Back in November 2017, I saw an Instagram post of a stunning little brown girl and I was so in awe that I went about searching for the source and lol, I came across @creativesoulphoto (the creative team behind the photoshoot). Needless to say, there were even more stunning photos of little brown girls & boys which left me totally speechless and proud.
The depth and creativity shown through all the photos with the girls & boys looking so confident and radiating were just out of this world. It made me wish something like this was available when I was younger to help me feel more confident in my own skin as a brown girl then and even now, I see myself still trying to have more confidence in my beauty and ability as a woman of colour which is improving for me in this new season.
For years, out in public, I walked with confidence but behind closed doors, I lived with such a big insecurity, ashamed of my brown (melanin) skin. Inwardly competing with my light-skinned sisters who got all the attention from the brothers and the world in general who saw them as the preferred type of what a Black person should be.
You see I was this skinny, lanky dark-skinned girl who was so conscious of not being pretty enough or sexy enough to be looked at. In school, I was forever skinny and this distressed me so much that I started breaking out in acne that carried on till my early adult years, and built a huge insecurity that grew to greater heights. I felt I had nothing within to use or gain popularity amongst the opposite sex. Then as I got older, I realised that I had the one power to attract the men which were my sensuality which worked well on them. But even though it worked on men – I still was in my feelings over my skin acceptance of being the ‘unattractive’ dark-skinned girl.
Then in college, I started dating a young man who happened to be a top black male model (at the time) and was constantly being ogled by other ladies. And even though, he was so into me, I was still conscious of all these light-skinned sistas wanting him; thus I ended up having this feeling that I was not good enough to be his lady. At this time, I had also added some weight and so went from a size 6/8 to a size 10/12 and was getting comfortable with the idea of now having flesh and liking cloths properly fitting. I loved that feeling of having curves and being admired for it. But still, behind the changes, the insecurity persisted.
One day, my then-boyfriend had a photo-shoot which I attended and when asked if I was a model by one of the photographers, he laughed and responded: “…no-one will ever have her as a model now, will they‘.” That comment triggered the insecurity even more that I swore to show him that I was also worthy of being an attractive brown-skinned girl that can model and so the journey of turning myself into that began. I walked into the ‘Laura Small Modeling Agency & Academy’ (back in Statford, London) and got hired onto their books. But to be included or selected for jobs, I started starving myself of food to fit into the norm of what agents and companies wanted. My starving eventually ended up with me being bulimic (which was one of the symptoms of models in the fashion industry) and was a way I could maintain the required weight. (Thankfully, I am cured of that ailment and classify myself as a healthy eater now). But this was a way of life for me then and I could not shake it off as I had a point to prove. You see losing or failure was never an option – I needed to show him that his views or opinions did not matter and I was ready to damn any consequence that it might bring.
I ended up becoming a fashion and beauty model who was sought after but that came with even more insecurities. The tales of not being too slim or being too heavy or being too dark or not being the lighter complexion needed for that job. The list goes on and competitiveness to win a casting was the name of the game. Aww, the perils of wanting something but never truly enjoying it was torture. Do not get me wrong, there were huge perks with modelling like ‘money’, ‘gifts’, ‘being recognised’ amongst others but still, my insecurity of being brown-skinned and not attractive enough persisted.
Well, after so many years of disliking my skin, I met an amazing person who taught me to open up and accept Me for who I was. He made me see my SELF_WORTH. I was his Queen and he ensured that I heard it daily. I would also see women like myself, who were so confident in their natural beauty; and honestly Black women all around the world who do not allow, whitewashed beauty standards to curve their confidence! Eventually, I grew into the notion that I am uniquely created with this precious ‘melanin’ that is sought after by others. My melanin skin glistens in the light and sparkle like diamonds, so why would I want to change to fit a norm. I was and still am GOOD Enough!
I feel like I had to unlearn a lot of things in my life to feel fully confident in my beauty. So it’s refreshing to see young Black girls and women embody what it means to feel confident at an age when I suppressed my own and this is extremely beautiful.
The moral of the story is: Be comfortable in the Skin that you were BORN in … It’s YOURS to carry with Care & Pride!
So here’s to you, @creativesoulphoto: thank you for allowing little brown kids see the beauty in themselves, through the lens and allowing us to appreciate that even more.
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Yours in love – The Renaissance Lady ©