What do you see when you look in the mirror? Can you appreciate what you see or do you start to critique what’s there? For most teens, it’s probably a little bit of both and that’s where the “Got Beauty” movement comes into play.
Got Beauty is “a movement that helps young women (and men) to realize the self-esteem they already possess and encourage them to increase that by not only challenging the societal idea of beauty but redefining it,” says its 18 year old founder, Colasia Claxton. And to help teens do that, Colasia started #MirrorMackin, an initiative to post inspirational quotes on the bathroom mirrors of schools. Why bathroom mirrors? Because that’s the place, she says, where low self-esteem lives. Colasia, a graduating high school senior from New Haven and a member of the Future Project, created the movement as part of her Social Action Project* for school and she wants you to get involved!
Where did you get the idea or inspiration for “Got Beauty”?
I feel as though over the years being a part of the Future Project, the projects I have pursued have always been focused on low self-esteem. Being I am a senior, and this is my fourth year being a part of the Future Project, I wanted to do something bigger than I have. The actual name “Got Beauty?” came to me after I had to change the name of my project because someone else had it. I do feel though that this name fits my project better; it questions how people feel about themselves and when people see the name “Got Beauty?” I want them to be able to say “YES!”
What is the Future Project?
The Future Project is an organization set in various high schools throughout the country. In this program students are encouraged to dream and discover their passion, then use that passion to create a project that will be impactful toward an issue they feel strongly about whether in their community or further.
Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem?
I feel life is a constant battle of self-esteem and feeling good about yourself. In the past though I have struggled with feeling good about myself, I did not always think I was pretty whether it was my darker complexion or not liking my nose. Though I felt these things, I did not let them consume me; instead I poured myself into the things I was good at, like dance. I would always participate in the talent shows at school, or my education. I would be apart of things like Math Team and other groups my friends saw as “nerdy.”
You said that bathroom mirrors are “the place where low self-esteem lives.” Can you explain why and what you mean by that?
What I mean by bathroom mirrors are the place where low self-esteem lives is that that is the place where people go to judge themselves. It’s easier to point out what you do not like when you are staring right at it. I want my project to get those who look in the mirror and focus on the negatives they feel and reshape that view as positive.
So how does #mirrormackin work?
Schools that sign up to have #MirrorMackin will be delivered a #MirrorMackin box, which is literally a box that contains everything they may need to revamp their school’s bathroom mirrors easily.
As of now #MirrorMackin Boxes contain things like a variety chalkboard markers (because they are also good for mirrors), window clings (a type of sticker), and a few example quotes and pictures of mirrors that have already been transformed. There will also be pointers on the best ways to go about launching #MirrorMackin and the proper hashtags that should be written on the mirror. There will also be a thank you note for the person or people launching #MirrorMackin encouraging them to go follow @GotBeautyMovement on Instagram, which uploads daily inspirational quotes and would repost the pictures of schools who have #MirrorMackin an embrace it.
What does a sample quote look like?
WARNING. Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by social constructed ideas of beauty.
How can readers & students get involved? What’s the timeline or deadline?
Readers can get involved by following @GotBeautyMovement on Instagram to show support. They can also inquire on receiving an actual #MirrrorMackin box by e -mailing Colasia Claxton at email@example.com. Readers can also want to get involved with a process called a self-over, where I ultimately want to take girls and help them highlight the things they may like about themselves as opposed to a make-over that people associate with a drastic change. For that process I am searching for candidates for self-overs who would ideally be chosen before the end of May. To nominate someone for a self-over the same firstname.lastname@example.org is the best contact, or call (203)-772-8814
What has the response been so far?
Launching in my school, I feel the feedback has been positive. Girls come up to me talking about how they like the mirror and think it’s cute and a nice thing I’ve done. While retouching the mirrors sometimes people walk into the bathroom and see me climbing on the sink and I have to explain what I am doing, I have had interesting conversations in bathrooms.
What do you hope to accomplish with this project?
I hope it jump starts people into embracing who they are for all the positive traits they possess instead of focusing just on negatives. I also hope my project can help people more easily deal with those uncontrollable moments of low self-esteem they may have. I know low self-esteem can reach extreme points, and I rather have no one experience that.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
In creating this project, I have had big communication issues that have been obstacles. I constantly feel like people who I am trying to contact don’t contact me back and/or do not see my messages. To combat this problem I have used perseverance. I constantly contact (probably nag) the people who I wish to use as resources. Though at times annoying, I do see this as a chance to consider adjustments to my project because of outside issues and, in doing this, my project has finally been shaping into something I am proud of and excited to see in the world.
What has been the best or most rewarding part of this experience?
The most rewarding part of my project has been the positive reaction and willingness for schools wanting to participate, and actually launching in my own school. I am also looking forward to expanding, when Got Beauty and #MirrorMackin is in at least 10 schools I will feel truly accomplished.
Colasia will be enrolled as a freshman at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) and will hopefully stay committed to majoring in Economics and Sociology.
*At my high school (New Haven Academy) completing a Social Action Project (S.A.P) is a graduation requirement. Students are expected to target an issue they see in the community (ex: childhood obesity, low self-esteem in young girls etc.) and create a project they feel will help combat that issue. At the end of the year seniors have to do a presentation that documents what they did to get their project done: emails, phone calls, community service (which is required), meetings, collaborations etc and discuss successes and challenges.