This essay was written as part of an empowerment campaign, “Wear Yourself In,” led by eco-luxe skin care company Kari Gran. In response to the beauty industry pushing an impossible idea of flawless youth for years, the campaign encourages women to be kind to themselves, and their skin, as they reflect on beauty, aging, wisdom and self-acceptance.
Julie Caprio is the owner and creative director of the Ballet Technique Studio and Hamilton Ballet Theatre in New Jersey. She has traveled extensively as a company member of The Harkness Ballet NYC, The Kansas City Ballet, and The Washington Ballet, and is now dedicated to educating and helping artists along their path.
I remember working in ballet class as a young teen and being drawn to older dancers – mesmerized by their eyes, the depth of their artistry. It’s something you don’t see in younger dancers, simply because they haven’t experienced as much. Early on I realized that depth, that experience, can only come from the aging process and since then I never felt that aging was anything but wonderful because each year was another chance to learn more, to grow.
Now I am 54 and the owner and director of Ballet Technique Studio and Hamilton Ballet Theatre in New Jersey. But before that, I performed and taught throughout the U.S, Europe and Asia as a company member of The Harkness Ballet NYC, The Kansas City Ballet and The Washington Ballet.
My daily skincare routine was quite simple because as dancers, we sweat a lot. Unless I was performing I wore little makeup. However, as I grew older, my relationship with the skincare industry seemed to become so complicated. Aging was looked upon as shameful. They were telling me I was flawed, imperfect, and lackluster; none of which I felt. In life and in my skincare regimen, I want something that reflects how I actually feel – simple and luxurious, real and special. Something that lets me be myself, celebrate myself, and not mask who I am.
As a ballet teacher and choreographer, I hope to translate this desire and this feeling to my students so I can help them discover who they are, what inspires them, why they dance, and how to explore their art. I teach them to remain open so they don’t miss an amazing lesson. I blend people of all ages in my classes – they are not separated – because we can all learn from each other. I want my young dancers to have that same feeling of being mesmerized and to grow up knowing there is an incredible beauty that can be found in someone’s experience as they age.
At times, it feels as if I am going against what everything else is saying. But how could it possibly be better to mask what and who we actually are? Instead I want to challenge the beauty industry to show us how to care for our skin – rather than hide it – so we can continue to glow from the inside.
Wear Yourself In means aging with dignity, being happy for having lived, and continuing to feel each day comfortably in your own skin – with honesty. So let us embrace the years to come, moving with grace and acceptance, while paving the way for future generations.