Intersections of Beauty is a platform to celebrate the unique perspectives, aesthetics, and life experiences within the industry and our communities. We believe that beauty isn’t just one-size-fits-all. It ‘s FOR all. It’s Native American Heritage Month, and to celebrate we’re welcoming folks from Native communities to share their stories.
This week we spoke with horror actress and model Lilith Fury about balance, inclusion, and increasing visibility of Indigenous issues and activism.
Keep reading for the full conversation.
Name: Lilith Fury
Instagram Handle: @lilith.fury
How would your best friend describe you in a sentence or two: “incredibly resilient, and always thinking about the needs of others” – Alice Wright
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Hair Type/Texture: Thick and wavy
It’s Native American Heritage Month! What does it mean to you, and how do you like to celebrate?
When I was younger so much of my culture, and customs was kept from me, so I always try to use this month to help my son connect a little bit more to our history. I also try to promote as many Indigenous businesses as I can.
What are three things you love about your heritage and culture?
Balance. It’s not just endless consumption. Taking into account how you and your surroundings interact, and work with each other so that you aren’t an instrument of destruction. I love how resilient we are. That no matter how hard people try to destroy us, we survive regardless. Most of all, I love how regardless of tribe, we’re all family.
Was there ever a time when you struggled with your identity? How did you work through that?
My grandmother was in a residential school. She was renamed, and taught to hate herself, and her culture. Her trauma, and the trauma of the rest of my family in regards to their race/ethnicity resulted in everyone bending over backwards to erase our heritage. It wasn’t till I was a teenager that I began to get more in touch with my indigeneity. It was also when I began realising how many family customs were actually tribal, but I just wasn’t told.
Justice and equality have been major cultural topics in the last year. What stands out to you as some of the biggest moments for the Indigenous community?
When it comes to indigenous peoples, it feels like we’re often an afterthought. Indigenous women are 10x more likely to be murdered than any other ethnicity. 84.3% have experienced violence. 56.1% have experienced sexual violence. Most of this violence is being done by non indigenous peoples. Very few realise that the gender wage gap is even worse when race/ethnicity is taken into account. Where white women earn 79¢ to every white man’s dollar, Black women get 63%, Indigenous Hawaiian & Pacific Islanders get 59¢, Native American Indigenous get 57%, and Latinas are 54¢. It’s great that people are finally starting to care, but I wish it wasn’t just when it’s popular to [care] because of something trending online.
What do you think the beauty industry stands to learn from Indigenous culture? How should the industry change to be more inclusive?
The use of natural materials to create beauty products instead of relying so much on everything being synthetic. It’s much better for the environment, as well as health.
How do you use your platform as a step toward radical inclusion in the beauty industry?
I try to work with brands that haven’t had other fat, disabled, or indigenous models before so as to help aid in normalisation. I’ve also worked with a few brands in extending their sizing options to be more inclusive.
Tell us the first lesson you ever learned about caring for your hair. Who was with you when you began your hair care journey?
My grandmother always told me to keep my hair long, never over-wash, and when I braid my hair I need to think of positive affirmations, hopes, and dreams so that they’ll be intertwined with me. I always felt that was really beautiful.
What’s a question we should have asked you? (and what’s the answer??)
What tribe are you part of? Paiute, Atikum, and Anacé.