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. And this Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we’re inviting members of the AAPI community to share their stories.
We spoke with Artist, Model, and Creative Kaguya (@p.s.kaguya) about their experiences in the modeling industry and its need to elevate and represent all identities.
Keep reading for the full conversation.
Q: What does Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?
A: A month of celebration and recognition for all Asian American and Pacific Islanders who have thus far survived and striving. To embark and honor our ancestors and prior predecessors who have imprinted their mark in America for a better life. To cherish the growth we are making within the community by educating one another to do better and be better.
Q: What opportunities for progress do you think Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month presents for society?
A: A reminder that a month of celebration does not mean you are doing the full work in making “change” – it’s a reminder to continue to elevate ALL POCs of ALL identities to be represented throughout the rest of time.
Q: Which stereotypes or microaggressions against those of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage does the beauty industry proliferate on a regular basis that needs to stop (besides all of them)?
A: That all Asians are fair skinned with no blemishes or freckles with long black hair. Eurocentric features being preferred. The beauty industry encouraging the “fox eye trend” and even influencing folx to get fox eye threading surgery to duplicate a more “slanted” eye. Microaggressions that are harmful for the AAPI community yet models of all backgrounds still evoke this as an edgy pose.
As a model, I would see castings asking for slim, oval faced Asian women with long black hair as the main objective. Oftentimes, even now, I feel some sort of microaggressions being casted as the only plus-sized model for a shoot/campaign. And as thankful as I can be – I also deal with and in silence with my inner voice of noticing that I am the spice of flavor added to the campaign/editorial/job to show “inclusivity”.
Q: How do you want to see the beauty industry grow to become more radically inclusive and intersectional?
A: Breaking the cycle of showcasing the same type of slender faces. There is so much more beauty and variety in our world that is not being showcased enough.
Q: How do you use your platform as a step toward radical inclusion in the beauty industry?
A: As simple as representing myself I guess. Believe it or not I never thought I would be doing this type of work by showcasing myself or even being a voice.
Q: What has your experience been like working in your industry as a person of color?
A: When I started in the industry, I was told that I would never be eligible to be signed or accepted into the world of high fashion. Models would literally make commentary saying how tattoos would never give opportunities and basically laugh at the journey I did as an influencer, which was prior to me getting any modeling type of jobs. I am slowly seeing a shift on the teams/crew I work with representing and hiring of more POCs. Hopefully it stays that way.
Q: Who are some of your hair/beauty icons? What do they represent that makes them so influential to you?
A: Honestly there are so many! One of my faves are @ellessechar they are not just an icon but a lifestyle. I love them and everything that they stand for and inspire to be like them one day. @adultsdrink! A total babe and not to brag~ I feel like I followed them since their first lip video and I love seeing their work. Love seeing her embrace her body as well! @yulingwu is a newer love of mine and we are coincidentally neighbors as well. She’s super flawless, takes banging selfies, cute & funny with glam. Again I have so many more beauty folx I follow but then it would become a full essay.
Q: What is your day-to-day beauty routine? What are your essentials and what makes them a staple for you?
A: My day-to-day honestly does not require too-too much. Skincare is a given and a must! At least a toner, serum and lotion. SPF is important but I sometimes (I mean most times) forget about it – especially being in NYC where it’s cold 60% of the time. TT_TT But a basic makeup look would be a concealer, creme blush with a satin finish, highlight, and a lip oil. If I wanted to heighten it up a bit I would add some bronzer for contour, a brow gel of sorts, translucent powder to lock it in, and mascara with some falsies.
But honestly that’s the extent of my regular day to day – unless I all of sudden wanted to do something creative and have fun. Most of the time when I do my looks for my shoots I don’t have a concept necessarily but just have fun and go with the flow.
More Intersections of Beauty: Here for Asian Visibility: Q&A with Natalie Bright
Learning about different viewpoints and experiences within the world of beauty helps the entire industry change for the better. Stay tuned to our IG and blog for more perspectives from people of color in the beauty industry.
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