Cynthia Besteman, October 2021
Cynthia Besteman's Story Behind Beauty
Cynthia is a good friend of SaltyGirl Beauty, nay we think she'd want us to say that Cynthia is a GREAT friend and one of our best collaborators! The beauty she exudes and the empowerment + badassery that she spreads is something that inspires us daily! We've teamed up with Cynthia on efforts surrounding our breast cancer journey as well as through our Warrior Revolution organization. Cynthia is an honorary SaltyGirl, passionate business owner and advocate for the Breast Cancer Community... let's just say that we love her, alright?
We've asked Cynthia a few questions about her journey, her brand Violets are Blue and what she feels makes her beautiful. We're so excited to share our friend Cynthia with you!
Tell us the story that led you to start your company, sharing yourself with people and creating community?
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer out of the blue in 2011 at the age of 46. No family history, I had been a vegan for 20 years and did all the things one is supposed to do to stay healthy. I was also in this weird age slot where I wasn't considered a Young patient (45) but considered too young by all other standards. To say I took the diagnosis poorly is an understatement. I needed to go into therapy and be put on antidepressants, I was devastated and convinced I was going to die. As I learned more about my diagnosis, I truly started to feel mine was environmentally driven and began changing everything in my life.
From Pots, bedding, rugs, shower curtains, to doing Reiki, acupuncture and Reiki, you name it, I did it or changed it! I didn't think about skincare until I was at the pharmacy picking up my prescription and the woman in front of me received an ointment for her daughter that would be put on the skin and go into her blood stream. I though hmmmm, what in the world am I putting on my skin that is going into my blood stream?! Cut to me googling and freaking out about the labels on my products!
I then started taking classes on how to make my own product and not only did I make it for myself but the people I was in treatment with. At the end of my treatment, my oncology team thought how great it was that I used organic skincare and "wouldn't it be great to offer it to patients!" Well right there and then, I knew why I went through all of this (or at least convinced myself that was why I went through all of this!) I let my husband take over our Real Estate business and I started working with a bio chemist to create what would become Violets Are Blue.
I started with a chemo safe line and then launched a line for "every" body. Creating this gave me control back of my life and help push the fear of recurrence away, having a focus really helped me. They company launched in 2015 and we haven't looked back! We are now in over 40 stores worldwide! I must say, I also met a TON of amazing women on my journey who are now my closest friends, who are also business owners due to their cancer journeys (wink wink) It feels weird to be grateful for something so terrible and I'm not always at ease with what happened to me, but I always try and be grateful.
Was there a switch that went off or was it a slow journey to the confidence you exude now?
Uh, I don't know if I could fully say I have confidence! I wish I could say that I did but a lot of what I do is "fake it til you make it". There are days where I think "I've got this" but those are fleeting. I think because I don't have a business background, am not a spring chicken and am not a young survivor, I battle a lot with myself about where I fit in. I think it's okay to feel this way as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other. I think it's also okay to let women know, you may not feel you have it all together, but that doesn't mean you can't start something, or try something or just be okay with being in the mess of it all. I think today, there is so much pressure for everyone to have it all together (thank you social media) and that it really messes with people's psyche's when they feel not 100%. I think having a lack of confidence may be what drives me! I need to prove I deserve a seat at the table. Maybe that's not the healthiest thing but I think it's important to let women know most of us are struggling no matter where we are in life.
Do you have any struggles that you want to share that you overcame?
I have gone through periods of time where I had crippling anxiety. I started getting panic attacks on stage when I was acting on Broadway and that triggered a really hard time in my life of having daily attacks for a year. This was back when no one spoke about anxiety so I lived in a personal hell for 2 years. I'm prone to attacks however a lot has changed in the world regarding how we handle anxiety and I have the tools to get through them! It can be as simple as breathing exercises or pushing into them that stops them in their tracks! I feel incredibly sympathetic to those who deal with anxiety as it is so incredibly debilitating! (that just one of a MILLION struggles I deal with!! :) )
What do you love about yourself and your unique beauty?
I LOVE my scars. That may sound weird but something about them shows me a life lived. Each scar carries a memory of something overcome, a good time gone awry or a childhood memory I'll forever have like waterfall shenanigans!
Do you or someone you know have an amazing story that you want to share? Through all of our life struggles, we firmly believe that your beauty shines through it all. If you think you have an interesting story behind your brand of beauty, we're looking for real women, with real life stories, to share with our community. Fill out our survey to share it with us!SUBMIT YOUR STORY HERE