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Camila Coelho: Finding Confidence Within Imperfection

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Welcome to an article that examines one person’s relationship with beauty and how it has changed over time. It also explores how they feel being seen. We’re speaking to Camila Coelho today.

“Growing up in Brazil, in a small town, I have endless fond memories; I felt so free, living in a small town and riding horses and being so connected to nature.

My grandma always had her hair and makeup done no matter where she was. My grandmother was not someone that society would be able to see in a photograph. She was happy in her own skin. Her hair was curly, her nose was larger and she was confident. To me, her personality and the love she had for herself is what made her so beautiful. Unfortunately, I no longer have her in my daily life.”

“She was the one who introduced me to my first lipstick. I can recall going to her and being like, “Grandma! I’m taking my passport picture and I want lipstick that will make me beautiful.” I was given a shade of red by her. It was applied right before the photo was taken so that my mom could not wipe it off. She was shocked.”

“Growing up, I was always very confident. My curly hair was my favorite thing about me. I also loved my nose, which reminded of my grandma. However, there was a time in my life when my self-esteem suffered. When I was 17 years old, I was diagnosed as having epilepsy. Because I was on medication, I couldn’t go out with my friends and I couldn’t drink. I felt very different. I used to wear makeup every chance I got, but I stopped wearing it once my seizures began. Maybe a little bit of clear lip gloss, maybe some black eyeliner along my waterline. It was terrible, but it was all I did. I was completely exhausted.”

“I was struggling so much that I decided to stop taking the medication without consulting anyone. That’s when I experienced a seizure at school in front of my classmates. After the seizure, I recall having an intense conversation with my mother where she told me how fortunate I was. Yes, epilepsy is something I have, but there are many people who struggle to live every day. People don’t have the same access to medicine as me. This feeling of gratitude changed everything. Everybody has their struggles, and everyone handles them differently. I was determined not to feel defeated forever. I finally started to wear makeup again.”

“I really do believe that what you feel and what you put into the world attracts that type of energy back to you. Sometimes our lives feel amazing and we accomplish so much. Then, something small happens. If you focus too much energy on the negative things that have happened, you can end up feeling drained and forget all the positive things in your life. It definitely translates to beauty, as well. You won’t feel beautiful if you don’t feel good about yourself. It starts with accepting yourself and loving your struggles.”

“The older I get, the more confident I feel. I can’t remember feeling super confident without makeup until a few years back. Now it’s completely different. Although I do love a full-glam look I also feel beautiful with no makeup. This ethos is the foundation of Elaluz. I wanted products that were easy to use and looked natural. This brand is a reflection of my Brazilian roots. Even the name is Portuguese. Brazil should always be part of the brand. It is important to me that Filipinos and Brazilians are represented.”

“On days where I do wake up feeling down, I try and prioritize spending time outside in the sun or calling my loved ones. I also try to avoid social media. Social media has many benefits and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. However, taking breaks is important. You can focus on the positive things and your passions, instead of focusing on them.”

“When I’m in one of those moods, I count my blessings. I am religious and I thank god for everything. When I begin to go down the list, I realize how fortunate I am. I have a roof over me, wonderful friends and family, and a job I love. All that gratitude takes away all negative emotions.”

“Pre-pandemic, I found that I was so overwhelmed. I felt unhappy a lot of the time, despite accomplishing so much. Because I was doing too many things, I wanted to say no. Since then I have prioritized my health and spent time with my family. I learned to say no and now feel that I am doing what I love.”

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