August is typically defined as respected and impressive and it’s no wonder that #Bossbabe, wellness coach, and upcoming blogger, Marla Cicchino, better known as Marla Chicky, is not only an empowering woman but happens to be the Project’s first Muse. I had the opportunity to chat with her through Skype as we both lived in different states and different time zones. She looked comfortable in shorts and a bright pink top alongside with a statement necklace, her hair in effortless bun – she alluded an ethereal presence before we sat down and talked.
Although her blog has not yet launched, I could tell how excited she was as she gushed over some of the niches she wanted to cover, body image and fashion being just a few. Although she currently works a full-time job at a multi-level marketing company, I found it amazing that she has the time to do it all, but she tells me that it’s a process that combines healthy eating, creating schedules, and knowing your priorities. Being a busy person myself, I often found myself agreeing with her as I, too often do the same. Despite this, she manages to make time for other things, too. Recently, she and her brother volunteered at Camp Fatima this summer, a non-profit organization that is designed for children with developmental disabilities. “I’ve been going for fourteen years,” she tells me. “It’s a rewarding experience…I think that life gets so crazy that we forget how lucky you are, how blessed you are.” In addition, she and her mom, a retired art teacher, took up photography not too long ago. Shooting with a Sony Alpha A6000, she enjoyed “capturing those moments” despite its complexities. “It’s such a nice, creative expression.”
When we started discussing the origins of her blog, she admitted that the early stages are usually the most difficult. “You have all these ideas in your head and they kind of make sense to you, but you don’t know how it’s going to come out to other people.” But it seems like her ideas do make sense. For one, her private Facebook group made up of over 1,300 women share their stories and become ‘body cheerleaders’ towards one another, creating an uplifting space for the modern woman who feels that they don’t need to look like a supermodel to be beautiful. Chicky goes on to say that it’s one of the “ideas that finally made sense”, and I’m inclined to agree once again. As I continued to listen to what she had to say, there was, undoubtedly, a passionate sincerity in her voice.
“The only thing holding you back is you.”
-Marla on pursuing your goals
CB: Who are the fashion muses in your life?
MC: I would say my friend Hannah. She owns a boutique called Dear Hannah which is also in Texas as well. It’s very chic, modern – things that I like.”
CB: How would you define your style?
MC: Definitely glamorous and whimsical. On the weekends, I like to get dressed up, but I also like that whole relaxed look, too. People didn’t even know I owned sneakers until I started going to the gym. Right now, I love maxi dresses with the crop-top look; they’re just so flattering to me. You can look dressed up but comfortable at the same time. Of course, I love the off the shoulder shirt, too. I also love little touches like these pineapple earrings that give some personality to an outfit.
“It is important that you feel gorgeous. Do not emulate others.”
-Marla on finding your own style
CB: Aside from the on-trend off the shoulder top, what are your other favorite trends this summer?
MC: I love the midi dresses; they’re just so flattering. I also like the relaxed jean look with the Adidas sneakers as well as the chokers. Anything with buns and braids, too.
CB: Are there any bloggers you look up to?
MC: Definitely The Skinny Confidential. Lauryn writes in a very down to earth, hilarious style. I like that she’s entertaining and funny. She also covers a lot of different topics which is something I want to do with my blog. In terms of fashion, I love Gal Meets Glam; she’s beautiful yet simple. I love Hello Fashion Blog – that’s a great one. Also Southern Curls and Pearls and Carrie Bradshaw Lied – they’re so fantastic.
CB: Who is your first Style Icon?
MC: I’d have to say J.Lo. She’s always glowing and she never ages!
CB: Any words you like to tell anyone struggling with self-confidence?
MC: It’s an everyday struggle. You have to dig deep down and pin-point the qualities that you love about yourself that aren’t necessarily physical. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that you can’t place your worth in another person’s hands or outside of yourself, especially Instagram (did I get a 100 likes or 600?). The main point is: Do you really like yourself? Because it doesn’t matter if you get 60 or 1,000 – it’ll never be enough. We seek it too much from outside – a spouse, family members, work – because we’re too conditioned, especially women, to look outside of ourselves to feel reassurance. I know it’s not the easiest thing because I struggle with this every day, but it all comes down to what keeps you grounded. Whether it’s photography or volunteering or anything you’re passionate for, you have a feeling of self-worth.
What you put out there comes back to you.”
-Marla on giving back