The striking beauty of a woman who thrives in experience; knows who she is and pursues what she wants in life; who pays no attention to age, rules, or the boundaries of society's expectations are quite befitting for this narrative. There's a certain amount of confidence, wit, and nonchalance that evokes when liberating oneself  from the conformities of fear and expectation, to give into the human emotions you need to feed instead. There is no room for questioning what is appropriate or what may seem offensive. This woman just says what she needs to say and does what she needs to do. Period. No apologies.

For Kitty Brophy, artist and the featured muse that graces our pages of Territory with her non-conforming spirit in the editorial Beautiful Mess, there is an exhibition of this liberation and confidence, and her character couldn't shine any brighter through those piercing green eyes. Kitty has lived a lifetime of adventures, during the zeitgeist of the 1970s and early 1980s, she was a model, muse and artist in New York City, had many other fascinating destinations and occupations in between, and most recently returned to the beauty of her quiet desert roots thirty-five years later, with a epoch of stories to produce into enigmatic and bold unapologetic works of art.

She paints the picture of how to embrace a beautiful mess so well. Let's take a cue from Kitty, shall we? Life is not supposed to be so serious. Case in point; life is messy, but meant to be lived. You might as well nourish yourself in the splendor of looking fabulous at fifty-five, feeling thirty-five and filtering nothing. Pull yourself together and accept the good, the bad, the underlying crazy, and the polished—all at the same time. If you want to eat pink birthday cake in the bathroom all by yourself, do it. If diving into the pool in gold stilletos makes you feel like a million bucks, so be it. Whatever you do, just do it well. Because the truth is, we're all a beautiful mess.

On set, I chatted with Kitty about how she felt getting into this character for the camera to share with the world. She made it look effortless because she was free. The rules be damned, fuck the societal norms, beauty at any age, almost-punk sensibility that so many women of all ages, races and vocations have been embracing for generations, had this to say. "I am emboldened every day by people, especially women, young and old who remind me that the power to change society's norms and expectations are strengthened by joining ranks."


Photography: Puspa Lohmeyer | Creative Director: Sydney Ballesteros | Styling: Sydney Ballesteros + Erin Cox | Layout Design: Claire Seizovic | Talent: Kitty Brophy + Matthew Baquet | Makeup: Tangie Duffey | Hair: Christine Conery (Aveda) | Photo Assistants: Roman Kihl | Wardrobe Collaboration: How Sweet it Was Vintage, Southwest Vintage
*Special Thanks: Joe Sands, Carina Brokamp and Monica Weiss