We received a lot of great feedback about our second Beauty Festival and one letter in particular stood out, from Valerie Butler. We publish it here with her permission.
Dear Glamour Magazine,
The Christmas before I was 11 I was given, to my utter joy and surprise, my first lipstick. Two elderly aunts, for reasons I am still unable to fathom five decades later, presented me with this treasure, enveloped in a tiny red plastic boot. The colour, a garish matte orange, may not have been the most appropriate colour but I wore it with a confidence far beyond my years.
In the decades that followed, perhaps in an attempt to regain the confidence of my youth, I’ve worn numerous shades of lipstick, experimented with various styles of makeup, and changed my hair colour many times. Even going, for a few short weeks, silver grey – beautiful, but far too labour intensive for me to maintain. I’ve had short hair, long hair, straight hair and curly hair. I’ve gained and lost weight several times, joined countless gyms in the quest for the perfect body and eaten my way through a myriad of diets.
Now in my early 60s, I am more accepting of the fact that I will never grow taller than 5’3” and will always be on the curvy side. People say confidence often increases with age and to some extent I would agree, but for me, despite all the changes in hair colour, the countless diets, the numerous pots of skin creams and the 20 pairs of skinny jeans I currently own, I have never quite regained the confidence of my 11-year-old self.
That is until yesterday, Saturday 11th March 2017.
An invitation several weeks ago to join a friend at the Glamour Beauty Festival, she had attended last year and been very impressed, resulted in me spending the last few weeks researching fashion, makeup and hairstyles. I was after all attending a Glamour Festival, so felt duty bound to look at least a little bit glamorous, but, and more of this later, I was missing the point.
The events of the day and the people I met had an air of positivity and confidence that was inspiring. Glamour abounded and it had nothing to do with how beautiful, how thin, how tall, or even how young or old people were.
I arrived at the festival, excited and eagerly anticipating the day’s events. I had some idea of what to expect but was in no way prepared for the day that was to come.
Makeup, hair, nails, skincare, health and wellness, everything had been taken into account. There was even the opportunity to take part in a glamour photoshoot, which saw me sporting glittery eyes, glittery lips (fun but not a look I could wear to work) and the most glamorous sunglasses I have ever worn.
Throughout the day, my hair was styled, I had false eyelashes applied, my first pair in over forty years and I found the perfect red lipstick, which miracle upon miracle didn’t bleed into my ever expanding lip lines. Finally, at the end of the day, I experienced what I can only describe as the ultimate eyebrow experience.
Did I look glamorous? Well, I was asked to pose for some photographs by a Glamour photographer so yes, I guess I did. But more importantly, I felt glamorous. The events of the day and the people I met had an air of positivity and confidence that was inspiring. Glamour abounded and it had nothing to do with how beautiful, how thin, how tall, or even how young or old people were.
I’ve spent a lifetime chasing perfection and glamour, without really understanding what they are or even if they exist. Whilst I don’t doubt fashion, makeup and hairstyles can make you look glamorous, in the end, for me – and it's thanks in part to yesterday’s festival – glamour is about confidence. In other words, glamour is an attitude.
So, thank you Glamour magazine, thank you for a wonderful day out, thank you for helping to bring back the confidence of my youth and thank you for making me realise that despite the wrinkles and sagging body and despite that fact I am no longer in the first flush of youth, I am a glamorous, confident woman who is just perfect as she is.
My next festival, Glastonbury, where, when I’m on duty at 3am in the morning, freezing cold and possibly knee deep in mud, if last year is anything to go by, I will remember glamour is an attitude.