issue three : fear thy neighbour
We interviewed the lovely Vaishaly for our third issue, which explores how culture influences our beauty ideals. This is what she had to say...
Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you grew up and into what culture?
I was born in Zambia, Lusaka. I'm Hindu. Brought up in London since the age of 3.
How important is “beauty” in your culture?
Beauty is important. It is appreciated and admired but I feel there is much more of a balance between inner and outer beauty than perhaps in traditional Western culture. I think it stems from a deeper understanding of the link between mind, body and spirit. When we care for ourselves well, our authentic beauty reflects in our skin.
What is the beauty ideal and standard in your culture? Are you seeing this change at all? (eg: Black women embracing natural hair after years of relaxing it.)
To always have immaculate threaded eyebrows, and good hair.
Do you incorporate any of your cultures traditional practices into your facial treatments? If so, what are they?
Not specifically; but I believe my culture and roots have led me to create very holistic treatments that are not only results-driven but also offer elements of ‘energy healing’ and ‘cranial work’. I incorporate facial massage – working through the belly of each muscle group - as a key part of my Signature Facial treatment. I believe that it is the state of one’s mind that ages us. All emotional and mental stress is held in our body and this in return is expressed outwardly in our skin. Therefore, I believe it is fundamental to ‘switch client’s mind’s off’ during the facial, transporting them to a place of complete and deep relaxation. This technique immediately rebalances and harmonizes the whole body and skin enabling it to appear more youthful and stress free with an internal glow; facilitating the deepest possible healing. I am very intuitive with the ability to connect to my client’s emotional and physical state and thus can deliver exactly what they need.
Eyebrow threading is one of India’s most famous beauty exports; how did you get into threading?
Being Indian, I grew up with threading, it’s a beauty practice that I was taught at a young age and have always used, so it comes as second nature to me. I brought Threading to everyone’s attention in the late 90’s and have offered it as part of my ‘Brow menu’ at the Clinic in Marylebone since it opened in 2002. It complements the facial perfectly. Even the most minimal threading creates amazing results. I have perfected my artistic eye for shaping over the years, and as soon as I see a person, I know precisely what will suit them. I still love to shape brows – It’s very rewarding and the result is like a work of art. Having the right eyebrow shape has a truly face-changing effect, as well as that of a face or eye ‘lift’.
What, if any, cultural wisdoms to you keep close to your heart, and why? (What is the best piece of wisdom you have received?)
Be internally happy. Always treat people how you would like to be treated. What you give out is what you get back.