One of the last things I did, before the world changed due to COVID-19, was speak at All About Women at Sydney Opera House. It was a career highlight! I chatted with Bri Lee and Flex Mami about beauty. We talked about beauty standards and representation, and the role of social media.
You can watch the video of our talk here.
I was so lucky to share the experience with my Mum. Just before the session on Beauty, we took part in a African head wrap workshop, run by 2 Sydney Stylists. It was a great way to explore beauty, and also to get back to our South African heritage.
We caught up with old friends and new – reading, laughing, eating and drinking, oblivious to how the world was about to change. I miss events like these, and acknowledge how lucky I was to have these opportunities. I can’t wait until they happen again.
A couple of days after All About Women, I received an email from an editor at CNN Style. She commissioned me to write a piece on beauty, after seeing the livestream of our talk. Another career highlight.
Here’s an excerpt.
“I am careful to only post photos of my real face — unfiltered. I don’t reduce the redness, nor edit the skin flakes from my scalp or clothing. I do it because I don’t want to hide who I am, and I do it so I can be visible — because I believe visibility creates possibility…
Until about 10 years ago, photo retouching was only done to models and celebrities in magazines. Now, with the help of an app, or even some phone cameras, anyone can sculpt their face or remove a blemish in an instant.
It worries me that we have access to digital retouching at our fingertips, and that so many people don’t show their true faces anymore.
It takes a lot of courage for those of us with facial differences and skin conditions to show our real faces on social media, when those with beauty privilege are altering theirs. It says a lot about the impossible and homogenized beauty standard that we’re told we must aspire to.”
Speaking at the Opera House and writing for CNN were dreams. I am so pleased to have these opportunities. Thank you.
It’s been 10 weeks since I started isolation. Since my calendar cleared. Things are picking up. Restrictions are easing. I have hope.