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Beauty Is...

Amicia shot and styled by Karina So. | Ses Rêveries

Just an outtake, folks, nothing to see here.


OK, maybe there is a little bit. I've been thinking a lot about beauty lately... As a black woman, the idea of beauty and what defines it is usually assumed to be a contentious topic for me. It isn't.

That a woman of colour could be considered ugly for having any stereotypically coloured features is incredibly foreign to me. I know there are people who think this way out there. This is not the same situation I often find in the comments section of viral Facebook videos, where a whole bunch of people are chiding the overly sensitive/pedantic users whose supposed criticism of the videos' content you rarely ever actually see; it's like they're talking to themselves half the time. No, it takes one look at the ethnic statistics on the runway to know these whitewashed beauty worshippers definitely exist. And despite the fact that I would quite like to work in media one day, where they also tend to proliferate the higher up the food chain you go, I simply care not for these Negative Nancies and remain unbothered by their existence. Affirmations from my mother about my appearance despite looking nothing like the women on the cover of magazines didn't just teach me the breadth of beauty, but also its subjectivity thereby decreasing its value for me unless it came from the one person whose mind and intentions I knew inside and out: me.

As a result, what I consider beautiful today requires no artifice.* I don't wear make-up, despite my intense hyper pigmentation. If my hair isn't in braids, it's in a top knot or whatever protective style I slept in the night before; usually very uneven cornrows. I wear whatever's clean, which somehow always happens to be an extra-large hoodie and these ASOS pants. Any form-fitting clothes I own serves but one purpose: winter layering. In essence, I make every effort not to engage in the construction work that is femininity unless it costs me nothing because, really, that's all it is: effort. I know I am not any less of a woman for not looking like Kylie Jenner. I probably wouldn't be bothered if I was either, I'd still think I was fly af because the fleekiness of one's eyebrows has nothing to do with how interesting they are.

But as a fauxtographer, I sometimes wonder if my work (lol) says that enough.

I'm not even talking about size or race or sexual orientation or ability here because my casting policy is very simple: you want to work with me, you're hired.** What I mean is, when you look at Amicia here, do you see the bouncy corkscrew ringlets, clear skin and perfectly plucked eyebrows, or do you see a young woman caught far too deep in thought for her mere nineteen years? Can you sense her intelligence, her depth, her humanity beyond those impossibly stunning features? Would she be any less to you without them? Does what I found beautiful in that moment exist outside of them?

Idk, idk. But I'd hope so.


Model, hair stylist, make-up artist - Amicia Fidalga
Photographer, creative director, stylist - Hudiz Bish Tho

*Although I'd really like to be more adventurous with my styling. I've only got one more shoot booked so I might just resort to putting super-extra selfies on the internet again and eventually finding models I can experiment with in the meantime.

**No, seriously. I have been asked this a lot lately (why, I don't really know) so I'd like to set the record straight: if you're in the UK (or any holiday destination I might announce, shout out to my foreign readers), would like to have your picture taken and aren't going to trigger me with dated religious, political or social views, just DM me. I don't care how tall you are.

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