My name is Alba, the newest member of the Ohlolly team. This holiday season, in addition to working for Ohlolly, I was hired by NCJWLA (National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles) to run their Adopt a Family Program. Essentially I act as Santa for 16 women and their children who are survivors of domestic violence. While I was interviewing these women and conducting a needs assessment, I realized that one thing they would never buy or say they “need” is skincare and makeup. However, the more that I heard their stories, the more I wanted them to remember and know how beautiful and strong they are.
After hearing about my work, Ohlolly donated skincare and makeup products to each of these women. I love the idea of using something so small, like a handful of products to give people confidence. The makeup doesn't change who you are, but it acts as a placebo that gives you an extra ounce of confidence, confidence you already owned but needed a little help bringing out. Just like when someone with blue eyes wears a blue shirt and their eyes pop, with a little pampering I knew that the strength these women have would stand out in a beautiful and more confident way. I just wanted to make their beauty pop!
Giving back this holiday season
Working with the NCJWLA has been emotionally challenging but amazing. NCJWLA helps these families with basic necessities and direct subsidies (such as food, clothing, beds, rental assistance, utility payments, etc.). In addition to helping with basic needs, the program also provides tailored gifts to each family member during the holidays, like the Ohlolly gift bags.
This is a pivotal moment in these women’s lives because it bookmarks the end of such a difficult past, but the start of their new life--a life that is healthy, safe, and free of toxic environments. It is a privilege to get to love these women, learn about them, and spend time with them and their families.
In my short life I have had the opportunity to work with marginalized communities in Kenya, Chiapas, Los Angeles, and more isolated communities in Japan. In every context that I have worked, I’ve found that self care and some degree of pampering really changes the way a person goes about their day. I always bring nail polish with me wherever I go because I’ve found that painting someone’s nails is incredibly transformative and gives me an opportunity to get to know the person I’m serving.
Self care is powerful
I truly believe that self care is powerful. It forces you to be still, to relax, and to remember how important you are. We are made in the image of beauty and must never forget how valuable our existence, our experiences, and every part of our life is. To take a moment and care for yourself the way you would care for someone you love is crucial, especially considering that we are always the last to care for ourselves.
Plus it is FUN! I look at self care similar to playing dress-up with my mom’s clothes when I was a little girl. I am creating an intentional space to dream, to think about the future as I look at myself today, while examining my past experiences. I always get excited when I notice new wrinkles because it makes me feel like I'm really breaking in my skin, like I have lived a life worth remembering. Taking a moment to wash my face, learn more about myself, and feel refreshed before or after a long day has value, and we should all take the time to do it!
Since working at Ohlolly, I’ve felt more confident and beautiful. All the products are quality and my skin is so happy. I love being able to give these women gifts that I would buy for myself! I also love that Ohlolly is dedicated to raising awareness and donating 10% of their profits to great causes every month. You can see the full list of organizations Ohlolly supports here. And if you want to learn more about the work NCJWLA is doing click here.