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Refinery29

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    If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.

    When Mariana Jimenez* was 14 years old, she started hurting herself. Sometimes, she would intentionally burn herself with her curling iron. Other times, she’d take more of her prescription migraine medication than she was supposed to. “I would take a lot of pills — too many,’” Jimenez tells Refinery29. “It was a feeling of ‘I don’t care what happens.’”

    Though Jimenez can't pinpoint exactly when she first started struggling with her mental health, she recalls that feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety defined much of her youth. Throughout adolescence, Jimenez felt pressured by her intensely ambitious mother, whose high standards were seemingly impossible to meet. On top of this, her grandmother's deeply religious attitudes instilled in Jimenez an anxiety regarding her reputation, appearance, and behavior. Caught between these two women’s expectations, Jimenez felt she was never enough.

    Then, during her freshman year of college, Jimenez was sexually assaulted. Following the incident, she descended into a deep depressive episode, during which she regularly missed classes, drank heavily, and began having panic attacks. Soon after, she attempted suicide.

    Jimenez is one of many Latinas who attempt suicide each year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 youth risk behavior surveillance survey, 10.5% of Latina adolescents aged 10–24 years in the U.S. attempted suicide in the past year, compared to 7.3% of white female, 5.8% of Latino, and 4.6% white male teens.

    The issue is so severe that it’s been referred to as an epidemic and, to make matters worse, depression and suicidal ideation are extremely taboo topics within the Latinx community. Unsurprisingly, this lack of dialogue and understanding only exacerbates issues surrounding mental health for young Latinas.

    Regardless of race or ethnicity, mental health can be a tricky topic for any community to wrap its head around, but in the Latinx community the conversation is still shrouded in deeply-rooted stigma. And though the causes for the high rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts among Latina youth are countless, perhaps the starkest stems from these young women’s fraught relationships with their immigrant mothers. Such as in the case of Jimenez, the generational, cultural, and religious divides that often define mother-daughter dynamics in Latinx homes can cause deeply painful ruptures, which in turn can lead to high rates of suicidal tendencies among young Latinas.

    Mother-Daughter

    Erika L. Sánchez first thought of killing herself when she was a young teenager, around the age of 13. Back then, she would cry daily and eventually began cutting herself to relieve the constant pain she experienced. Like Jimenez, Sánchez recalls that troubles with her mother made her feel isolated throughout much of her youth. “She was a pretty traditional Mexican lady and I was very much an Americanized teenager,” Sánchez says. “We butted heads a lot.”

    Both Jimenez and Sánchez feel that many of the depressive and suicidal tendencies defining much of their youth were caused, in part, by fundamental misunderstandings they had with their mothers. “We had a really hard time understanding each other. She expected me to be docile and cook and clean and be very home-oriented and I wasn’t that way,” Sánchez explains. “I was very independent, very restless, and that wasn’t really appropriate for my mother.”

    We had a really hard time understanding each other. She expected me to be docile and cook and clean and be very home-oriented and I wasn’t that way.

    These generational misunderstandings, common between first-generation children and immigrant parents, are believed by experts to be part of the reason for many young Latinas’ mental health problems. Dr. Luis Zayas, the dean of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas, Austin, has been studying Latina suicide trends as a clinician since 1980 and researching trends since the first youth risk behavior surveillance study was published in 1991. Dr. Zayas believes that ruptures between mothers and daughters are one of the primary causes of Latina suicidal tendencies.

    “There are other things that influence it but it usually starts there,” Dr. Zayas explains. “Most of the issues that we found had to do with independence or personal autonomy where the girl wanted to do what teenage girls naturally wanted to do — go out with friends, dress differently, think the way the want to think, feel the way the want to feel — and not be governed by their parents.”

    Dr. Zayas points out that these tensions are rooted in independence, particularly when parents are out of sync with their daughters and unable to adapt their parental approaches to a new culture and generation. “Many of the girls are either first or second generation who have grown up in U.S. culture while the immigrant parents are holding onto more traditional views of women,” Dr. Zayas adds. “About how [girls] should behave, what they should or shouldn’t do, the centrality of the family, taking care of the home, and protecting your virginity — or at least your reputation.”

    In Dr. Zayas’ studies, young Latinas who attempted suicide had restrictive and controlling parents, particularly mothers. One of the main problems, Dr. Zayas says, is many parents’ inability to reconcile their own world views with their daughters’. “Parents are trying to impose traditional cultural values of family and socialization of women when that’s not these girls’ experience,” Dr. Zayas says. “They might want her to behave how they did in a small city in Mexico or the Dominican Republic versus being in the U.S. in an entirely different culture. She may then feel left out or like she’s straddling the two cultures, and that’s where it hurts.”

    Lending An Ear

    One night during her freshman year of college, Jimenez experienced a particularly bad panic attack and was seriously considering a suicide attempt. She willed herself to go to a hospital close to her college campus, but was not met with the support she had hoped for. After checking in at the front desk, she was asked to wait. “I had a sense of urgency and was so tense and upset, I couldn’t just sit in this room with all these other people,” Jimenez says. Eventually, she just got up and left.

    Though Jimenez was able to find the initial courage to seek out help, she was quickly overcome by anxieties about the consequences of admitting her struggles. “I was scared to tell the counselors I was thinking about suicide because I thought they’d make me drop out of class or keep me somewhere for a long period of time,” Jimenez says. “The other thought in the back of my head is how am I going to explain [this] to my family?”

    Jimenez comes from a culturally traditional Guatemalan family and witnessed firsthand the cultural barriers that prevented candid discussion of mental health in her household. “We don’t really have these conversations,” Jimenez explains. “A lot of Latinx people construct stereotypes about therapy — that it’s something for ‘crazy people.’”

    A lot of Latinx people construct stereotypes about therapy — that it’s something for ‘crazy people.’

    According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, only 20% of Latinxs with mental health symptoms talk to a doctor about their concerns, and only 10% end up contacting a mental health specialist. This inaccessibility is further magnified by a shortage of mental health professionals equipped to support culturally-specific challenges.

    Though mental health struggles impact all Latinxs, challenges for Latinas can be especially unique. Misogyny, machísmo, rape culture, hyperfemininity, and generational trauma — combined with a culture that speaks of mental health only in whispers and behind closed doors — have historically made Latinas especially vulnerable to suicidal ideation. And, until Latinas are able to have candid conversations about their mental health, it’s unlikely these trends will improve.

    Sánchez, however, was able to get some support from her family. After a bout of suicidal thoughts landed her in a psychiatric hospital when she was 15, her family was supportive and did not shame her — even as others in her community did. Still, Sánchez feels things could have turned out differently if she had been equipped with better tools.

    “It was really difficult when I was younger because I didn’t have the knowledge of what was happening to me,” Sánchez says. “I didn’t have the vocabulary, I didn’t have culturally competent care and I think that’s unfortunate. A lot of Latinas struggle with their mental health and have nowhere to turn.”

    Talking About It

    Sánchez now talks openly about mental health in Latinx communities, and the topic of mental health among Latinas, specifically, has become a central theme in her literary work, including her novel, the New York Times bestseller and a National Book Awards finalist, "I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter." Looking back, Sánchez says she has been able to see many of her experiences more clearly in hindsight, and uses her literary work as a means of raising awareness about mental health and eroding stigma in the Latinx community.

    “I write a lot about depression, I think it’s one way for me to cope and process grief and sadness,” Sánchez says. “Literature is a way for people to learn empathy and I hope that through my work others can understand what it’s like to live with a mental illness and perhaps feel more compassion for people.”

    On top of prestigious accolades, Sánchez has received feedback from Latina readers who have felt represented by her work. “I get a lot of messages from young women telling me how much the book means to them, that they were sobbing while they read it,” Sánchez says, noting that, beyond representation, she hopes the book encourages those experiencing mental illness to get support. “There is no shame in asking for help,” Sánchez adds.

    Indeed, the key to eroding any taboo is to talk about it — even when it’s uncomfortable. And yet, talking about mental health doesn’t necessarily guarantee there will be someone to listen. Unable to talk with her family, Jimenez reached out to mental health practitioners during her time of need, but doing so did not always yield positive results. “When I was seeing counselors at my school, there were a lot of things I didn’t want to say,” Jimenez says, adding that finding culturally competent therapists is not always easy.

    “It’s really important to have more women of color therapists because there is a lot of really specific misogyny that you can’t speak about to white women or to a man,” Jimenez continued. “[There’s] this whole culture around my family as immigrants. They have their own issues of dealing with civil war in their country; [it’s] something that a lot of white Americans wouldn’t really understand.”

    Cultural competence and diversity are noticeably missing from the current mental health sector. As of 2013, the psychology workforce was 83.6% white, and for many people of color, this presents challenges. For many Latinxs seeking therapy, 50% do not return after their first session. These high dropout rates likely stem from a lack of cultural understanding and an inability for therapists to make Latina clients, and clients of color, feel truly heard.

    Eglys Santos, a therapist working out of the Bronx, feels that Latinas’ shame around trauma and mental health can make feeling understood by therapists and other professionals especially important. “I have seen often how this belief interferes with the therapeutic relationship because [individuals] tend to share what they feel is permissible to share,” Santos tells Refinery29.

    Ultimately, talking about mental health is only the beginning. While discussions in literature undoubtedly help to shape culture, mental health discussions in the Latinx community need to be had more often and by more people. Beyond this, it’s crucial that culturally-specific resources are made available to Latinas, and other youth of color. “Therapy isn’t effective if you don’t feel comfortable with the person you’re speaking with,” Jimenez says. “You’re not going to be able to get help or say all of the things that are on your mind.”

    What Now?

    This year, for the first time in decades, Latina suicide rates decreased. In previous years, Latinas faced a significantly higher risk of suicidal ideation and attempts than other girls their age, including their Black, Asian, and white counterparts. But, in 2017, Latina suicide rates trended downward from previous years, such as 2015 when Latina teens had the highest rate of suicide attempts and 15% of Latinas attempted to take their own lives. Still, despite these seemingly promising changes, Dr. Zayas is unconvinced that there has been sufficient progress in supporting young Latinas.

    “If I’m to look at 30 years of data, I think it’s a blip,” Dr. Zayas says, adding that he believes this year's data could be an outlier and that the decrease could be due to this year’s sampling. “I have no reason to believe that our girls are attempting suicide any less. There’s nothing to indicate to me that our girls are better off now.”

