Words // Olga Martinova

In the world of free self-expression, free speech and free spirit, we hardly stop to distinguish what these things signify. To me, there is a distinct difference between them. But when combined and well-applied, it has a good chance to stand for something grand – Authenticity! 

Authenticity doesn’t happen only as a result of living in a “free world.” The state of being authentic is not a right to be given or dictated by some external source. Authenticity is what you truly are. Frankly, it’s never what we believe it is. An authentic person, like any person, is manifold. 

Now, what’s the difference? The difference is that an authentic human being goes with the flow of his emotional state – sad, happy, kind, judgmental. At their best and worst, you will see this person’s colors which he/she is not going to hide or lie about. This person believes in their human nature to be real and their conduct is in accordance with the state of their mind. Now someone may think that’s a selfish and self-centered position in life. Maybe. But then again, when you look at a piece of art in the museum or listen to Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece Swan Lake during a performance in the opera house, or reading “Catcher in the Rye” for the umpteenth time and still feel so much, because….. Because?!  Because all these masterpieces innermost emotions an artist was driven by. Whatever the artist expressed genuinely and strongly felt and let it out into the world. 

To be authentic is a form of art. It takes courage to express your true emotions, but that’s the only way to create something grand, something like the purity of thought when you wake up in the morning and see the rising sun. The simple emotion of happiness by being alive. 

Words // Amber Nash

It’s funny when I hear the word authentic, I almost always think of Mexican food. But then again, I’m always thinking of Mexican food. I guess the word is used in marketing a lot, it lets us know if something is the real deal, the original formulation, truly what it claims to be. No one really knows if anyone else is being authentic or not, but we all have a keen sense of when someone is truly there, themselves and comfortable in their own skin. Those are the kind of people we want to be around, the kind that makes us comfortable in their presence. This is not an easy thing to accomplish and I know for me it is a constant battle. I also think, at least in my case, this definitely came with age. When we are young we don’t know who we are well enough to be who we are all the time. When I was young, I had a really hard time making eye contact with people. I think it came from being afraid that they’d see the real me because somewhere along the line I had become convinced that the real me wasn’t good enough to be seen. I learned through improv to be better at making eye contact and to be more available emotionally, even if that wasn’t always “attractive”. I met people who told me they enjoyed who I was and that gave me the confidence to start showing people that person more often. I also started to learn that attractiveness wasn’t always perfect and pretty, sometimes it was raw and messy and ugly. As I started to learn that making everyone happy isn’t possible and the people that aren’t happy with what I am aren’t people that I want to be around, it became easier and easier to be myself. Confidence makes being authentic a lot easier because you learn to not care about what other people think.

When I was 32, I was introduced to Pam Poovey when I was cast in Archer. Little did I know, that this would begin a 10-year lesson in authenticity. It’s funny that a character that isn’t real, that doesn’t even inhabit a real body, can teach this lesson but boy does she. Pam is such a great case study in being authentic. She doesn’t care what other people think of her and that enables her to do anything she wants. She’s never afraid that she won’t look good or that someone will call her fat or think she’s ugly. So, when she wants to do something, there is literally nothing standing in the way of her doing whatever she feels like and oftentimes those things are completely badass. Because of this, Pam has become an unlikely sex symbol, even making it into the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition! I look to Pam when I need strength and constantly wish I was more like her in real life.
photography Stacey Bode | hair & makeup artist Amanda Lee Williams