauty - Emily's Lupus scars reflect portrait of self-love
"Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that's when you're most beautiful." Actress Zoe Kravitz could not have said it better.
Emily Dixon is living proof of this because despite her scars resulting from lupus, her glow is undeniable.
The scarring of the disease seemed to happen fast, but what seemed to affect Dixon the most, initially, was her hair loss. However, she has come a far way from the initial shock of having her husband shaving off her head several years ago, as she shared with Outlook previously.
Experiencing this illness has taught her so much about herself.
"I grew thinking that I should always care what people think about me and how I look, and that I should always try to fit in. I have realised that I was born to stand out and make a strong statement. My first huge step was choosing to go bald, because I was experiencing so much hair loss and couldn't stand wearing wigs. I think since then, it has been easy for me to try new things, whether it's growing a mohawk or having henna put on my head and not care so much what others think, as long as I'm making a positive contribution to society," she told Outlook.
So when photographer Steven Roper approached her about putting henna on her head as a collaboration with Henna Threads' Mark Samuels, she was game. She admitted that the idea was Roper's and she had loved the ideas he had brought to her.
Roper told Outlook that both he and Samuels came up with the concept. While he knew Dixon, he was hesitant about approaching her because he did not want to take advantage or exploit something that she was vulnerable about. However, as Lupus Month approached, he told her about his idea and she was thrilled. After hearing her story, it was his aim to use his photography to show her beauty and her joy, and to start a trend with the use of Henna.
Dixon admitted that she was a bit nervous, especially because of her own allergies, but Samuels was very accommodating and made a special stain to ensure that she was taken care of. There was also a bit of nerve as it pertained to the children that she worked with and her church, but the reception was warm.
Samuels enjoyed working with Dixon as he said, she remained quite still throughout the entire experience; but, artistically speaking, he found it remarkable how her scars seemed to compliment the henna. He also usually takes his own photographs but was glad to have Roper on board.
Dixon would like to encourage and show other victims of lupus and youth self-love. She does not believe that this illness should ever be seen as the end of one's life. Whether or not someone is suffering from lupus or any other disease that might alter their looks, they should not neglect their bodies, even with all the pressure with social media and its definition of beauty based on the people who are glorified.
"Between social media and television, there is so much importance put on body image and looking a 'certain way' and the bullying that comes when we don't fit in. Don't be consumed by all of that. Also, don't be unkind to people who have skin issues or deformities. A lot of people refuse to go out in public because they fear what others will say to them. Think before you speak to avoid causing hurt and embarrassment to another," Dixon closed.
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