In a world where we’re viewing everything and everyone on social media, we seem to have ironically lost a sense of what authenticity means and looks like.
Though platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can help influencers and average consumers alike build their personal ‘brand’ by channeling a procured image and message that is uniquely ‘them’, the notion of creating a digital presence that is so carefully crafted and intentional feels mass-produced and insincere.
The process of becoming re-rooted in that sincerity and individuality can begin when we focus on celebrating moments of fearlessness and recognizing our own self-worth — something that actress and singer Vanessa Williams is more than familiar with.
Williams, who has been a spokesperson for Clear Eyes since 2013, has been a leading force behind the brand’s ‘My Shining Moment’ initiative this year, which is meant to serve as an platform where people can express, share and showcase their 'best' selves.
Part of this initiative includes a partnership between Clear Eyes and The Nolcha Shows — New York Fashion Week’s prime event for showcasing independent fashion designers.
The new partnership comes on the heels of Clear Eyes’ newly-announced collaboration with Dress for Success Worldwide, with the organization hand-selecting deserving clients with an all-expense paid trip to New York to get the full Fashion Week experience — hair, makeup and a whole lot of styling!
Williams, who attended the show and other events surrounding the initiative during Fashion Week, spoke to the designers and the Dress for Success Worldwide attendees:
“You get opportunities in life and you have to have the courage to go for it. And I think everybody here is courageous, everyone here has been able to take the next step, whatever that is, and fly. And that’s how success kind of breeds more success … we’re all human and we all need a break. We all are looking for something thats going to take us to that next level.”
Take a look at Williams and other VIP influencers at The Nolcha Shows during NYFW:
Part of her role as ambassador for Clear Eyes and the ‘My Shining Moment’ movement included a pop-up gallery experience in New York shot by renowned eye photographer Bridges Aderhold — something that Williams saw as a perfect tie-in with what the initiative at large stood for:
“The eyes are the window of the soul — when you a shine through somebody’s eyes it lends itself to talking about what makes them tick, how they can be better … it’s a fantastic collaboration where we’re talking about eyes, but also … about who you are and bringing the best that you can bring out.”
No stranger to success, Williams is quick to point out that the acknowledgement of fear and our decision to overcome it in the face of both professional and personal challenges is something that’s crucial to finding the best version of oneself:
“I’m a mother of four, I’ve been a mother for 31 years — I’ve had four kids through acting and broadway and television and film and I always get asked ‘How do you do it?’
I understand a lot of people are afraid of having children and starting a career, but there’s fear in everything you’re going to do because its uncertain, it’s natural. Our body is wired to be fearful of stuff we don’t know. But if you take a deep breath and you embrace what challenges you’re given … once you’ve actually gotten over the hump, you realize that its exactly the lesson that you needed and it makes you a better person — Whether it’s having a child, whether its saying yes to an offer that seems scary but you know in your heart you can do it. Those are challenges that never go away.”
For Williams, it’s all about perspective when it comes to finding those moments that make you, well, the most ‘you’ that you can be:
“It’s a matter of putting down the noise, whether it’s your computer, your Instagram page — taking a breath and just kind of centering yourself and being thankful that you’re here and [asking] ‘What am I supposed to be here for?’ Whether its learning something new or whether it’s just being present and being thankful and having gratitude for where you are, because it gets so easy to get caught up in what you don’t have … you live in a constant state of anxiety and that’s not being authentic because you know that you can be capable of being calm and having zen.”
And when is Williams the most zen and authentic? That’s simple:
“My most authentic is when I’m at home in the sun doing a crossword puzzle with my dogs and cooking for my family — barefoot, doing what I love and being surrounded by what is really my nirvana.”
But as seasoned as a vet as she is on the Entertainment scene, there are still moments of doubt, projects that are out of her comfort zone that she sorts through daily — the difference between Williams and the others in her field, of course, is that she doesn’t let that apprehension hinder her opportunity:
“I mean I’m 55 and Im getting offers to do things that I’ve never done. Do I take a one-woman show or do I not? Will I be able to memorize 75 minutes of dialogue — thats scary! But you say to yourself ‘Okay I’ve never done that before, I’m going to go for it.’”
And we can’t wait to watch with shining eyes as she does.