Tell me about yourself.
Katlynn: My name is Katlynn Simone and I am a black woman. I am currently an actress, musician, and student. I recently launched my own production company and I am in the process of pre-production on my first short film which will be 8 episodes long. I am also creating an album and finishing up my senior year in college. I just wrapped up filming The Quad on BET which comes out January 23rd.
What are your beauty struggles?
Katlynn: There were two main things that I struggled with growing up-- my body shape and my hair. Both sides of my family are thicker and curvier, but I’m stick thin. With the media pushing big butts and a full body, I felt like I wasn’t pretty as a young girl. Similar story with my hair. I grew up in a community where I was ridiculed for wearing my natural hair. I was so embarrassed that I used to cry when my mom would make me wear it natural. I would straighten my hair to the point of damage. Now, I look back and I realize how beautiful my hair was and I try so hard to emulate what it looked like back then. It’s funny how you evolve to love yourself! I have realized that I am supposed to be a thin, curly haired girl and now I can appreciate it!
Are there things that you encounter that your counterparts do not?
Katlynn: In the industry, it’s hard to embrace who you are. I’m trying to wear my natural hair more often, but I’ve been told it doesn’t look acceptable. A casting director once said, “Can you come back with straight hair. Your hair looks too urban.” The music industry is more open to natural hair, but body image and sex appeal sells. I like being private and modest, but sometimes the industry pushes you to look a certain way or do certain things. That is why so many people get butt shots and liposuction.
Who do you look up to?
Katlynn: As a young girl growing up in Houston, Texas, I met Beyoncé and my idea of beauty changed. This was around the time, Austin Powers in Goldmember came out and she was rocking big hoops and an afro. My mom made me wear my hair natural to the concert and when I saw Beyoncé I felt like if she can be comfortable in her skin then so can I. If she can be a superstar in her natural state then so can I. Having someone to look up to is so important for younger girls’ self-worth. I also looked up to my mom. She’s a doctor and even though she has long, tiring days she always looks beautiful and is so comfortable in her skin. It’s inspiring.
Do you think community is important?
Katlynn: Community is so important for younger kids. They are able to see representations of real black beauty just by going on Instagram and joining the #blackgirlmagic train. When I was growing up social media was not accessible, so I didn’t always see people who looked like me. Sites like Serve Your Truth are so needed because they allow women of color to see themselves represented positively! They get to see other women rocking their melanin and wearing their culture on their sleeve! But just as easy as it is to see good, it is easy to run into people online who are mean and ignorant. I worry when my younger sister goes online because I hope her view of herself isn’t being distorted because certain skin tones and body types are being praised.
What is your self-care routine?
Katlynn: Writing music helps me relax. It is similar to keeping a journal. For me, writing music is like writing poems that turn into songs. My beautiful friends also keep me sane. I call them with anything crazy happening in my life. I also love listening to music. My influences in music are Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. I’ve also been listening to a lot of throwbacks from high school (2013-2014) and of course Sza. My favorite song right now is The Weekend by Sza.
Keep up with Katlynn on her journey: