By Manna Zel, she/they
After years of studying graphic design and working in the field, Montréal-based artist and model Céleste discovered a new passion: tattooing. “I love how graphic design and tattooing are interconnected in many ways,” they say. “Doing research about your subject is a must in both fields—either for a concept or shapes or movement—but at the end of the day, you usually end up reading about things you wouldn’t usually search for.” Below, Céleste tells To The People about their experience in the modeling industry, appearing on Youth To The People’s first-ever billboards, and what it means to live in your truth.
Tell us about your experience in the modeling industry.
To be honest, I never thought I'd be a model. I grew up in a very small town in Quebec and nobody told me that being Asian meant I could be even close to being pretty. The industry is changing for the better; I never felt so pretty than at a shoot. All the people I worked with made me feel confident and beautiful about my body and my face. The industry is accepting more and more differences and origins which I cannot be more grateful for. Seeing more and more representation in the industry can only fill my heart with joy.
What did it mean to you to see yourself on Youth To The People billboards across America and in Times Square? How did it feel?
It definitely felt unreal. Haha. I feel happy and confident that people could see a representation of diversity. I also want people to feel like being beautiful doesn’t mean that we are something more or extra, but to be beautiful in your own way and to be confident about it—this is the beauty of [the] diversity of the people.
What does it mean to live your truth?
I feel the first step for living your truth is loving yourself. Not in a narcissistic or obnoxious way because those are probably just as bad as not loving yourself enough. Knowing yourself is also a big part of that, but also knowing yourself is the work of a lifetime. We evolve and change through a series of events in our lives that may change our perception of our self love. But the important thing is to be able to question yourself in your actions. In my experience, the more you love yourself the [easier] it is to be authentic with other people and do good around you. Self-love resides in small things that we can do everyday like eating healthy, having fulfilling relationships, taking measures to feel good and healthy in your body, and of course the most important of it all: feeling mentally healthy. Once your psyche is in line, everything else will follow.