Somewhere along the way we get spoon-fed ideas of what it means to be pretty. We store them away in our pockets, our bones, and inside of the poems we write– continents of time trying to be a version of ourselves they might like. We live entire chapters of our life yet to arrive at the summit where we realize we are enough.
But when we do, there is a kind reckoning with the self that we might hopefully never forget. There is a power that comes from feeling like our most stripped down, base version; when you realize only you get to say what is pretty, what is right, what is you.
Photographer, Ethan Gulley, captured long time friend and model, Kelsey Christian, shaving her head in an act of self-exploration, preservation, and fun. She had been debating the gesture for years. And I mean, who hasn’t imagined that sort of freedom? On the verge of moving to New York, she has reached an impasse in which she felt the time was righter than ever to meet herself in the mirror.
“I had to do something drastic for myself, in order to love myself properly; to find beauty in my imperfections and in my personality that would shine through no matter what my appearance was. Basically I had had enough of not being quite pretty enough, or exotic enough, or even not quite fitting the “girl next door” mold.” -Kelsey Christian
Filmed on a what the two call ‘just a regular evening,’ there were a lot of laughs and a few friends. The edit and delivery of the video feels surprisingly cheerful and fresh. And that is precisely what made us fall in love with the moment. This is no dramatic death of self or noir rendering of her choice. It feels good to feel good, and we feel that from this piece. Ethan, Kelsey, thank you for letting us in.