There is a line. On one side of the line is the notion that beauty is only skin deep. It says that what the eye registers as beautiful goes only as deep as one’s skin and doesn’t actually break the shell. The idea is that what truly makes someone beautiful is how they carry themselves, their character and their personality – the things that the eye doesn’t “behold”. On the other side of the line is the fact that for years, women of color have been told that their physical attributes like their skin and hair texture are not “standards of beauty”. Our skin is not light enough, our hair texture, not professional enough. So the question remains, what side of the line is correct? If beauty is only skin deep and wasn’t something we were able to pick from birth, why celebrate it? Why talk about it at all? Why create an entire business based solely on shouting it from the rooftop?
I say, both and because seeing is believing. When I first started She Is This, my focus was on celebrating different shades. That was the plan. I’d create all of these different ladies, with their own names and be very intentional about the skin tones I gave each one. As my art evolved, I honed in on differentiating between hair textures and highlighting different skin types, adding in full face freckles and moles along with vitiligo and butterfly rashes. I’d get messages from women saying “That’s my hairstyle right now!” or videos from parents showing their daughters opening up their prints and saying “She looks like me!”. It’s the confidence and pride that comes with knowing your skin and hair are beautiful because you see it in a colorful print. This is why I create my art.
It’s not about having a pretty face. It’s about having the confidence to let your inside shine through to your outside. What helps that along is knowing that your outside is beautiful. Every shade, freckle, coil and curl is stunning and worth celebrating. It’s that same confidence that helps build and grow the character and the personality that the eye doesn’t know anything about. There is no standard of beauty. There is only you, with that gorgeous skin and that bomb hair, ready to face the world.