A woman who is intelligent and also knows how to weaponize her beauty: there’s nothing more dangerous than that. There’s nothing more powerful than that.

Megan Fox

I recently talked with my close friend Megan (not Fox) about Marilyn Monroe. Megan told me this story of how Marilyn was walking with a friend in New York and her friend was surprised no one had noticed her, even though she was dressed in plain clothes. When her friend pointed it out to her, Marilyn responded by saying “Do you want me to become her?” Her friend said “Yes” and suddenly, people were stopping to notice Marilyn Monroe the starlet, the icon of beauty walking the streets of New York.

All the talk at work and with the blog team in the last month about 2.0s has got me thinking inwardly, so I’ve gotta spill about my latest aesthetic obsession: the femme fatale. Think less Bond villain and more old Hollywood starlet with an intimidating presence, a captivating woman that steals every scene she’s in. Think Marilyn Monroe and Megan Fox.

As I reflected back in early 2020 when I fell in love with Saint Motel, I was wanting to explore that side of myself. Ya know, before COVID rudely interrupted that.

I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues for a lot of my life and even had a weird relapse last year through my last job. It sucked to realize that my inner demons shape-shifted to cast doubt in new ways. I’m doing much better now and working through some stuff in therapy, like learning to protect my energy and setting & enforcing boundaries.

Because of this, I’m aware of a new me that’s breaking out of her old insecurities. This new evolution of myself is resilient, beautiful, angelic, brilliant, powerful…and a little bit dangerous.

Women are powerful beings and it’s amazing to me how we can balance strength with being delicate. I’ve always known that women hold a lot of power, but it’s only been recently that I’ve been seeing myself in that light and felt a pull to lean into it.

Honestly, it’s in my genes to be a powerful woman. My mom immigrated to the United States from El Salvador, led her family on a dangerous journey to a foreign country, and navigated it all without knowing a word of English. My sister took the torch and set on a mission to break the generational trauma cycles from our parents and create a loving, communicative family of her own.

So the question is: where does that leave me?

In addition to breaking generational trauma cycles with my sister, I feel a calling in my soul to build a career and life where I lead with love and kindness. Where I protect artists and advocate for the creation of their best art. Where I fight the powers of greed and corruption and all the -isms against me.

Is that lofty? Yes. Is it even realistic? I’m sure some nonbeliever will try to feed the demons of self-doubt I still fight by saying it’s not, but I sure as hell will try to make it a reality. Like so much of Gen Z, I’m in the business of disruption and change. And I’m now aware it’s my time to shine.

The femme fatale character inspires me at this stage of my life because of the way they use their power to protect.

Femme fatales are powerful disruptors and they own it. Since the genesis of the trope, they’ve subverted expectations of what a woman should be. They’re assertive, strategic, aware of the power of their sexuality, conscious of the tools at their disposal, and most of all, they’re focused on their goals.

But also in the most human way, femme fatales hold their delicate nature. They know they’re still human and that there’s myriad of forces trying to put them into boxes that they don’t fit in. With the knowledge of the delicate side, they try to protect themselves by exhibiting this ethereal, almost untouchable quality to them. They stand firm in the way they uniquely feel feminine and a lot of times their goals are out of protection for themselves. The femme fatale sees herself as something precious and worthy of protecting, and to me, it shows that they’re a long misunderstood character who deserves a deeper dive.

Photo by Madeline JM Main

I feel like I’m at the stage of my life where I’m firmly in that tension of the femme fatale. I’m learning how to toughen up to protect myself without losing the tender-hearted parts of myself. It’s gorgeous and complicated and ethereal and messy. So why not try on the slinky black gown for size if it symbolizes saying yes to a new chapter? Especially if ya girl feels elegant and powerful in it!

I’ve compiled a playlist of songs that are helping me appreciate these sides of myself. SOUNDS LIKE FEELS LIKE is growing into something really cool and you know what, so am I.

Happy 2nd birthday to the blog and welcome to the world this new version of me. Believe me, no one’s ready for this. Least of all me.

Special thanks to my dear friend Maddy Main for letting me do this dream photoshoot. Hit her up for all your photo session needs!

Photo by Madeline JM Main

Highlights

Dawning of the Season Magdalena bay

Spoiler alert, Magdalena Bay is an upcoming new music crush. Their new album is just SO GOOD. This one specifically felt like a theme song for this character I’m leaning into. It’s nostalgic, mysterious, insistent yet somehow vulnerable and honest. By choosing to invest in therapy, I’m quite literally dancing with my demons and it’s leading to the dawning of a season. I love when songs give me the words so I don’t have to come up with them myself.

Good Girls Chvrches

This song really holds the tension of the disruptor in me. I low key have had an obsession with being seen as a “good girl”, someone who is genuinely kind but also follows the rules and can be trusted. Every time I fall into that people-pleaser state of mind, I think back to a poster my high school home room teacher had in his classroom that said, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” I must’ve spent hours staring at that poster trying to process it in high school. Now I feel like I see it as an encouragement, because to make change, I will have to ruffle some feathers. So, it’s worth it to build up the courage in myself to trust in what I’m doing. Also, I’ve been trying to make Carolina Herrera’s Good Girl fragrance my signature scent because it smells cool and mysterious. It’s a strategic choice.

Circles — Megan Thee Stallion

Megan is THE MOMENT and I’m OBSESSED. When I heard this song from her album last year, I was like “This is an anthem. Wait no. This is MY anthem.” Her confidence and the clever wordplay in this rap are just iconic. Seeing her at ACL really made me love her even more because she gives her all. She is a prime example of powerful disruptor and total sweetheart in one woman. Also, I too am a February baby and I can be a big flirt so thanks for calling me out Meg, I’m gonna go own it!

Say It Right Nelly Furtado

My sister and I were obsessed with Nelly Furtado when we were younger and high key, we still are. When I dove into the lyrics of this song recently, I realized how powerful it really is. This song is a love song, but not one that sacrifices Nelly’s power as a woman. She’s basically saying “I’m a giver but you gotta be on my level to receive the gift that I am, so you better be sure. I’m not here to play your games.” And that’s such a refreshing attitude from the star-crossed, head-over-heels serial crusher I am.

Georgia — Vance Joy

This delicate song about a passionate love affair is honestly ideal make out music to me. The way Vance Joy sings about his lover in this song reminds me of the picture perfect femme fatale. She’s gorgeous and delicate but she holds such power in her being that he “could easily lose [his] mind.” I’ve included a fair amount of songs in this playlist showing the singer absolutely enthralled by the woman they describe. Femme fatale characters don’t lose themselves in their lovers unless they feel safe to do so and that’s honestly how it should be. I’m taking notes and applications for a gaggle of attractive men to fall madly in love with me.

Vulnerable — Selena Gomez

Perhaps the best description of the delicate parts of me, this song shows the quiet power of staying vulnerable. Through therapy, I realized that what makes me feel most like a femme fatale is that I have a fear of intimacy stemming from a fear of rejection. I protect myself by only letting people see the best of me. I’ve never really been in a proper romantic relationship and as much as I want to be in one someday, there’s something safe about trying to be content with people knowing and loving a carefully crafted image of me. This song encourages me to let go of trying to curate an image and show up as myself in full where I feel safe — doubt, demons, and all. I can’t be anything other than human sometimes. That in itself is beautiful, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Just like Marilyn Monroe going unnoticed on a busy New York street, I can control when people see me but that doesn’t mean I have to be dishonest with myself and those I know that care for me in full. I do want to avoid the femme fatale’s downfall of loneliness after all.

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