“When you search for beauty in all people and in all things, you will not only find it, you will become it.” These are the words emblazoned across artist Cynthia Sherry’s page for her site, ProjectFeelingBeautiful, and it is a statement IATG wants imprinted on your hearts. Cynthia is an artist on a mission to challenge not just what we see, but how we see. She draws portraits of ordinary, everyday you-and-me type people, connecting with them, hearing their stories, and working to capture the beauty within their beauty. “You will never know someone’s true beauty, just by looking,” says Cynthia. “It takes desire, bravery, and an open heart even more than open eyes. It wasn’t enough to pull someone’s true beauty out when I was drawing, but the second I got them to talk to me, I have never created such beautiful images in my life. I needed their voice, I needed their time, I need their heart to encompass just how beautiful they were.” Now that’s what we call #beautyFULL!
If you could describe yourself in one hashtag, what would it be?
#happy. I know that it may seem so plain and simple, but my happiness is my everything. Happiness is all I will ever need to be comfortable. Happy is a choice that I dedicate myself to everyday, and I am so lucky to say that I am truly a happy girl.
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
I have been sitting and thinking of this question for too long.. and though it may sound cliché, it is simply because I cannot pick one. I have been so blessed to have recently met a number of young ladies and men, and they let me in on such a personal level.. I can tell you tens of reasons of why they are all amazing. I am so inspired by each of them that I even write blog entries on my website about why each of them rock; It makes me think I am actually quite lucky to not have one answer to this question!!
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
This is a question that I could give you a book of answers to. I am a dreamer in every sense of the word. I am curious of so much and find joy in even the most common things. With that being said; I so quickly become attached to ideas and grow such a strong desire to experience things… But I will try to make this brief and specific:
Personal: I dream that I will be able to spread my passion for art through education. I want to one day be a visual arts teacher and/or a dance teacher. Both of these arts are my heart and I want to pass that love on to others as much as possible and show children how much these arts can impact their lives, just like they have done to mine. I have a dream for fashion and would love to be a designer one day, and my greatest secret dream is that I want to write a book. My main ambition in life is that I want to be successful enough that I am free to give. I hope one day I will be able to provide a scholarship for students in need of grant money for college because I would have never had any of these opportunities if they didn’t exist for me.
Big Picture: I dream that through true sincerity and passion in my heart, I can change the way people see and feel for the better. I dream that people will see my fire and genuine belief in others and it will either inspire them or provide enough love and hope for them to love themselves. I live to make others happy. Recently I have just found out what it means to be beautiful, and it has changed my life, so I launched a campaign. Beauty is a feeling and I dream that one day this is how the world will see it. I want nothing more than to be able to pass this definition and way of seeing beauty on to the world so that those who feel “not good enough” or insecure will see all they are is more than enough.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of my vulnerability. I feel that often society sees being vulnerable as a weakness but I have learned being vulnerable is strength. Being vulnerable means not be afraid to get knocked down because you trust you are strong enough to get back up; it means being willing to put yourself out there to learn and experience, no matter what the circumstance or consequence is. All my proud moments have came from being ok with vulnerability, and I am proud that I am brave enough to be vulnerable.
What piece of advice changed your life?
“What you believe, you become” I am not sure if this is direct advice, but either way they are words to live by that changed my life. If you believe you are enough to make an impact, you will be. If you believe you are happy, you will learn to find what it is all about and eventually you will develop happiness. Within my campaign project I found that I believed in beauty, and eventually that is what I became. All we believe; we are, we can be, and this quote of advice changed me by showing me that I am completely in control of who I am and I can do anything as long as I believe. This quote changed my life because I saw that if I want any growth, change, impact, ANYTHING, it starts with believing.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I will be 31 in 10 years… (..what in the world). I see myself officially teaching my passions; whether I am an art education teacher, dance teacher, or motivational speaker and promoter of self worth. I see myself finally traveling and seeing the world to learn more, and I hope to god this is true!
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
To buy my father a house down south. I envision how happy he will be everyday, so I have been dedicated to make this happen for years, and it will be number one till it happens.
Who has been the biggest female influence in your life and why?
My little sister Georgia. I feel life hasn’t been easiest for her; she has had health troubles and had to grow up so young as a child, but you would never know because she doesn’t show it; she is SO strong. Her strength made me have to be strong too. She means everything to me and since she comes before me, she influences my life in multiple ways. I tell myself not to do things if I don’t want to see her doing them. She influences me so much that she shapes and creates me.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
Honestly, I see my project/ campaign as one of the biggest risks I have ever FULLY committed to. At first it was nerve wracking; how do you ask strangers if you can draw them without sounding creepy; will I be able to make strangers comfortable enough to sit with me for an hour, what if I sit down and in the end it looks nothing like them and doesn’t captivate who they are; how will I have time to commit myself to all of this on top of dance, work and school. These were all concerns I had before I started the project. However, I needed to believe in myself and take the risk…. And I am so thankful I did because what I have learned from it is everything I am trying to share; because it is now EVERYTHING to me. I learned where beauty comes from. I learned that beauty, someone’s TRUE beauty, will never be seen just by looking. I learned that a singular observation and image will never captivate all we are worth and have to offer and that beauty is defined through experience; it is our stories, our life, everything we have shaped to be and plan to create. Beauty is what’s inside. I would have never been proven this if I never took my risk.
Why are you THAT GIRL?
I am a girl who is just finding out now that she is beautiful; it is new to me. If you were to ask this question to me a couple months ago, I would have worked my way in words around it. However, in the past couple months, I have met and drawn over a dozen IT girls. I experienced their beauty and can tell you multiple reasons why each of them is THAT girl. This is exactly why I feel confident enough to tell you I am THAT GIRL today. I, just like the beautiful ladies in my campaign, have a story too. I have worth, and passion, and a history as well as future. I am THAT GIRL because to think I am an exception to all I am promoting would be crazy. If we believe in ourselves, we can all be THAT GIRL, and I am certainly no exception to this fact. I have a story, I have a passion, and I believe..That is why I am THAT GIRL.
*Interview conducted and compiled by Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor