Hi.

Welcome to my magazine!  Where we aim to challenge societies ideas on beauty through celebrating genuine Diversity.

Meet the models! Kira Evans and Tulsi Vagjiani

Meet the models! Kira Evans and Tulsi Vagjiani

Looking forward to introduce VOLUP2's readers to our models featured in our PUT ON HER SOUL hat editorial

                                       T U L S I

How did you come to model for VOLUP2?

I found out about this shoot via changing faces.

What were your thoughts on modeling and the experience in general?

My thoughts on modelling were a positive one. I was excited to have my hair and make up done and I've done some modelling previously. I was modelling hats for this shoot which was something new and I was excited about that.

There are over 450,000 patients each year in America alone, yet we never see any burn victims anywhere in media, and certainly not in fashion. Why do you think this is? 

There are many burn survivors around the world in this case in America. There are a few people on social media like on Instagram and couple of magazines but it's not on a greater scale. I feel that within the fashion industry it's hard because people with scars don't fit the box or standard that is required or socially acceptable. Looking different is not often celebrated and that's where the issue lies. 

How important is visibility within media to you and how would seeing more burn survivors represented feel?

I enjoy being on social media and showing the world that looking and being different needs to be celebrated and not hidden. It gives others inspiration to accept themselves regardless of scars or not. I think it's important to have more burn survivors being represented in the media. Seeing them in a regular to series not having to play a burns part. It just being a regular cast. 

You both come across as very strong women who have faced adversity and overcome it, would you agree and what advice would you have for burn survivors specifically and other people in general?

Having faced adversity since having my burns it has made me a stronger person today. With this I have had many low days where I felt my burns were holding me back from moving forward, but when I started to work on myself and view things from a positive mind, bigger and better opportunities opened up for me. Learning to accept what you have and are is the hardest but most liberating feeling. I don't have to worry about what others think of me any longer. I love all my scars and all of me. Without them I wouldn't be this person. Each scar represents my journey and they re a testament to who I am. 

How did your community react to you after you survived your experience? What are some of the things which others can do to be supportive of people who have become or are born disfigured? What are some of the things they might avoid?

I had a tough time growing up in my community. I had a lot of people staring and judging me based on how I looked. Many comments came from an ignorant angle. Such as 'Can you see? Are you able to walk?' This is whilst I was talking to them and they could clearly see I had walked to my local shopping area. Often I would make them feel silly by acting and playing up on it, this I did to mask my hurt and pain. I just wanted to be accepted and be treated like everyone else. I feel there needs to be more empathy and understanding. No one can know the pain however seeing past the burns and actually talking to her person itself would be useful. I often caught people talking to my scars than to me. Often in restaurants I would get ignored like i didn't exist because then it would mean them having to communicate or acknowledge me. I feel avoiding asking directly 'what happened? Or what's that one your face?' As they are very intrusive and often made me feel defensive. I feel by having an understanding tone or a positive tone certainly helped me open up and often I would tell my story without crying or feeling cornered. 

Have you any advice for dating and how has that experience been?

Dating was a difficult thing for me. I often met many men who couldn't see past the scars and also I had my own insecurities. I always felt I wasn't good enough, however that's far from how I feel now. There have been times where I have been left so disappointed, especially where I have been stood up or been told it's because of my face they can't date me. I now am myself and also secure within myself and know I deserve better. I will not allow myself to feel that way any longer. 

Was there any particular song, or film, or art which helped you when you were feeling low?

Music helped me during my low periods. Bob Marley is my favourite artist and I used to listen tho his music all the time. It made me feel good, it also allowed me to feel the positive messages that often were needed at that moment. The rhythm and beats made me feel better and I enjoyed dancing as a way of expressing myself. 

Are there any special beauty products or regiments that you use/do to care for your skin and what might they be?

I currently use Elemis, Clarins and Spa Find to help me with my skin. Having used them regularly it has helped moisturize and keep the skin supple. Burn scars often get dry and I find I am regularly changing my regime depending on the season. I get regular facials which has also helped maintained good skin and also helped keep the skin toned. 

What are 3 keys to loving yourself?

The three key things to loving myself:

Self acceptance 

Know that I am unique 

Grateful for everything that I have experienced and know that I can overcome anythingbecause I am kind to myself. 

                                        K I R A

 
Tell us about yourself.

So my name is Kira but everyone calls me Kyz for short, so I never really hear my own name. In a way It's handy because I can tell if someone is annoyed with me as they use my full name, It's like a heads up!

I live in Llanelli which is a small town situated in Wales with my fiance Andrew and our two children, Carys and Levi. They certainly keep me busy but I wouldn't change them for the world. More than anything else they are my motivation to strive for better in this life. 

  I absolutely love animals and have always said if I ever won the lottery I'd buy land big enough for those animals who are in need of home's...while also sharing it with family and donating to charity of course! So at the moment we just have Hooch who is our very cute and loving French Bulldog! I probably do talk to him like he's a baby.

How did you come to model for VOLUP2?

Well, I was new to twitter looking for people to Follow and I came across VOLUP2. Instantly I loved that the models weren't mainstream. I saw a post by VOLUP2 looking for female burns models and on a whim I got in touch!

What were your thoughts on modeling and the experience in general?

