So how would rate your self-esteem?
Are your nervous?
I’m not. I think being in the company of really warm, confident ladies is great. You can be around confident people, varying genders, but there is something about being around confident ladies that makes me comfortable.
Why did you want to participate?
I had already looked at your work and there are times where my confidence is incredibly low but then there are other days…I guess I just need to practice what I preach. I’m always telling women “Hey you look great, love yourself!” More importantly, “You’re great, no belittling yourself.” And this is a way to take my own advice and send that message to myself because there are days where I don’t treat myself really well.
What is your level of selfesteem now?
It’s the same minus the question mark. A firm seven.
What goes into your self-esteem?
I switched diets, I’m vegan now. Since then, I’ve gained wait. I’ve been adjusting to a lot more weight. It still feels foriegn to have this much weight around my belly. That’s about it. Other than that; I’m quite confident.
How has that weight gain made you feel?
A little self-conscious. More than usual. I’m not suffering from it, I’m just like Oh! This is more me. I should work to maintain this amount of me. Nothing I obsess over.
Are you a feminist?
Yes! Absolutely. Equality has not happened yet and being a woman of color and one who sees and experiences inequality for different reasons every day of my life, I definitely am a feminist. People who say feminism means feminazis and men hating needs to educate themselves and really pay attention.
Why are you a feminist?
I’m a feminist because we need feminists. And there are so many self hating women out there! Women who think it’s normal, okay. Or women who even realize they’re being held up to male beauty standards or behavior standards and still hate themselves. Standards asserting women should act a certain way.
It’s necessary to be a feminist.
The saddest part to me, is when young women particularly feel “I need a man to protect me” or “I need this because I’m a woman” or “I can’t do this because I’m a woman”. There are so many women doing great things because they are great strong people. Your genitals have no bearing on your soul, or the content of your character.
Have you ever faced sexism? If so, please tell me about a time you have.
Yes, when it comes to job interviews. I’m self-employed now. Applyng for jobs around Denver has been difficult. I started noticing patterns where it’s me, and a few guys. And it’s always been the guy that got the job. And I know I’m more qualified for it. I start thinking, “It could be a coincidence.” But after a year of applying for these positions, the possibility of coincidence is obliterated. I feel it’s hard for me to pick out one instance of sexism, because I feel like my entire search for a career within the food industry has been dominated by sexism.
Tell me how your race affects your body confidence?
When I was younger, being raised in Wyoming, my only other peers were white so I felt sometimes self-conscious about my hair. Our scalps don’t oil, so we need to apply things to our scalp. Sometimes, it makes our hair shiny and people wonder why and I had some insecurity around it. But that quickly disappeared because of my family and their support. My father is a hair stylist and owns his own shop. Growing up…seeing him mingle and cater to people of different backgrounds, I feel it shaped my self-esteem well. I don’t feel I have any insecurities surrounding my race.
What about when you were a child?
The first time I saw a black barbie doll was Christmas, I was really young, and my grandparents gave it to me. I felt like a little bit confused, just because I was so used to only seeing the light skinned dolls and everyone only really had the light skinned dolls. But yes, I thought, this is me. When we play with dolls, we put ourselves in them and act it out like ourselves. But seeing the skin color, and the hair being darker was cool. We still played with all the dolls but I made sure I asked for black barbies as well. My doll collection was pretty diverse.
I bet you can’t really say that for a lot of white kids.
What other things did you experience like that?
Becoming a teenager and getting into make up and going to sleepovers…noticing that a lot of the makeup products did NOT work with my skin type. I was invited to a Mary Kay party and I thought it was really cool. The whole party was really just blonde girls. The Mary Kay lady gave us all fun summer looks because school had gone out. She made over one girl at a time. Just lightly glossed pink lips, and shimmery eyeshadow. I couldn’t wait to get mine done. I looked in the mirror and I looked crazy. Everything was made for a lighter skin tone, it just wasn’t right. I thought, why did they do her makeup well and not mine? The thought that it was a skin difference, I didn’t even think about that. I just felt at that time that the world cators to people of lighter skin. And that’s what I thought at the time.
How has that changed?
Just traveling more. Seeing that beauty standards are different all over the place. The definition of beauty is fluid. That’s how it’s changed for me.
What was middle school like for you?
Middle school I buckled down and focused on grades.
Were you ever bullied in school?
I was never really payed much attention to. I was just a weird kid that got good grades. But in bible camp I got teased for my hair, A LOT. Bible camp; being a place focused on love and acceptance and fellowship and getting along. There was this group of boys that would tease me about my hair, every year. It never made me sad, it was just annoying. I feel due to my upbringing, I never let it get to me. I just enjoyed bible camp and got through it.
Is there any message you want to send to the readers?
Treat yourselves well and listen carefully to others.