Ally’s floral print dress and flowing braids gave her a soft and sweet look but, it didn’t take away from her strong personality. Some may call her 5”2 with attitude but Ally Johnson radiates confidence and poise; and while she lives on coffee and adores shoes, she has room in her heart for those she loves. As a first year student studying Social Work, Ally has already left her mark in leadership roles among the campus’ black community and by volunteering with children on the weekend. When asked “how would you describe beauty?” She shared that “I would describe beauty as something that is personal to a certain person. There are so many ways that beauty can be defined whether it be looks, or inner beauty, or based on personality. Beauty is something that draws other people to you, therefore it doesn’t have to be just looks.”
Being a black woman myself and encountering obstacles, I wanted to know what Ally had faced due to her personal identity. She revealed that “being a black woman has been a challenge at a PWI (predominantly white institute). I feel as though I have had a lot of problems finding true friendships because of my personality and my confidence. A lot of people find it as being arrogant and mean, but it’s just me being who I am and protecting my heart.” Many strong minded women experience similar struggles. Their confidence is seen as a threat by other women, and even men because for decade’s society has told women that they should be meek; but I applaud her for staying true to herself.
For most of us, the question “What do you love about yourself?” can be very challenging to answer and some of us even dread it. We would never want to sound arrogant! Or maybe our positive reflection of our self is blocked by the flaws we see instead. Ally had no problem with it and happily shared “I’ll be honest and say that I love just about everything about myself. I love the confidence I have and my ability to stand up for what I believe in. I love the way I present myself in the way that I look on an everyday basis because I don’t have to please anyone except myself, so that is exactly what I will do.”
For those of us who have experienced the world of higher education, we know it is no walk in the park, but it is worth it. At the end of the day “to receive a college degree means that I tried harder than most people to follow my dreams and find a career that I will fall in love with.” You may have heard the saying ‘choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’, and Ally is doing just that.
Confidence is not something we are born with unfortunately, but the journey of falling in love with yourself is such a powerful experience. For those of us who still struggle with self-acceptance, Ally’s advice is to “Do everything you do for yourself, not other people, even your family. In the end, if you aren’t happy, what did you achieve?”
Creative Directing Assistants
Daniel de La Fé
Daniel de La Fé Photography
Facebook & Instagram: @danieldelafephotography.com
A special thanks to the Aspen Grille for allowing us to shoot at their location. The Aspen Grille is student run, supports local and sustainable producers, and located in the Lory student Center. Be sure to check them out here and make your reservations! http://lsc.colostate.edu/dining-at-the-lory-student-center/aspen-grille/