SYT: Tell us about yourself.
Aiesha: My name is Aiesha, I am a Fijian Indian woman born in England and currently living in Sydney, Australia. I am a traveler and absolutely love seeing the world...it’s one of my main priorities in life! I also make YouTube videos which is something quite new but I have fallen in love with it!
SYT:How important is culture to you? Does it affect everyday life?
Aiesha: Culture is SO important to me. It is important to know and understand your culture and never lose sight of it. It affects my everyday life having been raised in a very cultured way. However, some “traditions” definitely need to change, I am all about supporting women and some traditions in Indian culture I find quite degrading.
SYT: Recently you posted an image in regards to the taboo of periods. What made you feel obligated to speak your truth?
Aiesha: Honestly speaking, my dad. It was on the day of Diwali...my mum and I were both on our periods and he told us that we couldn’t participate in the prayers. I just got so sick of hearing this, every pooja or every religious event so many women are continuously treated as dirty and impure. Praying is such a personal and beautiful thing, we should never be stopped in doing so.
SYT: What are your beauty struggles?
Aiesha: If I'm talking physically, I often point out the weight I've gained or the pimples I sometimes wake up with haha...but I never let it actually get to me as these things shouldn’t affect my happiness. If I’m talking internal beauty, I sometimes fail to acknowledge that I am a giver and my grandma always uplifts me and tells me that it is a GOOD thing!
SYT: Is colorism an issue in Indian society? If so, have you ever faced this issue?
Aiesha: Yes, I believe it is a MASSIVE issue. Gosh, just recently a relative said to me that I used to be so beautiful and “fair” when I was a baby and now, I've gotten so much darker...her advice to me was “stay out of the sun.” I said to her that I usually go to the beach to get darker and she looked horrified. When I went to school in England, 95% of people were brown and when I came to Australia, I was one of few brown people and I started to hate being Indian because I was told that “we smell” and “we wear curry dots”.
SYT: What is your definition of beauty?
Aiesha: Internal beauty is EVERYTHING! Be kind, be positive, be GRATEFUL! Help as much as you can and don’t sweat the small stuff. I think, if you are beautiful on the inside, it automatically radiates even more on the outside.
SYT: Have you ever felt like you did not belong or left out of the beauty industry?
Aiesha: Oh yes! Especially when I first started wearing makeup and back then there weren’t many darker shades of foundations and many places I went to told me that they didn’t have foundations dark enough for me. There are so many brands out there that do darker shades now, too many to choose from but it makes me so happy!!
SYT: What are some beauty products you have on your bathroom sink?
Aiesha: As a 14 year old, I used to use fair and lovely to make my skin lighter because I wanted people to accept me! But now my sink consists of colourful eyeshadows (which I never used to use as I thought colours didn't show up well on brown skin) and so many shades of lipsticks! I think it’s super important to buy from companies that embrace women of color, investing money into companies that don’t only encourages them not to include us.
SYT: What does the term “status quo” mean to you?
Aiesha: I think the “existing state” of a lot of things need to change and evolve equally between genders and races. We need to redefine the status quo by being willing to move forward with progression and change our mentality for the next generation. I don’t agree with resisting change, this world has so many improvements to make.
SYT: Best piece of advice you would give to another women of color as she navigates through life?
Aiesha: EMBRACE THAT MELANIN!!! We are so powerful as women especially to be of colour. We have been looked down upon for centuries and it’s time we embraced our skin and understand how beautiful we are!
Keep up with Aiesha!