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Transcript #69: Brittany Allyn on the Burden of Beauty, plus Dating & Anti-Aging

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Episode #69: Brittany Allyn on the Burden of Beauty, plus Dating & Anti-Aging

Caneel Joyce:

Hi. This is your host Caneel Joyce and welcome to Allowed. I am looking at a beautiful human being right now. All of these episodes, we always record them on video as well as audio and this one, in particular, I think is worth you going back and going to our YouTube channel. You can actually access the video at AllowedPodcast.com so that you can gaze your eyes on the lovely Brittany Allyn. 

 

Brittany, thank you for joining us. Really, this is one of those ones where people talk about the beauty coming out from the inside and I can tell you that the way I feel around Brittany is incredibly free, inspired, playful, loving, and just seen. If you want to see where that took me, then check out the bonus episode for this particular podcast because Brittany just walked me through a makeup tutorial where I began no makeup, after a long night of partying, and she guided me and we got to gal pal, and I’m telling you right now, we’re recording this on June 4th, which is my dad’s 75th birthday, and we’re coming out of COVID so I feel like I just got to have a slumber party and I really missed that and I miss being with my girls. She’s a new girl in my life and I’m so excited to have you here. 

 

Brittany, before we begin, I’d like to just do a few brags for you. Brittany is a highly intelligent, unusually intelligent, I would consider you an influencer, an online media influencer. She’s got gazillions of sponsorships, I’m presuming, because I’ve seen a lot of her videos and there’s no way that you would not want to purchase anything that she plugs and her approach is so natural and fun and humble. We’re going to talk today about beauty. 

 

Brittany also has a really great blog, website, and it’s called 30 Waves. It’s about being in your thirties and it’s very, very unique. I want you to talk about some of that content today. In addition to all of that, and creating content every single day that goes online, which is just so brave to me, she also has a startup. We’re going to hear about Brittany’s journey. We’re going to talk about beauty and aging and what all of that means. We’re going to just get to know her. Thank you so much, Brittany for coming.

Brittany Allyn:

Oh, thank you for having me. That was such a sweet, beautiful intro. I really appreciated it. It’s nice to hear that you think such nice thoughts. Thank you for having me.

Caneel Joyce:

Thanks for being here.

Brittany Allyn:

I am currently 35. I’m single. I grew up in Seattle and then moved down to SF, around 25, after grad school and got into the tech boom. Moved to London for a little bit and now I’ve been in New York for the past five years. I’ve lived this pretty adventurous life, kind of always wanting the best out of things, and experiencing life and people and the world. With that, comes kind of a different timeline of not really settling down and having kids at 27 and the pressures with that, which I’m sure we’ll get into, so I started a blog called 30 Waves about the ups and downs of being in your thirties and really talking about the amazing parts of my life and the decisions I’ve made but also the really hard parts too that come with this, and there are really hard parts.

Caneel Joyce:

The decisions you’ve made … You’re referring to any particular decisions?

Brittany Allyn:

Not settling, dating, relationships.

Caneel Joyce:

Not settling? Not settling down or not settling for something?

Brittany Allyn:

Probably both.

Caneel Joyce:

Okay.

Brittany Allyn:

I would say not settling … Not going for mediocre things in my life. You know? Knowing that if I wait longer, it might be harder but I hope that there’s a bigger return. That’s what I try to talk about is to empower women, like there are positive and negatives that come with every decision in your life and where you’re at in life and I try to highlight this angle that being in your mid-thirties isn’t such a scary thing.

Caneel Joyce:

I really love how in your work, you talk about the things that I think a lot of people are not talking about but they are thinking about nonstop, and, to me, you’re highlight some issues that really shape the experience of being in a female body, in particular, your conversations that you’ve had around fertility and options around fertility and here’s a guide to how to freeze your eggs and how to think about that, here’s your actual likelihood of conceiving at this age, this age, this age, here’s how that declines. I mean, I remember when I was in my early thirties, shortly after getting married, everyone’s like, “Oh, you should wait, have fun”, which I did, and I’m like, I’m all about I want to have as much fun as possible, like all of the time, and similar story too. I mean, moving to San Francisco, startups, moving to London. 

 

Then suddenly, something happened. I passed some certain age, I don’t know if my first fine line showed up. I don’t know what it was but suddenly it was like every time we went to an event, all the women, including these are like professors that I used to work with and mentors of mine and the ladies at the Seder, everyone is telling me I should get on it, don’t wait, have kids right away. I was like where’s the gray zone here? When I didn’t have the data, I didn’t think I even needed to look into the data on how my fertility was going to be affected.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. It feels like it is like a switch. I went to dinner with my aunt, who is one of my closest friends and people in my life, and she turns 70 this weekend, and I’m half her age and I asked her life advice. Her first thing was freeze your eggs right now. It’s a topic that I think probably runs by my head every day or every other day. It’s a very real thing but two years ago, probably not. Once you hit 34 to 35, everyone is in this crazy rush and it’s a lot of pressure.

