1. Embrace being different – you don’t have to be just like everyone else
And I wasn’t. I didn’t have a sun tan. I didn’t spend the weekend at the beach and I didn’t sunbake my legs in the school playground. I certainly didn’t meet the teenage beauty standards of the decade.
So, my whiteness was unusual. This was the 80s before any decent self-tanning products hit the market. This was a decade where it was acceptable for people to comment on your whiteness.
Beautician: “I need my sunglasses to wax your legs”.
Me: (Internally) How embarrassing!
My adult self would laugh it off, call her on how incredibly unprofessional she was and point out that I was the smart one taking care of my skin.
2. Don’t worry what everyone else thinks!
Don’t let opportunities pass you by while you are worrying about what others think. Why should you give more importance to their opinion than to your own?
Chances are most of the people in your teenage life (other than your family) will not be of any major importance to you later in life.
And if someone doesn’t like you because you are different – that’s a pretty narrow minded person you don’t want in your life.
Oh, and wear a hat! It doesn’t have to be daggy. Who cares if none of the cool kids wear one – do you want to risk looking 40 when you are only 30?
3. If you want to do something – go ahead and do it!
If you want to go and swim at the beach and you don’t have a tanned bikini bod, just do it anyway.
Don’t be embarrassed. Wear what makes you feel good, protects your skin, is flattering for your colouring and just get out there!
If I was to tell my teenage self that I would one day launch a beachwear brand, I would never have believed it. By focusing on the positives of being different I found a fulfilling career that allows me to just be me.
Oh and sorry teenage self for putting you through the following:
coconut oil on my legs – the worst sunburn I have ever felt
telling you that you weren’t as good looking as the tanned girls
avoiding the beach because I was too self-consciousness
that tragic Goth stage – my brothers called me Morticia Adams for 2 years