CRIS SAUR - A Fashion Model on a Quest for Inner Beauty
Former model from Brazil, Cris Saur is about to launch her first documentary “Quest for Beauty”.
With her fashion statement, “Inner Beauty will Save the World”, she challenges people to find their inner beauty, their divinity and uniqueness and share it with the world.
We’ve interviewed her on her perception of modeling, self-esteem, physical abuse and her interpretation of Dostoevsky’s “Beauty will save the world”.
Hi Cris! You were a fashion model for ten years, what led you to the modeling industry?
I was a Civil Engineer before I became a fashion model. I had studied that to please my dad and wasnt really enjoying it... So when I got approached at a party to become a model, I got excited about the perspective of getting to travel for a living.
How was it like to work as a model?
I met incredible talented people! But the definition of beauty then felt limited: tall, young, skinny.
It made me feel uncomfortable. I knew that as soon as I’d enter a casting, it didn't matter whether I had a brain or not.
It lowered my self-esteem. I was always trying to achieve that standard of beauty that did not exist and I quickly started building superficial relationships based on my looks.
What triggered your focus from external to inner beauty?
One day, I caught my ex-fiance tell a friend over the phone that he thought I started to “look old” (NB: I was 34).
In my head, I thought: “So what? I am engaged to that person and we are supposed to grow old together. He should love me for who I am inside”.
After that, we had a fight and he became physically abusive. We ended up in court.
I felt guilty and ashamed for having put myself in that situation and decided to put my belongings in a storage and leave America to travel and reconnect with my own essence.
Tell me about that journey.
It was a journey of self-discovery. I wanted to travel and understand the meaning of life and beauty.
I travelled to 12 countries and interviewed over 30 persons on their definition of beauty, from fashion designers to philosophers, mathematicians and even a visually impaired woman.
What surprised you in their answers?
That beauty is a complex topic! Interviewees usually started naming “health” as a beauty criteria, but I challenged them: “What if you’re not healthy? Can’t you be beautiful?”. Then the definition generally moved toward kindness and authenticity.
What is your tip for people who would like to find their inner beauty? What should they pay attention to?
From all my conversations on the subject and personal experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to see external beauty is by starting seeing and accepting your own beauty.
The world around you is a reflection of your inner world. So my advice would be to start by accepting yourself for who you are and where you are at.
What was the best compliment you’ve ever had?
A couple months ago, I did an exercise to enhance my self-confidence. I had write down a list of what I liked about myself and I struggled findings answers, so I asked my husband.
He replied: “I like that you’re loving, that you are my best friend, that you know how to cook… etc. He went on for a while and the last thing he said was: “I like that you are pretty”.
He sees me beyond my appearance and that’s why I married him.
Looking back, how do you feel about the episode with your ex-fiancé that kickstarted your journey?
Don’t get me wrong, it was hard but I am almost grateful that it happened, when looking back. It took me a very long time to see it this way. Had it never happened, I maybe would have never truly known nor found myself as I have today. I am in a better place.
How do you feel about the evolution of fashion when it comes to beauty?
I am very happy to see how much the fashion industry has embraced the plus size for instance, but still, they are labeling people.
Whenever you put a label on someone, you limit them. Why not just call them models?
Are you done with your quest for beauty at this point?
I’ll never be done. With each person that I meet on my journey, even with you asking me questions, I learn more about myself and about beauty!
What is your message, beyond the definition of beauty?
There’s a very strong social impact drive behind my initiative with the documentary. I believe that reconnecting to our inner beauty, in order the see the beauty of the world around us, is key to healing many problems:
Eating disorders often caused by social beauty standards such as anorexia and bulimia
Domestic violence, a real issue around the world
Global warming and animal abuse, as I believe that people will become agents of change once their can appreciate and respect its beauty.
By: Helene Clabecq