Trying to portray a person is always challenging, mostly because people are complex creatures. We all have different facets of what constitutes our own individuality, different aspirations, different dreams and unique point of views, but above all else different ways of expressing ourselves. So capturing the essence of one’s spirit is an extremely difficult task to do, especially if the individual in question is the alluring Laura Delarato, a senior creative at Refinery29. We’re talking about “mission impossible” level of difficult here. Because how can you describe someone who for the past year has been your ultimate educator on body positivity and inclusiveness, an Insta obsession, your role model and an absolute visual and mental guide into all things self-care. No, seriously, how?
Well, first you start with doing a little online research and that provides you with some results like her Instagram account and her website, but these sources only cover the work of this amazing individual and tell you nothing about the real person. So, when even that fails to yield some significant results, you’re on your own my friends. So what do you do next? You go straight to the source and ask the woman in charge to give you an interview and most of times this doesn’t work, but there are these rare samples of human beings who are always willing to stand behind something that has value to them and luckily for us, Laura is one of them.
A video producer, sex educator and a body positive advocate who’s currently a senior creative at Refinery29, with past experience as a writer for publications like Martha Stewart, NBC and MTV, Laura Delarato is a badass woman who’s responsible for waking up an entire generation of women battling with body insecurities, by talking openly about her own, sharing her experiences with overcoming depression and finally finding and raising her own voice. Her own version of cool has given a fresh point of view for women everywhere, showing that there’s more than one universal definition of beautiful and it doesn’t include the physical state of your body, but how willing you are to accept yourself. It’s the one that starts and ends with you and your perception of YOU. So for the latest edition of Cool Faces of Bastet Noir she shares more about her vulnerability and what it took to become the person she needed to be as a teen.
While preparing this interview I read this very interesting thing you said about your personal mission in life “Be the person I needed to be as a teen”. I think it’s very important what you do, not just for yourself obviously, but for the millions of girls who struggle with their insecurities every day. The supporting and inspiring words and photos you share mean so much. So if you had to describe what you want your legacy to be, what would you say that would be?
I think about my teenage self all the time: what she was doing, how much she hated herself, and the ways that anger manifested into the harmful ways she tried to be smaller, quieter, more acceptable. And, I just can’t abide by the way we force girls to hate themselves for some sick societal benefit. I want to be the person that made a generation of women stop hating their bodies. I want to be the person someone else needs when finding the strength to look in the mirror, and I want to be the inspiration to every single woman still searching for her value when she’s told she has none. I want my legacy to uproot antiquated beauty standards for all so we can be present with ourselves.
How do you start your morning? Do you have a morning routine you follow?
I really like to exercise in the morning. It forces me to make myself a priority right at the top of the day and set my own personal intentions for what I need to accomplish. Plus, I’m so worn out by 8–9am that any craziness thrown my way while I’m at work is immediately met with a very chill Laura. She is, like, on another level and refuses to be dragged by the drama. Plus, exercising is a very scary thing to do when you’re plus-size because of the inherent bias around your body in wellness spaces (I cannot tell you how many stares I get, how many times I’ve been told I shouldn’t be in a fitness class). I wake up, do the thing that keeps me grounded, and I actively work through my own workout fears while representing plus-size bodies! All the wins!
What’s the best way of dealing with creative blocks?
I make weekly dates for myself to do nothing. And when I say “do nothing,” I mean I stay home, order food, take a bath, watch all the things I want, fall asleep when I want, and sleep until I wake up — this usually happens on weekends! We all believe that we have to be creative all the time and that makes us better at being creative. But, you’re going to run out of that energy! Take some chill time and let yourself rest. Your ideas are still in your brain . . . they just need some sleep before they’re ready to come out!
One of the things we love about you is how vocal you are about sex education and body positivity. It’s really inspiring how confidently you speak about your own insecurities. How did you become so wise? =)
Laura Delarato wearing the red silk jumpsuit
Oh gosh, a lot of different ways! I’d love to say that it all hit me one day and then I became super wise! But actually it took me a really long time to find my voice and who I wanted to be. I will say: All my decisions have been led by what I love the most. I always loved sex convos, I gravitated towards unencumbered independent female characters, I was obsessed with burlesque dancers and women who used their experiences to inspire others. I took that and decided I needed to be my version of cool — and I learned everything along the way! My wisdom primarily comes from trying, failing, trying again, and finding my own path to what I wanted, and through that I found a lot of confidence by just trying everything!
Favorite female empowerment speech
In 2014, advertising powerhouse Cindy Gallop gave a Tedx talk about the importance of talking about sex and the reasons why she created her erotic streaming website: MakeLoveNotPorn. It was the first time I had heard a working professional talk candidly about sex, sex life, and why we shouldn’t keep our interests a secret. It changed how I thought about my career; that I could be a professional creative and a person who could change culture through empowering sexual/body confidence conversations. She’s my hero.
“Two Girls, One Ghost.” I’m actually very very very very very very very scared of the paranormal. If I see a shadow in the middle of the night, I will immediately turn all the lights on. I don’t know why. It’s always been a big fear. BUT, I love this podcast. The hosts, Corinne Vien and Sabrina Deana-Roga, are incredibly calming and always find ways to identify with the ghostly occurrence. And there are times they tell a story that makes me so scared that I think about it for days! Ahhh, so good!
L “Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York” by Gail Parent. It about a woman who is trying to figure out what life to follow: the one of marriage with children that she has been groomed for OR a liberated New Yorker in the 70s. I found a beaten-up copy in the Salvation Army in the East Village when I was 21; it was laying on the floor staring up at me — like it was placed there for my exact gaze at that exact time. I love that book. It made me want to be an other instead of another.
Biggest failure in life and what you learnt from it?
About a year ago, I went through one of my worst bouts with depression. But, I didn’t know it or recognize any of my symptoms, and because of that I made a lot of very “adult” but erratic decisions. I literally moved out of my nice apartment with my cool roommates to live alone in a studio, I spent a ton of money on clothes because “I needed to be more adult,” I laced every date with this unnecessary drama because “I wanted it to feel real.” And a month after the move, the credit card debt, the unanswered texts, I realized how destructive I was being all because I wasn’t dealing with my own depression and past trauma. I went to therapy, I gave myself spending limits, I moved out of that studio back in with my wonderful roommates. It was difficult and I felt ashamed of what I had done. It was a huge personal failure to not be able to live up to what I thought being an adult was suppose to be. Now that some time has passed I couldn’t be more grateful for that experience. I had to learn to stop comparing my experience to others, I had to slow down and love what I have around me, and I had to give up trying to be this perfect adult.
What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?
How does one put on the The Maia Jumpsuit and not look like a golden goddess?
There’s something so beautiful and liberating about a woman who against all odds has learnt how to forgive herself for all the past mistakes, turning them from terrible defeats into powerful wisdom, embracing her flaws, humbly accept them and learn how to love them. It’s amazing how potent she appears, how radiant she looks and how empowering and invigorating she can be. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think that one day I’ll wake up in a world where this type of woman will be the rule and not the exception. So thank you Laura for becoming this kind of amazing human being and spreading your wisdom. The world desperately needs more people like you.
We love strong, confident and self reliant women, so if you think you got what it takes, send us an email with your Instagram account and the story you’d like to share and you might just become Bastet Noir’s next cool face.
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