What is Beauty?

Above photo by Annika Photography

You. Are Beautiful.

Look in the mirror. Repeat these words, “I am beautiful.”

You are drop-dead gorgeous. You are radiant. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Beauty is being enough. You. Are enough.


What is Beauty?

I am faced with this question every day. I see myself transformed for the sake of beauty. Images that hardly even resemble me after all the makeup, light, and photoshop.

Who says this is “beautiful”? Who says heels are sexy? Who are they to tell us what we should or shouldn’t look like, and decide what is beautiful? They are no one.

If there’s one takeaway from my experience as a model, it would be that the fashion industry can be a very negative environment, filled with girls who are constantly being molded into an unrealistic beauty standard.

Do me a favor? Are you still looking in the mirror? Of course you’re not, you’re on your phone, or computer. Look at the reflection in your screen. Better yet, take a selfie, and smile. No. Really smile. Revel in the beautiful nature that is you. That smile is gold.

I know that beauty is more than what it seems. It takes time to train your mind to look beyond the traditional beauty standard. To look beyond the makeup, the hairspray, the Prada, and this or that.

It’s hard to escape, but I feel so strongly in my convictions that each and every one of you have this vast, astounding beauty, that I’ve set out on this mission to spread awareness of this beauty.

You don’t need makeup or fancy clothes. The most beautiful thing you can do is to be you. The most beautiful thing is joyousness and another human’s smile. Beauty is insight and health. No amount of “enhancements” can put you in that kind of place.

What is beauty?
Flaws – Imperfection – Honesty – Life – Humaness – Spontaneity – Laughter – Eyes – Mouth – Ears – Thigh gaps – NO thigh gaps – Curvy – Skinny – Freckles – Teeth

Damnit, you ARE beauty.

Be Fierce!!
Briauna Mariah (:

Pros and Cons of Being a Short Haired Model

  • Don’t pay for haircuts like… Ever. I hardly remember the last time I paid for my hair cut or color. I’ve only paid for color once in my life since going short, which was back in 2011. That was my last fully paid haircut, too. In 2012, I tipped a guy to do my hair a couple times. So yeah, isn’t it 2014 now?
  • Get paid to not cut your hair. Don’t go out and pay for a haircut! If you cut your hair, there’s less for clients to work with and they may not hire you. Basically, growing your hair out is a future gig investment. Oooh yeah.
  • Try a plethora of new hair colors! Since becoming a short haired model, I’ve experimented with many different color variations, and got paid to do so!
  • Book awesome gigs. Hair pays and it pays well! My first hair job in New York was a huge national hair campaign for Joico 2013. Want to make a super easy $600 bucks (or more)? Wait for a hair job to come around.
  • Hairdressers are the best clients! No joke. Now that I think of it, the hair industry is the best part of the fashion industry. All the top hairstylists are best friends and they are the friendliest people on the planet. They will love you to death. I love them!
  • Androgyny. Look like a dude and be cool with it. I’ve been called sir so many times… you have no idea.
  • Be rocker and edgy. Short hair is just photographs so well. And it fits with so many different types of personalities.
  • And you can still be cute and girly on top of it all! Always a plus.
  • Unlimited cool cuts and style options. So versatile.
  • Everyone else loves your hair short. (As long as you can effectively pull it off. If you’re a good model, you should). It’s so… Rebel? Wait, how is short hair rebel these days? Beats me…. Some people are still old fashioned.
  • It grows fast! Optimize your fun hair-gig bookings. They can just keep cutting it.
  • Healthier hair. The ends are newer than long haired girls’ ends.
  • It’s hard to grow out. Especially when you’re booking hair jobs. They keep cutting it! But it pays so well….
  • It’s a bit more difficult to do the more “bombshell look.” It can be done though. With the right person and style.
  • Commercial work may be more difficult. Hard for me to say personally because I’m edgy in general. Commercial cant take me and my short hair.
  • Hair jobs pay well… But they’re less frequent than well paid, consistent commercial work.
  • A cool cut/style can start to look a little shaggy for a while after before it fills out.
  • If you’re getting you hair colored, note that the color fades relatively quickly. Sad day 🙁
  • Last con: There aren’t enough cons to demonstrate that you shouldn’t rock short hair. Umm… What’s wrong with short hair? Nothing. Because short hair rocks! Models with short hair are automatically awesome.