    Throughout decades of research, Dr. Zayas has seen these troubling mental health trends in the Latinx community get routinely overlooked. “Until it happens in the white population, in big numbers, it doesn’t get attention,” Dr. Zayas says.

    I have no reason to believe that our girls are attempting suicide any less. There’s nothing to indicate to me that our girls are better off now.

    Still, despite widespread awareness and support, Dr. Zayas believes there are many things that can be done to help improve the situation for young Latinas, including school programs for immigrant families and group therapy, that address the many cultural, generational, and religious rifts between children and parents in the contemporary U.S.

    Like Dr. Zayas, Sánchez, too, thinks there need to be more organizations and resources that deal specifically with suicide among Latinas. One organization, Life is Precious, in the Bronx has been working to curb Latina suicide since 1989. But, according to Sánchez, there should be similar resources all around the country. Beyond this, she also feels that many mental health struggles can be addressed in therapy, but not without the support of the community.

    As for Jimenez, having access to free therapy proved crucial in her healing process, despite the fact that mental health services are often seen as unnecessary and privileged. "Therapy has been stereotyped as a white people thing that’s expensive and silly,” Jimenez says. “[But] that was the only way I got help.”

    Even so, Jimenez still hasn’t found a way to be fully open with her mother about her mental health struggles. She has continued therapy, and though her mother now knows she is seeking help, she has no idea about her past suicide attempts. “She’s aware I’m depressed and anxious but she doesn’t know the severity,” Jimenez says.

    Jimenez is now on a path to recovery, and doesn’t often think back on her past traumas and suicide attempts. “I feel kind of disconnected from it now. It’s not a part of my life that I think about a lot,” Jimenez says. And though her situation has improved, Jimenez laments that she cannot be more open with her family about past, and persisting, struggles with depression. “There are a lot of things that I still don’t know how to talk to my family about,” Jimenez concludes. “And I don’t know if we’ll ever talk about it.”

    Today, there are roughly 55 million Latinxs living in the U.S. — each one of us with unique cultural experiences. In our new series #SomosLatinx, R29's Latinx staffers explore the parallels and contrasts that make our community so rich. Stay tuned as we celebrate our diversity during Latinx Heritage Month from September 15-October 15.

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  • 10/15/18--04:20: The Stories Of Our Abuelas
  • Today, there are roughly 55 million Latinxs living in the U.S. — each one of us with unique cultural experiences. In our new series #SomosLatinx, R29's Latinx staffers explore the parallels and contrasts that make our community so rich. Stay tuned as we celebrate our diversity during Latinx Heritage Month from September 15-October 15.

    If you know any Latinxs, it won't take long for you to find out how amazing their abuelas are. All-knowing, with buckets of love to give away, and some magical skills in the kitchen, these women are pretty much mythical creatures. For many Latinxs, in the United States and around the world, they are also the thread that connect different generations.

    According to the Pew Research Center, 27% of Latinxs in the U.S. live in multigenerational homes. Most of us can tell you our abuelas played a central role in raising us — from taking care of us as children to teaching us about our culture and always making sure there was food (so much food!) filling the plates in front of us. They're having a pop culture moment, too. From Lydia in One Day at a Time to Alba in Jane the Virgin and Coco 's Abuelita Elena, Mamá Coco, and Mamá Imelda, abuelas are dominating our screens. These characters are teaching non-Latinxs what we've always known: Even in the face of hardship, abuelas are the glue that hold many of our families together.

    For Latinx Heritage Month, we asked Refinery29 staffers and readers to tell us about their abuelas. What we found were stories of unconditional love: From taking us in when our parents couldn't and being the firsts to accept our sexual orientations, to making us sopa de gallina even when their arthritis got in the way and slathering our chests with Vicks Vaporub when we were sick.

    Ahead, this collection of anecdotes highlights why abuelas really are the heart and soul of our families.

    "My parents found out I was gay at 14, after I had come out to a close group of friends at my Catholic School. Even though my mother is incredibly supportive now, it took her a bit to accept that her son was never going to make her an abuela. I'm told that one day, my mom was on the phone venting to my grandmother about her kid being gay. Abuela listened, of course, and at the end just said: 'Priscilla – he's your son. Whatever you are feeling right now is irrelevant, and it's your job to love him for who he is, always.' Anyway, that's the story about how my grandmother helped my mom come to terms with my sexuality, and grow to have the beautiful relationship we have today." — Frederick, Puerto Rican

    "My parents divorced when I was five years old. My mom was left to take her two kids back home to Texas, and my abuela from my dad’s side took us in. I’m not sure how many months we stayed with her, but she took care of our every need. She watched over us as my mom looked for work. She found us a house to rent and live in. She continued to watch us, feed us, and even help raise us. They say it takes a village to raise a baby, but my abuela was our village." — Karolyna, Mexican

    "One of the ways my abuela, who we call Mami Tere, has always shown her love is through food. Big pots of black bean soup, sopa de gallina, and other dishes made with love and from scratch. As she has gotten older, cooking has become hard for her. I only get to see her, once a year or less, and every time I come back to visit, her arthritis has gotten worse. Her fingers are more twisted, and it’s hard for her to find the strength to chop and make meals like she used to. My grandmother’s recipes are passed down to my mother, and I was raised on them; they were a way for me to hold onto a little piece of her, of my heritage, and of my history even though I grew up thousands of miles away. Recently, while I was in town, she didn’t have the energy to cook for me. I could see the disappointment on her face. Still, she painstakingly wrote down a couple of recipes on a piece of paper — it must have taken her a long time because her arthritis makes it difficult even to hold a pen. Before I left for the airport to go home, she pressed a folded piece of paper with the recipe for my favorite soup and a bag of platanitos into my hand. ‘Think of me when you make these,’ she said. And I always do." Ludmila, Guatemalan

    "When I was born, my grandfather on my mother's side tragically passed away of a heart attack within mere hours. The family was in shock and traumatized. My mom, dad, and I moved from New York City to Carmel, NY for my mom to take over my grandfather's medical practice. We lived with my grandma for the first five years of my life. She helped raise me and my brother while my parents put in the hours they needed to sacrifice in order to get ahead in their professions. She's the reason I spoke Spanish before English. She held us together in a time of grief and hardship and instilled in us love and empathy. She is gone now, but I think of her every day." — Anita, Peruvian

    "My abuela was the bravest woman I ever met. She got a divorce from her abusive husband in the 60s, in Colombia, where divorce was frowned upon. She had never worked before and she didn’t go to university, so she started sewing school uniforms so she could provide for her four children. Against all odds, she succeeded. She kept the family together. She has been gone for five years, and I still miss her sweet smile and her kind eyes everyday." — Sara, Colombian

    "My grandmother Generosa was the medicine woman of the family. She provided us the type of care that only a grandmother could whip up without having to go to a doctor's office and wait for a shot to make us better. If mom told her we were sick, she'd go to the local butcher's shop — at the time you could have live chicken's killed at the butchers — to get their oldest chicken, available, la gallina más vieja, and make chicken soup. She'd then gather yerba buena, manzanilla, cinnamon, and other herbs for tea. When she would arrive, she would take us to bathe in Agua Florida and Alcohlado Superior 70. She would pat us dry, rub Vicks [Vaporub] on our chest, and have us rest while she cooked up chicken soup and tea. Once those were done, she'd feed us and the last thing she would do is pray over as she tucked us in. The next day, we would wake up feeling as if we had never been sick. She had healing hands and was just as generous as her name. She would give someone the shirt off her back and the last plate of food if they walked in needing something." Lucilla, Puerto Rican

    "For my abuela’s birthday 80th birthday, we organized a special mariachi band to surprise her. The small gathering in one of my tías ’ basement surprisingly brought a bunch of people together: I got to see tíos, tías, primos y primas from all sides of my family that I had not seen in over a decade. Families have a way of drifting apart, especially when there are so many of us — despite living in the same city. But getting together to see my abuela celebrate and listen to songs that brought her back to her own young adulthood made us all remember how special she is to us. A decade after my mom moved from the Dominican Republic, my abuela moved into our home to help raise me. Though I’m forming my own career and relationships, I’ll always be one of my abuela’s niñitas. We will always be her niños." — Zameena, Dominican and Costa Rican

    "No one wants to hold onto the idea of a whole family more than my abuela. My parents have been apart since I was 5. In college, when I'd visit my abuelos down in Virginia for a week or so, maybe once or twice a year, my abuela and I were the ones to stay up late playing dominós or working on puzzles. We'd drink coffee or eat cake or share an entire sleeve of Ritz Crackers, slathering each one with thick peanut butter. In those moments, she'd confide in me secrets about our family, about tías and tíos whom I hadn't met, whom I might never meet. Gossip, so much wonderful gossip. But then she'd always find ways to tell me that her son, my father, loved me, and that he had loved my mother very much when they were together. It was honestly heartbreaking and exhausting to hear the same story over and over again, about how my not-good father cared a lot more than his actions ever revealed. And yet, she persisted.

    On more than one night, she had set out five or six shoeboxes overflowing with photographs on her bed. We'd go through them together. She kept pictures of me from my childhood, from those years of us as a whole family; me, with my mom and father. They were from my parents' wedding and candid shots taken in our backyard in Virginia, around the house — photos that captured what my abuela wanted me to believe was a period of joy my life. 'I'm going to put these together in an album for you,' she said, 'so that one day, when you're older and I'm gone, you can look back and see that you once had a very happy family that loved you.' She gave me the album two years ago. And while I don't believe I will ever look back on those years through the rose-colored lenses she'd gifted me, I continue to keep the album tucked away on the top shelf of my closet. Every new apartment, there it goes. As just one example of her love for me and what her love for this family could yield." — Christopher, Puerto Rican

    "My abuela is a headstrong, force to be reckoned with who always made the best out of every heart-wrenching and difficult moment to bring happy memories and smiles to her family - and she still is. In her earliest days as an abuela, her life was rattled when my mom made the decision to leave Spain for greater opportunities in the U.S. with my sister, my abuela 's first granddaughter. I myself was her first and only grandchild born overseas, and my abuela made sure that my sister and I, thousands of miles away, always felt totally integrated with our greater family through pages-long monthly letters that detailed everyday interactions, parties, events; sending us pictures of cousins whom I had yet to meet going off to their first days of school or playing in playgrounds; coming to visit us and converting our small NYC apartment into a virtual training ground to teach us and show us all the things we were missing from their hometown, from local dishes to card games.

