Whenever anyone calls the Daniel Thompson Beauty offices our automated system kicks in with the lyrical sound of The Voice of Daniel Thompson Beauty. I was asked, once, how we programmed such a realistic voice into our phone system. What most people don't know is The Voice is a real person. Years ago we enlisted the talents of a professional voice actor who perfectly personified everything we represent, as a company, in an auditory fashion. She is, however, much more than just The Voice on our phones.
Mariette Slutyer is an extraordinary artist, a mother (through marriage) in a blended family, a caregiver to her own mother, and a community activist. Mariette is the everywoman for which I created Daniel Thompson Beauty products.
Mariette Sluyter is the social innovator behind The Foundation Lab. As a Tedx speaker she travels across the country sharing her approach at various conferences on arts based engagement, community development and community leadership.
She is responsible for guiding and creating the highly controversial & acclaimed “Seniors A GOGO” and "The Wise Journey.” Her work “[email protected],” featured at the Calgary International Children’s Festival, was a collective creation with 20 youth from around Calgary exploring the personal and systemic nature of bullying. Her brainchild “The East Village Vaudeville Spectacular” took on inner city redevelopment and gentrification in an unprecedented theatre & community building event. The collection of personal, community service and historical stories served to illuminate the vast divide between rich and poor that was being created in many communities.
In a partnership with Ryerson University, her work with newcomers to Canada produced the powerful interactive musical theatre conversation: “Don’t You Know How To Be Canadian?!” The following year that same partnership produced: “Stories Unsung” an examination of lateral violence between Aboriginal professionals.
Currently she is working with the National Film Board on a digital documentary based on a project to reduce social isolation across cultures through the universal food: bread.
When she is not doing all of that she lends her voice to many organizations, agencies and products. She is best known for her anime work including such hits as: My-Hime, My-Otome, Mega Man, Dragon Ball, Ceres, Tomato Twins, Angel Links, Crest of the Stars, Gregory Horror Show, Di Gi Charat Nyo.
As you can see she is incredibly busy and her energy is limitless, yet no matter how busy she is Mariette always has time to chat and to laugh. As I got to know her I realized my personal philosophies, about beauty, and hers were very alligned. It's never a dull moment with Mariette — she truly inspires me.
Recently I asked her to tell me her definition of beauty:
"When most of us think about beauty we often experience a sense of coming from a deficit. I feel fortunate that my study of patterns of human behavior has helped me see that much of what is “traditional” beauty comes from a place of fertility. Which is why we see the young as beautiful and often see the “beauty” industry encouraging us to mimic those indicators. From a sociological or anthropological point of view it’s remarkable, simple and understandable.
As a woman, who spent her life struggling to understand this, I have only recently come to understand there are many approaches to beauty.
What I see real beauty to mean, is an approach to life that transcends the limitations put on us by this convention. This means approaching yourself as a piece of a larger story in the story of humanity."
Mariette will next be a presenter at the Power of the Arts National Forum, hosted by the former Governor General Michaëlle Jean's Foundation, in Ottawa on September 27. This forum is open to the public and I encourage anyone who wants to learn how the arts, arts programs and community involvement changes our social fabric to attend. Mariette will be speaking about how arts programs can be used to bring greater public awareness to some of the issues surrounding urban gentrification such as who is displaced, where do they go and what is the social impact of wealth and poverty divides.