Full disclosure, I Google myself sometimes. Not in a narcissistic way like I enjoy seeing myself across Google images, LOL. Moreso, in the way that it’s often how I find out that certain styling work of mine has been published or that I’ve gotten some cool press I would have otherwise not known about. I happened to be up pretty late last night when I decided to run a quick search and discovered, to my biggest surprise, my image on the web sites of two major women’s magazines, Seventeen and Marie Claire!
I’ve followed model Shaun Ross’s career pretty much since the beginning so when I signed up for Instagram a few years ago he was one of the very first people I followed. I watched him grow in popularity from under 20k followers, to 100k, to around 244k where he stands today. I remember when he first started his #InMySkinIWin campaign. I loved the hashtag and everything that he was promoting by encouraging others to use, share, and embrace it. I instantly started using it on all of my selfies to add to the momentum. He even reposted my image to his different social networks a few times.
I’m pretty open about admitting my road to self-love was a long and rocky one. There just wasn’t anyone like me to look up to when I was growing up and it made me feel very strange and ugly. I was nearly out of my teenage years before unique faces like Shaun’s started being celebrated in the fashion industry. In the past few years I myself have received a growing amount of attention for my unique appearance and at first I really wasn’t sure how I felt about it. How could something that had always made me stick out in a negative way now make me stand out in a positive way? Sometimes I felt fetishized when people would refer to me as “exotic”. This was back before that word became the compliment it is today. I would think to myself ‘Plants are exotic. Animals even. But people?’
I didn’t set out to be any kind of role model or advocate for anything. I just wanted attention for my art and somewhere along the way found myself getting some attention too. Now that I have the faintest little spotlight on me (more like a flashlight, LOL) I own it and am comfortable in that role if it helps others like me gain self-love, self-acceptance, and body positivity. I love the new standards of beauty that are shaking up the fashion industry today and I’m happy to join in and contribute to the growing movement. Thanks so much Seventeen and Marie Claire for hearing all of our voices and giving us a microphone :).
See the full Seventeen article here.
Click here to read the full Marie Claire article.