    As we grew older, my sister and I were able to begin visiting my abuela and abuelo, my cousins and my tías, but my abuela always, always, always, made sure we felt at home. The first time my sister visited, she recruited a group of her friend's granddaughters who were about the same age as my sister to be her group of friends in Spain (and decades later, still are her close friends). My abuela made sure that I always felt comfortable and loved at home, especially being the only American, and half Cuban, with less firm roots in town. The best thing she could have done to integrate me, is to force my prima and I when we were girls to hang out together at every waking moment when I visited - and trust me, at six and five years old we were both inseparable and insufferable at the same time. Today, 20 years after my first time meeting my prima, she is still my best friend, and it is all thanks to my abuela 's commitment to making sure that her granddaughters felt included, and to making sure that my mom, her daughter, felt like her choice to immigrate had paid of." — Rebecca, Spanish and Cuban

    "When I'm about to experience something exciting in my life, whether it's a job interview or applying for a new apartment, my grandmother has always been one of my first phone calls. There is this level of comfort that I feel after letting her know what I'm planning or going through, and her letting me know that she's going to say a prayer for me. " Rezaré por ti, mi niña." She has an unconditional positivity and love that lives in her, and has gotten me through the worst of times and the best of times, whether it's a rift with my parents or booking a much-needed vacation. She's there through it all. No matter how much older she gets or how much she has on her plate, she always thinking of us, even if we remind her to prioritize herself. How my mom says, "There's no sitting this woman down," to get her to enjoy some R&R. She's always thinking of who she can feed or visit at all hours of the day. It's because of her unselfishness and contagious energy that my family sticks as one and makes sure to come together in her presence whenever we can. And when I'm sitting there in her living room, surrounded by my mother, brother, grandfather, uncle, cousins, — and her — with all of us conversing and laughing, it's right there and then that I realize the true power of abuela's love." Thatiana, Dominican

    "My abuela Mamá Blanca lost her eldest son and her mother in the span of two weeks. After a long battle with cancer, my Tío Toñy died at the age of 50. During the funeral, people would break down in tears in front of my grandmother. She was the one who was supposed to be grieving and instead sh e would comfort them. When she lost my great-grandmother Mamá Rosa 16 days later, she was once again the rock of our family. I can't fathom how much she was hurting at the time, but instead she held on to what she's taught us since we were children: "Andreita," she would say, " no se mueve una hoja si no es la voluntad del Padre." Everything happens for a reason. God, or whatever you believe in, has a plan. Mamá Blanca is like a roble, an oak, whose strength and beauty has held our family together for generations." Andrea, Puerto Rican

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    As a psychologist, Jessica Zucker has spent her career sitting across from many women who've experienced miscarriage.

    "All the while, it was theoretical — until it wasn’t, and I went through it myself," she says. Dr. Zucker had a miscarriage in 2012 when she was 16 weeks pregnant, and experienced feeling completely isolated and alone.

    For that reason, Dr. Zucker decided to start the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign in 2014, to decrease the stigma around pregnancy loss, and so that other people who are going through it don't feel as alone as she did.

    "I do this to combat the idea that any woman is alone in their experience," she says. "My aim is for women not to just know that but also to feel the support or the shift in culture. I want to replace the silence with storytelling."

    Dr. Zucker explains that when you lose a parent, grandparent, or someone who's at least "been in the world for a while," people know what to do — there's more of a ritual around sending flowers and a card, and showing up for the funeral. When someone has a miscarriage, things are less clear-cut.

    "In the aftermath of [pregnancy] loss, loved ones often are speechless, without a real framework to know what to say or do, so they do nothing at all — which leaves the griever alienated," she says.

    Every year since 2014, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, Dr. Zucker shares a new chapter of the campaign. In 2015, #IHadAMiscarriage's theme revolved around a line of pregnancy loss cards designed to help loved ones be there for someone who's experienced miscarriage. In subsequent years, Dr. Zucker has released posters and resources to help reduce stigma and secrecy around pregnancy loss. This year, the campaign includes video series that explores rites, rituals, and representation, or as Dr. Zucker puts it, "this idea that if we represent our stories, we not only honor and memorialize our loss, but we also are inspiring other women to do the same."

    "It’s like, where is the framework for talking about these things?" she says. "What are women supposed to do in the aftermath of loss without these rituals? We lack a conversation about what to do when it comes to miscarriage."

    Above all, Dr. Zucker hopes that the campaign inspires people to talk more openly about pregnancy loss.

    "It's partly due to silence and stigma that this remains shrouded in our culture, and we need to break that down," she says. "The more fluid these conversations are, the less alone future generations will feel."

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    Today, there are roughly 55 million Latinxs living in the U.S. — each one of us with unique cultural experiences. In our new series #SomosLatinx, R29's Latinx staffers explore the parallels and contrasts that make our community so rich. Stay tuned as we celebrate our diversity during Latinx Heritage Month from September 15-October 15.

    I don’t use the N-word, yet for most of my life in this country, hearing it has been a part of my American experience.

    I was born in the Dominican Republic and arrived in New York City when I was three-years-old. Growing up in the Bronx, the N-word was something I heard every day, from both Black and Latinx kids and in the hip-hop culture that permeated our lives. We all listened to artists like Foxy Brown, Jay Z, Lil’ Kim and Ja Rule, and we were all poor, minorities, our lives and experiences intertwined in the pre-gentrification days of the Bronx. For many of us, it was just another colloquialism, one that was inherently ours.

    Many Latinx individuals I know, family and friends, have used the word their whole lives, and still use it daily. For many of them, because they have grown up in New York City, they believe they are allowed to use it. In places like Harlem or the Bronx, Black and Latinx cultures are often indistinguishable from one another. Joel L. Daniels, a Black writer and author of A Book About Things I Will Tell My Daughter, born and raised in the Bronx, describes this mixing of culture. “We all grew up around hip-hop: Rap City, MTV Jams, Video Music Box, Hot 97, the music and culture were everywhere,” he says. “I think Black and brown folks identifying with our struggles, feeling the weight of a shared poverty and racial dynamics, we all felt one in the same.”

    Daniels points out, however, that places like New York City add another layer of nuance to the discourse around who can or cannot say the N-word.

    I ask my Latinx coworker, who was born in California and raised in Texas, about the N-word. Vivian Cabrera is Mexican-American. She tells me that growing up in Compton, her classmates were predominantly Black and did not use the term. She did, however, hear the term used by her family members, who would use it with their friends. “It was a term of endearment, like when you call a family member gordo or guero or chuy.”

    I ask Cabrera if she says the N-word. “No, I have never used it.”

    For most of my life, I have failed to discuss the African roots within my own culture.

    As a 28-year-old woman, I have begun to think about my relationship to this word, thanks in large part to the social media discourse around who gets to use the term. It is also a question that has come up in my personal life. My fiancé, who is Ghanaian, has often asked me why, despite identifying as Afro-Latina, I refuse to use the N-word. I identify as Afro-Latina because my father is a Black man — to use any other term, for me, would be to refute his blackness, and by extension, my own. However, because of the lightness of my skin and my ability to “pass,” I do not feel comfortable using the term. For most of my life, I have not acknowledged my own blackness and I have not dealt with the oppression and racism that darker men and women — like my father, my fiancé — have dealt with.

    Along with my own discomfort using the term, there is also valid criticism from the Black community when Latinx individuals use the term. In August of 2017, rapper Cardi B, a Dominican and Trinidadian rapper, was questioned about her usage of the N-word in her lyrics. She described the term as something normal and ingrained in her rhetoric, adding that Latinx individuals “are mixed with African, European,” and because of these roots, she concludes that socially, the Latinx and Black communities are viewed the same.

    The rapper captures one of the reasons why the usage of the N-word is so complex within Dominican culture. Many of us, who are either immigrants or whose families have been here for years, do not know how to talk about our own blackness. For most of my life, I have failed to discuss the African roots within my own culture. Growing up, I white-washed myself and took pleasure in people commenting on how fair my skin was or how much more professional I looked when I relaxed my hair. “I have family in Spain,” I would repeat growing up, wearing my Spanish roots like a badge of honor.

    For Dominicans, this whitewashing is due to the anti-blackness that has been an entrenched part of the country — and most countries in Latin America — since European colonizers brought slavery to the Americas. In 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived in Santo Domingo, and at the time, the country was made up of about one million Taino Indians — a number which, by 1548, dropped to less than one thousand. Taino men had been used as slave labor and Taino women were raped and tortured. As the population died off, in the early 16th century, the Spanish brought African slaves to the island to replace Taino slave labor, a process which was replicated all over Central and South America as well.

    For Dominicans, our culture was born out of the African diaspora, and yet, simultaneously, throughout history, we have been a nation of rampant anti-blackness and racism, most evident in the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. From 1930 until 1961, Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic, favoring white or lighter skinned citizens and ordering the deaths of thousands of Haitians during the Parsley Massacre of 1937. The effects of this massacre are still seen today in the Dominican Republic’s treatment of its citizens of Haitian descent.

    I talk with José Luis Vilson, an educator and author of This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, about what it means for the Latinx community to embrace its blackness and whether or not this affects who can use the N-word. Vilson, who is Dominican, was born and raised in New York City and tells me he has embraced his blackness in recent years, and while he hears the N-word in his music and sometimes uses it with friends, he tries to avoid using the term when he can. He hypothesizes that certain Latinx communities, like Dominicans, use the term because in places like the Bronx, Harlem or the Lower East Side, where the author was born, Latinx and Black communities have had the same socioeconomic status.

    While the rules are pretty clear regarding usage by white people, it becomes more complicated for others.

    Vilson adds that the way some Latinx individuals are perceived also plays a role in who gets to say the N-word. Take rapper Big Pun and actress and singer Jennifer Lopez. Big Pun used the word throughout his rap career; and in 2001, in the remix to “I’m Real,” Lopez used the N-word and was subsequently criticized for it. “Though they both grew up in the Bronx, they both grew up around Black people,” Vilson says, “the way we perceive their artforms and the way we perceive the person who is embodying it determines whether or not people will get offended.”

    I ask several of my Latinx friends about their relationship with the term. Many of them echoed Cardi’s sentiments, as opposed to my own: The term has been a part of their cultural upbringing and it has become a normal part of their everyday lives. One friend tells me that using the N-word has a lot to do with complexion, adding that Latinx individuals with lighter complexions, even if they identify as Afro-Latinx, should not be using the term.

    Mariela Regalado is a College Access educator and a freelance writer. She was born in the Dominican Republic and arrived in New York City when she was six-years-old. Regalado tells me that growing up in the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, the N-word was a part of her everyday vernacular. She would use the term with her siblings and friends, but this changed once she got to St. John’s University in Queens. “I got a real education on the history of systematic oppression and racial inequities in this country and that’s really the first time I started to completely eliminate the word from my vocabulary.”

