WHY DO YOU USE MAKEUP?
I guess why I do it, is 'cause I pretty much want to feel good about myself.
Sometimes, I don't and when I do I feel like I just have my life together, which is great also too. I realize I wanna project a certain image about myself, or maybe project a certain aspect and personality that maybe people can't really know unless you talk to me. So through doing my hair and makeup, even my look now, it projects a certain like, "Oh I am kind of maybe fun, and maybe creative." All these things. So I guess I want people to know that about me, when they initially meet me.
What it entails, which is funny, because it's what I'm studying, it's pretty much people who are Latina who have indigenous identity within them, that is more of black heritage essentially from South America.
Even the indigenous people who live in South America like ancestors like Incan, Mayans they predominantly had darker pigmentation's in their skin, and then mostly the ones you see on TV who are lighter skinned really white pale essentially, they're actually more of the white Latinas who have more of their heritage from that of Spain. From that concept, I guess why I identify as for a while, unfortunately I wasn't very proud of my black heritage. I kind of had this weird thing where I wanted to remove it, or to detach it from me and then just say,
"Oh I'm just strictly Latina, or Hispanic, or Spanish." 'Cause the whole identity of being Latina is so complex, and there's so many different layers. For a while I said Spanish, but then I learned about it more, and I'm like, "That's not right." So I said Latina, but I'm like, "I don't think I'm right either." So Hispanic, what is the correct term for me? And it's weird, 'cause you don't think, "I don't need to identify myself, I'm just me." But there is in a way, you feel like you need to because it's kind of part of you that chose who you are. I talked to people, learned more about myself and I'm like, "I am so, so proud to have both of these identities within me." My mom is Bolivian, and my dad is Trini'. So, I'm super proud that I have those two heritages within me.
I want people to know that I am part black as well, 'cause people, they don't believe I am. It was weird in high school people would say, my friend she was black and she was telling me when she learned I was black she was like, "Really? You don't act black." And then I thought about it I'm like, "What is black?" Or, is there a certain quota to be a certain ethnicity, or a race. So it got me to question about who am I, or what am I. I want people to know that I am black. You shouldn't just bi-pass me that like, "Yeah I speak Spanish and that, and it's half bilingual too, but I also have my black side. I have my father's side, who I adore and love, and the whole culture and beauty within it is just,amazing. So how can you not be proud of it?
Navigating beauty & ANTI BLACKNESS
It is still very pervasive about whiteness is the epitome of beauty and everyone has to achieve it no matter what culture you are in, even if it's Black, even if you're Asian, even Native, it's still the underlining tone of having anti-Blackness within it. Especially within Latino communities there's this phrase called ‘Mejorar la Raza’, which means to better the race, which is extremely problematic because it's implying you should be with somebody who is a lighter complexion of you so then your children will have the lighter complexion, hence to better their race, you know?
And even what I see on TV, like really the white Latinas. I never noticed it before, but now that I'm hopefully more knowledgeable I see it now. Even though it's getting better, I really hope that companies who are taking on this whole social justice act are not just doing it for the money or just for the quick trend appeal because then that's two steps back, essentially, I want it to be actually genuine, the representation of beauty, you're not just adding in the Black girl just because it's like, "Oh, we gotta meet that quota."
CRUElTY FREE MAKEUP
What I look for in makeup now, even if I'm with a student budget, is still I want to make sure they're all cruelty free because I am vegetarian. I want to extend that to what I use, even with my hair, with makeup, I always ensure all my products are good or they have good labor laws. One of my favourite brands I absolutely love, wish I could afford more, but I love still is Anastasia Beverly Hills, I really love their contouring, their highlighting, it's just on point. Even the powder, doesn't matter what I get from them I love it. Even too their tones, I like that it's complimentary on my skin tone, and even my sister who's younger than me and she has a darker complexion than me, and it still works on her.
Gotta shout it out to Rihanna and her Fenty, Fenty Beauty. I love how bold she is, and I would love that for more makeup or hair companies to be more experimental.
To say, "Hey, we got you.We know your experiences could be invalidated in society, but you know what? We see you."
