WOMEN IN FORTNIGHT: Sandrine
Photo Series by Arden Wray
Sandrine is a student based in Toronto, Canada.
FORTNIGHT: Who are you and what do you do?
SANDRINE: I always have a hard time defining what I do because my hands touch so many different businesses. I am a full-time student, part-time barista; I run an online store for a Toronto-based retail shop and work for a lifestyle agency doing sales. Essentially, I’ve accidentally made a career out of multi-tasking. It’s fun to always be doing different things.
When I’m not working, I enjoy working on creative projects with friends. Modeling is a new hobby of mine. I’ve recently started dabbling in photography just because it’s fun to bike around and take pictures of beautiful things.
FORTNIGHT: What do you like to wear closest to your skin?
SANDRINE: I love having soft textures close to my skin. I used to be all about the tight clothing. Now, when I get dressed, I think about what’s going to make me feel the most cozy and sprinkle that with a dash of ”extra” to finish off my outfit.
FORTNIGHT: What does feeling beautiful mean to you?
SANDRINE: The meaning of beauty has changed a lot for me in recent years. I used to bear a lot of internalized hatred for myself because of my skin colour. Growing up in predominantly white neighbourhoods, I was always subconsciously made to feel like European features were the epitome of beauty. Being the complete opposite of that, I always felt like I wasn’t good enough. For so long I wished that I could be someone else. I don’t remember when it happened, but one day I just stopped caring. It’s not something that I was aware of but I think you get to a point where you’ve been angry and jaded for so long that you give up. Letting go was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It allowed me to become the person that I am today. I am in a space now where I love how dark-skinned I am, I love how untamable my natural hair is, I love the stretch marks that I bare because it shows how strong my body is. Beautiful to me means self-love. It means accepting yourself exactly as you are in this very moment. If you feel beautiful internally it always shows.
FORTNIGHT: When do you feel most confident?
SANDRINE: I feel most confident when I set a goal and finally achieve it. There’s nothing better than the sense of joy you get from accomplishing something that you have been working on for a really long time. The other thing that gives me the most confidence is my sense of style. I like to push myself with the things that I wear. Style defines the way people see you because it’s such a personal thing. Sometimes I wear things that I think are too much but then I push myself to wear it anyways. I’m working on breaking down any and every area in my life where I let people’s opinions and perceptions affect me. It’s a long process but I’m slowly getting the hang of it.
FORTNIGHT: What makes a place feel like home?
SANDRINE: The concept of home has always been a bit indistinct to me. As long as I am in a place that I find beautiful and I feel safe, then I’m home. I have traveled to places around the world for a brief period of time and felt completely at home.
I am originally from Gatineau, Québec. Even though my family, closest friends and best memories were made there, Toronto feels like home to me. I think it’s because this is the place where I’ve become the best version of myself.
FORTNIGHT: Are there any self-care rituals that are important to you?
SANDRINE: Self-care has become really important to me. I lead a busy lifestyle and for a while it seemed like I was on autopilot. I was not taking the time I needed for myself and I ultimately ended up crashing. My self-care routine mainly consists of daily meditation, writing in my journal and reading personal development books. Recently, I have started listening to an album by a different artist before bed and doing absolutely nothing but listening to it. It’s a form of meditation that I really enjoy because it allows me to zone out but also to appreciate something new.