    Like Regalado, media strategist Marlene Peralta was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Brooklyn. She tells me that she refuses to use the N-word because she has always been aware of the term’s disparaging history. “If it was up to me, I would say it’s best if no one uses it,” Peralta tells me. “Racism is still alive and well and under those circumstances, it does more harm than good.”

    I ask several of my Black friends about whether or not they believe Latinxs can use the term. Many state that it depends on how the individual identifies, i.e., if they are Afro-Latinx, then they get a pass; others stated that the same rules apply for Latinx as they do for white people: Do not ever use the N-word.

    Tai Gooden is a Black freelance writer who was born and raised in North Carolina. She tells me that while the rules are pretty clear regarding usage by white people, it becomes more complicated for others. “It’s such a divisive word with so many complex emotions tied to it and people are going to continue to disagree about the qualifiers to use it, especially when it comes to other minorities,” she tells me. “Is this person ‘Black’ enough to use it? Who decides the ‘exceptions’ to these blurry guidelines? There’s always going to be a disagreement.”

    Daniels adds that while there is no clear cut rule, he knows what he favors: “I know what I prefer, and that is only Black men and women using the word.”

    The Latinx community’s relationship with the N-word will always be complex. Some Latinx will continue to use the term either because they identify in a way in which they believe gives them a pass or because they view the word as a term of endearment; some won’t ever use it because, for them, it is a slur that shouldn’t be used in such dangerous times in America.

    For me, I will never feel comfortable using the N-word. And while it will always be a part of my life in America, from its prevalence in the hip-hop that I love to my Black and Latinx friends who use it, I will strive to find other ways to define my own Afro-Latinidad, my own blackness.

    Olga Marina Segura is an associate editor at America and a co-host of the podcast, “Jesuitical.” Her work has appeared at Sojourners, Eureka Street, Shondaland and Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @OlgaMSegura.

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    Another royal baby is on the way! Kensington Palace announced Monday morning that Meghan Markle, 37, and Prince Harry, 34, are expecting their first child five months after their wedding. The baby, expected in the spring, will be seventh in line to the throne.

    The Palace said the couple "appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public." Markle's mother Doria Ragland is said to be "very happy" about the "lovely news".

    The couple are said to have announced the news to their fellow royals on Friday at Princess Eugenie's wedding in Windsor, the BBC reported.

    The announcement came on the first day of the couple's first royal tour since their wedding, a 16-day trip during which they'll visit Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

    A sizeable proportion of Twitter and other social media users, meanwhile, reacted in a less than earnest fashion, with hilarious memes, gifs, jokes and sarky comments galore. Thank you, internet, for perking up our Monday morning

    Some are pointing to the potential clash between the birth and Brexit, which will take place at around the same time. The 29th March, dubbed "Brexit Day", will mark two years since Article 50 was triggered — and could easily be overshadowed by the royal birth. This detail hasn't escaped Twitter.

    For others, the news is nothing more than a potential bank holiday. Priorities, eh?

    Love Island's fame-hungry Dr Alex saw it as an opportunity to bag some work as Markle's gynecologist.

    Some reckon the baby is all part of a ploy to Make America Great Britain Again.

    Others wondered how long it will take for Markle's half-sister, Samantha Grant, to give her two cents on the baby announcement.

    For others, the announcement explains Markle's outfit choice at Princess Eugenie's wedding last Friday – a long, heavy blue jacket that she kept on even during the ceremony indoors and stirred speculation last week.

    Less humorously, some are calling out the couple for "upstaging" the newlywed Princess Eugenie by announcing the news to other royals on Friday, a decision that some have deemed a faux pas with some accusing them of "stealing Eugenie's thunder".

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    Avid fashion and Disney fans alike will remember “The Happiest Show on Earth ” spectacle Humberto Leon and Carol Lim put on earlier this year. Using Disneyland's Toontown as a backdrop for their Spring 2018 runway, the Opening Ceremony co-founders showed how the family-friendly face has become a symbolic reminder that fashion can be both fun and cool.

    While OC also showed off its spring see-now, buy-now collection, the show's scene-stealer was the unveiling of the fall 2018 Disney x Opening Ceremony ready-to-wear collection. Blending the Opening Ceremony DNA of edgy silhouettes and quirky graphics, Leon and Lim captured their own fantastical take on a beloved childhood character. The collection features bold faux fur coats with oversized polka dots, sweatpants featuring Leon's own hand-drawn Mickeys that took a page out of the Disney archives, mouse ears peeking over the shoulders of a-line mini dresses, and over-the-top taffeta pieces pieces showing the mouse in action. And luckily, we no longer have to wait to get our hands on it.

    In case you haven't heard, or seen, Mickey's celebrating his 90th anniversary next month. To honor the True Original's birthday, Disney has been whipping up a myriad of collaborations be it fashion, food, or even an experiential art instillation. But OC's clothing collaboration definitely takes the cake for originality.

    While we're still going to have to wait on a few pieces from the collection to be released (like the too-cute fuzzy Mickey purse), some of the core highlights from the show are available to shop starting today. Check out the full lookbook here and shop the happiest collection on earth up ahead.

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    Good news: eye-wateringly expensive shoes aren't cool anymore. Just take a look at this season's street style. Instead of big-budget brands, editors, buyers, stylists, and bloggers were championing a new wave of lesser-known, independent footwear designers. From Icelandic label Kalda’s butter-soft leather sling-backs to Berlin-based Aeyde’s intricate sculptural heels, the new crop of favorites offers comfort, sustainability, and affordability without skimping on design values.

    How does a fashion editor come across a small Icelandic brand like Kalda in the first place? Social media, of course. "I would have to credit Instagram," founder Katrín Alda Rafnsdottir says of how people discover her label. "It has been instrumental in reaching a new audience, especially buyers and industry people."

    Finding cool new designers feels even better when the price is right. Most of these footwear labels pitch a pair of luxury leather shoes at around $300 — not exactly fast-fashion cheap, but far more accessible than the latest $6K feather boots by Saint Laurent. "We source the same materials as big luxury houses," explains Aeyde co-founder Luisa Krogmann. "But due to our direct-to-consumer approach and strong digital strategy, we're able to provide our products at a different price point."

    If designer-looking shoes without the designer price tag sound good to you, read on for six of the new cult footwear brands currently on our radar.

    Aeyde

    The Story: Aeyde was founded in 2015 by friends Luisa Krogmann and Constantin Langholz-Baikousis with a mission to design shoes with longevity, rather than focusing on trends. "We try to understand and get inspired by the wishes and needs of our community," Krogmann says. "We don’t just focus on the next big trend piece." Each pair is dreamed up in the duo’s small studio in Berlin and hand-crafted at family-owned factories in Italy.

    The Look: Clean, timeless shapes are given high fashion credentials thanks to fresh prints and colorways. Think: mustard suede, graphic snake print, and pastel patent leather.

    The Fans: British fashion bloggers like Lucy Williams, Anna Vitiello, Florrie Thomas, and Katherine Ormerod.

    The Most-Wanted Style: The Lou ankle boot. Part of the collection since day one, this flat-yet-sleek boot is reimagined in new colors every season.

    The Price Tag: From around $325

    Designed by Anna Jay.

    byFAR

    The Story: Run by Bulgarian-born twins Valentina Bezuhanova and Sabina Gyosheva and their best friend Denitsa Bumbarova, the label was launched in 2011 as a response to the lack of well-made, inexpensive shoes in fashion, picking up influential stockists like Net-A-Porter, Need Supply, and Moda Operandi along the way. Fun fact: The name byFAR is an acronym of the founders’ sons' names: Filip, Alek, and Roman.

    The Look: Vintage-inspired boots, mules, and sandals, updated in contemporary colors and finishes, with a real focus on comfort. Each pair is made using surplus leathers and suedes sourced from Bulgaria, which allows for the lower price point, and also means each design is sustainably made in limited runs.

    The Fans: Kate Bosworth, Elsa Hosk, and Karlie Kloss, to name a few.

    The Most-Wanted Style: Any of the label’s '90-inspired square-toed mules. We love them in pink suede.

    The Price Tag: From around $325

    Designed by Anna Jay.

    Kalda

    The Story: Icelandic designer Katrín Alder launched Kalda in 2016 with a mission to make quality shoes more accessible to people like her and her friends. "I think shoes are a personal statement for women, and I wanted to offer them this tool of expression without a massive price tag," she says.

    The Look: From fluffy pink mules to metallic Western ankle boots and a variety of styles in bright patchwork snake print, Kalda's designs make a serious fashion statement.

    The Fans: Fellow Icelander and fashion stylist Ada Kokosar, along with actress Tilda Swinton and Instagram's Eva Chen.

    The Most-Wanted style: The new Cyland shoe, a pointed mule with an architectural spiral heel.

    The Price Tag: From around $450

    Designed by Anna Jay.

    Neous

    The Story: Alan Buanne and Vanissa Antonious met as teenagers living in Sydney and have remained best friends ever since. After they both relocated to London for jobs in fashion (at Nicholas Kirkwood and Harper’s Bazaar respectively), they noticed a gap in the market for minimalist shoe design at an affordable price. The result? Neous launched in 2017, creating beautifully hand-crafted shoes designed in London and made in Italy.

    The Look: The duo is inspired by the clean lines of mid-century architecture, modernism, and contemporary art. Expect unusual color combinations, innovative fabric pairings like leather and Perspex, and block heels that make each design extra-comfortable and wearable.

    The Fans: Big-name Insta stars across the globe, from Pandora Sykes to Diletta Bonaiuti.

    The Most-wanted Style: The label's graphic ball-heel designs: choose from leather mules or sling-backs.

    The Price Tag: From around $500

    Designed by Anna Jay.

    Mercedes Castillo

    The Story: Having honed her craft at brands like Donna Karan and Tory Burch, Spanish designer Mercedes Castillo launched her eponymous footwear collection in New York in 2017 with a distinctive aesthetic inspired by architecture and mid-century design.

    The Look: Sculptural heels, geometric details, and a vivid color palette. No overt branding or logos here — the emphasis is purely on the unique silhouettes and quality craftsmanship.

    The Fans: Actresses like Pretty Little Liars' Lucy Hale and Zoe Saldana.

