Sarah Rafferty is best known to fans as legal secretary and all-around badass Donna Paulsen on ‘Suits’, however the actress is now participating in Dove’s Self-Esteem Project, which touches young people, their teachers, and parents. Part of Dove’s campaign is to shed light on the development and growth of young women and girls and to highlight the importance that self-esteem has in their lives.
Obvious to many already, a study has shown that 90% of women and 86% of young girls in Canada have anxiety when it comes to their appearance, which means that they are unable to reach their full potential. Their perception often affects their health, their interpersonal relationships, and their academic performance.
Since the launch of Dove’s self-esteem project in 2004, Dove has been promoting self-esteem among young people, particularly young women and girls. Sarah shares with us some of the aspects that made this campaign appealing to her.
What has been your experience with self-esteem throughout your life?
I would say it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. People often ask me if I’m as confident as Donna and I tend to reply, “no, I’m an actor, I’m riddled with self doubt”. But at the same time I know I must have some confidence, or I wouldn’t have had the courage to even try to act. I tend to feel most confident when I’m most prepared. So I have confidence in my technique. That I know. If I give myself time to prepare and time to center myself, I feel much much better.
Has being in the spotlight helped you with your self-esteem or made it more of a challenge?
Both. I certainly feel scrutinized. I work in front of a camera. I’m a woman. I’m over 40. It’s a perfect storm of beauty related anxiety. But I have also discovered that I have subjected myself to a very narrow concept of beauty. Which is ridiculous because that’s not how I see the world, just how I seem to torture myself. So I’m in the process of breaking out of that. The support from our Suits fans has actually been incredibly helpful for me. I’m grateful for that.
What is Dove doing in particular that makes them stand out from other brands and how they’re helping young girls reach their full potential?
For over 10 years, Dove has been committed to supporting girls and women reach their full potential. As a brand they are pioneers in the arena of social responsibility. I’ve been incredibly impressed by the Dove Self Esteem Project and the Real Beauty Campaign. And today I am beyond proud to join the Look How Far We’ve Come campaign.
What advice would you give to girls and women who are struggling with self-esteem and self-image issues?
I would encourage them to have an honest conversation with their parents or teachers or mentors. And to check out the amazing resources at selfesteem.dove.ca.
If there is any advice you can give to your younger self, what would it be?
I’d say to my younger self “Be kind to yourself honey, relax, you’ve got this.”