Well, I'd never done anything like that before or thought about it even so it was all new to me.  I was a little apprehensive at first as I'm not someone who's confident with having pictures taken but I'm 100% glad I did it!  Everyone was just so lovely and made me completely comfortable.  Velvet was just so genuine and overall just a really lovely person!  I had to say even though I was a little shy it was definitely a confident boost, and I needed one of those! I felt inspired by Velvet and for once actually the first time ever I felt comfortable in my own skin which I haven't since the accident in 2007.  

There are over 450,000 patients each year in America alone, yet we never see any burn victims anywhere in media, and certainly not in fashion. Why do you think this is? 

Ultimately I think It's mainly down to the fact that these days people are obsessed with perfection and trying to conform to that idea.  When actually I think perfection itself is an idea and not any one image. It's all self preference but this image obsessed culture we live in makes it harder for people with burns or for that matter anyone who may be seen as different to be in the media or get involved in fashion and modeling. Those who have suffered a trauma can be some of the most strongest and determined people you may ever meet, they should be celebrated and not left behind the scenes. As like fashion, different can be beautiful and that inspires! 

How important is visibility within media to you and how would seeing more burn survivors represented feel?

I think It's a huge thing and I'm far from confident but maybe getting more burn survivors in to the media would change that not just for me but for other's out there feeling the same.  It be so beneficial to those to have suffered burns or have any kind of scaring.  I think it feels like acceptance. Which may sound odd but to me it would say being different doesn't mean you have to hide away. 

You both come across as very strong women who have faced adversity and overcome it, would you agree and what advice would you have for burn survivors specifically and other people in general?

Most day's I feel anything but strong but It's my Love for my children and wanting to do good by them gives me the strength and motivation I need.

Before I had my children I genuinely didn't see or feel any reason for waking up in the morning. Where I live It's quite a small town and I just felt like a walking a freak show with nothing to offer anyone.  I'm older now and my confidence has grown (operations helped) but also I've realized It's OK not to be OK. What I should have done is say I'm struggling with it all and got help. I believe we've all got potential, It just takes time, the right kind of people and place to help you find what your's is.  I sometimes think we are a product of the environment we are in.  Be around positive influence's and happy people. Negativity is a hard thing to beat if your surrounded by it. Just don't struggle and try to deal with thing's on your own. We all need help every now and then. I've been on anti-depressant's for quite a while now and at first I was embarrassed but if they help what's the shame in it? Don't be alone, isolating yourself is a vicious cycle and you get stuck in a rut that's hard to get out of. Always seek help!   

How did your community react to you after you survived your experience? What are some of the things which others can do to be supportive of people who have become or are born disfigured? What are some of the things they might avoid?

I avoided going out for at least a year after the accident. I was really scared and couldn't bare to see people's reactions when they saw me. Though I did receive letters and cards wishing me well which was nice though at the time being a teenager I just wanted someone to relate to.  However there was a small minority of people who just had negative and quite hurtful things to say and as hard as it you have to let that go. 

 I don't blame people for being curious, that's natural and were only human. However I don't think It's OK to blatantly stare. If someone does see you take a glance I'd say just smile back. Too often I catch people looking and then when they see that I've noticed they immediately turn away.  That can make me feel bad and can make me feel uncomfortable.  Be kind and just smile! I'd also say explain to children if you can that It's not OK to point or stare. Quite often I take my daughter and son out and that can be the hardest part when where around other children, as they don't understand how to react.   

Have you any advice for dating and how has that experience been?

I'd be terrible with advice as I've never actually been on a date! Crazy I know! I was quite lucky to meet my fiance when I was 16 at My Mother's local pub, he was on the pool team! We didn't actually get together until I was 18. It took time for me as I really didn't have think he'd see past my scars. In all honestly they've never phased him. It can hard to feel comfortable in your own skin but when you do I think the confidence really shows.  It's nearly 6 years we've been together and he tell's me I'm beautiful and says he loves me everyday. 

Was there any particular song, or film, or art which helped you when you were feeling low?

To be honest there's no particular song or film that I can think of. Mostly I love horrors or Action films. Might sound crazy but a good workout can give me a boost. I'm quite lucky I have family around me who help me out when I have those low days. I especially love girly night's in with my sister's! Popcorn,pizza, bottle of bucks fizz and a whole lot of horrors!

Are there any special beauty products or regiments that you use/do to care for your skin and what might they be?

I love make up and mostly use camouflage Derma Cream, It's probably one of the best for me as it can be hard to find foundations that sit on scarred skin well. Sometimes I may also use No7 Beautifully Matte Foundation, It's great as they can now use that little machine to match it to your skin color which is really useful. Whatever make up I put on I'll always use Veil Translucent Powder, It's great at getting the make up to last. My scars can be super sensitive so I have to be careful with what cream's I can use but I always use a face wash and Moisturizer. It all depends what's best for you really. Keeping the scars moisturized always helps!

What are 3 keys to loving yourself?

Not to be depressing (because generally I'm a happy, bubbly person) I find this question quite hard to answer. That's just me being honest. I'm not yet at that point where I love myself or don't feel comfortable appraising myself. This is something I'm still working on!   

 

13 Colorful print plus size dresses

13 Colorful print plus size dresses

UGLY LOVELY milliner Sahar Freemantle  interviewed by Velvet d'Amour

UGLY LOVELY milliner Sahar Freemantle interviewed by Velvet d'Amour

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