Violets Are Blue operates under the philosophy that women are better than beautiful. They are better than unattainable standards. They are better than toxic ingredients. They are better than comparison traps. They are better than costly and risky procedures.
Women are more than beautiful. They demonstrate this daily with their strength, kindness, compassion, and power to effect change in this world. We are honored to introduce you to members of the Violets Are Blue community who embody our philosophy.
For this installment of our Better Than Beautiful series, we are thrilled to introduce you to Gabriela Acero, a talented hospitality professional, cat lover, co-owner of a new restaurant and summer pop-up in Maine (we'll tell you about both in just a second!)... and Violets Are Blue founder Cynthia Besteman's lovely niece! We think you'll all love getting to know Gabriela, especially those of you who are also in the under 40 set!
What does being "better than beautiful" mean to you?
Gabriela: The most beautiful things are the things that stand out, that are special, and uniquely you. So whether that's something intangible, like your sense of humor, or something physical like a crooked smile, these are the things that make you you. And you are more than beautiful!
Tell us about your favorite Violets Are Blue product. How do you use it? Why do you love it?
Gabriela: How do I pick just one?! I suppose if I must pick, it would be the Ultra Violet Facial Serum. My skin has always struggled with balance. I still break out as an adult, have a greasy t-zone, but then get very dry cheeks and and chin. This serum is perfect, it deeply moisturizes, but also fully absorbs. So my skin feels healthy, nourished, and balanced.
When did you realize your worth beyond beauty?
Gabriela: As a young person, I always used to say that I would rather be interesting than pretty. If anything, I think I had to realize that I am beautiful, and that it is ok to find worth in that. It was always something I resisted, something that felt shallow. But I've come to embrace the fact that if I'm having a bad day, something as simple as putting on make-up or dressing up can truly make me feel special and powerful and turn my mood around.
How do you embrace the concept of aging gracefully, or do you?
Gabriela: I think this concept is part of the reason that I love Violets Are Blue products. I have always been fairly lazy about my beauty routine, but as I approach my mid-30's I've realized that the more care I take now, the healthier my skin will be for longer. I'm invested in caring for my skin so that I can let it best its best natural seld as I get older.
Is there a beauty or cosmetic procedure, treatment, or product you've engaged with in the past that you regret?
Gabriela: I wish I had spent less money on waxing, and no money on laser hair removal!
What would you tell your younger self with regard to self-worth, beauty, or aging?
Gabriela: If anything I think I was bolder and more self-assured as a younger person. I often think about how bad experiences have damaged that over the course of time, and how I'm now working to reclaim the lightness and certainty with which I moved through the world. I am in awe of my younger self and look to her to confirm my worth and beauty, which has never truly changed, even as my perception of it has gone through many revolutions.
We are in unprecedented times. Have you been able to gain any silver linings?
Gabriela: I am extremely lucky to live a safe and healthy life right now. The pandemic has forced me to strip away a lot of the noise in my life, and focus on what I actually want, and how to build it. It has confirmed that nothing is certain, nothing is forever, and there are always greater forces at play. I find that immensely freeing, and it has propelled me to take risks, like starting a business.
You moved and started a business-- all during a pandemic! What was the biggest challenge and what helped you through?
Gabriela: As cheesy as it is, my partner was the reason I was able to do all this. Having a teammate who is with you, helping make choices, confirming that you're not crazy for wanting to take a big leap, it's the most amazing thing. I've always been a fairly independent person, but I'm so deeply appreciative of Derek and how constant and present he is.
Was there ever something that happened to you that at the time seemed so horrible, but looking back, was a blessing?
Gabriela: So many things! I have a flair for the dramatic, so in the moment bad things seem like the absolute worst, and like they will never get better. I've learned that only time softens those horrible moments, and looking back, every one of them has helped me move forward, and get me to where I am today. I am so happy and feel like I am living my life in the truest way I ever have. All those bad things helped shape and guide me to here, and that's the best blessing of all.
Who is your favorite aunt? And why?
Gabriela: LOLOLLL THIS IS NOT A REAL QUESTION!
Editor's note: It was a real question. You can get back to us with a real answer. ;-)
You can find Gabriela and her partner, Derek Richard, at their restaurant wolfpeach and their Texas-inspired BBQ pop-up, Dickie Steels' BBQ. You can read more about their plans in the Penobscot Bay Pilot, and follow them on Facebook, as well!