Caneel Joyce:

It is. I think that’s something that impacts dating too and this is probably why I wanted to talk about this piece briefly on the show is because a lot of women don’t know about how quickly fertility starts to deteriorate and how really every month chances of conceiving are lower at a certain point. I forget what the tipping point is there.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. It’s around 37. Yeah. Well, that’s a thing too is I was a matchmaker. My background is also kind of in dating and dating and tech. I’ve worked for fashion tech companies, restaurant tech companies, but the past few years has been in dating tech and that’s really kind of my passion. I’m just a hopeless romantic.

 

 I ran a dating app owned by one of the biggest dating companies, Bumble, and then I also became a matchmaker for almost two years. This is where I was really fascinated to learn about fertility because I would have these clients that were like 50, that wanted to only date women that were under 27, because they haven’t had a kid yet and they are very strict on this age of women but the truth is too that men’s fertility and the health of their sperm also changes as they get older. But society doesn’t really talk about that. They just talk about women aging and it’s almost like it’s on us. You know?

Caneel Joyce:

Yes.

Brittany Allyn:

I started researching a lot about fertility and found a lot of new surprising statistics that are a lot more hopeful for women in their thirties and also to hold men accountable too that, yes, they can conceive at 70 or 80 years old but the health of the sperm is not the same as they were in their thirties either, so it takes two to tango, in a way.

Caneel Joyce:

Interesting. I can’t help but think about … My husband, who is an amazingly soulful person, when I met him, he was coming to actually pick up my roommate for a date. We were outside the dorms at UCLA and I knew that she was upstairs getting ready and I was coming back from the dining hall and I think it was like a very low makeup day too and I was wearing a sweatshirt.

Caneel Joyce:

Anyways, he comes and picks her up. I think he’s wearing a toga, because this is [crosstalk 00:11:44].

Brittany Allyn:

Sounds about right. Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

I looked in his eyes and I was like, “Whoa, I can see right through him. I can see his soul.”

Brittany Allyn:

Whoa.

Caneel Joyce:

I just like this person. It wasn’t a … I didn’t feel like, oh, I’m lusting after this person or I might ever date him. He was coming to pick up my roommate who I was really good friends with, but I just had this instant like, “I like you, I trust you” and it wasn’t until we began a couple of years ago, like after my roommate was deep in another relationship, and she was supportive of this, but then he revealed to me … I remember we were at a party and he showed me a driver’s license in his wallet and it wasn’t his. It was his father’s, who I knew was dead, he died when Roy was in high school, cancer, but he showed me his driver’s license and he said, “Look at his date of birth” and it was 1904. Rory’s dad had him when he was in his seventies. Yeah. His mom was in her twenties.

Brittany Allyn:

Oh, whoa. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

I felt like I was like, “Oh, I get it. I understand why you’re so different and have this depth.”

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

That I’ve never come across before. My head just went there … When you talk about it, it’s like it is doable.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

I love this idea of surfacing like it’s not like it doesn’t matter also. There’s impact and it’s a shared responsibility.

Brittany Allyn:

It’s kind of a catch-22 because I think it’s great to have children later in life as well because you bring this life experience of having 70 years of life and teaching a new soul everything you’ve learned [inaudible 00:13:42] but you know what I’m saying, in this life, and I think that’s beautiful. I always think about the things that I’m going to be able to teach my children about living in different cities, meeting as many people as I have, just the life experience, even the ups and downs of my thirties, I hope can somehow teach her, inspire her, save her from some pain that I might have had, so I think age is good but it’s just a shared responsibility and I think fertility, in general, shouldn’t just be the stress of just only on females I guess.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah and I think it also plays into the value of a Saturday night and I have some friends that after divorce on a date, they realize like I need to find a husband right now and I want to get pregnant and so I’m going to start asking them pretty early on, do you also want kids and are you looking for marriage or not? Is it coming on strong? Yes, probably but also I empathize with … There’s only 52 Saturday nights in a year and a year from now, I’ll be in a different place. It’s like, yeah, I want to know.

Brittany Allyn:

Exactly. This is exactly what my startup is about.

Caneel Joyce:

Tell me. Tell me all about your startup.

Brittany Allyn:

It’s called Scoops. It’s bringing transparency to the dating app world and also empowering people to speaking their truth about their dating goals and desires, so exactly this, because the fact of the matter is is like I do not recommend anyone sitting down and within five minutes being like, “Do you want children? In how many years? How many months?” No one wants to feel like an interview. You’ve got to understand that. 

 

But we all have these goals in our minds and timelines and certain lifestyles that we do want to know and I think dating culture has almost perpetuated let’s be even more fake online and have filtered photos and have the perfect text crafted and the emotional exhaustion that comes of this with matching, getting excited about a date, talking for a week, telling your friends that you’re going on a date, only to find out in 30 minutes that it’s such a mismatch, it’s just … Back in the day, people met through friends of friends, it was a little bit more organic, and now it’s just … I want to save people pain and I just want to bring more transparency to the dating app world. 

