This series of self-portraits investigates my experience of growing-up looking and feeling ethnically "other" from the majority of my community in Midwestern America. From a young age, I have been posed with the question of "What are you?" in reference to my Norwegian, Lebanese, and Jewish heritage. This question caused me confusion, curiosity, and pain and with it grew a wonder of how would my life might have been if the genetic dice had been rolled differently. I wanted to know how I would feel to see another possible version of me.
I approached the transformative process by referencing ancestral family photos for various features, my ethnic heritage, and researching scientific lists of recessive and dominant genes. Through the application of make-up, wigs, and Photoshop I altered my appearance again and again, each time with different combinations of possible physical attributes. The process of reimagining my appearance created an altered sense of identity and mindset. During the transforming, photographing, and editing of this work more questions about self arose: “Who is this woman?”, “How is her life different from mine?”, and “What ethnic group does she identify with?” The deep connection between our appearance, heritage, and identity emerged as the overlying theme for this body of work.