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Skinowl's Annie Tevelin On The Sacrifices Of Business

Business

I am a consumer. I am just like you. I struggled for years with skin issues and after countless visits to dermatologists and tons of money thrown into skincare products, I was left with minimal positive results. I realized I was just like millions of other women who had nowhere to turn. There were a lot of salespeople telling me; "This will REALLY work," and selling me a lot of products that, in the end, did nothing to help my severe acne and eczema.


It was then that I realized my results were in the ingredients of the products I was using vs. what was being marketed to me. While working on commercial and music video sets as a professional makeup artist, as well as for a top luxury brand, I enrolled in a post-graduate program at UCLA & received a certificate in Cosmetic Chemistry. From there, I learned the truth about what is truly best for the skin, and more importantly, what works and stays working. From this knowledge came SkinOwl, a skincare company that allowed women to feel as good as they looked.

It was from following this path I found that when I made the choice to care for myself on a small level, it opened the door to more impactful and authentic transformations.....and sacrifices. While most everyone I knew were in stable occupations and spending their hard earned money on vacations and certain "life upgrades," I was buying amber glass bottles and living the frugal life of the "self employed." I wasn't around for many of the birthday parties and couldn't attend my friend's weddings, due to the amount of work on my plate and money needing to be spent on the business. I quickly had to learn how to manage my money, my company's money and the many people who would eventually come to work with me. It was a different life than most everyone I knew, which at times felt lonely and out of touch with everyone else's reality. It was most certainly the less traveled path, the harder road, but worth it.

After five years of being an entrepreneur, despite the setbacks, the overdrawn accounts, and the countless lessons learned the hard way, I can honestly say I wouldn't have it any other way. Where there have been sacrifices, there have been gains - I've learned more about myself from growing a business than I would have if I had stayed an employee in my last job. I've met some of the most inspiring people, many of whom I never would have met if I wasn't in need of help and guidance along the way. I've learned the importance of saying no, creating boundaries and saving a little room for forgiving myself if I don't run my business "perfectly."

This is the greatest gift, one that has made me a more well rounded person and has given me a true appreciation for taking a risk and leaving a mark on your time on Earth.

​From owning a business, I've realized that my personal life can often collide with my professional life. These are my "Top Five Tips" for igniting selfcare in a world that can easily feel chaotic:

1) Wake up the same time everyday - This creates consistency. From consistency, I am able to go to bed at a certain time and ensure that I'm ready to rock once my alarm goes off.

2) Get outside - Walking my dog in the morning BEFORE checking my emails has made me a better, more focused worker. When I sit down to work, I'm relaxed and present.

3) Say No - I've always thought NO was me being negative. Or me not being a team player. But that's only when "No" becomes about the people I'm saying no vs. how it effects me. Saying "No" has allowed me to take stock in my schedule and my bandwidth and see what is genuinely leftover for the people I love and want to share my life with. Without the power of "No," my world will be crowded, chaotic and exhausting.

4) Meditate - I used to hear this all of the time. "Meditate, Annie, it will change your life." I never listened until this year. And everyone was right. There is something about giving yourself 10-30 minutes of silence, mostly with how much information we receive daily. My brain shuts down. It's healthy to give my brain a real rest outside of sleep. It has changed my life.

5) Bring snacks everywhere - Gone are the days that I go 5 hours without eating. This made me tired, cranky, and not as sharp. Now I bring a little bag of snacks with me everywhere, i.e. nuts, dried fruit, dried snap peas, granola, etc. And I hard boil eggs, which makes it easy to grab something full of protein whenever I'm on the go.

Culture

A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.


Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.