Tell me about yourself.
Raven: My name is Raven and I identify as a black woman. I am a 4th-year college student studying political science and education. I am currently on the board for Afrikan Graduation. I also work at the school’s alumni center and I’m in the process of preparing for post-grad life. I am taking a year off to apply for PhD and Masters programs.
What are your beauty struggles?
Raven: When I was younger, I had eczema. During the summer and spring, it would flare up so I always wore pants and makeup to cover it up. It wasn’t until I got to college that it started getting better. I also struggle with my hair. When I was younger, I would always get a press to make my hair straight. My hair broke off when I got to college and I contemplated going natural after seeing others do it, but it’s expensive and I’m not ready for it. I don’t have the courage to go natural. I’ve been using protective styles to transition. My fear of going natural comes from beauty standards that deem kinky hair as not being cute. That’s been such a personal struggle for me because I wanna do a big chop and grow my hair out, but I’m still trying to figure it out. Overall being a dark-skinned woman in a space where lighter skinned women are idolized makes me feel less than.
Do you think beauty is political for people of color?
Raven: I think everything is political lol! I feel like beauty is so political for women of color especially black women. We step outside and it’s obvious that we are black. Our skin color determines how people treat us and what they think of us. Beauty standards have favored eurocentric features which often excludes people of color. How can we make beauty standards that are inclusive of all people?
What’s one of your earliest experiences with beauty?
Raven: I grew up in a household where I was always aware of my blackness, but it was in high school it that realized often times darker skinned girls aren’t seen as beautiful. My school was majority Hispanic. I was 1 of 15 black people. People would make racist comments that I didn't understand were wrong, but that’s when I realized that my blackness made me different. My ‘black is beautiful’ moment definitely came in college. Social media movements allowed me to celebrate the other dark-skinned women out there. TV shows portray “perfect” people who didn’t look like me, but on social media, you would see other women saying “you don’t have to look like her to be beautiful; you can look like you and be beautiful."
What is your self-care routine?
Raven: I recently started Soul Cycle and at my first class I saw Beyoncé! Now, I try to go once a week. I hate going to the gym but Soul Cycle is fun and intense. Every night I do a skincare routine. I wash my face with a Neutrogena face wash then do a face mask once a week. I also get my nails done every 2 weeks. Fridays are usually my days where I try not to do any work. I just relax and forget about school for the day. That allows me to stay sane. I love listening to music. My favorite song is Video by Indie Arie. I love Musiq Soulchild, old school music and of course Sza.
Keep up with Raven on her journey: