Sanna, 32

I’m a driver’s education instructor by profession, so I teach at a driving school. I like it a lot, and I always feel positive about going to work. I think there’s more to the job than just the mechanical side, like how to use the clutch and so on. A lot of the young students are in a delicate phase of their lives and need encouragement. I try to be a model of a strong adult for them, and tell them that they’re good just the way they are.

Sometimes that feels funny, since it’s so hard for me to accept myself and the way I look.

I’ve never really liked what I see in the mirror or photos of myself. I don’t have a problem with what’s below the neck, but my face bothers me. I feel like my eyes are different sizes. My skin was also really bad for a long time, and it’s still not in a great condition.

It was a big relief when I got glasses. They hide my eyes a little. I also wear sunglasses quite often, for example when I teach driving. I can hide behind them, and it helps me turn my personal self into my professional self.

Some years ago I was even more critical of my looks than I am now. At that time, I had several crises in my life all happening at once. My mom got cancer, I was unable to get pregnant and my relationship was crumbling, too. The childlessness in particular brought feelings of inadequacy, which then turned into self-loathing.

Now I don’t have a mother anymore, but my husband and I have two children. I’ve had to get used to going to the store with my hair unwashed, when I just don’t have time to wash it. That’s something I wouldn’t have done before.

At first, I didn’t even tell my husband that I was gonna come to this photoshoot. I was ashamed. Besides, I’ve long played the role of a self-sufficient adult. I don’t have many friends in my life with whom I would talk frankly about my feelings.

One reason for that is probably because I’ve had bad experiences of talking. At times when I’ve tried, people have belittled my experiences. If I tried to tell my acquaintances that I’m not happy with the way I look, I doubt that they would understand. After all, other people maybe can’t see the cause of the dissatisfaction. 

I’ve told my husband about this project by now, though. He just asked why I didn’t tell him earlier.

On the trip to Helsinki when I met Outi for the photo, I bought a long-awaited graduation present for myself: Minna Parikka’s Raquel heels. I wanted to wear them for the shoot even though you can’t see them in the final picture. I think they are the most beautiful things in the world.