In her new book, Gorgeous for Good, Sophie Uliano shares her fabulous 30-day program for lasting beauty, inside and out
When I think of the inspiring and beautiful women in my life who have been mentors to me in one way or another, there are a few traits that they all share: they are fearless, curious, funny, self-deprecating, generous and on fire! In short, all of them have fantastic personalities.
If you don’t have these kinds of role models, think about a well-known woman who has inspired you at some time in your life. It could be Maya Angelou, a personal favorite who overcame a torturous childhood to find something so beautiful in her soul that she shared it with the world through her arresting poetry. Marianne Williamson, Maria Shriver, Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie are others who have had the courage to step up on a platform to express their truth in the hope that we might all learn to do the same. These are all women who inspire me to become a better person.
In ancient cultures, wisdom was passed down to a woman from a guru, a mentor or a grandmother. This kind of wisdom empowered us to stay true to our purpose in life. Ironically, I think that one of my greatest strengths is the knowledge that most of the time I have no idea what all the answers are. This understanding keeps me humble enough to receive wisdom from people who have mastered certain areas of their lives in which I could use some help. I learned this early in life after a few years of being a very troubled teenager. I needed mentors, and when the student is ready, the teacher always arrives. Many women, including my beautiful mother, have been powerful inspirations to me at different moments in my life.
I was only 19 when I met a very wise woman who has been a mentor of sorts for my entire adult life. The reason I sought out her guidance was because she seemed deeply contented while having seemingly very little—she intrigued me because her spirit shined so brightly. One day, I called her up in tears—I was about 21 years old and a struggling actress. I couldn’t get an acting job to save my life. To make ends meet, I was forced to do a few humiliating (in my grandiose opinion) and soul-destroying jobs.
On this particular day, when my feet hurt from walking around a depressing store for hours, handing out toxic cleaning product samples, I phoned her during my 15-minute lunch break, thinking she would advise me to quit. In her serene tone, she reminded me that the job in question was a perfect opportunity for spiritual growth and that I was exactly where I was meant to be. I was stunned. I wanted sympathy and a way out. She went on to ask me if I thought I could live the rest of my day “beautifully.” At first I was appalled, but as she continued in her soothing tone, my shoulders slowly dropped, and I began to feel excited by the challenge that she’d presented. Yes, of course, I could live the rest of the day beautifully—moreover, I knew exactly what she meant by this. I could get through the rest of the day with grace, dignity and love despite my aching feet and the toxic cleaning supply samples. I knew I could, and I tackled the afternoon with a renewed sense of purpose.
That night, I fell into bed with the exquisite satisfaction of a day well lived. This experience was one of the many lessons that I learned about living “gorgeously”—that it’s less about the circumstances of my life and much more about how I respond to them—finding this kind of purpose in my everyday life is what makes me feel truly gorgeous. You might be able to buy great face creams, but you can’t buy a great personality or outlook on life. Good character has to be earned. The hard knocks of life shape us—they serve to soften our edges and often force us to dig deeper and find out who we truly are. Pain and suffering are part of life, but the great news is that they’re also the medium for spiritual growth.
The more I began to explore this concept, the more I realized that taking care of your insides—your physical, mental and spiritual health—is essential to not just looking beautiful, but feeling beautiful. To be truly gorgeous is a holistic endeavor. Sadly, many people don’t see it this way; they separate physical body, mental and emotional life, and spirituality, looking at each as completely unrelated, yet they are all 100 percent integrated. Think about it. If you aren’t feeling well, you don’t look your best. If you’re confident about what you’re doing, you’re more likely to shine brightly. If you feel spiritually lost, you won’t embody your true self. This is why I feel it is so important to consider our whole being in the beauty equation and why I believe inner work to be so important. I can squeeze into the skinniest jeans on earth or have the best hair day I’ve ever had, but if I don’t feel really good about who I am as a person, I’m never going to feel—or look—truly gorgeous.
Nourish Your Beauty
If you stock your pantry with these things, you’ll be well on your way.
- Seeds: Flax, hemp, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
- Nuts: Chestnuts, almonds, cashews and macadamia nuts.
- Non-gluten grains: Brown and wild rice, millet, teff, quinoa, buckwheat and tapioca.
- Veggie protein: Lentils, split peas, legumes and beans.
- Dairy substitutes: Nut milks, rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, coconut oil and butter.
- Veggies: Spinach, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, artichokes, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, onions, leeks, garlic and sweet potatoes.
- Fruits: Apples, pears, bananas, kiwi, melons, mangoes, blueberries and papaya.
- Spices: Turmeric and ginger.
- Soy: This should always be in traditional form, such as tempeh, tofu, soy milk, edamame, miso and tamari. Always make sure that your soy products are certified organic.
Excerpted from Gorgeous for Good: A Simple 30-Day Program for Lasting Beauty—Inside and Out by Sophie Uliano.