    The Most-Wanted Style: The Izar sandal – a clean-cut asymmetric design on a tapered block heel in bright suede colors. "Izar epitomizes the essence of the brand," Castillo says. "It’s minimal and architectural, but flattering and feminine at the same time."

    The Price Tag: From around $325

    Designed by Anna Jay.

    Miista

    The Story: Designer Laura Villasenin launched Miista in 2010 after moving from her native northern Spain to east London. Her designs are characterized by a nostalgia for her home, married with the urbanity of her new city life.

    The Look: All Miista styles are crafted in Spain using a distinctive hand-stitched crochet technique with natural linen threads. Expect elegant shapes, rich colors, and understated detailing. "Despite the quality of the pieces and sheer skill involved in making them, Miista is ultimately committed to delivering shoes at an affordable cost," Villasenin says. "We reject inflated prices and high profit margins to stay true to our ethos and customers."

    The Fans: Effortless style icons like Sienna Miller, Jeanne Damas, and Lyn Slater of Accidental Icon.

    The Most-Wanted Style:The Aline, a flat, slightly pointed slip-on that is the embodiment of Miista’s signature patchwork stitching technique.

    The Price Tag: From around $150

    Designed by Anna Jay.

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    Branded - Lycra: AEO

    Identical twins Veronica and Vanessa Merrell know a thing or two about resilience. The singer-songwriter duo have a helpful motto they turn to whenever they're faced with those inevitable life challenges: "Rejection is protection." After a friendship comes to an end, a job opportunity falls through, or a breakup rears its ugly head, the twins know that there is protection in the fact that there’s something better out there for you — and now you're on a clearer path to finding it, as long as you keep moving forward.

    This type of resilience is just as important to the Merrell twins when it comes to their jeans. For a style that holds its shape like the first wear, wash after wash, Veronica and Vanessa know they can count on their American Eagle Ne(x)t Level jeans, made with LYCRA® dualFX® technology. With their major flexibility, these are the jeans they want to be wearing as they're making moves. Check out how these girls suit up for what lies ahead with the belief that it's what's inside that really matters.

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    Update: Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson have reportedly ended their engagement. In case you're just getting involved in this summer romance gone too soon, or are simply looking for some answers, we've tracked their entire relationship from the very beginning to its rumored end. How? Through their tattoo history of course. Their relationship might be over, but their love will live on forever through a lot of ink (at least, until one of them gets laser removal). Read on for the full, and very permanent, timeline.

    This story was originally published on June 14, 2018.

    You'd have to be living under a rock to miss out on the news that Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson and Grammy nominee Ariana Grande were recently reported to be engaged after dating for approximately one month. Despite cryptic posts from Grande's Twitter, affirmative sources, and a chatty jeweler, we're still not entirely convinced we have all the answers to this pop culture mystery. ICYMI: Their relationship timeline doesn't add up.

    Unfortunately, this isn't a game of Clue and the answer isn't just Davidson at Robert Pattinson’s exclusive birthday party with a $100,000 ring. To unlock the chamber of secrets, you have to uncover all the clues the newly-minted couple have left for us. And the best place to start is on their bodies. When you look closely at each person's tattoos, there's more to the story than just a cartoon portrait of Davidson's ex and Grande's affinity for dainty designs.

    The real timeline is written in permanent ink, so buckle up and follow along to find out how — and when — Grande and Davidson really began.

    November 12, 2016: While dating Cazzie David, Davidson gets a tattoo on his left ring finger of what appears to be the word "May." Is it possible this is a tribute to David? (Her birthday is May 10.) For the first time, Davidson's new tattoo is visible in "Football Party" on SNL.

    May 5, 2018: The presumed "May" tattoo still appears to be intact when Davidson is invited as a guest on SNL's Weekend Update.

    May 7: Grande attends the Met Gal a in New York without then-boyfriend Mac Miller — and without any new finger tattoos.

    May 10: PEOPLE confirms that Grande and Miller have broken up.

    May 12: Davidson adds three more tattoos to the same hand (his left) where "May" presumably once sat. The new ink appears to be an image of Pikachu on his index finger, a cloud on his middle finger, and a heart on his pinky. You can see all three clearly in the SNL "Talent Show" skit below.

    Later that night, Davidson and Grande are seen at the same SNL after-party.

    May 14: Fans begin to notice Grande's penchant for clouds — and emojis of clouds — on both Instagram and Twitter. She posts a photo with a caption proving their point.

    ☁️

    A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

    May 16: Davidson confirms that he and David are no longer together on Complex ’s Open Late Show with Peter Rosenberg.

    May 17: Davidson shows off his new knuckle tattoos on Instagram. This time, "May" is nowhere to be found, seemingly covered by three black lines on the same ring finger. One could even argue that the design looks like an engagement ring tattoo...

    That same day, he covers his larger forearm tattoo of David.

    Did this crazy coverup last night on my boy @petedavidson ESSKEETIT!!!

    A post shared by Jon Mesa (@jonmesatattoos) on

    May 18: Bossip reports that Grande and Davidson are "casually" dating.

    May ~19: Jeweler Greg Yuna told E! News in June that Davidson called him at the "end of May" asking for a ring. Although the comedian never revealed who the ring was for, many assume it was the engagement ring for Grande. We're led to assume that Yuna was referring to the week of May 19.

    May 20: Stealthy Arianators sneak a video of Davidson with Grande's entourage at the Billboard Music Awards. Twitter fans quickly notice a new tattoo on her middle finger: a cloud similar to Davidson's. It's deduced that Davidson and Grande may have received these new finger tattoos together.

    May 22-30: Several Instagram comments, Stories, and Harry Potter references later, the two appear to be dating at full speed.

    June 2: Davidson gets two Grande-inspired tattoos: her Dangerous Woman bunny mask on his neck and her initials, "AG," on his right thumb.

    June 11: Davidson and Grande are reportedly engaged.

    June 18: Davidson and Grande (along with a few friends) get matching "H2GKMO" tattoos on their hands. The meaning? Fans strongly suspect it's a phrase — "honest to god knock me out" — Ari and crew say often, especially on Twitter.

    June 26: Grande posts a photo of her hand to her Instagram story, revealing two new tattoos. One shows the number "561," which is the area code for Boca Raton, Florida, where she was born and raised. (It's also revealed on another Instagram story that Davidson has a similar tattoo of his hometown area code on his left thumb.)

    The other just above it reads "reborn" — seemingly matching the same Kid Cudi-inspired tattoo Davidson also got a week before.

    June 30: Grande gets a tattoo in tribute to Davidson's late father on her left ankle. The number — "8418" — was his father's firefighter badge number. Davidson also has the number inked on his arm.

    July 7: Davidson debuts yet another covered tattoo, on his right-hand ring finger this time. Covering what seems to be a faded "forever" tattoo now reads "goon." Davidson captioned the photo on Instagram: "As I was, as I am. as I always will be."

    Later that day, Grande posts photos from her music video with Nicki Minaj for their song "Bed." In both the video and photo below, fans notice Grande has a new tattoo below her ribs (a trendy spot, at that). Although the word itself doesn't immediately suggest it has anything to do with Davidson, stan Instagram accounts speculate it was designed by Davidson per a copy of his handwriting in a letter he wrote his sister.

    A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

    July 12: Fans quickly spot a new tattoo on Grande's finger. Although it's never confirmed, most guess the teeny tiny word says, "Pete."

    September 7: Davidson is seen outside, without a shirt, rocking a brand new tattoo dedicated to Grande. This one is self-explanatory considering it literally reads, "Grande," down his ribcage.

    September 17: Grande and Davidson not only share a home, but now a pet — a pet pig, to be exact. It's name is Piggie Smallz. Davidson commemorates the milestone with a tattoo on his lower stomach.

    View this post on Instagram

    Thanks Pete 🐷🐻🎈

    A post shared by mira mariah (@girlknewyork) on

    September 21: Davidson copies one of Grande's oldest tattoos, a quote from Breakfast at Tiffany's, "Mille tendresse." Not only did Davidson copy the script, but he also got it in the exact spot Grande has hers: on the back of the neck.

    October 10: Fans catch Davidson on Saturday Night Live with one of his Grande tattoos covered up. Now, in place of her Dangerous Woman bunny ears, lives a filled-in heart. Twitter wonders if this is a sign of trouble in paradise, but no one knows for sure until the news of the couple's called-off engagement breaks on October 14.

    Our only question now: Will Davidson live the rest of his life with a collection of tattoos dedicated to his ex-fiancé or spend the next few months in and out of tattoo parlors to cover them all up? (It wouldn't be his first time.)

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    Days after Kanye West's meeting with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, Charlamagne tha God announced that he has canceled a scheduled New York Times TimesTalk in which he was set to speak to West.

    The event, which was to take place in New York City this Wednesday, October 17, was meant to be a discussion on mental health stigma in the Black community.

    In a post to his Instagram page, Charlamagne wrote, "Normalizing being mentally healthy is a conversation that I really wanted to have with Kanye because he's been so vocal about his own mental health struggles. Unfortunately I think to have that conversation with him right now would not be productive and a total distraction from the point of the convo which is to eradicate the stigma of mental health especially in the black community."

    Months after candidly discussing his own mental health and opening up about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, West told Trump that he was misdiagnosed. He said that though he was initially diagnosed with bipolar, another doctor told him, "I wasn’t actually bipolar, I had sleep deprivation which can cause dementia 10 to 20 years from now when I wouldn’t even remember my son’s name."

    Previously, West had rapped on the track "Yikes " that "That’s my bipolar shit," and, "That’s my superpower n----, ain’t no disability." He also later spoke to radio host Big Boy, confirming he was "diagnosed with a mental condition," but that he felt that it was his superpower.

    If you are struggling with bipolar disorder and are in need of information and support, please call the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-6264. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NAMI” to 741741.

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    Whether we mean to or not, we put a lot of pressure on our clothes. We expect them to define us but also shape-shift with our every mood. We want high quality but we aren't willing to pay for it. We demand industry-wide change but we insist that it happens overnight. Fashion is struggling to keep up. But what keeps people interested is newness and the merging and spreading of different cultures.

    As Yamuna Forzani, a Dutch brand that seeks to bring New York's ballroom culture to the edges of Europe, exemplifies: People who actually identify as queer, non-binary, or anything beyond convention already understand that fashion goes beyond the clothes we wear on our backs — it means proposing and experimenting with different ways of thinking, too. For the label's latest knitwear collection, Forzani collaborated with Queens-based photographer Sydney Rahimtoola on an editorial featuring creatives of the queer, Black, and Latinx communities. The shots not only showcase Forzani's clothes in an authentic space but a safe one, too, which is integral to the success of LGBTQ+ people in the fashion industry.