Questions? No? That is all.

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

On Self-Sufficiency and Adulthood

I know I’m biased. It is because of how I was raised. But I have one of these pet peeve things, which  is young adults depending too much on their parents.

My upbringing was good. I had a good childhood. A little drama here and there, but my mom protected my brother and I from the bulk of it. I admire and look up to my mother for many reasons. One thing I’m particularly grateful for are the values my mother instilled into me of how I looked at money.

Somewhere along the way, likely with encouragement from my mom, I also developed a strong sense of self sufficiency and independence.

These traits have served me well and brought me a long way. Without the need for self sufficiency, the need to pay my own way and owe money to nobody but myself, I would have never moved to New York.

Okay, maybe if I grew up in an affluent home and my family didn’t want me to learn any valuable life lessons, I might have moved to New York under such circumstances.

Regardless of wealth though, independence is a freeing, rewarding experience into adulthood. You learn things. You become more able and capable than you ever thought possible. You know that no one is going to bail you out of a sinkhole, so you learn ways to stay afloat.

Tell me, if you parents wrote you a $1,000 check every month… Heck even every other month… What value does that money have? Have you rightfully earned it? Have you learned a lesson? No. In fact, the opposite has happened. It teaches you a bad habit. It teaches you that, when you’re in trouble, someone is going to bail you out. You just have more money from your parents tucked away and you keep living a mindless, immature fantasy world of what it’s really like to be an adult. What do you do if, heaven forbid, nobody is there to lift you out of your rut anymore? Where is your self sufficiency? How will you get out now? Years of depending on your parents and their money will not teach you the skill sets to get you out of that rut!

Asking for, and accepting,  money from your parents should be a decision that is not taken lightly. You should first and foremost depend on yourself and you will, in turn, learn the proper lessons of success, money management, and maturity.

Pursue your dreams. Make them happen not with money from your parents, but hard earned money. Sweat and blood money. Your sweat and blood. Not only will you learn more valuable lessons, but the reward in the end is so much more satisfying. The uphill battle is yours and yours alone.

Thanks for letting me rant! And, as always…

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

Open Dive Scuba with KCD

**UPDATE: Unfortunately, KCD has gone out of business after a long, successful run in Brooklyn. While there are many other places to learn how to dive in NYC, it’s very sad to see Mia and her business close. I wish her all the luck & much success in the next chapter of her scuba diving career and everyone who was involved with KCD. Mia was kind enough to give me some really good deals with extra gear, so now I own my own wetsuit! Thank you for everything & the great experiences, Mia!**

This is perhaps the final recap of my scuba diving adventure. If you somehow landed on the page without reading the rest of the story, start here. Or to view the previous post, read my scuba lessons day 4! It seems like this is a story of how I came to equalize my ears. Each day at the pool equalizing became easier and easier and now, at the bottom of a lake at 40 feet I hardly had any problems at all! The most help of all came from my dive instructor, Mia, who helped me tackle my setback one step at a time.

Onto the next coolest thing. Mia, myself, and one other student, a very funny guy from Russia with some interesting things to say, hopped in a truck today and drove to Pennsylvania. Today is especially hard not to share my adventures with David especially since he thinks I’m working in New Jersey all day. Nonetheless, the adventures came out rather promising. During our final pool session two days ago, Mia made sure we were ready for open water and that we operated well at the bottom of the pool.

I’ll have to admit, the idea of the open water made me a bit nervous, but it has proven to be a lot more fun than I expected. This morning, over breakfast, Mia explained everything we would be doing for each dive for today. There would be no surprises. We briefed, pre-planned, and finally let the cold cold water slowly seep into our wet suits.

Once you get past the standard risk procedures, which is really the “meat and potatoes” of our dive lessons, it really is fun from there. We did a lot of review today, but with the added factor of deeper, colder, natural waters. Review such as removing our masks and clearing them of water, simulating running out of air, emergency ascents, and buoyancy–which isn’t so much an emergency skill, but a required skill one needs to master.

