With social media making people insecure and depressed about their lives, it takes courage to stand out and say – Be You, It’s Cool.
“Once we have removed the majority of our eyebrow, what we do is we put it back on, because that’s what we do, we remove what God gave us and then pay beauty companies extortionate amounts of money to put it back on, but in a more convenient and conforming shape according to society’s beauty standards.”, Sara with her blonde hair and perfectly toned body, speaks into the front camera for a makeup tutorial on her instagram story.
Dr Sara Sienna may seem like an average basic girl but she’s a do it all. When she is not at the hospital as a medical doctor, even on snowstorm days, she can be seen deadlifting 160 kgs in the Cardiff City Gym. Advising people on blood and organ donation is just another thing her medical expertise has qualified her to do. On holidays, she prefers to travel solo and write blogs on them. She started posting youtube/instagram videos on exercise routines, healthy recipes, her travelling and just her life because she felt that even though there was information on fitness out there, it wasn’t being shared in a digestible, relatable and liveable form. For her videos, she says, “My tone is colloquial and chilled, but my information is science-based and founded on research.”
What makes her stand out from the herd of overachieving bloggers who also post fitness and lifestyle videos online is that she isn’t afraid to show her raw self. When she shows fascination for the fancy kitchen appliances while posting recipe videos, or when hanging frames on the wall is the biggest challenge in the world for her, or when she knows beauty companies are ripping us off but wants to look pretty anyway, that is when Sara is the real change-maker, because she tells the truth while making us laugh. She says, “I know what it’s like to feel alienated or less than and have zero desire to create an illusion of a ‘perfect white coat instagram doctor’. I’m not perfect, I’m human.”
When people see this ordinary and flawed woman accomplishing extraordinary things they get influenced and believe they can do it too. “Sometimes I see a comment saying ‘thank you for this workout – I lost so much weight’, or ‘thank you for this life advice, I needed that’. And all I can think is – thank YOU. It takes an incredible type of person to follow through on a workout plan, apply healthy eating advice, become a regular blood donor or whatever the positive life change may be. Sometimes people allow me to be the person who helped them – but the truth is that they are the one that did the workout or made the positive change. From what people say, I think my honesty, knowledge and passion for life can sometimes help people to find that strength within themselves to be their own positive change. That’s awesome and a privilege that I’ll never get over.”
In this age of social media where millennials post everything from going to the gym to hogging on dessert online, some people take it too seriously and get frustrated and anxious as they start comparing their real lives with the virtual lives of those they see online. Sara understands this and does not want to spread this negativity because she has felt frustrated by the standards of social media as well. “When I was ‘overweight’ I followed about 50 million fitness pages in an attempt to motivate myself to get fit again. And honestly, I think that I sinned in my thoughts than ever before during that period. They actually made me rage with anger.” Using an example of an imaginary social media’s “influencer”, Sara told her followers, “If I am @strongsally to you then as much as I will miss you just block me.”
This South England girl who is currently working in Cardiff advocates being true to oneself in the purest form. Her bio everywhere reads – Be You, It’s Cool. And she damn well follows it herself. When a senior at work told her that she is sassy, she replied, “Ah, Sassy. The term people use to describe someone who often says factually correct things with confidence in the workplace whilst having ovaries. If they don’t have ovaries I think people tend to just call them ‘right’.”
Even when it comes to accepting her past and present, Sara doesn’t hide. Recalling her thoughts as a fifteen-year-old she says, “I used to be nervous to train as a junior athlete in case I got muscular and guys found me less attractive.” Recalling a few years back she says, “As a 20-year-old student, the concept of maybe or maybe not having a heart attack at 55 years old didn’t motivate me half as much as the thought of having a banging six-pack and toned legs.” She says it herself, “My motivations – as vain as they may have been – actually lead to me developing healthy habits that are likely saving my life.” Now she is at a position where she understands the importance of being healthy without any other motivation. But she still states these facts, because these are thoughts that most people have.
“I don’t think we need to pretend. Pretending doesn’t change reality. But I’ve found that honesty can open doors for productive dialogue and healthy change.” Her voice resonates with those who see her. “I think I have the nicest internet friends in the world”, she says and it holds true because positivity attracts positivity.