Tell me about yourself.
Simone: My name is Simone. I live in Downtown Toronto and I’m originally from Hamilton which is 1 hour outside of Toronto. My family is originally from Jamaica. I’ve always been a creative. I currently work as a copywriter for Hudson’s Bay– the company that owns Saks, Lord and Taylor, and Saks Off Fifth. I do descriptions for beauty copy on Hudson's Bay’s website. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts honors degree in Visual Art and Art History. After graduation, I worked in different art galleries then went on and got my masters in art and fashion. My focus is on black style online through blogs and media in contrast to mainstream magazines. My website features what style means in terms of racial identity. Outside of work, I am a very active person and very into wellness, weightlifting, and yoga. I was a dancer for a very long time so I love to keep my fitness up.
What is/are your beauty struggle?
Simone: My grandmother sold Mary Kay when I was growing up. She always enforced the idea that beauty can make you proud of your identity. Beauty enhances who you are. I did ballet growing up and I loved stage makeup and transforming. So I have always had an appreciation for makeup. During my teen years, I found it very different to not see myself represented in mass media, but I think the internet has made it easier to find representation of what it means to be a black woman. There is definitely more work to do- like increasing what women of color want to see in terms of products and media. The natural hair movement was a big thing for me. I was obsessed with learning how to take care of my natural.
I have always had eczema--very very dry and sensitive skin. It used to bother me so much growing up and even know I get it but it's been a journey of self-acceptance. I started perming my hair at the age of 12. I struggled to grow my hair out so I spent a lot of time trying different things and feeling very ashamed of my hair texture. Women with kinkier hair don’t have the education to take care of it.
What is your go-to beauty routine/product?
Simone: I can’t live without Vaseline and cocoa butter lotion! I love essential oils like jojoba and moisturizers like shea butter! I just started using the Ordinary’s products. I really like the buffet serum and retinol and retinoid products. The Ordinary is a really good brand for beginners. I also love sheet masks from Dr. Jart! I do them weekly.
Do you think beauty is political?
Simone: Yes. I believe so. Beauty allows you to make a statement of how you represent yourself. Whether you wear weave, relaxers, or natural hair, it gives you a way to express your blackness. I see it in my own life. When I wear my hair natural, I am treated differently than when I wear extensions or long braids. Black women have to deal with people in and out of our community judging us for how we choose to wear our hair.
What is your self-care routine?
Simone: As I mentioned I am really into fitness and it has been a game changer for me. I’m not extremely strict, but I try to exercise regularly because it allows me to decompress from the day. Also, I can't say enough how much therapy has helped me. It is great to talk to someone who isn't in your situation and get unbiased advice. Beyond that, I love to watch Netflix and hang out with my friends. I'm a homebody so I like doing masks, reading, meditation, and yoga! Currently, I’ve been listening to the Leon Bridges album. It’s the type of album you listen to all the way through. Off that album, bad bad news is my favorite song right now.
Keep up with Simone on her journey:
Clothes by Eliza Faulkner S/S 18 (www.elizafaulkner.com)
Photos by Justin Aranha (www.justinaranha.com)