This woman's transition journey is redefining what it means to be beautiful.
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Maybelline New York Beauty & Beyond

There's nothing more beautiful than being your truest, most authentic self. For Tamara Dodds, getting there was a long journey.

While she was assigned "male" at birth, Tamara knew early on that she just didn't fit in.

"I've always struggled with the idea that I had a feminine side," she says.


"I think it was grade seven when I finally decided that I was going to try putting lipstick on," she says. "So I did and I nearly cried because I loved it."

Since she didn't feel like she could express who she truly was yet, Tamara says she closed herself off from others. She hunched. She didn't talk to people. She forced herself into a stereotypical gender role that wasn't right for her.

Tamara Dodds. All photos via Maybelline.

This went on for 25 years.

"I did a photo shoot with a friend and I realized that the biggest difference is that I was smiling as a girl and as a guy I was just kind of forcing it." Tamara says. "I was never really happy."

Not being able to be open about who she was for over two decades took its toll on Tamara. And, unfortunately her experience is far from unique.

Despite the progress the transgender community has made in the past several decades, coming out is still an incredibly difficult proposition. According to recent research, trans people in America face a disproportionate amount of violence and discrimination.  Staying silent about one's gender identity, however, also comes with the risk of many negative outcomes, including emotional distress and self-harm.

For many, this means a choice of hiding who they are or risking backlash from those who don't understand.

"There is a stigma on being trans," Tamara says. "There is absolutely a fear associated with coming out. "You're worried about losing people that you care about."

"It makes me sad she was in such pain," says Monica Prata, the gender consultant who worked with Tamara on refining her femininity.

"The number of trans people who contemplate suicide is incredibly high. It's a byproduct of feeling like you're not accepted for you are. You can't share who you are with the world."

However, when Tamara made the choice to live out loud, she discovered something important: She felt truly beautiful.

Society's standards of beauty are incredibly narrow. Turn on a television, pick up a magazine, and you'll see the same types of faces and bodies staring back at you. So what do you do when you feel like yours doesn't fit?

For Tamara, coming out allowed her to discover who she is inside, and that person is radiant. Part of that was figuring out what makeup and attire helped her be as feminine on the outside as she felt on the inside.

"I started to realize that as a woman I was coming out of my shell and I was communicating with people," she says. "Isn't that how life is supposed to be lived?"

"I wanted to stop hiding."

"It's not putting on a dress or putting on heels that make you a woman, it's how you feel wearing those things that makes you who you are," Tamara says. "I am a woman. There is no doubt about that. I've always been one.  It's that I needed to unlock it. "

"You have an image in your head of what you want to look like...to meet that expectation is incredibly emotional because you never actually expect to meet the expectation."

Tamara is standing up for what's truly important. And she's helping others find their true selves, too.

She's not just being true to herself by being open about who she is. She's making a statement that transcends society's idea of what a woman "should" be, because being a woman isn't about what you wear or how you fix your hair. It's about strength, courage, and the knowledge that no matter who you are, you deserve to be treated with kindness, love, and respect.

"Being a woman to me is being unafraid of what people think, unafraid of how people will treat you," Tamara says.  Every trans person deserves to be loved because we're all in this together."

"I hope that anybody struggling with what I struggled with just decides to be yourself," she adds. "And never give up on your dreams because they're possible. They're absolutely possible."

"I'm here right now. I didn't think that was gonna happen. But it did."

To learn more about Tamara's story, check out the video below:

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.