Theresa Vanslamt: When confidence and acne are on the same face.

Theresa is a 21-year-old esthetician and makeup artist who wrestles with social anxiety but fights tirelessly for her right to be present.

“Right now I’m a makeup artist at ULTA, but my first love is skincare. It’s funny because originally I went to school for cosmetology. Makeup literally used to be my best friend. Growing up, it helped me cover up my acne. Even though my parents never had acne and none of my siblings had acne, I had it all over my face. I just felt like - “what am I doing wrong?” I didn’t show this to anyone though. I just kept my face covered with makeup, and I kept my anxiety bottled up. I’m really independent, and I would always try and figure out how I could fix my own problems without relying on others to help. Plus, I was really shy so I didn’t really get the emotional support that I needed. I spent so much time trying to convince myself that I didn’t care about my acne when I could feel it affecting my mental health. People didn’t know I was struggling because I did everything I could to hide it from them. No one noticed because when you’re someone who is standoffish or a bit antisocial, people always assume that you’re okay even when it’s clear that you’re not.”

Theresa continues, “I have social anxiety, and I didn’t get much encouragement from friends or from people so I always felt like I had to push myself. I didn’t want acne or my anxiety to hold me back. I wanted to do more, but when you have anxiety, you always overthink. You always think people are judging or staring at you, so sometimes you don’t take the chance. But when you want something, and you decide to pursue it, it helps you feel like you’re actually capable of things. For example, last month I had an interview for a YouTube channel, and I was going to say no because, like I said, I don’t like putting myself out there like that, but I just did it. The day came, my stomach was killing me, and it continued to cramp terribly throughout the entire interview because of my anxiety. But once I finished, I felt good that I did it. I took the opportunity.” Theresa describes what propelled her forward. “I went ahead with the opportunity mostly because I was tired. I was just tired of always wishing that I could go back and take an opportunity that I missed. I was curious about what life could really be like”

Theresa shows a close up image of her face which labels aspects of real skin like pimples, pores, and scars.

She continues to explain how this feeling also inspired her to start her Instagram page. “I want to be a person who can be there for others because when I was going through acne, it was just me, myself, and I. I remember the very first time I first posted. I was really nervous because I used to never post my bare face on m Instagram. I would always use a filter and make my face look baby smooth because I was afraid of what people would think if they ever saw my real face. I was afraid of people’s rudeness because it hurts, but I started my Instagram anyways. I wanted to be helpful. I don’t feel like I’m a helpful person in my day-to-day life, so when I do something like sharing my face on Instagram to help other people, I feel like I’m doing something finally.

Thereasa has brown hair with red tips, and she powerfully glances over her shoulder with confidence and a smile. The picture reads: acne and confidence.

Nowadays, I’ve been feeling good. But when you have anxiety and things are going good, you’re just stuck wondering - when is something bad going to happen? But I know that I just have to take life as it comes. I’m just trying to believe that being a confident woman is possible for me.”