    Of the shoot, the duo says their approach includes "gathering the ballroom children of the Netherlands — our friends and communities — and emphasizing their idiosyncrasies through portraiture." The spring 2019 collection is based on founder Yamuna Forzani's travels in the U.S. and Japan, namely ballroom's birthplace, New York City, to get an original, firsthand take on its influence. For Forzani, ballroom was "created as a haven of free, self-expression that continues to serve as an ideology of utopia, inclusivity, and a safe space for the LGBTQ+ people of color in the underground scene the world over."

    Ahead, we spoke to Forzani and Rahimtoola about everything from what ballroom culture in the Netherlands looks like to how integral underrepresented minorities are to the mainstream tier of fashion — and what all of that means, clothing-wise, for those who just don't get it but genuinely want to.

    Talk to us about Yamuna Forzani. What is its history? What does it stand for?
    Yamuna Forzani: " My brand is about creating and manifesting my queer utopian fantasies. I’m a queer activist with strong ideologies in mind and I collaborate with like-minded colorful creatives. Photographer Sydney Rahimtoola is amongst the creatives I work with. She totally embodies the progressive ideas that I do and is full of positivity and love! This celebration is a multidisciplinary practice that combines fashion, photography, dance, installation, and social design through public inclusive events.

    "What’s really important to me is, beyond making clothes and trying to sell them, is making spaces and platforms where people can get their fucking life! It’s really important for me to create a safe environment to show my work and to not take the ball culture out of the ballroom space; to really give back to my community and put on a ball — for us. It’s a collaborative effort that became something more than just my own ego and my own vision. It’s our vision."

    Photographed by Sydney Rahimtoola/Courtesy of Yamuna Forzani.

    When you say “the ballroom children of the Netherlands,” what does that mean? Tell us what you know of ballroom culture and how it exists/its influence in the Netherlands.
    YF: "In the Netherlands, we have an established ballroom scene with members representing all different houses. Ballroom culture emerged in New York in the 1960s, birthed by Harlem's marginalized queer, black, and Latinx communities. In Europe, we honor the foundations of that by hosting traditional balls with all of the categories: fashion, beauty, body, sex, realness, and performance, which is where voguing comes into play.

    "Even though you could definitely describe balls as a celebration, they’re also profoundly political; a safe space that, in many ways, needs to be protected. It’s still an underground community and the scene often travels far and wide to participate in them: I’ve competed in Tokyo, Osaka, New York, Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, and all over the Netherlands.

    "In this shoot, we wanted to bring together the ‘ballroom children,' the members of the Dutch ballroom scene. They are my muses, my friends, and house members. We are real people from different backgrounds, with different bodies and identities, but we are striving for the same goals. We are all sisters and we wanted to celebrate that."

    Photographed by Sydney Rahimtoola/Courtesy of Yamuna Forzani.

    Neither you nor Sydney agree with how fashion is portrayed through imagery and media. Why?
    Sydney Rahimtoola: "Fashion is an extension and mirror of what is trending globally and what matters at the moment for the masses. At this time, gender and racial identity and what it means to express the two are at the surface. In theory, that’s wonderful and fantastic. However, it’s good to question what space does fashion specifically serve. It serves the elite. I think that image and media are an extension of that problem which continues to exist. In this context, I believe it only scratches the surface, not exploring in depth how we can sincerely and visually represent certain communities that are extremely relevant. It’s all centered around visual advertisement (the cookie-cutter version of being ‘woke’). And likewise, not serving these communities.

    "We can do better. Really, we should be hiring more community members that represent these themes. Maybe it’s a bit controversial to say, but I just think: what happens when certain forms of identities become less trendy? Just because it’s “diverse” does not mean it’s serving the “diverse.” The industry is capitalizing on this. So, who is it serving and who is buying it? Are we just another statistic check so everyone feels good at the end of the day? When we see diversity on the runways, the videos, or the photographs, it is often the question of Who is this really benefitting? "

    YF: " I've seen firsthand how elite, shallow, and cutthroat it can be. It doesn't have to be this way. I believe you can make beautiful clothes with heart; I would never want to lose sight of my integrity and compassion for others just for the sake of clothes...it doesn't seem worth it. I make clothes for queer people with queer bodies and I celebrate that. At the end of the day, it's about your intentions. For me, community always comes first.

    "I cast all my friends from the scene and design outfits for them with their personality in mind. I instruct each model to take their time [on the runway] and have their moment to really show themselves (dance, twirl, do a dip, whatever they feel like in the moment; just exist and be themselves). I’m open to working with all queer people, all different models, shapes, sizes, genders, races, etc. I think it's important to realize that we really need to practice acceptance and love instead of just preaching it or using it as a marketing ploy or clickbait-style article headline."

    Photographed by Sydney Rahimtoola/Courtesy of Yamuna Forzani.

    What role does ballroom culture play in your creative process? How does it impact you designs?
    YF: "My creative process has always been very queer with an unorthodox approach. But since I’ve been in the ballroom scene, it's switched up my whole world. I got into ballroom when a member of the Kiki House of Angels from Rotterdam came to an open casting of mine in school and started voguing. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had seen the documentary Paris is Burning a zillion times as a kid, but didn't know it was still going strong globally. After that moment, I dived into the scene and now proudly represent the Kiki House of Angels (in the Kiki scene) and the House of Comme des Garçons in the major scene.

    "At the balls, my categories are Designers Delight, Best Dressed, and Bizarre. And I make costumes for my house members. Every ball, there is a different theme so it forces me to experiment with different materials and make silhouettes I have never tried before. My favorite category to walk is Bizarre, a category where you have to make a kind of installation on the body using unconventional materials (you usually have to make something that goes beyond looking like a human, which I love). Balls are a playground where I can flirt with different ideas and fantasies."

    Photographed by Sydney Rahimtoola/Courtesy of Yamuna Forzani.

    Why are underground communities, and the queer community specifically, so important to the future of fashion?
    SR: " To think that the future of fashion will empower underground communities by providing them with more diverse platforms, agency, and resources can prove to be exceptional. In return, the queer community can navigate their identity in their own safe space, but also provide healthy ways to open these spaces to the masses. For example, commissioning more queer artists, queer artists of color, women, trans artists, artists of color (anything within this framework), or by placing them into more lucrative, influential roles in the industry.

    "To us, being queer does not only exist on a gender-based, sexual based level. What it also means to us is rejecting heteronormative values as mainstream and proposing different ways of thinking. Being queer is being transgressive, using one’s local resources to create crazy things, community value, and total self-expression. Sure, it may sound weird to some people to think that this way of thinking can be queer, but this mode of expression has always been celebrating and navigating one’s identity in restrictive and narrow-minded societies."

    Photographed by Sydney Rahimtoola/Courtesy of Yamuna Forzani.

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    The Apple Watch Series 4 stole the show at September's Apple event in Cupertino. With its new display size, beautiful watch faces, improved microphone, and full-day charge capability — it's set to be a hit.

    While it definitely comes with great built-in fixin's — like Calendar, Maps, and a cool new Walkie-Talkie feature — what's the fun of wearing an Apple Watch without tricking it out a little bit? Whether you're into meditating, working out, or are in desperate need of a pocket-sized organization tool, there are third-party Apple Watch apps you can download in the App Store for just about anything. Ahead, check out our favorites.

    Dark Sky Weather

    Whether you're on the weather app bandwagon or not, Dark Sky is a great Apple Watch app that provides down-to-the-minute forecasting on a beautiful interface with radar animation. You can check your notification center at a glance for the next hour's weather report or for the week ahead without having to unlock your watch.

    Price:$3.99

    Strava

    While Apple's built-in Activity app might be sufficient for some users, if you're looking for a more heavy-duty exercise watch app, Strava is a good option. It's for swimming, running, cycling, and more, and comes with extensive trail routes and maps, plus a social aspect that allows you to compete and share with other users on the app.

    Price: Free with in-app purchases

    Headspace

    Headspace is an easy-to-follow and accessible app for meditation newbies. It comes with hundreds of guided meditations, including super short ones for when you're on the go, and, importantly, also has the cutest graphics ever.

    Price: $7.99/month for a year, $12.99/month, or $399.99 for a lifetime subscription

    Grocery - Smart Grocery List

    If you're one of those people who always forgets your grocery list the second you walk into Trader Joe's, this one's for you. The app keeps track of what you need, syncs up with Reminders so you can easily share your list, and is Siri-enabled, which means all you have to do is tell Siri to add bread to your list, and it's there. It's also a smart list, which means it learns each time you make a list and then sorts your items for next time based on the order in which you checked off the items the time before.

    Price:Free

    Things 3

    Dump all the thoughts and to-dos swirling around in your brain into this handy little pocket-sized task manager for quick organization. You can file tasks into different projects to add structure, plus import to-dos from other apps. And you can streamline everything into one simple "Today" list to make the rest of the noise go away when you just want to focus on the day at hand.

    Price: $9.99

    App In The Air

    Air travel is almost always super stressful, and while this app can't fix that entirely, it definitely streamlines the flying process: It keeps you posted on your flight status and security wait times, sends you reminders, provides tips from other travelers, and tells you where your baggage claim is.

    Price: Free with in-app purchases for premium features

    Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker

    If you're looking to learn more about your quality of sleep, Pillow analyzes your sleep cycles, records sleep events like snoring and sleep apnea, and gives daily morning reports. It also has a smart feature that can wake you up at your lightest possible sleep stage and tell you your optimal bedtime based on your personal sleep history. Plus, it comes with specialized sleep aid and wake up sounds.

    Price:Free with in-app purchases

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    Braids take a long , long time to finish — there's no getting around that fact. Even with the help of a few assistants, you can expect to spend at least four hours in the chair. Now imagine doubling that. Micro braids, which are as tiny as the name indicates, can take days to finish — and even longer when you're doing them yourself. Granted, the teeny tiny plaits last way longer than bigger box braids and the possibilities with micro braids are endless, but you can't deny that they're a commitment.

    These days, it's sort of rare to see the style — which was popularized by stars like Brandy in the '90s — because some people consider it dated, but we beg to differ. Micro braids (and braided wigs) are just as forward and fly as their bigger counterparts. You know.... even if you have to spend the rest of your life in the braiding chair. See some of the styles we love, ahead.

    Blunt Lob

    The shape and sharp ends of this cut is oh so chic.

    Photo: Via @dbshair.

