Stories in Progress: Under the Skin

Su La Po

An American Vampire once told me that the bruises, cuts, and marks you obtain are your road map through life. They show you where you’ve been, the mistakes you’ve made, and what you’ve done. As she explains this lesson, she laments that after being turned into a vampire, the marks on her skin are healed and she feels like part of her is gone. She still knows the stories but it was if they are written in sand and the ocean washes them away. As I read this, it makes me think: what about the marks you don’t see? What about the wrinkles that form in your brain, how the rhythm of your heart beats, and how your bones and muscle ache? We may never have the same scars, cracks, and scar tissue but we all go through it. In recognizing this, we must not forget we heal differently too and that not all marks are found on the surface.

Madison Schill’s new site Su La Po (Sous la Peau) wants the site to “feel like the first day of Fall or the first bloom of Spring.” The title comes from the phonetic spelling of “under the skin” in French and is a space that is dedicated “to talk about fashion and beauty in the same way you talk to your best friend — if that best friend, was, say, a philosopher, scientist, or fashion insider. Or all three.” The posts you find here will make it seem like you’re talking to a friend in your living room or over the kitchen counter with wine, and the way the past week has been, lots of wine. Madison writes as if she has nothing holding her back. She wants her words and lessons learned to find their way into your heart and head. She speaks with urgency but never feels rushed as if she understands that the discussion only starts when you hit the “Publish” button. She’ll give you lessons on how to make your own facial oil, share conversations with her grandmother, and how the fashion industry is evolving. In between she leans on her personal experiences with the industry and is able to step back, internalize what she has learned, and use it to tell her story. Su La Po does not miss their mark on storytelling. They use words, pictures, songs, and clothing to facilitate the change they want in the world.

There is a certain edge and rawness that comes with being open with your thoughts, specifically your struggles. In her posts it’s clear Madison does not need someone else’s shield to protect her. She confronts her anxiety, passion, and future as if she is fighting the ocean. Some days she makes progress, other days she is swept up, but one thing never changes: she never stops kicking. This is never more apparent than her latest post about the election and what to do next. The world feels grey and there’s no room left for eloquence but her message roars through: fear will not win. She will be one of the many voices to lead in the coming years and her message to other women is to join her. As you read her words you can feel her keystrokes through the screen, you feel the restlessness and passion come through. You read her words and can feel what’s underneath.

May her words find those who need them most, “All of us underestimate just how powerful we can be. Women could have won this election. We didn’t, and now, we must lead the change.”


Follow Madison on Twitter and Instagram. Subscribe to Su La Po and check out her other site Mind Over Model.

If you’re interested in reading more by Madison I suggest you start with her Glamour story.


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