Dianna Bautista: Finding Beauty So Others Can Be Beautiful

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I've never liked her.

To be completely honest, I absolutely can't stand her! She just sits there and stares at me.

If only she wasn't constantly reminding me of all the things I hate about myself....

"You're gaining too much weight."

"You're losing to much weight."

"That zit is huge!"

"You need a tan real bad!"

"Are you sure you're gonna wear that?"

She's so rude, isn't she? I wish I could tell her to just go away, but I can't. I can't because I need her. I need her to help me get ready in the morning. I need her to drive. I need her to work. I need her everyday and I wish I didn't.

Life would be so much less difficult without my worst enemy in front of me. But there are moments when she reminds me of things that are beautiful.

I'm a hair stylist and an educator. I have taught hair stylists with flourishing careers advanced hair cutting and styling techniques. I also teach women in developing countries in need of opportunity how to do hair as a means to a dignified career. I have worked with women from all different socio-economic backgrounds. Women coming from wealth, abundance, and affluence. I've also worked with women coming from poverty, abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.

Each client that sits in my chair sees themselves differently when I am done with their hair. Each student I teach views themselves differently when their education is complete. They can look at themselves in the mirror and say they feel beautiful. That's much different that looking beautiful.

Photo by Logan Cole
Photo by Logan Cole

When you look beautiful, but you don't feel beautiful, you seek affirmation, usually in the wrong places. You rely on outsiders to remind you that you look good rather than inside to the one who created you and that beauty to begin with.

When you feel beautiful, joy radiates from within. Your skin glows. Your eyes sparkle. Your whole body smiles. When you feel beautiful no one needs to remind you that you are beautiful. Least of all a mirror. There is something about you that draws people to you in an inexplainable way.

I have struggled with self-worth for a long time, and the mirror sure doesn't help! Some days it's a breeze. Some days I wish I could hide away from the whole world. It's actually funny that I struggle with the one thing I strive to teach my students.

Pattaya, Thailand is currently my home. It is infamously known as the sex trafficking capital of the world. Everyone, women, men, young, and old, have a price. People are treated as commodities rather than living beings. Thrive Rescue, the organization I have the esteemed privilege of working with, will stop at nothing to see women and children be free from that life.

It's a battle in my mind as to how I can show a woman in a domestically violent relationship that she is worth so much more than the way her husband treats her. If I feel the way I do, how can I tell woman selling her body to provide for her kids that she is more precious than the way the men she services treat her? That she is more valuable than all the money she receives night after night. That the price her trafficker places on her does not determine her worth.

I, along with the teams of hair stylists I have worked with, and have seen women become educated and empowered to rise above their circumstances. I have seen women awaken to their potential and live out their dreams.

If these women find value in themselves, I have to find value in myself. If these women are to find love and acceptance from their Heavenly Father no matter what they've done, so must I. I can't expect anyone I educate to find self worth if I don't have it myself.

It's a struggle. It's a battle. It's a fight. Everyday. But it's a fight I am determined to win. Not just for me, but for the women I serve.

Dianna Bautista has been a hair stylist, platform artist, and educator in the beauty industry for 15 years. After 11 years of doing hair for fashion magazines and red carpets, she began teaching women in developing countries who have endured extreme poverty, exploitation, abuse, and trafficking the skill of hair dressing. Dianna has helped build and develop educational beauty programs in Kenya, Uganda, Brazil, Mexico, Cambodia, and most recently Thailand. Giving hope and a future to women through vocational training has become her mission. In seeing her vision of freedom through hair dressing become a reality, she has moved to Thailand indefinitely to establish Shear Love International, an initiative of Thrive Rescue, to give women the opportunity of a career in hair design, a future for their families, and a voice in the world. 

For more information about Thrive Rescue and their initiatives, visit thriverescuehome.org

To follow Dianna's journey as she seeks to restore those rescued from slavery, visit ladydianna.com