This is Talya

I got the assurance from my friends that I was cool and popular enough to belong. However, despite being around the ages of 7-10, what I had been doing in order to achieve this temporary feeling of belonging and acceptance felt so inauthentic to who I really was.

There was no one more influential to me than my two older sisters, growing up. As a young girl, I would look up to their sense of confidence, humour, style and class from afar in my isolated single bedroom, and be so inspired.There was no one cooler in the world than my two older sisters. I would observe (and not so subtly, copy) their music taste filled with Jesse McCartney and S club 7, style which was crowded with denim capri pants and golf shirts that were too tight, and the oh-so-hip high school lingo. When I copied their little knacks and filled my vocabulary with their sophisticated slang, I got the assurance from my friends that I was cool and popular enough to belong. However, despite being around the ages of 7-10, what I had been doing in order to achieve this temporary feeling of belonging and acceptance felt so inauthentic to who I really was. When really, it was obvious to my family and friends that I was a zestful, curious, energetic and extremely weird kid who loved to joke until those around her were laughing so hard their stomach’s hurt.

The more I strayed from trying to act what my version of cool or popular was in my head, the more comfortable I felt in my own skin, embracing every aspect of myself. My sisters will always remain as some of the most influential figures in my life, but i’ve learned that the best version you can be is the one most true to yourself and your values. The more different and out of place you may feel, the more awesome you are! Diverging from the standard of “cool, pretty or popular” and embracing your own quirks is rewarding. Now, as a second year university student, i’ve been at a place of contentment and ease that only continues to grow alongside my genuine friends and family who admire and bond over our unique and weird selves. And it’s awesome. Weird is awesome. I think I can speak for most girls when I say that a common role model growing up is a close female figure in our lives, whether that would be a sister, mother, grandmother or aunt, and that is why I am so passionate and excited for this campaign, The Roster.  Being able to fully embrace one’s individuality and originality and then find the beauty in that alone is so crucial in influencing girls (and boys!) of any age.

-Talya Wong

Olivia Sari-Goerlach   OSG Photography

Olivia Sari-Goerlach   OSG Photography

Taylor Hui