An interesting question came up from my mother as I explained some of today to her. Do you kick to go down or what? Which made me realize, even I didn’t know what a BC (buoyancy compensator) was before I started these lessons. It seems that it isn’t until you’re learning the ways of diving that scuba diving really makes sense and holes in your knowledge are filled. Let me give you an idea of how one of the most important skills in scuba, obtaining neutral buoyancy, works.

When you’re diving, you’ll be wearing some form of BC, which is inflated with air while you are on the surface, keeping you from sinking with your weights on. You need the weights to go down because you’ll be very buoyant with your wet suits and such, even with a heavy tank on your back. I needed 16 pounds on me just to be able to get down into the water!

Once you’ve let the air out of your BC and you begin to sink, something interesting happens. The more you descend, the faster you descend. This is because the air that is keeping you neutrally buoyant compresses, so you sink faster. The opposite is true when you ascend. You have to let expanding air out of the BC to prevent from shooting up too fast. The idea is a slow and steady descent as well as ascent.

There was quite a hilarious BC-related moment during one of my open dives. Mia was passing the responsibility on to us as students to ascend while watching our depth and to be able to control our safety stop. Knowing that air expands, once you get to your depth, you’re going to keep going unless you let air out.

During the ascent, I saw Mia stop and seemingly descend below me. In mid-water, movement is hard to differentiate. What was really happening was that I was still ascending. I remembered the BC in time, stopped for my safety stop, and realized my buddy was still going up, up and up. He forgot about letting air out and flailed his arms and legs trying to go down. The air in his BC continued to expand so he was helplessly buoyant, flailing all the way to the surface. It was a comical image. This is the same guy who cut in front of me somewhere around 30 feet, frantically pointing at a rather grey fish. He was so excited to see that fish that he decided to chase excitedly after it. Imagine a man in scuba gear pointing and swimming towards a fish he had no chance of catching. I tried not to die–literally–laughing.

After our dives, we stopped at a coffee shop and talked about what we could improve upon. The buoyancy is something I could improve upon for sure, and I look forward to it. Mia also pointed out we could have both improved upon our buddy system. And I couldn’t agree more. Buddies are extremely important in scuba diving. They provide security on many levels. I am very excited to work on diving with my unassuming buddy, my boyfriend, who happens to live in Monterrey, such a gorgeous beach with ample wildlife.
On that note, I will continue to ‘play dumb’ with him until Christmas, when I tell him his surprise!

As I mentioned before, I was nervous about my open water dives. But today I realized that I’m in this for a reason and that I’m going to love scuba diving more and more. I can attest to its addictive qualities.

I have a lot of thanks and appreciation for Mia and my new dive shop, KCD!

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

Kings County Scuba Lessons: Day 3

**UPDATE: Unfortunately, KCD has gone out of business after a long, successful run in Brooklyn. While there are many other places to learn how to dive in NYC, it’s very sad to see Mia and her business close. I wish her all the luck & much success in the next chapter of her scuba diving career and everyone who was involved with KCD. Mia was kind enough to give me some really good deals with extra gear, so now I own my own wetsuit! Thank you for everything & the great experiences, Mia!**

Honestly, today was make it or break it for me. Last week, I could not or did not know how to equalize my ears. Today, I spent much of my time practicing and slowly sinking down into… the pool bottom. *cue dramatic music*

I was worried my ears would not allow me to go deeper than five feet. But I can go on flights can’t I?? It took maybe more than ten minutes, but I made it! I call that love. And determination. Probably a mixture of both. If you have absolutely no idea why equalizing my ears to be able to scuba equates to love, maybe you need to read My Little Scuba Adventure Day 1.

My instructor’s patience with me today was a relief, though I definitely wasn’t surprised. My descent into only 12 feet of water was painfully slow and it just reminded me of why I’m happy I chose to take my lessons through KCD. It’s a delicate learning process for new divers and I’m realizing more and more how important one on one care is for each and every detail. Knowing the material is one thing. Executing it is a whole different ball field.