Even going to Sephora now, I check the line, all the darker shades there are still sold out or they're not there still, it just shows there is a market and people really need stop ignoring them, we're hungry for this, you know? Like Black Panther, you see the premiers, people walking in with jerk chicken and everything, like dressed up and everything, that thing was sold out.
I came out the womb and then apparently I had a full on Afro as a kid. Yeah, it's still there, and then I grew up my hair was extremely curly, right? I was happy with my hair, I always loved long hair, but I guess as I grew older more your pre-teenish, high school-ish, I kind of didn't. I was in this phase I really didn't like curly hair at all, I would just straighten it. I got to a point I would just straighten it only, and I didn't know hair beauty care at the time, so I was shedding everything. I can't say I was in this phase 'cause it's still kind of within me, I have my issues with curly hair 'cause sometimes I don't know how to maintain it back then, I didn't know what to do with it half the time, or just be out of my way, in my face, and even as a kid I had lice with it, so I had extra paranoia within me, I'm like, "Oh my God, I don't want to catch this again." If my hair is out, I always keep it in a bun, always keep it closed off and hidden. That was an issue, so I would really just love it straight. I remember I got my hair cut one time, I was in grade seven, It was a really bad hair cut, what the hairdresser did, they made my hair in the back really short, and then the top layers of my hair long,they pretty much thinned out my hair. When I went to the hairdressers people didn't really know what to do with my hair, they'd say, "Oh, layer it. Thick layer." But they didn't know how to handle it because my hair is super thick, they don't know what to do and how to cut it, especially with cutting it because if you don't cut curly hair correctly it's gonna look so botched after you have that first wash.
My hair was short for a while, which I absolutely loved 'cause it was free. It was weird because that was holding me back I felt since I had such mixed feelings about my hair for so long, you know, I really didn't like it. I realized it wasn't harmful back then, but now I look back on it, I'm like, "That's kind of mean-ish." She called me big hair, I guess that was a playful term, right? I didn't realize, now I look back on it, I'm like, "Oh, I didn't like when people called me big hair." Or this and that because I thought it was derogatory towards me, which I know it shouldn't be because everyone has different textures of hair, but I don't know why I felt like it was an insult. Usually she said it playful, she's like, "Hey big hair, what's up?" And I would play it off and be like, "Whatever girl."Now I realize why it bugged me because I didn't like it, I didn't like when people called me that, and also issues of how I viewed myself with Black heritage.
Now, I treat my hair better because now I know how to actually handle it. All of my hair products before were more towards white people hair, you know, doesn't do shit to our hair. For a while, I was so problematic, convincing myself I don't have Black hair, I just have thicker hair, 'cause even with my own family ... Back to issues of anti-Blackness in Latino families, they're like, "Oh, you're not fully Black, or you still have that part in you, it's still there." I guess they want to because my complexion doesn't look Black, it must be in my hair too, but then ... No. No. No, my hair is thick and kinky, so I didn't know how to deal with my hair for the longest time, but then I decided, "F*ck it. I'm gonna get proper products." I got this brand called Mixed Chicks, I love their deep moisturizer. I've got argan oils, different types of oils for my hair and I realized my hair can't use cream, it needs oils to maintain and just grow healthier, less dry.
Now, when I style my hair, if I straighten it, if I do whatever to it, even colour in there, like my hair is fine now. It's better, and I realized I gotta stop rejecting myself and then just embrace 'cause then you're just doing more harm to yourself if you try to tear it off. Even in my hair right now currently it's like a grayish, I'm still trying to lighten it. I'm still playing around, you know, not to say I don't like my curly hair because I do, but I realized it's something within me I need to really gotta embrace way more 'cause I keep my hair up a lot. it's something I know I still really gotta work on to embrace of myself.
ALEX CREATED A COMIC BOOK SERIES BASED AROUND AN AFRO LATINA CHARACTER. CHECK OUT THIS EXCERPT, AND FOLLOW ALEX FOR MORE AT https://www.instagram.com/alexandriakingly/?hl=en AND https://www.regiistudio.com/