 

I’m working on a product that basically is a smartlink with AI that you basically fill out, what I call, are 10 of the most important questions that determine long-term compatibility, whether that is how you spend your discretionary time, how you view social issues, timelines for marriage and children, where you’re at with that, your party/social lifestyle, and your goals in the next three months. I don’t think it should ever be six months or longer because I think people tend to say, “Oh, maybe by the end of the year, I could be in a relationship” but it’s like, no, if you met someone in the next two, three months, July or August, are you willing to give it a shot and invest time with one person if it feels right?

Caneel Joyce:

Remind me, what is your masters degree in? This sounds well researched.

Brittany Allyn:

My masters degree is in public policy.

Caneel Joyce:

Public policy?

Brittany Allyn:

Very different.

Caneel Joyce:

Very different.

Brittany Allyn:

I was a comm major. Then public policy is still about people and learning about the world.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. I can totally see the public policy in you. It’s about how rules and structures shape behavior and beliefs and how do you nudge people in a certain direction. I think you’re seeing … This is why I’m so attracted to technology and I’m so fascinated by social media platforms is because the existence of a technology shapes society.

Brittany Allyn:

Right. Yeah. It is … I’ve never thought about this but you’re right.

Caneel Joyce:

You’re an activist, creating this … To create transparency in dating is such a big deal. Such a big deal. I see the vision and it’s very compelling.

Brittany Allyn:

Thank you.

Caneel Joyce:

Where are you in this … How’s your startup doing? How are you growing?

Brittany Allyn:

We are in kind of the beta testing round. The beta testing product finished in February. We’ve had several beta testers to just test it out, get data from it, and right now we are starting to talk to investors and raise a seed round.

Caneel Joyce:

Amazing.

Brittany Allyn:

Still very new. I have found in beta testing that a lot of women, and men too, are afraid to talk about their desires because they think they’re going to be rejected but the right guy will align with you. Men are human as well. They have emotions. If a guy doesn’t want to fill out your … It’s like a smart link right now but if he doesn’t want to take two minutes to get to know you and your dating goals, he’s probably not there in general to get to know you or he has very different dating goals and it’s like you need to remember that you are a goddess and you deserve the best and speak up even just a little bit for yourself because you deserve to.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah.

Brittany Allyn:

I’m also at the age where I’m just like cut the bullshit. I’m 35. I am not wasting my time. I have dated the fuck boys, pardon my language, and I’ve been treated really badly in relationships, I’m sure I’ve treated badly as well, but I am over that. I’m all about let’s get down to the real shit and be happy in our lives.

Caneel Joyce:

Heck yes. I’m so excited for you. We will definitely link to Scoop in the show notes so that everyone can try that out. I love that it’s a smart link … It sounds like no matter what platform you’re using for your dating, you can leverage that.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. If you met someone at a party, you could send it to them in a text message. The real product I think it’ll be even more fascinating and more of a psychological compatibility fun thing where you just bump your phones together and see if you’re compatible.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh my God. That’s amazing.

Brittany Allyn:

In a fun, safe way. We have a lot of great goals with it.

Caneel Joyce:

That’s so cool. That is so, so cool. I love it. Oh my gosh. If only I were dating, I could try it. I’ll have to find out if my husband and I are compatible.

Brittany Allyn:

You can still take it. Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

I’d love to chat … Since we’re talking about age here, one of the things that we discussed on our last call, just you and me, was around relating to our beauty. This is something I asked if you’d be willing to talk about and I really loved your response. I’m happy to remind you what it was but I don’t think I shared with you my backstory with this and I want to share that briefly and then I want to dig into beauty and age.

Brittany Allyn:

Okay.

Caneel Joyce:

I’m a person who loves pleasure. The way that I received a lot of my pleasure growing up was two big ways, one was being onstage, so acting, singing, dancing, I love an audience. I love it so much. I love being onstage. I love performance. I really come alive in performing. That’s why I love my job.

 

 The second way was eating. I became a … I’ve always been really into swimming but I was on the swim team for a bit there in high school and swimming makes you really, really hungry. I’d get home from school and after having had regular lunch, I would eat like an entire box of Captain Crunch cereal, plus a carton of Haagen Dazs. I probably ate about a carton of Haagen Dazs a day and then go to Taco Bell or I remember on our break between before rehearsal or whatever, jamming over to Jamba Juice and Noah’s Bagels, which were right next to each other, and having both with the chocolate chips, and then maybe we’d pick up a big burrito as well, which was also next door. We were just into eating and so we ate so much and then I started working at a bread store and then game over. 

 

I gained a ton of weight but it didn’t really bother me because I always considered myself like sexy and I wasn’t really totally conscious of it, which I think I credit my mom with that was just not the culture I was totally raised in, but there was also my mom was a dieter and that’s what everyone was doing back in the ’90s and so it was that flip flopping between overeating and dieting, and you end up gaining a lot of weight. I was quite a bit heavier by the end of high school. While I had boyfriends here and there, it was nothing too … I was like, “Okay, I’m not one of those people.” 

 

Then I went to college, was not on the swim team, eating in the dorms, scheduled eating, and I lost like 20 pounds, 25 pounds without even trying. Then I became obsessed because the world around me changed.

Brittany Allyn:

Oh, wow. Interesting.

Caneel Joyce:

It was like oh my God. This is an unbelievable amount of power.

Brittany Allyn:

Yes. You were conditioned that your looks would buy you … It’s a form of currency.

Caneel Joyce:

Yes. Also, I was still trying to act and so I was in Hollywood and I grew up in Los Angeles and there was just such a culture around being thin, being beautiful and I felt like I really can’t succeed in Hollywood unless I lose a ton of weight and that will destroy me because I could tell how obsessed I am with this already but I was very obsessed in disordered eating. I was like, “Wow. The world is really, really different when you are thin and beautiful.” I had so much fun with it and it totally got to my head. 

 

Then I finally learned, after moving to Europe, I finally learned how to eat intuitively in a way that was healthy. I didn’t have that feeling of fat growing on my thighs constantly, which was like creepy crawly skin feeling of disordered eating. This is something … I always thought this would be a great book, I’m not going to write it, because who wants to come out onstage and say, “I think I’m beautiful”? People will hate me. 

 

When we met, I said, would you be open to talking about what it’s like to be beautiful? I think you said … Do you remember what you said?

Brittany Allyn:

Remind me.

Caneel Joyce:

It was something to the effect of, “I don’t really talk about that. Maybe with my close friends and family. I don’t want to be out there saying that I’m beautiful”, which is why I’m going to say it for you a bunch of times so that you have so much permission. I want you to talk about that.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. I mean, immediately, my heart stopped because it’s so weird. I feel like I’ve been celebrated with my looks and I’ve had a lot of opportunities but it’s almost a secret thing that I’m still not allowed to really talk about. I could talk about beauty, I could talk about makeup, but if I say I think I’m pretty, everyone is like, “Oh, this bitch.” You know? There’s a narcissistic label instantly put on and it’s just kind of uncomfortable. I also think that there are other insecurities that I have too sometimes. 

 

When you are a pretty person, other people don’t take the full side of you. Like on the inside. I remember in grad school, I would get up in front of the class and I would be talking about something very serious like some policy related to NAFTA or something, and people would just start giggling and laughing and I would say, “Why are you guys laughing? I’m not saying anything funny.” They’re like, “Oh, Brittany, you’re just so cute.”

Caneel Joyce:

Really dismissing you as a whole person and putting you with a little label. It’s diminutive.

Brittany Allyn:

Right. I think that perpetuates, “Okay, well, maybe I won’t show that side of myself so much. I’ll use my appearance” and … A lot of people that know me, they’re like, “Britt, the you on social media, it’s part of you but the real you is even more magical.” I’m a pretty complex person but I don’t think I show that and it’s probably just conditioned over time.

Caneel Joyce:

That resonates. I remember, yes, being kind of … Once I got beautiful … Again, I’m on the other side of that life phase now. I am 43. My face is covered in COVID vaccine-induced adult acne. I’m a mom of two. I don’t look the same. Once I aged, people started taking me seriously again. I didn’t need to prove how smart I was, for people to kind of, at least, give me the benefit of the doubt and listen to me. But, man, I got my PHD at Berkeley because I wanted to finally be freaking credible and I was so sick of being dismissed.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

You get access … You go to the front of the line at a club, that’s awesome. There’s a head rush there. It’s almost like you don’t want to see how much judgment is coming at you because it’s both personally upsetting but it’s also deeply disturbing at a societal level, the way that … Just how superficial that is.

Brittany Allyn:

Right. How do you think that you were dismissed? Or when you talk about being dismissed …

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. There’s a very quick to judge, quick to want to tear you down, like … Again, I feel self-conscious talking about this for the same reason, as I don’t want to be perceived as arrogant or self-inflated. I think I’ll post some pictures on the show notes here so I can give some proof I used to be really good looking. I think I still am. I think I still am.

Brittany Allyn:

You are.

Caneel Joyce:

It’s different, right? But you can tell I’m older and it just helps so much. How was I dismissed? It was things like after spending an evening with me, people would say, “Whoa, you’re actually really smart.”

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. Every time. Every day.

Caneel Joyce:

Why is that a surprise? I’m behaving the same with you but … I mean, it was such a consistent comment and it always came with surprise and confusion but, at first, it was that eyeroll, kind of like sitting back, looking, judging, giggling, going through my PHD program like no one wanted to be my friend. It felt really like I was very, very, very dismissed and isolated.

 

 I think it was partly the looks thing and it was a large part that I’m a very academic kind of person but I am so not built like a professor on the inside because it’s just not my zone of genius. I’m a four, I’m a type four on the Enneagram. I’m flowy, I’m wild and expressive and creative and flighty and I lose track of what I’m talking about all of the time. I don’t even know what topic we’re on right now.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

If I have to be super structured, like I had to learn to be then, I can’t … All of my genius gets cramped inside of me and it hurts. I didn’t know that at the time but then all of the back pain started and all of the just inner cramping down and not allowing me to be who I am and part of it was that I seemed to be being judged negatively by everybody and presumed that I am stupid.

Brittany Allyn:

In a way too, it perpetuates insecurities like, let’s say like you knew you were good at baseball but you played basketball all the time and people were like, “You’re the best basketball player” but you really loved baseball but every time you did baseball, they’re like, “Yeah, but you’re really good at basketball.” 

 

I feel like it’s a little bit of that, like if I talk about even serious subjects with people, sometimes it’s more short-lived because they just want the superficial fun Brittany and I’m really not superficial. I will talk about beauty and stuff but if you sit down with me for 30 minutes, we’re not going to be talking about celebrity gossip or … I don’t even know what I’m thinking about superficial-wise but it’s like I feel like I’ve probably just learned that, to keep other sides of me inside, because I’m not praised for that or I’m not encouraged as much I guess.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. Feeling dismissed it’s like a rejection. I personally learned to avoid that rejection. I did that partly by avoiding eye contact. I didn’t want to see people looking at me that way.

Brittany Allyn:

I think I probably did that too.

Caneel Joyce:

Also, I didn’t want to get picked up on all the time. I was afraid, if I make eye contact, this man is going to follow me around [crosstalk 00:33:02].

Brittany Allyn:

I think that all the time.

Caneel Joyce:

I won’t be able to get my work done. I won’t be able to get to class, I’ll be in this awkward conversation, his ego will be all involved and I might hurt his feelings. I would rather just not notice people … Luckily, I’m not great at finding faces in crowds anyway. It’s a serious problem. I would just walk around and I remember my boyfriend’s friend, before he knew me, called me the Ice Princess because he just thought I was cold. I’m like, “I’m just trying to walk through campus. I’m just trying to not get picked up on when I walk through campus and I don’t want to see people looking at me that way. It’s embarrassing.”

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. I am the same way. Living in New York too … I think girls, in general, if you respond to the cat calls, guys are probably going to … You give an inch, they take a mile. Yeah. I’m the same way. I think I’ve also struggled with a lot of social anxiety too because that’s probably more of just my childhood but I think there’s a part of it where I do have this kind of shy side as well that it’s probably just I didn’t know how to handle everything going on and so I shut down a bit.

Caneel Joyce:

I recently got in touch with my … I finally accepted I am shy. I am. It’s very uncomfortable to walk through the world shy and it’s uncomfortable to walk through the world looking shy when my belief has been I’m supposed to be confident all the time.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. Well, it’s like a good or bad. It’s like extroversion is better than introversion. Shy is bad. This is kind of what we’re taught. It means lack of confidence and … Yeah. I understand what you’re saying.

Caneel Joyce:

Also, people, I think it’s like you don’t want to connect with me. You know? People are like, “She doesn’t even want to talk.” Then it’s like, yeah, the pretty thing and it’s like, “Who’s that bitch? She thinks she’s better than everybody.”

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. If you are extroverted, then it’s even more like, “Who is this bitch just talking and who does she think she is?”

Caneel Joyce:

Right. Then you start avoiding eye contact so you don’t have to see that. I’m just trying to get through life. I’m just trying to get through life. It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing. I think it’s important for us to share this with folks because I think a lot of people feel this way and I think also there’s a lot of people who maybe … In particular, I’d like to speak to people who date women, that this might be going on, and that it’s something just to be aware of.

Brittany Allyn:

Women are already so … Most women are really stressed out about their looks and as we age, it just … I mean, I even catch myself talking about anti-aging, anti-aging, we are fighting against it every single day.

Caneel Joyce:

Yes. Anti.

Brittany Allyn:

In terms of going back to eating, exercise … Everything is just this anti-aging, we need to look hot, hot, hot, young. Young Hailey Bieber. It’s all what people want to achieve. It’s not reality and now that I’m 35 too, it’s something that I am terrified of.

 

 I’ve talked to my therapist. I was like, “I know I’m so much more but I do have this public-facing currency that is changing.” In a couple of years, it’s going to be different and I know it’s not going to be this drastic, drastic change but it’s very scary because part of my identity is linked to this and how do I almost unlink my identity or come to terms with that my physical body is going to change.

 

 One thing that really helps, she says, she said, “When you think of your mother or your aunt”, that I’m close with, “Do you think they’re beautiful?” I was like, “I think they’re the most beautiful women in the world, even as they get older. I’m so proud that they’re my mom and aunts. I think they’re just beautiful strong women.” She’s like, “That’s what people are going to think of you. You’re a different beautiful. It’s not a 27 to 32 beautiful. It’s a 55 to 60 beautiful.” You know?

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah.

Brittany Allyn:

I think changing your concept of beauty and having it tied to youth is something that we need to work through as we get older.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. It’s so fascinating how much we couple these things. The idea in society that for some reason, beauty and brains are opposites and that even being … If you’re fun, that means you must not be that smart. If you’re smart, it means you must be serious. If you’re smart, it means you must be not attractive. If you’re young, it must mean that you need to be beautiful and age means that you’re definitely not beautiful. It’s like these twisty, tied up associations … Why do they need to be there? 

 

Needing to hide a part of yourself so that it complies with those expectations is a form of, and I just want to name this, it is a form of oppression. I’ve talked about oppression a bit on this show and, in particular, specifically, around the experience of being female and a woman, and that I want it to be really clear that we very quickly become … If we take that on and make it personal and about ourselves and we believe it and buy into it and those stories become those stories that we’re telling ourselves, we are oppressing ourselves and so from the standpoint of being conscious and being leaders in our lives and taking 100% responsibility for our own choices, our own stories, we need to acknowledge that one piece of responsibility is doing our own work around dismantling these stories, at the same time, being gentle in that I didn’t write this story but now I’m telling the story. 

 

I didn’t write it. I was given it. I was taught this story. I see it reinforced all around me but now I need to choose, do I want to keep telling that story to myself again and again, and if I do, and it may be just such a deep habit, I can’t break out of it but if I do keep telling it, then I can make a choice, how do I want to respond to myself when I do that?

 

 I love your awareness, Brittany, of this choice that you found yourself making to hide to your intelligence and just was not palatable or as well received because that’s the kind of self-awareness I think when we can recognize how we’re contributing to keeping ourselves small, that’s the kind of self-awareness that we can use to regain that power that we are giving away and losing. That’s been a really cool part of aging, for me. Like each realization I have of a new way that I’m the one keeping myself small, I’m the one judging myself. That’s where freedom comes from.

 

 I also want to acknowledge that we’re talking a lot about … There are some really interesting and nuanced downsides to being considered attractive by society but that it may be that when you walk into a room and everyone assesses you one way and they have stereotypes and judgements and, “Oh, you must be this way” and it’s like, “Oh, poor me, poor us. This is so, so hard.” The thing is is that it’s that thing of getting to the front of the line outside of a busy nightclub, you still got to get in. You know? You’ve got to get in the door. 

 

I want to really underscore that being considered attractive is a massive form of privilege and comes with all of the things that privilege comes with and one of the biggest things privilege comes with is ignorance as to what it’s like to be any different way. This is why I consider myself fortunate that I even got to have that experience of being heavier and then losing weight and that’s a difference. It revealed to me that there is this power structure in place and that I wasn’t really aware of before.

 

 I also want to acknowledge that I’m lucky I wasn’t aware of that before because I think that it’s really pretty impossible to go through life and not realize what a privilege being considered attractive is and how much access it grants you and that it’s hard not to have that access and to see how access is unequally distributed and admiration is unequally distributed and being considered attractive bears so many fruits and gifts. Hence, our ridiculous hour long routine, right? 

 

Because it’s like you said, it’s currency. We are really fortunate to have had an experience of having that currency. I remember hearing I think it was … Maybe if was Sophia Loren talking about this like 20 years ago of I don’t wear eye concealer, I think dark circles are sexy, I love my wrinkles, I think they’re sexy. Damn, that girl, yes.

Brittany Allyn:

She was sexy.

Caneel Joyce:

Yes. It’s the sexy that comes from the inside.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

I mean, she’s a freaking beautiful specimen completely but also it’s this relishing … She relishes herself. She enjoys herself.

Brittany Allyn:

It vibrates. You can feel that. You know? Even in photos 30 years later or whatever.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. I definitely do the anti-aging thing. Then I fall asleep with my makeup on almost every night. I don’t enjoy the routine as much like I used to. It feels more like a should, which is partly why I let myself not do it so much. Yeah. My goal is I want to have … I think my face does reveal easily my emotions and this is a blessing and a curse. I think it’s part of my signature. I want my face wrinkles to reveal who I am as my best self and I want them to show me that I have been thoughtful and kind and I’ve laughed a lot. You know?

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

But partly, I don’t want them to show how angry I’ve been and how annoyed or whatever … I don’t want them to show how tense I’ve been, which I have been, and I remember there was a time where suddenly my kids were like, “Why are you so angry, Mommy?” 

 

Then I got Botox and I deleted the 11 lines that were … They’re called 11 lines. There’s names for every wrinkle, by the way. Every single wrinkle. They go in between your eyebrows. I was so against doing it. So, so, so against doing it. Then I decided I don’t want to look angry all the time when I’m not. Then they stopped saying that. I’m like, “Well, this works.” Now I haven’t had that updated in a very long time but I do notice I have more smile lines and because of wearing the masks in COVID, I decided that is my smile now because you can’t see my mouth and so if I can’t smile with my eyes, you don’t know I’m smiling at you, and I’m keeping them.

Brittany Allyn:

I really try to look at beauty … I was talking about this on my Instagram about Hot Girl Summer, like yesterday actually. Hot Girl Summer is 100% not about men or what anyone thinks. It is about feeling hot for yourself. That’s what I really try to focus on in terms of beauty, I’m not really doing this for men. I guess it’s great to get the attention and stuff but I like to just feel good. Maybe it has to do with my social anxiety but when I feel good, I am able to be myself more and so even going back to Botox and stuff, a guy probably isn’t going to say no to a date because I have some forehead wrinkles. Maybe some guys but I don’t do it.

Brittany Allyn:

I think it’s fine to do it if it makes you happy. It makes me happy. I literally like my skin to be smooth and who cares?

Caneel Joyce:

[crosstalk 00:47:12].

Brittany Allyn:

You’re not high and mighty if you don’t do it. You have wrinkles, I don’t have wrinkles right now. Okay. You’re not better than me or whatever. You know?

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. Yeah.

Brittany Allyn:

There shouldn’t be shame in it. You need to find the place of why you’re doing it I think.

Caneel Joyce:

Bingo. Also, you might not know why … Also, there’s not a right or wrong reason why. You know? I am trying to go for the jugular of being a woman who likes to look and feel beautiful is not bad. It’s fun.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

It is fun and it’s self-expression and don’t worry about it. Just enjoy yourself. Enjoy. Brittany, before we close here, I’d love to ask is there a question that you might ask our audience to think about? Something important for them to reflect on. 

 

A lot of podcast hosts ask for advice. It feels more fitting in this case, given that I think you really embrace the I don’t know and the it’s not perfect and that we can still intelligently move through things, but you seem to be just a person who is great at questions. What question would you like to leave our audience with?

Brittany Allyn:

I guess the first one that comes to mind is wrapping up what we were just talking about, which is if you have insecurities about yourself, who are they for almost. Sometimes I think about this like if I was on a deserted island, would I care about this? I was dating someone last year that was kind of younger and he wasn’t looks-wise what I thought people thought that I should be dating or whatever. You know?

 

 I did a lot of thinking about if we were on a deserted island, would I care? The answer is no. I think a lot of people’s insecurities are like I want to lose weight because I want so and so to think highly of me. I think that’s the root of fixing your insecurities is why do you want to fix this and who are you fixing it for? Is it your mother? Is it your parents? Is it your partner so he gives you more love or attention or words of affirmation? That is I think a way to find inner beauty and understanding there so that’s what I would leave is where and who are you doing these things for in terms of beauty?

Caneel Joyce:

Wow.

Brittany Allyn:

I have to ask, though, from 35 to 43, that’s eight years, you were in a very similar spot of me in terms of beauty at 35. Now you’re 43, you’re saying you’re coming to terms with it, you’re changing your perspective. What is something that you would tell me now as a 35 year old to almost prepare me for this transition of beauty and changing?

Caneel Joyce:

I think the question that you asked our audience is probably one that I began asking myself a lot more. It was about not just my looks. It was like why do I care about what that person thinks? Who am I doing these adjustments to myself for? Every kind of adjustment, right? Who am I exercising for? Who am I going to the psychologist for? I really don’t want to do things because the small part of me is afraid that someone is going to judge me. I boldly go to places to tackle that. You know? 

 

Showing up at the beginning of this with no makeup … I discovered, oh my gosh, I’m getting so wrapped up in wanting to look a certain way, I’m going to do the opposite and I’m going to try this out. I think it’s like I really tried to tear down those barriers before they started bothering me..

Brittany Allyn:

What are these fears and cares coming from? Yeah. I mean, it answers my own kind of question.

Caneel Joyce:

That was dealing with … There were like I have acne or I’ve got some fine lines. Then it started being hard to look good on camera. That’s always been very easy for me. My face became asymmetrical all of a sudden and my eyes, one would be open, one would be closed. Oh, this social media experiment, we’ve been doing is horrifying. Luckily, I have a team that can publish for me because I am not willing.

Brittany Allyn:

Why, though? I think you have such a good presence.

Caneel Joyce:

I love my presence. I do love my presence.

Brittany Allyn:

Yes. You shouldn’t be worried about social media because the thing is you know you’re not this 25 year old model anymore but people love looking at you, hearing you. You don’t have to be perfect.

Caneel Joyce:

I saw what I looked like from this angle because the camera was capturing it and I’m like, oh my God, I didn’t know it was like that and then I just decided to change the camera that I’m recording the backup version of this with because it was just like, ugh. I didn’t know that was going to happen. Then I saw myself from behind the other day because I finally have a long mirror again and I was like who is that? Who is that? That is not me.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

It’s also just coming out of COVID.

Brittany Allyn:

Right. Right.

Caneel Joyce:

It’s not like I’ve got it all together at all but it also doesn’t matter nearly as much as I thought it was going to matter. I care so much less.

Brittany Allyn:

That’s good.

Caneel Joyce:

Than I thought I would.

Brittany Allyn:

It’s just a natural thing. You actually don’t have the energy to care because your focus on other things like raising children and your [crosstalk 00:53:15].

Caneel Joyce:

You can walk around caring, though. You could walk around being ashamed and embarrassed and scared and self-conscious. Lots of women do, while they’re parenting, and I’m like I do not want to pass that along. 

Brittany Allyn:

Right.

Caneel Joyce:

I tackle it but I still feel the feelings sometimes. I think the other thing … My friend Silvana, who is an old client of mine too, you can follow her on Instagram, she’s Ilvana Say, and she’s a comedian, she’s an actress, she’s gorgeous, she just had a baby, and she had a video of her doing baby yoga and you could see she’s bigger, there’s fat there, her breasts are much bigger. Just a bigger person because she just had a baby and she’s older.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

But she showed it on purpose to … Same thing. Learning to love my body now. I think that after I had a baby I was like my body is magic.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

Whoa. Then I’m like, screw you, guys, I’m a magician.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I love that.

Caneel Joyce:

Did you see what I just did?

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah. Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

I made a human and then breastfeeding. That human is made of me. That’s made of me. It’s so cool.

Brittany Allyn:

That is cool.

Caneel Joyce:

We’ve been hinting around this but it seems so abundantly obvious, and it’s actually kind of interesting that we didn’t even name this, that this experience seems to be much more of an experience that women have than men. This experience of my looks become the primary thing that people assess me on, my looks are … It’s so strategically important for me, how I look, that it’s going to make a bad day into a good day and vice versa.

 

There’s so much objectification of women and this is a form of discrimination and it’s a form of bias and it’s a treatment that … Men also are judged on how they look but it seems that there’s a much wider range of what’s been possible and I’ve seen that change a lot over my life. The range of what’s appreciated as beauty is way broader than it used to be. Wherever you are, however you consider yourself to be on that spectrum of attractive to others or not … Of course, it changes over time and circumstances but wherever you are on that spectrum, there are challenges there and it’s because guess what? From the get-go, you’re being assessed much more on your looks than on anything else. 

 

If you feel that that’s not been a privilege that you’ve been granted and you consider yourself, “Well, I’m not attractive”, I believe all human beings are beautiful and I also recognize that I was given some privilege and as were you, Brittany, and that’s tough and there’s work for us to do around this. I have an episode on body shame I will link to in the show notes here that I did a while back and there was kind of the first place that I ever talked about really looks and my own looks and my own experience of food and my body and what I’m trying to point out there is we need to support each other. I really want us to pull together and support each other and I want men to be very aware of this as well. 

 

We can choose if we’re going to bond over self-blaming and shaming related to our physicality and our body and our looks and our weight and all of those things. We can choose if we want to bond over that or not. Putting ourselves down in order to be able to connect with each other, that’s the thing that I’m not going to do that, I’m not going to do that. But then I have this conversation with you and I think this is so healing, this is exactly the kind of conversation I do want to have, and it feels pretty conscious to me as well as totally terrifying. Especially thinking other people are going to be listening to this.

 

 Why is it that I’m feeling fear and nervous and I’m imagining somebody driving in their car and listening to this and just thinking, “Jeez, this person is blind spots and spoiled brat and complain-y and how dare she talk about herself like this.” Even I think, like we talked about at the very beginning of this show, even just acknowledging that I am beautiful and there’s something that’s just so sad about that to me right now in this moment. Also, I hear it’s coming from a drama-based victim place that’s totally fear-based and that’s why I’m daring myself to overcome those stories that I am telling myself. You know, I expect that the judgment will happen. We’ll see where we go with it then. We’ll see what happens.

Brittany Allyn:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

Are you an Enneagram type three? Do you know?

Brittany Allyn:

I actually think I might be. I don’t know. We might have to do that.

Caneel Joyce:

We’ll do that. Yeah. I’m hearing a person who appreciates beauty and knows how to work it and knows how to work a room, if she wants to and who also has learned to be in herself and to not take it so seriosly and to always be observing that part of us that wants to please others and be perceived a certain way. I hear a lot of high side, the healthiest expression of type three over there. But who knows? We’ll have to do your Enneagram in a different time.

Brittany Allyn:

Okay.

Caneel Joyce:

I want to thank you so much for being here today. If our guests would like to follow you and maybe reach out, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Brittany Allyn:

I would probably just say on Instagram. I’m at Thirty Waves and it’s spelled out, T-H-I-R-T-Y W-A-V-E-S. You can talk to me about my startup on there too. My email is on there. That’s probably the best [crosstalk 00:59:56].

Caneel Joyce:

How do they get their own AI-boosted smart link for dating transparency from Scoop?

Brittany Allyn:

If they message me, I can help them be a part of our beta group right now.

Caneel Joyce:

Awesome.

Brittany Allyn:

If you message me.

Caneel Joyce:

Thank you. [crosstalk 01:00:10].

Brittany Allyn:

thank you for having me.

Caneel Joyce:

We’ll put all that in the show notes. Please do also check out the bonus episode of me beginning with no makeup on, looking pretty scraggly, and Brittany guides me through her makeup routine and I try to emulate it on my own self, on my own 43 year old self.

Brittany Allyn:

Looking gorgeous.

Caneel Joyce:

Thank you so much. [crosstalk 01:00:31].

Brittany Allyn:

Thank you. Yeah. You too.

Caneel Joyce:

Okay. Bye bye.

 

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