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Be Your Valentine Event: "Valentina" Series

On Saturday, February 10, 2018, the Toronto weather created a snowstorm that made commuting to the TIFF Bell Lightbox very difficult. However, we still had over 30 beautiful women of all ages come by our space to celebrate Valentine's Day with us. The Flaunt It Team wanted to focus on celebrating ourselves without relying on having to find a significant other.

February 14 should be an excuse to treat yourself as a young womxn and become a day to love, embrace, empower yourself + the womxn around you. In our space, we created a special edition "Flaunt It Fridays" campaign called VALENTINA. It aims to showcase group photos and solo portraits of healthy and strong relationships being built. With a wide range of karaoke like karaoke, a make-up booth, self-care activities and more, it was an incredible day to celebrate all the women in the room. ​

Special thanks to our lead sponsor, TIFF Next Wave for providing us space and resources to host this event.

"Founded in 2010, the TIFF Next Wave Committee is a group of 12 students ranging in age from 15 to 18 and selected from a competitive pool of hopeful young film enthusiasts. Hailing from specialized arts institutions, public schools, and private schools across the GTA, the Committee members’ tastes, opinions, and critical voices are as diverse as they are strong. Some are aspiring filmmakers, writers, and actors; some are interested in learning the business of film and festivals; some like planning cultural events; and some just love movies. All have demonstrated a spirit that has impressed TIFF leaders. With the guidance of TIFF staff, the Committee is charged with planning some major teen-oriented events at TIFF Bell Lightbox, including the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival. The TIFF Next Wave Committee is supported by the Slaight Family Foundation Learning Fund."

the SPECIAL EDITION creative campaign:

The Valentina Series

For this series, we asked our models what their thoughts on Valentine's Day are and how can practice self-love on it.

Meet Gaby

“Valentine’s Day is just a random day of the year. It's a day that we should celebrate every day! Showing family, friends and most importantly, YOURSELF love, is key. When I was younger, I was often insecure. But I learned to be happy with myself because no one can love me better than me!”

Meet Ranique

I think Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to show love to the people we are passionate about. We often don't get the chance to do something special for our family, friends or partner or take time to remind them that we love and care for them. Valentine's Day is the window for that opportunity. However, before we can love anyone, we have first to love ourselves. The more you love yourself, the better you are at sharing love with others. I had heard this many times, but it meant more when I experienced it. Along my journey, there have been many times when I didn't feel confident enough due to my lack of self-love. During these times, I withdrew myself and held up a wall that prevented me from giving or receiving love. But eventually, I practiced loving myself because I just wanted to spread love everywhere I went.

Meet Makayla

“I always get messages or compliments about how confident I am and questions on how to be that confident. What I think people don’t realize is no one is naturally just confident. There is always that breaking point in your life, then the realization that you are stronger than it. In middle school, I questioned my sexuality while others bullied me about it. I never thought that how a person felt for others would be such a big problem. I’d go home and cry for hours on end because I thought that God hated me. After I had finally graduated and attended an arts school, I started to realize no matter where you go there will always be that homophobic, racist, sexist group. 

I started to express myself through dance and makeup because that’s I’m good at that. It took me out of the issue I was in and made me realize that those issues that may matter to me now won’t matter in the future. Life is like a video game. Therefore, when you have the controller, don’t hand it to anyone else. Now I try to teach others to be more confident in themselves and to love themselves because if you don’t love yourself, no one else will.”

Meet Anne

“Anne! My Anne Pie! ♥️ Anne is honestly one of the most beautiful, selfless, down to earth, most genuine and alongside dead beat gorgeous beings on this planet. She’s the type to put the feelings, security and well being of others above her very own any day! The type of person to give whatever she can under any circumstances to anyone in need. Anne loves, cares and helps people so willingly... its like its natural, and is honestly one of the most beautiful things about her that she probably doesn't realize! 

Anne is BEAUTIFUL. Shes UNIQUE. Shes LOVING. Shes a damnn QUEEN. 🌹 Anne feeds a purpose far beyond what she can even understand, like every other human being that lives and/or ever lived on the face of this earth.

She is such an abstract thinker, with an extremely loving personality, shes intelligent, strong, resilient, and so very humble. Anne also loves puppies, just thought Id out that out there :) Anne loves. She just lovess, lovess and loveesss some more! Aint noone as loving, positive, uplifting and with a smile as bright as My Anne Pie's.”

- Written by one of her good friends, Sky.

Meet Shahara

"My thoughts on Valentine's Day? I think that Valentine's day is a day to show all your loved ones additional love since one should be showing love not just on a holiday. Also, most think that Valentines Day is the day to show your lover some love, but it is also a day to so your family/Friends and especially yourself some additional love.  It is very important to build a healthy relationship with yourself, because how can one truly love others if that person does not love his/her self. “ One must have in order to give”. Over the years I have grown to love myself more and more and most who know me know it. Some may say I’m too cocky, or too full of my self , but if loving myself unconditionally means that im too “cocky”, Then I guess the I’m the most cockiest person in the world. Call me Ms. Cocky.  The most important thing is, is to just LOVE YOURSELF!”

Meet Aliyah

"Hi there! When people ask me what I think of Valentine's Day, I absolutely think it's an amazing day because I get to eat a ton of chocolate! But on the other hand, recognizing self-love is way more fun than eating chocolate because it means so much to me as a young girl who has been trying to love myself more each day. Growing up, many people have always known me as being so tiny and skinny while always telling me to eat more. As I entered middle school, more people decided to proceed and tell me to eat more to gain weight. Honestly, I eventually realized that I should love my body and myself for who I am and not listen to others opinion on me. So here I am still learning to accept my body and myself! Attending the Flaunt It event really made me feel the girl empowerment in the atmosphere and I had a awesome time. Thanks for having me. Love, Aliyah 💗” 

Meet Kareena

“Valentine’s Day is known for being a day of love and romance, but what most people think is that they need a significant other to celebrate it. Valentine’s Day is not only a day for couples but it’s also a day for loving yourself, and it is essential that people understand this. When you love yourself, it just makes everything better. I personally have had self-esteem issues for more than half of my life, and I have had the mindset that I need someone to love me before I can love myself (which I thankfully, no longer have). Struggling with self-esteem issues is one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had because it tears you up inside. It makes you avoid mirrors, and it just makes life so much harder.

All from when you turn on the tv, go on social media or even read a magazine you see all these “perfect” people. But what our young minds don’t understand (or at least mine didn’t) is that there is no “perfect” way to look. You don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful, and you don’t need to have that “beach body” to go rock the beach. One thing I started doing to regain my self-esteem was, I began to focus on the things that make me beautiful. Instead of tearing myself down, I’d compliment myself. Another thing I did was, I tried being around more positive people that also loved themselves and the people around them. Being around positive people and starting to be more optimistic about life is what helped me to regain my self-confidence the most. This is what I have to say about Valentine’s Day and self-love.”