Make a date with self-love and confidence

Arts & Entertainment Community Featured

A new calendar filled with photos of local women is trying to encourage self-love and body confidence.

Chelsea Sutherland, who owns Chelsea Laine Salon and Colour Bar in New Glasgow, asked people to showcase parts of themselves that have triggered insecurity, but they’re now embracing.

“It’s about what I’m ready to celebrate about myself, so it was more about joy, empowerment, liberation and sexy in that form, rather than what’s supposed to be sexy, what’s perceived as sexy, what we are told is sexy,” Sutherland says.

Some of the models, photographed by Tara Gillis and Ashley MacPherson, pose on their own while others are in groups. Sutherland herself is pictured in a group photo breastfeeding her daughter Sadie as well as in a separate shot.

It ended up being a bonding experience for the women involved, Sutherland says, sharing a story about one of the models seeing someone with a body similar to hers.

“She had struggled to love her body when it was hers, but when she saw someone else with her body, she was like, that’s stunning. She could love that body in that moment.”

A few things inspired her to start the project, one of which was Instagram influencer Sarah Nicole (@thebirdspapaya), who writes about her journey of self-love and acceptance on the platform for her more than 600 thousand followers.

“I love that she intentionally finds what would be considered taboo angles. She’s not trying to hide elements that society would deem as a flaw.”

Working as a hair stylist means Sutherland has a lot of one-on-one time with women and says she often hears women being critical of themselves. She wants to combat that and celebrate the power of women instead. Thinking about her own daughter played a role in her decision to start the project, too. She says she needed to become comfortable in her own skin in order to encourage Sadie to do the same.

“Even when you are what society says is okay, you can still hate yourself. It has nothing to do with what we actually look like. It has everything to do with how we feel.”

Sutherland said proceeds from sales of the calendar, which is sponsored by Advocate, are going towards a nomination award at the local high schools that will recognize when young women do something positive to empower other young women.

She has started an Instagram account (@womenonfire902) that showcases the stories of the women who took part. She’s already thinking about what’s next and how to get more people involved. She wants to be more inclusive and for everyone who looks at the second project to see themselves in it.

Make a date with self-love and confidence The 2020 calendars are available at the salon and also by contacting the Women on Fire Instagram account.