How one woman's tattoo journey allowed her to overcome bullying and beauty standards.

"I’m able to let people know that they’re not alone and things do get better, and high school — high school isn’t forever."

Caroline Grace is covered head to toe in tattoos.

They make her stand out, but that wasn't always her goal, especially as a teenager.

Brand new tragic kingdom dress from @westernevil 🔥www.westernevil.com


A post shared by Carolina (@curaline) on

"I didn't like the way I looked," Caroline admits. "I started to wear makeup to feel good about myself. But then I'd get bullied for how I wore makeup."

It didn't help that her family moved around a lot, which resulted in her having to adjust to six different high schools.

"I got put down a lot," says Caroline. "I got made fun of. It was very hard for me."

As she struggled to fit in, it was around that time that she also developed a love for tattoos.

Just a few of Caroline's tattoos. Photo via Dermablend.

Caroline got her first tattoo when she was only 15, but it didn't turn out exactly as planned.

The tattoo was very large and on her chest, so she bought Dermablend to help her hide it from her mom, which worked amazingly well.

She had fallen in love with tattoos after that first one, though, and pretty soon, had collected a whole slew of them to the point where she stopped keeping count.

And the more tattoos she acquired, the more beautiful she felt.

Photo via Dermablend.

"When I look at tattoos, I see beauty and self-expression," says Caroline.

Her distinctive look, which she has grown to embrace, has inspired others to find their own definition of beauty as well.

It's a huge part of why the 24-year-old has over 380,000 followers on Instagram.

She started her account like anyone else — just posting photos she thought were cool — but she also made a point of really putting herself and her body art out there. Ironically, the thing she tried so hard to keep hidden from her family was the very thing that sparked her sizable fan base.

Now she feels like she can finally help teens and adults who might be struggling with self-esteem issues for one reason or another.

"I’m able to let people know that they’re not alone and things do get better, and high school — high school isn’t forever," says Caroline.

A post shared by Carolina (@curaline) on

Does she still cover up her tattoos sometimes? Sure, but not because she's hiding.

Dermablend allows her to change up her look, which is all about self-expression and fun.

"It’s pretty fun to be able to cover up just one tattoo," says Caroline. "My skin doesn’t really define me. My tattoos aren’t who I am."

She's been using Dermablend since she was a teen because it fully covers her tats, but still feels light, which is good for her sensitive skin.

Photo via Dermablend.

When she's sporting all of them, she tends to get a lot of attention in her small town of Newport, Pennsylvania, but she's usually happy to answer questions about her look.

"I'll talk to people on the street who approach me about my tattoos," Caroline says. "If they can walk away having learned something or with one less stereotype, I think that's cool."

After all, beauty comes in all sorts of packages. The more people like Caroline who are regularly challenging beauty norms, the more space we create for people to be their authentic selves.

I'm so proud of you.

A post shared by Carolina (@curaline) on

She may have a busy life of managing a clothing business and running after her 6-year-old son, but Caroline still makes time to sit in front of a mirror and take herself in. Whether she decides to put on makeup on any given day or not, she does it to enhance who she is rather than hide. And that person is beautiful, tattoos or no tattoos.

"At the end of this journey, I hope to fully love myself, and I know I’m getting close," says Caroline.

Check out Caroline's whole story here:

Her tattoos are a form of beauty and self-expression. And so is her choice to cover them.

Posted by Upworthy on Friday, October 20, 2017
Family
True
L'Oreal Dermablend
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Life for a shelter dog, even if it's a comfortable shelter administered by the ASPCA with as many amenities as can be afforded, is still not the same as having the comfort and safety of a forever home. Professional violinist Martin Agee knows that and that's why he volunteers himself and his instrument to help.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
Macy's