22 Dec Beauty Cocoon – Interview and Portraits, Castlefield
I first met Jennie at a wedding a few years ago, and got chatting to her about her work with young women around the issues of identity and self esteem. She had set up an organisation called Cocoon Resources and had been trialling a new course for teenagers in schools.
Over time, it’s grown in scope and the course is now being used around the country. In need of some new headshots to help with online networking etc, Jennie recently asked me to take some portraits, so we took a stroll around Castlefield in Manchester (perfect portrait location!). As I was about to blog the images, I realised it would be great to let Jennie tell you a little bit more about what she does in her own words (because I am that excited about it), so here is a mini interview with the beautiful lady herself!
There are a lot of different opinions about beauty. How would you define it?
Its funny because I think the dictionary term for beauty is actually pretty accurate:
“A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.”
I think the recognition of a combination of ‘qualities’ creating beauty is simple but also profound.
Tell us a bit about your organisation, Cocoon Resources.
Cocoon Resources is seeking to raise self esteem with women and girls in the UK. We do this through training teachers, youth workers, social workers and others to deliver our self esteem courses with their client groups. The first resource is VIP and provides a safe environment for the women to explore their value, identity and purpose.
What gave you the motivation to start it?
I had suffered myself with poor self esteem, and some of the difficult consequences of this, but then went on to study psychology. Subsequently, working with young people who self harmed, made me see once again that underlying so many issues is self esteem.
Why do you think self esteem is so important?
Self esteem is integral to the way we interact with the world and those around us. It also is often indicative of our resilience to dealing with life experiences. Within the media, it is often talked about in the same breath as body image and issues like airbrushing. I believe self esteem includes these things, but it also runs much deeper.
Do you have one or two ideas on how we can start taking care of/building our own self esteem?
The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to take time to get to know yourself. Ask yourself questions, such as: What are my hopes for the future? What do I really enjoy and what don’t I enjoy? What is unique about me?
I have just started a twitter/facebook campaign today, called The 50 Day Challenge. It is all about getting to know yourself and will consist of a question a day to make you think about who you are, what you like etc. You can read more about it here, and join in on twitter with the hashtag #50daysofme or on Cocoon Resources’s facebook page.
What can society, as a whole, do to help young women’s self esteem?
I think we need to learn to speak more honestly about ourselves with others. If we are willing to show both the parts of ourselves we are proud of and enjoy but also be honest about our flaws it can free others to do the same.
It would also be brilliant to see more value placed on uniqueness. Young people (both men and women) need to know that the fact they are unique is exciting and gives them potential which no one else holds. This perhaps sounds a little cheesy but it is so true!
What are your dreams for 2013? For Cocoon Resources and for yourself!
For Cocoon Resources, I would love to train more people to use the VIP resource and see it being used with more of the UK’s most vulnerable women and girls. For myself, I’d like to spend more time reading and get back to running which I haven’t done since having my baby girl in June! I also want to make time to just enjoy my family and grow in my new role of being a mum!
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Jennie! It is wonderful to be able to share your thoughts and wisdom.