In the above video, Vogue Contributor, Andre Leon Talley, spoke with Oxford Union Society earlier this year and it was published on YouTube, May 8, 2013. He spoke to the Oxford students about his life and the important people who shaped his view of the world. To begin with he said, "No one has just popped out of nowhere. You are what you become because of where you came from,"and, "anyone who distilled in you something to go forward and to achieve your dreams is an important person." He claims that two women were primary for who he is today: his grandmother, Minnie Francis Davis, who taught him style and the core values of life built around church, and Diana Vreeland who taught him how imagination pushes you to solve your own problems in the real world. He emphasized that self-invention is key in life, and that one must create their own diorama/persona based on what our passions are. In my fashion, regardless of what we look like, inventing a unique and recognizable persona of ourselves is what will lead to our content.
I, personally, was very blessed to have had parents who worked together all my childhood to encourage me to be a strong, capable, and confident, God-fearing man. A bit of advise I always carried with me from them is to, "Never be last." I remember my mom telling me this in middle school when I was about to run a race at my school's track meet, but for me this always equated to, "Always be first," having been the type to realize the benefits of being a consummate overachiever. I realized that if I was going to be top dog in all that I did, I was going to have to believe in my abilities above everyone else, and also that I was just as good as anyone who was striving to be first against me. In my fashion, my parents confidence in me had helped to build the confidence within me to see myself as great.
In my fashion, the genius of Diana Vreeland's logic comes from her belief that one should, "Push their flaws," making their flaws the most beautiful thing about them. In regards to my theme for October, "Social Identity, Self Improvement", the first step involves self-appreciation. In the panel discussion above, "Too Fat, Too Thin: Will We Ever Be Content", at the UK Vogue Festival this past April, an audience member asked the panel, "How do you get yourself to like yourself?" The panel, which included, Daisy Lowe, David Gandy, Patsy Kensit and Christa D'Souza, were astonished to hear that the girl who asked the question worked out six times a week and was still unhappy with her appearance. Patsy Kensit, instructed that first, one must surround themselves with wonderful women and great people who adore you, but not in a egotistical way, but more people who bring a sense of serenity into your life. It sort of goes back to what ALT was saying about the fact that having that person in your life who distills in you something to go forward and to achieve your dreams is an important person. Appreciate the people who are in your life who appreciate you, and don't seek approval from anyone else outside that circle because they are the one's who understand where you have been and where you plan to go. The second half of how to like yourself, she postulated, is that one should start appreciating things in your day, and start noticing the things you do appreciate about yourself. But one might then ask, "Where does one start?"
|I am a mystic and intuitive Pisces.|
I have found that when it comes to appreciating ourselves, it may be hard to do when we can only think about those negative aspects of ourselves we wish to change immediately. In my fashion, the reason I am so adamant about understanding history is because the stories of our past can be quite inspiring, because if you notice, history doesn't really repeat itself, it rhymes. From what has happened in the past we understand what to do in the here and now. In "Too Fat, Too Thin", David Gandy said that the key to nutrition and being fit is education. It's the same with style and finding ways to appreciate our being. Where do you come from? Look at your country of origin: fill yourself with knowledge of the past and find similarities between your life and the lives of historical figures; dig deeper into your heritage, and take time to understand the trails that your ancestors blazed through history. Before we can unlock the future, one must unlock the keys of the past. Now to some, this next piece of advice may seem ludicrous, but in my fashion, one way of seeing ourselves more clearly for who we can appreciate ourselves for being is to seek guidance from one's horoscope profile. I have always found it interesting that while horoscopes can seem unreliable, vague, and made-up, the profile of the sign that we are born into tend to describe our personalities very accurately. Maybe you don't have to necessarily take what is said to heart and confine yourself to what is believed to be true of who you are, but I find that reading our signs personality traits may help us to be more aware of personality traits that we can be proud to have of ourselves. If you read your profile, and find that you can attest to the fact that some of your natural tendencies match what is said about your sign, perhaps it may help you come to grips with aspects about yourself that you can appreciate about yourself, and work to enhance those endearing qualities. It is those qualities that make us unique and most happy to exercise when we understand that those qualities are our strengths in life and when we act accordingly can bring us that personal gratification we search for within ourselves. We all have strengths and weakness. In my fashion, self love is the most endearing aspect of style, and style is really about learning how to enhance one's strengths while being aware of our weaknesses, and learning how to live with them.