There was a time I didn’t care. Instead of ballet lessons, I’d run around my grandmother’s fields with the boys. In my pants. I was four. Yet this feeling of playful disregard toward being anything close to lady-like stayed with me well into my early teens. I did eventually get into dancing and started at the age of six, but it was strictly and artistically abstract: suitable for both genders and nothing box-like (: traditional African dance, Hip-Hop and my favourite and long-term love, contemporary). Never mind that my mother was a model and dancer and always looked elegant whatever the weather, did I pray (literally pray) that I would one day end up looking and behaving like her? Sure. Did I want that to be ‘now’? Nope.
I started to care when I attended a secondary school that had a very strict dress code: kilt on or below the knee, shirt no-where to be seen beneath your fitted blazer. Most of my peers disregarded these rules – no matter how often they were stopped and ordered to fix themselves. I, on the other hand, didn’t necessarily feel as though these rules were an affront to my own quirky sense of style. It was school. I did notice how I stood out though. By then, my mother had transitioned from being a dancer to a fashion designer – so I had no excuse. Knowing she wouldn’t approve of me rolling up my skirt and walking around looking like I was pregnant nowhere but my lower stomach (the girls’ little bundles of cotton joy the evidence of their rebellion), I tried to think of a way to look cute despite my geeky get-up.
First came the subtle saviour, lip balm. Then her sister gloss chipped in to lend a hand. Still feeling like an odd role of fabric, I chose to show off my waist rather than hockey-trained thighs and wore my crisp white shirts tucked in and my kilt high-waisted. But, of course, when you go high-waisted ya gotsta have the heels… So, in year nine, began my complicated relationship with high heeled shoes – in a school environment. I only ever wore a full face (of makeup) when I had a performance or event to deal with. I became more interested in beauty from the inside out rather than the other way around. Even though I am far more interested in physical appearance and deportment nowadays than I have ever been, I still think that a measure of distance needs to be kept between me and how I create my image. When considering others’ beauty, I believe that natural is best. Naturally decent skin (due in part to genes, in part to a good diet and lifestyle), natural-esque makeup and, most importantly, a genuine, easy-going manner.
Having said that, there are some products I doubt I could live without (dramatically speaking, of course). For a while, I was into the winged eyeliner look. But then I got over it. I’m reconsidering going back to pencil, but the jury’s still out as to whether eye makeup is worth the days of grunge. I double and sometimes triple cleanse. First with any old soap or cleanser, then with coconut oil until I’m positive its all off. I’m quite fond of Charlotte Tilbury’s Eyes to Mesmerise range and have quite a thing for the Lancôme Teint Idole foundation, although I would love to use something a little more… green. What I adore is Jurlique’s Rosewater Balancing Mist, which I spritz as a toner after cleansing or throughout the day. I think it’s a fantastic way to be kinder to your skin. A little pricey, but I can honestly say it has lasted me a long time. Other products in these images shot by Pedro include a small jar of Dr Jackson’s coconut melt, which I got from Sable Beauty – though it’s a truly useful cosmetics e-shop for women of colour, there are products suitable for everyone. Also got a brown lipstick from Revlon, which I still use and a really great coloured eyeliner sent to me from GlossyBox.
Ladies, any tips, recommendations or stories around beauty secrets are welcome here. 😉
Photos by Pedro Antunes