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 Pride Month, we’re inviting members of the LGBTQIA+ community to share their stories.
This week we spoke with disabled youth activist and educator Chandler Wilson (@chandlernwilson) about building an affirming community, true inclusivity in the beauty industry, and more.
Keep reading for the full conversation.
Q: What does safety and freedom of self expression mean to you?
A: For me, they really go hand-in-hand—being able to express myself openly and authentically without sacrificing any part of my identity. I want to be true to myself and live my life in the ways that feel most affirming for me and therefore inspire other LGBTQIA+ folks to be true to themselves as well. I want to go through life unafraid to explore all of my interests and intricate parts of my identity.
Q: What do you want society to know about the importance of safety and freedom of self expression?
A: No one should be forced to hide who they are in order to be safe. It is an extremely traumatic experience—and not even just for LGBTQIA+ people. Everyone is a victim in a cisheteronormative society because it is specifically designed to force everyone into tightly restrictive boxes that are just simply not representative of who we actually are. Everyone deserves to explore what makes them feel good without fear.
Q: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself this year?
A: I think something really revolutionary for me has been divorcing gender from my clothes and just wearing what I want. I’ve really been enjoying wearing crop tops lately because they’re so comfortable and look really nice. Just allowing myself the freedom to wear what feels good regardless of how others might feel about it has been really refreshing and liberating!
Q: How does the beauty industry/community support you in your self expression; in what ways does it fall short?
A: I have honestly met so many wonderful people in the beauty industry who see self-expression as an art and are so positive and encouraging of others. Seeing people admire each others’ work and uplift each other has really paved the way to a stronger community. There are definitely still so many issues, especially with so many larger creators and brands being hateful and ignorant, and so building a community that sticks up for each other has really made a huge difference.
Q: In what ways do you want to see the beauty industry grow?
A: I think one of the most important key changes that needs to take place is that the beauty industry needs to be more inclusive throughout. I’m talking inclusive hiring, not just on the front end of things so they seem progressive in marketing, but also doing the work behind the scenes. For example, it seems like brands love to run to LGBTQIA+ artists during Pride to promote their products, but behind the scenes, they still have really anti-LGBTQIA+ policies. We really need to see that deliberate action to create affirming and inclusive environments both online and off. They always say actions speak louder than words.
Q: How do you intend on celebrating and promoting self expression and freedom and safety to be during Pride Month?
A: Pride Month for me is always about raising awareness and visibility. I’m excited to keep being vocal about my identity and experiences in the hopes that I can keep inspiring other LGBTQIA+ folks as well as continue building an affirming community where folks feel safe to be themselves.
More Intersections of Beauty: Unapologetic About My Existence: Q&A with Jason Watler
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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Photos courtesy of Chandler Wilson.