I’ve been working with limitations most of my teen and young adult life. I’m not saying that they are earth-shattering limitations or debilitating. They are simply limitations, and I believe most people have to face limitations such as these throughout their life.

I believe my ears are a limitation when it comes to scuba diving, without a doubt. One ear is more ‘stuffy’ than the other. When I describe my ear equalizing experience with the instructors, I am told it is similar to diving after getting over a cold. Only with me, there’s no cold involved and it may always be like this.

Here are 5 points to remember when you’re learning something new with limitations (especially when involving certain risks):

  1. Before anything, make sure you are medically qualified.
    -A good scuba shop, like Kings County Divers, will need you to see an EMT before going forward with lessons if you have any medical conditions of concern.
  2. Trust the system.
    -The system in place is there for a reason and has been tested by thousands before you. KCD uses and refers back to Scuba Schools International (SSI) throughout their teachings.
  3. Trust your instructor.
    -Make sure there is a trust bond and sense of security between you and your instructor. This is essential.
  4. Don’t go beyond your limits.
    -If you are uncomfortable or in pain at any time, stop and indicate as such. Your well being is your instructor’s utmost concern. Therefore, you should…
  5. Go slow!
    -The only way I was able to equalize my ears to dive to the 12 foot bottom was by going extremely slow. However, not once did my ears hurt or actually bother me. My dad cannot scuba dive because of his ears. There is a possibility that he was never told to go slow enough to be able to adjust his ears properly as he descended (because I’m pretty sure what I have, came from him, which came from his own father).

For scuba diving in particular, I would recommend always having a patient, understanding dive buddy. Unless you’re specifically trained for solo diving, and have substantial experience as well as extra equipment to make up for having no partner, always having a dive buddy is an essential scuba requirement, along with ‘always breathe.’

I know that when I finish with KCD and earn my certification, I have a perfect dive buddy.

Stay tuned for my next scuba adventure!

Be Fierce!!

Briauna Mariah (:

Kings County Scuba Lessons: Day 2

**UPDATE: Unfortunately, KCD has gone out of business after a long, successful run in Brooklyn. While there are many other places to learn how to dive in NYC, it’s very sad to see Mia and her business close. I wish her all the luck & much success in the next chapter of her scuba diving career and everyone who was involved with KCD. Mia was kind enough to give me some really good deals with extra gear, so now I own my own wetsuit! Thank you for everything & the great experiences, Mia!**

In my scuba lessons day 1 blog post, I mentioned that to get anything done, you just have to get up and do it.  Today, I want to tell you one reason why choosing who you work through and what methods you take to go about doing it are so important.

The greatest scuba related fear I’ve faced so far was the fear to commit. Somehow, once I committed to getting scuba certified, all the other fears and concerns just dwindled down. Even when learning about all the different scuba-related injuries and symptoms that could occur if you don’t have the proper training and procedures down, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would have been. This is because I know I am in good hands with Kings County Divers and there is an established level of trust.

Today I descended into about 4 or 5 feet of water. Now, this doesn’t sound like much, but my ears could definitely feel the pressure. I had to learn the proper techniques to equalize my ears (adjusting them to the pressure) during this lesson. I wish I could say I was an expert at it. Clearly, I am not. I’ve always had issues with my ears on planes, but I was never sure if it was just an overreaction. My initial reaction to not being able to equalize my ears underwater, was that of dismay. What if it keeps me from finishing the course? Now this is a new fear I have to tackle. Continue reading “Kings County Scuba Lessons: Day 2”

Kings County Scuba Lessons: Day 1

**UPDATE: Unfortunately, KCD has gone out of business after a long, successful run in Brooklyn. While there are many other places to learn how to dive in NYC, it’s very sad to see Mia and her business close. I wish her all the luck & much success in the next chapter of her scuba diving career and everyone who was involved with KCD. Mia was kind enough to give me some really good deals with extra gear, so now I own my own wetsuit! Thank you for everything & the great experiences, Mia!**

Shhh… let me tell you about a secret surprise. Well, by the time you read this, it won’t be a secret anymore. Those of you who know me, know I am happily in love with my boyfriend. You may not know that he is a total marine science nerd. He gets excited about every little new thing he sees or discovers about any creature under the sea.

