'Let's embrace the raw and real us': Mika shares her unedited photos

The Know Your Value founder says, “I’m 52 and I want to be realistic about the changes happening with my face and body as we age. Women over 50 are under enough ridiculous pressure. Does it matter we look older? Aren’t we stronger, wiser and better?”
An unedited photo of "Morning Joe" co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
An unedited photo of "Morning Joe" co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.Anthony Scutro

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By Mika Brzezinski

Last week, I posted a professional but unedited photo of Joe and me on Know Your Value’s Instagram account. Before that, however, I posted the edited, “done up” picture on my personal account.

I then went out for a run and started to think, “Why didn’t I just post the real version?” Would I have gotten less likes? Should I care? What am I trying to prove?

So, I said the following to the Know Your Value community when I posted the unedited version:

“I’m 52 and I want to be realistic about the changes happening with my face and body as we age. Women over 50 are under enough ridiculous pressure. Does it matter we look older? Aren’t we stronger, wiser and better?”

The response was massive, empowering and so “us”!

“It would be an immeasurable gift to our daughters and granddaughters to embrace our outward signs of growing older and wider and indeed happier,” wrote Barb Webb. “By allowing our silver hair, lines and drooping skin, and shifting our bodies to be revealed and celebrated, we make it easier for them to resist the unnecessary, wasteful and damaging need to fight the inevitable. We must celebrate all the abundance that comes with aging: more wisdom, more happiness, more patience, more clarity and more contentment.”

“Aging is a privilege I’m grateful for. Why do we think we have to edit to appear younger? This is such a wonderful time of life,” said Becky Haley.

“What I see is a strong, empowered woman,” said Rhonda Jackson.

I loved the response. It was exactly what I was hoping for. A real conversation and validation with an issue we all struggle with. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to brush up what we really look like.

This is all connected to a lifelong struggle with my body image, whether it be my weight, the way I look on television, the pressure to dress a certain way, or the favoritism the so-called “beauty queens” received.

Trying to keep up has been hurtful and exhausting. That’s why I’m done with expensive skin treatments, Botox, and surgical tweaks. Life is too precious to be worried about the superficial.

The edited photo version of Mika Brzezinski and Scarborough, left, versus the unedited photo, right.Anthony Scutro

I want to continue the conversation by issuing a call to action to you. Send me unfiltered photos of your beautiful faces. Let’s embrace the raw and real us.

Let’s do an unfiltered photo exchange and celebrate what we really look like! Anybody up for it?

We will post your photos on social and right here on our website.

And let’s all (myself included) think twice before dusting out the wrinkles under our eyes or whitening our teeth. Is what we really look like so unlikeable?

What are we saying to our daughters if everything has to be edited to perfection? It’s kind of exhausting isn’t it?

Send us your amazing and unedited pics to knowyourvalue@nbcuni.com.