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On Authenticity

Throughout the summer (of 2023) I was frequently greeted by grocery store cashiers and drive-thru window attendants with, “Headed to see the Barbie movie?” to which I would smile and nod because small talk with strangers is a great fear of mine. In truth, I didn’t have to buy any pink clothes for the Barbie premier because my closet was already stocked.

Don’t get me wrong - I haven’t always had so much pink. I went through a yellow phase and an army green phase and a grey phase. I also went through a navy and gold phase during my high school cheerleading coach era. But right now - at age 30 - I’m in my pink era and I feel like I’ve found myself.

The culmination of things that led to this 30th birthday epiphany included:

  • I was working remotely (and had been for quite some time) so I was no longer limited by society's definition of ‘professional’

  • I was making a decent amount of money for the first time in a long time so I was able to buy clothes that I liked and not only staples and necessities

  • I was doing some deep work with a respected client around the topics of inclusion and bias which instigated some thorough introspection on what I think of myself, what I think of others, and what I think others think of me

A few months after my personal acceptance as the pink girl, I got to work with the same respected client on a rebranding project. This came with a new name, new logo, new colors, new everything. I won’t lie - I felt personally attacked when the discussion turned towards how older professionals (men in particular) feel about pink. The conversation was that, yes we like it, but does it send the right message and will it encourage people to be open to us? That project was completed by a team of brilliant and thoughtful people (myself included) and pink did end up making the cut but not as the primary color which I wholeheartedly believe was the right decision for the space.

But the funny thing was - all those connotations and biases we were worried that “professionals” or anyone would have about the color pink - those were the exact things that I hoped people felt when they saw or thought of me. I am youthful, friendly, feminine, informal, bold, empathetic, modern, trendy… and when it comes to myself, I want to wear those things on my sleeve.

On Authenticity - Carlyrhill Headshot

I redid my professional headshots with my photographer recently (my mom 😋) and when I pulled out my silver sequin bell bottoms and fuzzy pink jacket she did not resist at all. There’s something magical about being surrounded by people who are empowered to be their true authentic selves and that allows you to remove the parts of your persona or image that aren’t actually authentic to you at all. So if my pink fuzzy jacket inspires someone else to wear the thing, or dye their hair, or get the tattoo that allows them to show their heart on their sleeve, we are winning.

Keep growing,



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