Artist and self-proclaimed feminist, Diane Goldie, turned heads in her video interview with StyleLikeU, a fashion and body positive website that promotes self acceptance. Here, she talks to REglam about how she’s changed with age, gained more self-confidence, and has evolved into the strong and independent woman that she is today.
Emma: What initially made you want to participate in the video on StyleLikeU and share your story?
Diane: I was invited through social media to be part of StyleLikeU’s What’s Underneath project. I was initially reluctant as I was underwhelmed at most of the body positive platforms on the Internet, where women take off their clothes in order to feel better about their bodies. I found that it related more to objectification: seeing a woman as a decorative object, something that I don’t support. However, I watched the videos already on the site and found myself very moved. I quickly realized that this site was different. That it was nearly impossible to objectify somebody if you are connecting deeply with their story. I was at a point in my life where I was privileged enough to feel safe to share my truth, so I accepted the invitation to participate with gratitude.
Emma: You mention that after you lost your way (drugs, alcohol, boys), you started to write down your life story. In what ways did that help you cope?
Diane: Writing down my life story after things fell apart, was a very powerful tool for change for me. It enabled me to step back and see my life from the outside, rather from inside my own head and my acting out. It made me see patterns that were hidden from me and have massive realizations that my own psyche had decided to withhold from me.
Emma: Your style has changed drastically from when you were younger to now, when you were younger the reaction that you got from men is significantly different than the reaction that you get currently. Comparing the two, are there any similarities and differences between how you felt then and how you feel now? Do you think age has something to do with it?
Diane: When I was young, the reaction from men was about my body and my sexuality. The reaction was predatory in response to what they could take from me. At the time I didn’t realize this and was sucked in to a brand new feeling of power over men’s reactions. I couldn’t see it as predatory at the time as I think I was being conditioned to believe that my worth was found through male gaze.
Now I am older, I still get reaction from men but it is very different. Far from being invisible (which I was promised once my sexual allure faded). I often get an awed reaction, men treating me as if I’m a goddess or weirdly enough, a human on their level. I have reached a level of respect from men that I didn’t ever think possible. A strange phenomenon indeed!
Emma: You say that your life changed when you met somebody, and you’ve been with him for 12 years. How did he help you get past your insecurities?
Diane: I met my partner, a little over 12 years ago. He changed my life as he accepted me just the way I was. It was the first time I had ever encountered unconditional love from a romantic partner. He acted as a mirror to my acting out behaviours that were routed in my abusive past, didn’t judge me for it, just let me see the behaviours and see the pain reflected on his face. His hurt, hurt me. It allowed me to change and to start loving myself and drop my self destructive tendencies. He helped me grow into my fullness.
Emma: You say that being an older woman, you’re not “invisible”. Could you explain more about what you mean by that? Do you think your fashion has anything to do with it?
Diane: As an older woman I’m meant to be ‘invisible’. A woman’s worth is clearly only when she is sexually alluring. In this system where a woman is considered a mere object and not a human being, this is the result of what happens to her when her sell by date is attained. I refuse to buy into this ideology. I know I am more than my decorative aspect and my sexual allure. My worth lies in my humanness, in my inner world, my talents, my ability to relate to other humans etc. I am noticed ‘past my sell by date’ because I know my worth isn’t diminished just because I’m aging. In fact, I’m more confident as I grow older and wiser.
Emma: Your granddaughter plays a huge role in making you feel loved. What’s one thing you wish for her to know as she goes through the growing up process in today’s society?
Diane: My granddaughter plays a huge role in my life. I have the privilege of being able to pass on my knowledge and wisdom to her as she grows and develops into a woman. The most important thing I wish to impart to her is that she is more than just pretty. That her worth is deep and profound, found in her inner world and her capacity to love and be loved. The biggest lesson is to teach her that she is more than object. She is human.
Emma: How has taking ownership of your body positively affected the other areas of your life?
Diane: Taking ownership of my body has reflected really positively in other areas of my life. Ultimately, it’s about acceptance and confidence. I find my artistic decision making is swift and made with confidence that I didn’t used to have. Even small things like cooking has become a much easier and fun activity. I don’t second guess myself. I have also been able to listen to my body signals: understanding when I need to take care of myself.
Emma: In regards to your personal style, where do you take inspiration from when it comes to planning your outfits?
Diane: At first glance of my personal style, the style icon is clearly visible: Frida Kahlo, as I often wear flowers in my hair and I like to layer and have a wide white border frill around my ankles. I like to wear my own kimonos that I layer on top of skirts and dresses. I take most of my initial inspiration from a basic colour choice which will depend on my mood. Then I combine the colours as if I am creating a painting. I don’t think about flattering myself. As long as the clothes are comfortable and the colours make me happy, I know I shall look my best.
Emma: Your website states that you aim to help others “wear art and feel good”. Could you explain more about the connection you see between art, clothing and good self-esteem?
Diane: The way it works for me is that I believe that if you wear your passions, your inner world on your body, it makes you feel good and secure, provides wonderful icebreaking moments for socializing and allows people around you to start to have an understanding of who you are, which leads to trust. Trust is the basis of all relationships. I create the art that reflects my client’s inner worlds, which helps them to tell their own stories. What else could possibly make you feel better than being wrapped in your passions? If you feel good, you look good!
Photos from: Diane Goldie
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