BY EMMA CONNOLLY
A PROJECT designed to remind women they are still beautiful, in the midst of caring for others and juggling a million other daily tasks, has been deemed a runaway success.
Called The West Cork Beauty Project it was the brainchild of Clonakilty photographer Anna Groniecka who was inspired after reading an article by local author Louise O’Neill entitled ‘I believe that if only I was more beautiful, that somehow my life would be easier.’ Anna decided it was time to change women’s thinking.
‘Over the last 10 years I have worked with many people, not just models. And I noticed how significant the problem with self-worth and self-confidence is amongst women. Whilst men do not necessarily like their photos being taken, women would avoid the camera, because they do not think they are “good enough” to have a professional photograph taken. Really all women are beautiful – just over-worked,’ said Anna.
With local blogger and stylist Melissa Fitzgerald, the two women invited nominations for a makeover and portrait photoshoot and were inundated with replies.
Ten lucky women of all ages were chosen from the Clonakilty area for a variety of reasons with Louise O’Neill, the project’s official ambassador, speaking on the night.
Among those chosen was first-time mum Laura Woods from Ballinascarthy whose son Orson was born last year, at 26 weeks.
Orson has been home since he was 10 weeks old, but has continual appointments at both CUMH and Crumlin Hospital. ‘It was really nice to have that time out – it was nice to be me again for the day,’ said Laura.
Sinead Crowley, from Clonakilty, said the experience was very worthwhile. ‘I feel much more comfortable in myself as a result. I’d definitely recommend taking part in something like this.’
Anna is hoping to organise another Beauty Project in the future. ‘I could see that happy sparkle in everyone’s eyes. It was amazing. Hopefully, it’s the start of a revolution,’ she said.
She thanked Whitefawn Boutique, Gooseberry Boutique, Fusion Colour Hair & Make-up Lounge, The Bigger Picture (complimentary prints), The Emmet Hotel (venue and drinks reception provider), Magdalena Dzieciatkowska (make-up artist), Magdalena Kwinta (beautician and make-up artist), Thorsten Merz Photography, Melissa Fitzgerald of Head Over Killer Heels (styling) and Louise O’Neill (project ambassador).