Expression of the Self

The truth is WE ARE ALL WORKS OF ART with distinct beauty and complexity. We each have a unique journey and therefore a different story to tell. Our stories are represented in how we dress, how we speak, what we like, how we feel. So it’s important to display our stories proudly. Whatever the medium may be.

How we decide to show up is entirely up to us. Not our teachers, parents or government can decide that. We each express ourselves in different ways; through arts, piercings and body modification, song and dance, sexuality… However, societal pressures teach us that we must try to fit in and watch what we say and do, to hide what makes us different. This is incredible to me. Do we really want to spend our lives contorting ourselves to fit “their” idea of what our lives should be like? Do we really want to wait for “their” approval to go for our dreams?

I ask myself and those around me, not for the sake of rebellion but for the sake of liberation. When you are ready to accept your truths, speak those truths and stand in them completely, the more conscious you become. You raise your consciousness by uncovering and dumping all traces of falsehood from your life. This includes all that is imposed on us.  With every day that comes is a new opportunity to be our truest most genuine selves. It’s a good moment to stop and think about how we wish to show up today and allow this to be a gradual process that translates into our way of life.

This month’s muse editorial is inspired by self expression and what that truly means. The editorial was shot in Mare Island which is an abandoned Naval shipyard in the Bay Area, the perfect location for badass, unapologetic, empowered expression. My muse, Ericah Paige, is someone who I instantly felt would understand the no fucks mentality/mood I wanted. She turned out to be the perfect model for this set. In our mini interview, this is what we touched on:

EV MARQUEE: When I look at you I see a unique person with a cool creative look. Do you ever get judged or treated differently for standing out in the way you represent yourself? What’s your opinion on that?

ERICAH: “Well first off, thank you. This is a question I really had to think about and consider my words wisely because I think of myself as someone who tries to be knowledgeable  sensitive to struggles of people of color, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t receive hate in different forms because of my hair being locked. Although it’s usually only within online forums, as I’ve only ever received love from people in person concerning my hair. But that’s the thing is I just stopped brushing my hair and this is what happened. As a 17 year old living a gypsy lifestyle, when my hair started locking, it wasn’t in my intentions to emulate. I simply worked with what I had and I didn’t have a hair brush! So it stings a little when people think I’m trying to appropriate their culture, when this is something my body did naturally. I’ve definitely considered cutting off my locks because of it before, but that’s when you have to just be secure in who you are and know that you have no ill intent through your self expression. I think the best thing is just to be confident in who you are. We only have a limited time on this planet and it would be a shame if we spent the whole time worrying about what other people thought instead of just happily expressing our inner selves.”

EV MARQUEE: I spoke a little bit on how genuine self expression is essential for growth. I believe that the growth and empowerment comes from the fact that being true requires courage, trust and the ability to stop fearing vulnerability. In what ways would you say genuine self expression has helped you grow or feel empowered? 

ERICAH: “Genuine self-expression has helped me grow and feel empowered by allowing me to just open up my heart space and tell the world unabashedly, “this is me, flaws and all”, and being okay with that not pleasing everyone.  Over time I’ve figured out the true me, through all my phases and all the expectations subtly pushed on me by others, and all it took was time and unwavering devotion to self. It’s like doing a trust fall with yourself; take those risks you always wanted to take and trust that the pure, quintessential you will be there to catch you.”

EV MARQUEE: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

ERICAH: “In a world that is starting to finally embrace its sexuality, modesty is sometimes being scorned and labeled as “prude” or even “insecure”. It’s okay to be shy! True self expression is what matters. I started modeling being a somewhat unconventional beauty, not thinking that I would have much broad appeal, but I’ve been embraced because seeing someone express comfort in their own skin is beauty in itself. I encourage anyone with interest to start their art. There’s something for everyone and we gotta show love for all our fellow female warriors. Despite race or assigned gender, despite financial bracket or appearance, whether they’re twerkin’ it for the ‘gram or studying for a masters, because chances are that girl is ONE IN THE SAME! And as women in the world we have to stick together and raise each other up instead of tearing each other down. It’s up to us to break the cycle of girl on girl hate that’s been ingrained in us… We are above the competition!”

  • Written/Photographed by Ev Marquee (@evmarquee)
  • Featured Muse/Interviewee: Ericah Paige (
  • Makeup Artist: Frankie (@lilxfreezie)

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Also, if this set resonates with you and you’d like to share your thoughts or would like more of mine, please comment below - I’d love to chat. 

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