There are always ups and downs to a long distance relationship, but one perk certainly is the fact that I can go get scuba certified on my own without him even knowing! Now, scuba diving is a lifelong dream of mine. It’s a surprise not just for him, but an exhilarating treat for me.

The beginning of this endeavor began with meeting the lovely bright-eyed Mia, the owner of Kings County Divers in Brooklyn. I chose to get scuba certified specifically with Kings County Divers in Brooklyn for what I saw in Mia: Confidence, pride, expertise, and compassion. KCD is really the only dive shop in both Manhattan and Brooklyn that stood out to me for these qualities, especially after having my in-person consultation with Mia. Continue reading “Kings County Scuba Lessons: Day 1”

Finding Inspiration

This Bold Life and I have this on again, off again relationship. I had set a goal of 2 blog posts per week for you guys months back. Consistent information, updates, and experiences shared with you. However, the really good stuff only comes sporadically. That’s what it’s like to be a writer. I must write when the words start flowing.

Like writing, sometimes inspiration is hard to find.

But when you find it, it’s quite magical.

Inspiration isn’t, ‘oh, what a pretty dress,’ or ‘this is beautiful, I love this.’ Inspiration is moving. Literally. Really good inspiration gets your gears working, clicking into place, and suddenly, you’re up and replying, feeding off that inspiration.

Inspiration comes from another human’s boldness, courage, determination, hard work, and beautiful results and realizations. Inspiration is when you are a photographer who instills confidence in your subjects every day and, upon braving out the commitment to being the one in front of the camera, realize something deep, realizing, “That’s me, that’s beautiful, I’m beautiful!” (Read about Dana Kae’s profound, beautiful experience here). Inspiration is health and joy, like a woman staying fit for 22 years, not in it for the results, but for the wonderful feeling of being healthy. (This is Laura’s lifestyle, who shares her journey here).

These days, my main form of inspiration is through social media. There are so many stories to be shared and heard. If you know where to look, the options are endless. In my search for inspiration, here are just a few of my finds. Continue reading “Finding Inspiration”

Finding Motivation if You’ve Lost it

I know I’m not the only one out there who second-guesses myself. Or looses motivation, or focus, or drive. I refuse to believe that everyone is always as happy as their Facebook says they are. (Some people on the other hand–well we all know who they are–…they tell Facebook everything.)

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy! I really only post things and get stuff done when I’m happy and motivated. But…. Ever feel like you’re loosing sight of what you want?

From my experience, there is a relatively easy fix to that. And it’s never too late to reset your thinking again and again. It’s never too late to find your motivation again. It’s never too late to reach your dreams and goals. Unless you’re dead. Then it’s obviously too late. Continue reading “Finding Motivation if You’ve Lost it”

Entrepreneurial, Self-Publishing, Artistic New York City

I never knew people performed INSIDE the subway trains for people before my relocation last week. There are a lot of talented musicians out there. I have encountered guitarists, acapella’s, drummers, wooden flute instruments, and even a saw-like thing played with a string from a violin. They all sound amazing and extremely cultural.

I mean, sure, you’re bound to have a lot of talented people for each profession in a city as concentrated and diverse as New York, but wow!

This is one thing that has really impressed me here. People are willing to try new ideas and to work in some form for money. People here are driven. I’ve encountered fewer panhandlers than individuals asking for money in more creative ways, such as performance and promotion. (And then you’ve got the crazy apocalyptic conspirators holding up big signs, who you can’t be quite sure what their overall goal is). Either way, everyone here seems to be here with a reason, purpose, and strong-willed mind. The city of opportunity. New York: where everything goes down. Where we come to make a living!

Most everyone here is very friendly and forthcoming. I’ve hung out with models attending the same open calls all this week, romped in the rain with them, and had really nice conversations with a lot of different people. There was an experience in particular, however, I’d love to bring to light. A perfect and satisfying example of entrepreneurship I love. 

Let me tell you a story. I’m done with bullet points. Continue reading “Entrepreneurial, Self-Publishing, Artistic New York City”