    Ombré Ends

    There's no need to sit in the chair for over nine hours when you can slip a wig on in nine seconds.

    Photo: Via @ankaragehq.

    Edges On Sleek

    For the 2018 Met Gala, celebrity stylist Nikki Nelms styled Zoe Kravtiz's braids into a bun with slicked-down baby hairs.

    Big Bun

    Lacy Redway  tied Tessa Thompson's teeny braids into a high-bun for a New York Magazine cover shoot. The single pieces left hanging out of her updo gave her style a Brandy-esque flair.

    Center Parted Plaits

    And when in doubt, a sharp middle part works well for any style.

    Photo: Via @latchednhooked.

    Side Swooped

    We don't see ourselves wearing hair down to our toes anytime soon, but we do love Nicki Minaj's pink braids kept all to one side.

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    Nowadays, iPhone cameras are as good as any, but when it comes to photo-sharing, most rely on third party editing apps to give their photos that extra Instagram oomph. But there are a lot of options out there, and if the selection seems overwhelming, you're not alone.

    So where to begin? Ahead, we rounded up the best photo-editing apps you can use to up your selfie game, take your nature photos up a notch, and overall transform your camera roll into a professional influencer's 'gram grid. Filters, colors, and effects, oh my!

    PicsArt

    This app has a great offering of drawing and collage tools to take your photos to the next level. Either use one of hundreds of free in-app templates, or do your own thing and freestyle using a variety of brushes, layers, and other drawing tools.

    Best For: The Collagist
    Price: Free with in-app purchases

    Snapseed

    This app has an easy-to-use interface with fewer frills than its competitors, which makes for a less intimidating experience for those who aren't super familiar with photo editing. It's easy to undo and redo all edits, which means you can mess around without worrying about ruining a photo for all of eternity. Great for both landscapes and portraits of people. It's as simple as scrolling through until you land on a filter you love!

    Best For: The Editing Newbie
    Price: Free

    VSCO

    In addition to all the standard fixings, this app allows users to create recipes and presets based on their personal editing aesthetic. Plus, there's a social component that connects photographers and a curated Discover feed of great photo inspo right there in the app. If you're looking for something more heavy-duty, there's also VSCO X, a paid membership with even more resources and tools. Using this app and its minimalist interface will make you feel like a legit creator.

    Best For: The Editorial Photographer
    Price: Free with optional in-app purchases, or $19.99/year for a VSCO X membership

    Afterlight 2

    This one wins for coolest effects, and will straight up turn your photos into art with its selective hue, saturation, and lightness adjustments. It comes at one price including all add-ons, rather than charging for add-ons on an otherwise free app. With its Overlay feature, you can give your photo a prism effect, superimpose images together, or go for a vintage look with dust leaks. If you're after a dreamlike aesthetic, this app is for you.

    Best For: The Digital Artist
    Price: $2.99

    Polarr

    Polarr is great for a variety of skill levels: If you're a novice, you can rely on its auto-enhance tools to do the editing work for you, but if you're a pro, you can use one of the app's countless local and global adjustment options to tweak your photo exactly to your liking, with impressive detail and control.

    Best For: The Group Photo Photographer
    Price: Free, with in-app purchases

    A Color Story

    If you're looking to make your photos pop, this app will be your new best friend. It comes with a great assortment of free filters that will make even the dullest photo stand out, though you'll have to shell out a few bucks for any of the add-on filter collections. Each filter comes with a recommended use: i.e. lifestyle and beauty images, portraits, or fashion photos. Also, A Color Story's Instagram page is just, well, beautiful.

    Best For: The Color Aficionado
    Price: Free with in-app purchases, which you will likely want, because the filters it comes with aren't as cool as the ones you have to buy.

    Darkroom

    This app is best known for its curve and color tools, plus its batch editing, which lets users apply global edits to a group of photos at the same time. Create dramatic B&W photos or bring a photo to life by enhancing its color and tone, and you'll get pretty close to the quality you'd get from developing a photo in a darkroom – except you can do it on the couch.

    Best For: The Moody Photographer
    Price: Free with in-app purchases

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    It's no secret that Amazon owns our shopping habits. So much so, it's become our go-to for everything from a 10 pack of Pocky sticks to designer dresses, sending us down a rabbit hole that results in a cart full of items we hadn't planned on purchasing. If you can think of it, Amazon probably has it.

    But coming across more unique and worthy finds, like a novelty plant holder or a new pair of heels, isn't as easy a task. Unless you're a pro at scrolling through hundreds of thousands of products, it's easy to quit three pages in. So, we're doing the grunt work and digging through the deepest reaches of Amazon for the best goodies around. Tech, beauty, fashion, wellness, home; there's not one category we're excluding from our search.

    From the most buzz-worthy eyeliners on the market to affordable furniture that only looks expensive, our editors are rounding up the best Amazon has to offer. Even better, we're bringing you a brand spanking new list of items, every week. Check back here each Monday for the latest round of Amazon available products you'll want to add to cart, sans the toilet paper.

    At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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    OTOTO Swanky - The Floating Ladle, $21, available at Amazon

    If you're in the market for a realistic log or fruit slice pillow, make sure it's a TOP RATED log or fruit slice pillow.



    HYSEAS 3D Digital Print Comfort Foam Throw Pillow, $11.99, available at Amazon

    Introduce a functional piece of art into your home. This Keith Haring Pop Art chair is perfect for kiddos and creative spaces.



    Vilac Vilac Wooden Chair, $139.99, available at Amazon

    While decorating with real animal heads is obsolete and the opposite of cool, mounting a spray painted faux animal head is an affordable and easy statement piece.



    Wall Charmers Large Faux Deer Head, $94.99, available at Amazon

    This narrow end table adds a touch of glamour to small space apartments.



    Kate and Laurel Celia Round Metal Foldable Tray Accent Table, $63.49, available at Amazon

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    A beaded clutch is the perfect companion for any function, day or night.



    Miuco Beaded Bag, $49.99, available at Amazon

    Who ever said fashion can't be insanely comfortable?



    Ugg Fluff Yeah Slide Sandal, $99.95, available at Amazon

    A cashmere turtleneck sweater that promises no pilling for under $100? Sold.



    Fincati Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater, $69, available at Amazon

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    Gqueen Retro Round Polarized Sunglasses MTS2, $13.8, available at Amazon

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    Lam Gallery Transparent Bucket Bag, $28.99, available at Amazon

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    Fintie Fintie Band Compatible with Fitbit Versa, $9.99, available at Amazon

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    365 Active Sports Saxx Dry Gym and Travel Bag, $14.99, available at Amazon

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    Body Back Company Body Back Buddy Original, $29.95, available at Amazon

    Condom friendly and latex safe lubes are key.



    Sliquid H20 Intimate Lube, $12.2, available at Amazon

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    Reehut Durable Ankle/Wrist Weights with Adjustable Strap, $15.99, available at Amazon

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    The NoPhone The NoPhone Original Cell Phone, $12, available at Amazon

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    The Side Winder The Original MacBook Charger Winder, $28.99, available at Amazon

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    On Hand Creature Speaker - Ringo Green Octopus Shower, $29.99, available at Amazon

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    Avantree Neetto Headphone Hanger, $9.99, available at Amazon

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    Increasingly, the Instagram accounts of beauty businesses, clinics, and salons are being used to advertise and give away free cosmetic surgery — everything from facial fillers and Botox to breast enhancements and even the notoriously dangerous Brazilian butt lift. To enter for a chance to win, followers simply have to regram, like, and share posts. In return, brands receive free advertising and promotion as their posts circulate.

    The rise in this type of giveaway is part of a wider shift in the culture around cosmetic-surgery enhancements that's become particularly noticeable in the past five years. There are more options competing on the market than ever before; UK-based beauty-and-wellness megastore Superdrug recently started to offer in-store fillers and Botox with prices starting at just £99 (around $130). Now, having work done no longer means a trip to an elite Los Angeles doctor and thousands of dollars to spare.

    With companies and clinics on Instagram making cosmetic surgery even more accessible, it poses the question: In a world where beauty enhancements are becoming normalized, are young women under more pressure than ever to consider surgical and nonsurgical treatments?

    To see how many ads and giveaways there are on Instagram these days, you only need to spend a few minutes searching. The "lip specialists" at La La Land Lashes & Aesthetics in Liverpool, England, use their feed to offer followers the chance to win free jawline, lip, and cheek surgery for themselves and a friend. "Amazing give away jawline/cheeks and lips for you and a friend!" the post reads. "Screen shot this picture and upload it to your feed. Tag us and your bestie. Winner announced Friday 19th 9pm." A post from Southeast Medspa, located in Clayton, NC, reads, "The new you awaits! …and red is the inspiration! Post a picture of yourself to your page wearing red lips and tag us for your chance to win free lip filler!"

    In a world where beauty enhancements are becoming normalized, are young women under more pressure than ever to consider surgical and nonsurgical treatments?

    Other companies, like Augusta Plastic Surgery in Augusta, GA, have taken it a step further, giving away surgical treatments for a whole year. "We're giving away free botox for one year to one lucky winner! Visit our office to enter," a recent post read. You can now also have Botox parties with your girlfriends, with brands advertising free enhancements at "friend filler nights." A post from KLG Aesthetics in the UK reads, "Who fancies a girlie night in with some fillers? If you and 5 friends book a filler night, the host will get 2ml revolax for free!!!"

    So there are a lot of these types of giveaways on Instagram, but how are they actually affecting real women? 26-year-old management assistant Nadia Jabakhanji told us she enters these competitions on a regular basis. "I've entered loads of lip-filler and microblading competitions but have never won," she said. "I’ve had my lips done a few times now and I absolutely love it — it does get very addictive. I feel like there’s an image that we have to try and keep up as women. You always feel your makeup looks better when your lips are plumped."

    Angela Bond, 29, who won fillers through an Instagram competition, told us, "I only had to give an Instagram account a follow and I won the fillers. I’d never had them done before, but I absolutely love them and would definitely get them again," she said. "Now that I know it’s not a scam, I would actively search for more giveaways on Instagram."

    However, not everyone thinks the competitions are such a wise idea. Sally Baker, a London-based hypnotherapist, doesn't mince words, calling the rise in plastic-surgery freebies on Instagram "cynical ploys from the morally-bankrupt plastic-surgery industry playing on the physical insecurities of young people," especially those that are living with anxiety and body dysmorphia. She says that the offers are an effective way to attract them as potential customers, and to normalize the idea of invasive cosmetic surgery.

