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 NYC-based Fashion Blogger Natalie Bright (@bynataliebright) about her experiences in the beauty industry, from the impact of “good” stereotypes to the importance of taking up space.
Keep reading for the full conversation.
Q: What does Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?
A: I grew up in Korea until I was 14, so being Asian is a big part of my identity. It’s a month we appreciate and celebrate our culture but also a chance to reflect on issues like representation and racism, especially this year with the spike in hate crimes against Asians.
Q: What opportunities for progress do you think Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month presents for society?
A: I believe in the power of conversations. Just talking about it openly and honestly can make a big impact.
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: The beauty industry has come a long way recently and has definitely gotten more inclusive. The recent industry’s obsession with Asian beauty products probably helped. But it also came at a price of stereotypes. Asians don’t age. Asians naturally have good skin. Asian girls are so petite and cute. What people don’t realize is that making assumptions based on racial stereotypes about someone whether good or bad is dehumanizing. If you haven’t experienced it you don’t know that it makes you feel less than.
Q: How do you want to see the beauty industry grow to become more radically inclusive and intersectional?
A: Asian Americans are already underrepresented in mainstream media but when we are included, I still see only certain types of Asian faces get featured. We need to normalize all kinds of beautiful Asian faces!
Q: How do you use your platform as a step toward radical inclusion in the beauty industry?
A: I remember in my recent post I put in my caption “here for Asian visibility.” We need to be proactive and work on being heard and seen. I want the brands and audience to know that we are here and that we matter.
Q: What has your experience been like working in the beauty industry as a person of color?
A: I have worked with many brands but I still see many many brands that rarely ever work with Asian influencers. I would go to a brand’s Instagram page and scroll down forever and never see any Asian influencers on their page. People identify with influencers when they match their style, skin tone and personality. Being a minority obviously limits opportunities and also the opportunity to connect with the mainstream.
Q: Who are some of your hair/beauty icons? What do they represent that makes them so influential to you?
A: I don’t have anyone in particular that comes to mind. I am always evolving and trying new things and take inspiration from many different sources including influencers, celebrities and peers. It’s whatever I google when I feel like I need inspiration.
Q: What is your day-to-day beauty routine? What are your essentials and what makes them a staple for you?
A: I keep it super simple. If I had to do one thing and look drastically different it’s the eyebrows. I grew up in the 90s and plucked them so thin that now I have none left. Other than that, a little bronzer for some color. But most importantly, beauty comes from within. Eat healthy, take your vitamin D and get some sun without sunscreen for 30 minutes a day!
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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