I’m so thrilled to share with you all today an interview with the beautiful soul that is Erin Meskers. She’s the founder of Rose Gilded, a philanthropic project devoted to putting an end to women’s tireless journey to perfection, choosing instead to celebrate us as we are, naturally.
So lovely to speak with you, Erin! Let’s get the ball rolling by taking it back to the beginning—your beginning, that is. Whereabouts did you grow up and what was that environment like?
I grew up in Fairfield and Easton, Connecticut. I have a really wonderful family and had a very happy childhood. I live with my parents, one brother and one sister. I am also very close to my cousins, aunts, and uncles which is really important to me.
In the fifth grade, I moved from Fairfield to Easton, which was definitely hard on me. I loved my home and school back in Fairfield, and at the time was so confused about why we had to move (our home was too small for our family of 5!).
How did these early days come to affect your self-image?
I have a large bump on my lip and I was always bullied for it, but it didn’t bother me as much as the things that started to come up as I hit puberty. When I started middle school I began to get bullied constantly. I had terrible acne and every day on the bus I would get made fun of for it. I also suddenly started feeling insecure about other parts of my body, like my thighs, when I was around 12. I was so young that, looking back, I wonder why I would ever become so obsessed with that at such a young age. From there my insecurities just skyrocketed and I spent so many years completely unhappy with the way I looked, mostly because of my skin.
In high school, I became extremely depressed about my appearance and was constantly looking for approval from boys and mean girls. My depression continued to get worse and I would find myself not able to get out of bed for a week at a time. I would lay there feeling so depressed, but really having no idea why I was feeling that way. People weren’t talking about mental health yet and I didn’t really know anything about anxiety or depression so I didn’t know how to help myself and was too embarrassed to ask.
So how have you evolved over time? How did you get to where you are now and what is your current beauty philosophy?
At the beginning of this year, my senior year of college, I finally was at such a low point that I knew I had to find a way to turn my life around or I would never get better. Until this point I always thought it would just work itself out on its own and I never took the responsibility upon myself. I started seeing a counselor at school and was prescribed medication for my depression and anxiety. The medications started to help but I wasn’t where I wanted to be, and I knew I didn’t want to be taking medication for my entire life. I found that I really felt more numb than anything, and that is about when I discovered this amazing health and wellness community on social media and it inspired me to try different ways to get better (eating well, yoga, meditation, etc.). Though I am still taking the medication, I hope I will be able to eventually stop. For now, the mixture of everything is really making my days happier.
I’m so glad to hear you’re starting to feel better, love. Can you tell us how this passion bloomed into your new project, Rose Gilded? Was there a particular moment in your journey so far that inspired this? And please tell us about its poetic name—I love the imagery!
I wanted to turn my negative energy into positive energy by working on something that I loved. I started Rose Gilded as a way to express my passions (health + wellness, fashion, and beauty!). When thinking of a name I was thinking of things that I love, and rose gold kept coming up. As I thought more deeply about rose gold I began to see how amazingly beautiful it is and how in the jewelry world it is not deemed as valuable/expensive as pure gold or platinum.
Rose Gold is a mix of different metals; it is not one perfect element (like we are not all one single perfect human being), but I think it is the most beautiful of them all.
I attributed a lot of my obsession with perfection to what I saw daily on social media. I constantly saw very thin models with clear skin and no signs of cellulite or stretch marks. I thought that to be beautiful or “perfect” I had to look like this. Then I started seeing women that were posting honest, beautiful pictures of themselves on social media showing off their “imperfections”. (When Chrissy Teigen posted a picture of her stretch marks I was so excited!) This inspired me so much and I thought that if we saw more of this on social media then women like myself would see that they are truly beautiful and special, and it is their differences and imperfections that make them amazing.
That’s so beautiful—I completely agree. So, where do you see this passion project going?
I really hope that by continuing this project, I can help shift women’s mindsets. I know it is a big task, but reflecting on how each body/mind-positive photo I saw on Instagram made me smile and helped me on my journey to self-love, I think that the Rose Gilded project can help people as well.
A lot of women don’t take the time everyday to appreciate all of the great things about themselves, and I hope that asking them these questions and giving them the polaroid will help to give them that opportunity.
If you had to describe your mission in one word what would it be?
I would describe my mission in one word as positivity. That is the goal, to shift negative mindsets into positive ones.
Can you tell us two or three people/teachings/practices/quotes/etc that inspire you?
I think that quotes and affirmations are so inspiring and they really do help me on this journey. Three that I really love are…
“If you see something beautiful about someone, speak it”
“She believed she could so she did”
“No rain, no flowers”
How can we all get involved in Rose Gilded and start sharing the love?
I would love for everyone to follow the page, share it if they get a chance, and then email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, a picture they’ve taken of themselves and what they love most about their personality and body! Then I will print the picture, post it, and mail them the polaroid. I think that taking a polaroid is special because it is not sitting on your phone; it is already printed and ready to be displayed.
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share this project. I am so thankful for your support and feel so lucky to become a part of Journey to Self!