    Plastic-surgery clinics benefit from promoting the idea that enhancement surgery is commonplace, readily available, and an everyday occurrence, when in reality it remains statistically very niche.

    "Plastic-surgery clinics benefit from promoting the idea that enhancement surgery is commonplace, readily available, and an everyday occurrence, when in reality it remains statistically very niche," Baker says. "Many young people who are dissatisfied with their physical appearance focus on themselves as a way of dealing with greater emotional overwhelm in other areas of their lives. They are at risk of manipulation and debt in chasing superficial results for deep-seated emotional challenges."

    Others feel that there is no accountability surrounding these posts, and that there is a concerning lack of thought in the decision-making process to have surgery. Mental-health experts worry that because of the prevalence of Botox and fillers, people don't weigh up the pros and cons of a procedure before going ahead. Women's coach Chelle Shohet, who calls herself "The Self-Love Stylist," believes surgery giveaways send a clear signal to women that they need surgery, that they're not good enough as is.

    "When a woman with low self-esteem and body confidence comes across these posts, she'll see them as a quick fix," Shohet says. "They also make it more attractive to the person on a tight budget that is struggling with self-esteem and self-confidence. They do not encourage the person entering to research the company and research the actual effects of the procedure." The same people, she says, can get "hooked" on cosmetic procedures, leading to more and more in the future.

    "My advice to any woman is to get to know your body and fall in love with yourself inside and out before you have any sort of cosmetic procedure," Shohet says. "If you do not like something physically, you’re just going to put on a band-aid so to speak and get short-term relief from this issue, so the problem will come back."

    Life coach and mental-health expert Geeta Sidhu-Robb makes a different point, saying, "Surgery is something that should be taken seriously and carefully researched, rather than given away to a mass market without proper knowledge of any health repercussions. All treatments need to be met with the adequate health checks beforehand, as people react in different ways to different things."

    Normally, we would expect a good friend or family member to question our motives about changing our appearance, but if they're also being offered the same treatment for free, they might be more likely to put their reservations aside.

    As for the offers that encourage women to get their friends involved as well, with ads dressed up in lighthearted phrases like "tag your bestie," counselor and integrative psychotherapist Hilda Burke warns that the "+1" element adds another layer of danger, serving to normalize casual cosmetic enhancements within friend groups. "Normally, we would expect a good friend or family member to question our motives about changing our appearance," Burke says, "but if they're also being offered the same treatment for free, they might be more likely to put their reservations aside."

    We reached out to Instagram regarding the prevalence of free cosmetic-surgery offers. The reply read: "We work hard to make Instagram a safe place for people to spend their time. Anyone using Instagram to run a promotion or competition must follow our terms, which include the need to comply with the rules and regulations governing competitions."

    As it stands, there are currently no campaigns against these posts, or warnings from official groups to get the ads pulled from social media — but perhaps there should be. As positive-psychology coach Adele Hawkes told us, "It’s dangerous that the implicit message for women is that we’re not enough as we are. That if we want to be happy, we have to pay to fix ourselves. And it’s this that ultimately does the most damage to our confidence, mind, and self-worth."

    This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.

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    Another day, another morning spent trying (and probably failing) to perfect the balance between work appropriate dressing and outfits that you actually like. Designated hem lengths, sleeve lengths, necklines — the fact is, dress codes just aren't very fun. But since we're more or less stuck with them, to make the morning what-to-wear grind a little less stressful, we've come up with a few tactical tips and tricks for office dressing like a pro.

    Trousers, blazers, blouses, skirts — they're easy. Like 1 + 2 = 3 easy. Dresses, however, are so simple that they can be, well, boring. But it's that simplicity that has made long-sleeve dresses our go-to: They're weather- and work-appropriate and require zero styling. Simply pick a print, throw on a pair of boots (or sneakers if your office is more casual), and call it a day. Plus, from sweater dresses to wrap dresses, there's an endless supply of long-sleeve styles just waiting to eliminate all of your dressing for work woes.

    Before another hectic morning passes, take a look at the 16 options ahead. We're betting you'll want to wear them long past the 9-to-5 grind.

    At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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    Remember that time you DIY bleached your hair into oblivion after you convinced yourself you could totally pull off Britney Spears' babylights circa "Oops!...I Did It Again?" Your mom still talks about what a mess that was at every family dinner. Luckily, if you've still got a hankering to go platinum, you have an opportunity to go blonde (for a night) every time Halloween rolls around.

    All you need is a wig from your local beauty supply store, or the ever-faithful Amazon, to tackle the iconic Britney Spears costume without the trauma of growing out your over-processed hair. And if your hair has been blonde and Britney-esque since birth, you're going to save a ton of money on your "Toxic" flight attendant costume this year.

    As a blonde (natural or otherwise), there are a few different costumes you can pull off. You could take on Carrie Bradshaw's corkscrew curls from Sex and the City or copy Kim Kardashian's single-process, white platinum hair down to her butt.

    Ahead, are seven costumes perfect for living out your blonde ambitions.

    Carrie Bradshaw From Sex And The City

    Got bouncy curls? How about three costume-less friends? If both answers are yes, you could go as the SATC gang, with you playing the lead role of SJP.

    Photo: HBO/Getty Images.

    Hailey Baldwin

    If you're a Belieber, you've probably considered the Hailey Baldwin Justin Bieber couple costume for this Halloween. If you're going through with it, grab some styling gel or a goopy pomade (maybe from your JB counterpart), and slick your blonde bob back like a model.

    Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.

    Britney Spears

    Name a more iconic blonde than early 2000s Britney circa "Oops!... I Did It Again." You can't! This costume will give you the perfect excuse to dig up your belly-button ring and scrunchies from high school.

    Photo: Larry Marano Getty Images.

    Nicki Minaj

    Nicki wears a wig, which means to get her look all you need is a quality hairpiece. We're partial to the platinum, but the opportunities are endless as she's gone green, rainbow, and even hot pink.

    Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images.

    Twiggy

    There's no way to mention blonde Halloween costumes without Twiggy. Grab your mascara and coat those bottom lashes (or find a strip of falsies), and rock that blonde pixie like you're dancing through the disco era.

    Photo: Bert Stern/Condé Nast/Getty Images.

    Beyoncé

    Dressing as Beyoncé takes gumption — she's the queen, after all — but if you're up for it, there are plenty of blonde Bey options. You can do an asymmetrical bob, long waves, or honey box braids.

    Photo: James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images.

    Kim Kardashian West

    With a long platinum wig, you could also play a very convincing Kim Kardashian. And if the black latex dress is not going to happen, you could just wear sweats and go as a Yeezy clone.

    Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

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    Beauty With Mi: Pixiwoos

    Beauty with Mi, hosted by Refinery29's beauty writer Mi-Anne Chan, explores the coolest new trends, treatments, products, and subcultures in the beauty world. Never miss an episode by subscribing here.

    "It's every person's right to understand makeup and how to apply it," Nicola Chapman, one half of the makeup artist duo Pixiwoo, tells me while buffing on my foundation. That convinction is what inspired the sisters to launch their YouTube channel over 10 years ago, back when YouTubers like Michelle Phan and Makeup Geek's Marlena Stell were launching a makeup revolution and democratizing an industry that had long been exclusive to pros.

    The Pixiwoos have followed a similar route to other wildly successful YouTubers, including launching their own line. Their Real Techniques makeup brushes have become one of the most popular affordable options on the market. But after achieving wild success, their channel has stayed true to its mission: to share their knowledge of makeup with the world through tutorials and product reviews — all with a personal twist.

    A lot of my formative beauty knowledge was gleaned from makeup artists like Nicole and her sister, Samantha. The women in my life were never big makeup fans, so it was through the Pixiwoos that I learned how to blend shadow, match foundation, and do a cat eye. So you can imagine my excitement when they offered to swing by Refinery29 to give me a makeover. I asked the pair to do their go-to night out look on me while I followed along so that I could later recreate it on myself. In the video above, watch and learn from two YouTube legends — then scroll down for a list of every product used.

    Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, $100, available at Sephora; Sisley Instant Eclat Primer, $90, available at Nordstrom; Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, $9, available at Real Techniques; By Terry Nude-ExpertStick Foundation, $48, available at Bluemercury; Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel, $50, available at Nordstrom; Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, $68, available at Nordstrom; Real Techniques Rebel Edge Trio, $19.99, available at Real Techniques; NARS Orgasm The Multiple, $39, available at NARS; MAC Hush Cream Colour Base, $24, available at MAC; Smashbox Major Metals Palette, $29, available at Ulta Beauty; MAC Eye Pencil in Coffee, $18, available at MAC; Stila Stay All Day Brow Color, $21, available at Ulta Beauty; Tom Ford Ultra-Rich Lip Color in Revolve Around Me, $55, available at Nordstrom; Charlotte Tilbury Iconic Nude Lip Pencil, $22, available at Charlotte Tilbury.

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    Can you think of a more fitting architect for the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show makeup looks than the woman who created Pillow Talk lipstick and Rock n’ Kohl Eyeliner in Bedroom Black? We’re talking about the Charlotte Tilbury, of course, who has just been confirmed as the chief makeup artist to create looks for the Victoria’s Secret Angels at the much-anticipated spectacle that marries live musical performances with over-the-top underthings (and, historically, not a whole lot of diversity).

    Of course, it’s not just fittingly-named products that make Tilbury a choice pick for the gig: The makeup artist’s career is rooted in the supermodel ‘90s, having created her empire and aesthetic with glamazon looks that incorporate pouts painted your-lips-but-better shades, sultry, smoked-out eyes, and flushed cheeks that scream sex. What’s more, VS models themselves (including Gisele and Heidi) have helped inspire some of Tilbury’s best-sellers.

    “I have worked at this incredible, legendary show before and the dreamy, gorgeous supermodels have inspired the beauty DNA for so many of my magical products – from the perfect pouts to glowing goddess eyes,” Tilbury said in a press statement.

    So what beauty vibe will newly-minted Angels like Winnie Harlow,Duckie Thot, and Kelsey Merritt (the first Filipino to walk in a Victoria’s Secret show) channel when stomping down the NYC runway? If we know Tilbury at all, it will include fare on brand for both the makeup artist and the lingerie brand: glossy lips, loads of lashes, and glowy skin that gives J. Lo a run for her money.

    And if you want to cop the look for yourself, well, be prepared to watch with a wallet at arm’s reach: On the day of the show, the makeup artist plans to resurrect and release two previously sold out limited-edition products that will be used on the Angels to create their looks.

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