“Women are intrinsically powerful. But I realized that many of the women in my life don’t always have a space to express their power. I wanted to create a project to change this and give them that space.”
This is what inspired photographer and college student Aditi Kulkarni to launch The Red Lips Project, a tumblr page packed with stunning photos of women from all walks of life accompanied by personal quotes about what makes them feel powerful. But these unique individuals share one thing in common… they’re all rockin’ red lipstick.
“As a photographer, I have always been fascinated by the imagery of red lips. To me, red symbolizes power; it is a sign of strength and courage,” Aditi explains on her page. So each of her subjects is required to pucker up for the camera in their favorite shade of the crimson hue, but every other detail in the photograph is left entirely up to them.
In the end, the lipstick is merely an outward illustration of the true power that lies within each woman, which is why Aditi gives them the opportunity to express where their power comes from in their own words.
Her goal is pure and simple… to encourage women to take the time to remind ourselves why we are powerful. Great advice!
Here are just a few examples of the women Aditi has photographed for the project, to date. View them all here.
All photos property of Aditi Kulkarni and The Red Lips Project.
“I would say that being 40 and not really caring what anyone thinks about you anymore is pretty empowering. This is the first time I’ve had lipstick on in many, many years, and its liberating as a person and as a woman to not have to think about all the time what you look like or what other people are thinking about you. It makes it a lot easier to live your life that way.”
“What makes me feel powerful is being confident enough to be open to family and friends about my mental health and knowing that they will continue to love me despite the battles I’m fighting.”
“As a woman, I feel powerful when I am being true to myself, and am also speaking up for other women and standing up for women’s issues that are relevant throughout history and currently, as well as helping both women and men see women in a positive light so that they’re not always stereotyped, abused, or treated indecently by other people in the community.”
“I feel powerful when I see women like me succeeding; women who have risen above the same institutional disadvantages that I face inspire me and let me know that I can thrive even when I feel helpless. Seeing powerful Asian-American women makes me feel like I have the potential to change the world.”
“Knowledge makes me feel powerful, especially when I can take knowledge and create new ideas with it. Knowledge is something that no one can take away from you.”
“What makes me feel powerful is having the opportunity to wake up every day to accomplish that day better than the day before.”
“I have always grown up around communities of diverse cultures and faith backgrounds, and what makes me feel powerful is engaging in the interfaith dialogue that comes from these communities. I have seen faith bring the most unlikely of people together towards the common goal of making a difference in our community and this always encourages me in a world where religion is used for ego rather than for the inward empowerment. Personally, faith gives me the courage to stand up for my own ideas and a motivation to learn outside of my comfort zone that comes from the belief that my purpose in life goes beyond my immediate environment.”