All content and images ©2017, Grace Anne Piana

Love the Skin You're In

For as long as I could remember I always hated my dark complexion. I tried my best to stay out of the sun. Even at the beach, while in water, you will find me with an umbrella. Embarrassing as it sounds, I even used to use Likas, a skin whitening papaya soap, in hopes to lighten up my skin.

I guess it wasn't just me. Overtime, I learned that many felt/did the same. You see, I guess to me, the thought of being light-skinned would make me feel more beautiful. Unfortunately, this was my mentality at a very young age. I'm not even sure why I was so concerned! It's not like I got made fun of for being dark. I think it's just that attitude was so ingrained in my culture that it made me feel like I shouldn't be as dark as I am. And silly me for thinking that holding an umbrella over my head 24/7 would resolve the issue.

Just recently, I've started to embrace my melanin and have found such beauty in the color of my skin. Granted, I complain about my tan lines, but I love it! I love my skin! And I believe everyone should too!

This is why I started my Love the Skin You're In series.

Hello, I'm Grace Piana and I'm a photographer. Overtime, I will be documenting stories of all the beautiful women I encounter.

Meet Jenny.

If you ever meet Jenny, you'll immediately want to be her friend. For me, I wanted to be her BEST friend. Jenny is so fun, bubbly and has the best personality. She gives no f*cks and she is just a big ball of fun! When you meet Jenny, you'll think she's the most down-to-earth, positive and confident person ever. When you meet Jenny, you'll learn exactly why I adore her.

"Confidence, self esteem, and body issues (like most people) is something I have always struggled with. In the last few years I have tried to push myself to fight through the negative thoughts, the insecurities, and the fears that have been a staple in my stream of conscious for most of my life. Sometimes these moments of stepping out of my comfort zone feel like huge wins and accomplishments, others feel like huge failures and I want to crawl back into my protective hole. When With Love, Grace Anne Sent me some of the pictures from a photo shoot we did my first instinct was to pick apart every photo...including this one [pictured below]! I started counting all the things I hated about myself in this picture. But then I decided I should count all the things I love about myself in it instead. And thus, against my better judgment, I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone and practicing what I preach by posting it! "

Jenny is very creative. As an aesthetician, she's dabbled on a lot of things! Lash extensions, facials, makeup, you name it! She does makeup for weddings, weight lifting competitions and was a part of a segment on the Today's Show!

When did you graduate from Jean Madeline Aveda Institute?

"February of 2017"

What inspired you to become an aesthetician

"I was having a quarter life crisis. I was feeling really lost and unhappy with my life the way it was. I was missing passion. Skin care, makeup and all things beauty has always been something I loved and I decided I needed to turn that love into a career. I also have a passion for travel. So at the time I was trying to figure out a way to get paid for either or both of those passions. My goal now is to work in a spa on a cruise ship by the time I’m 30 so I can combine those passions and make money at the same time!"

What is your biggest fears 

”I have a lot of them! Lmao. But being forgotten is probably the biggest. I want people to remember me when I’m gone. There is a song from Little Women the Musical called Astonishing. Everyone should listen to it. It speaks to me! It’s kind of my anthem.”

What do you love most about yourself 

“I don’t like this question! Haha ummmm I guess my passion. If I love something or some one [I] really love it. There is no in between for me. And I guess my positivity. I try to always keep people laughing and smiling. That’s what makes me happy is when I see other people happy. Especially if I know I had something to do with their happiness...does that make sense?”

If you could change one thing, what would it be?

“One thing about myself? Only one thing??? That is hard! I guess it would be how hard I take things. I have been told I’m an empath, so I feel everything stronger than some. And I feel others joys and pains just as much as they do. It’s hard sometimes because I have a hard time saying no to people or I feel guilty when I need to be selfish for my own wellness because I don’t want to let anyone down.”

She also adds:

"I would love if universal health care was a thing and universal education! If I could I would make it so that every child in this country had the same opportunities for health and wellness both physically and mentally. And that everyone was able to get the health care they needed... health care being both mental and physical health."

Jenny continues to inspire me every day to follow my dreams!

Thanks for sharing your story with us!

With love,

Grace Anne