#BeautyKnowsNoColor - Behind the Scenes of Dark Magic
If you’ve been following my instagram you may have seen me use the tag #BeautyKnowsNoColor. This project originally developed from an ongoing discussion with my longtime friend and collaborator, Ananda Khan. Ananda is a talented hair and makeup artist represented by Big Leo. Throughout her career she has always been as interested in the politics of beauty as in her role enhancing and manipulating beauty. Over the last couple years our discussion kept revisiting the ways women are represented in media and our role as women creating that media. A huge part of those conversations was the idea of what we as a society deem beautiful, and thus valuable.
We’ve watched in recent years as the line in the sand has reluctantly moved based on the outspoken critique of an increasingly vocal and sophisticated viewing public. Consumers are demanding a more realistic representation of what it means to be a beautiful woman in today’s diverse and interconnected world. Our way to join our voices to this call to action was to start a beauty series focusing on a diverse cast of models. We wanted to shoot women of every color to show that beauty is not the realm or right of only one group of people. The more we worked on this project the more relevant this story seemed. Our country is in the throws of long overdue discussion about race and an identity crisis surrounding what it means to be an American. As two multiracial women with immigrant families, diversity isn't just a political conversation. It's our respective histories and families and life experiences. I was raised to be proud of my heritage and never felt as though I was any less of an American or any less a valuable member of society based on my race. I recognize that many women do not share that feeling, often based on the media that surrounds them. I hate the idea of not doing something to change that sentiment.
Our idea is pretty simple, shoot the kinds of beauty stories that we want but commit to using a diverse cast of models. We would cast based on the model's strength rather than her specific ethnicity. We would make the statement by showing mainstream beauty story ideas with unexpected models.
For the second installment of this project we wanted to play with a darker manifestation of the gold trend. During our casting process we were introduced to Jisu Hong (represented by Marilyn New York) and we knew she would be the perfect for the project. Jisu is from South Korea where she was a contestant on Korea's Next Top Model. She was an absolute delight to work with and didn't mind being covered in gold flake, which Ananda and I appreciated. Once the shoot was completed and retouched, I started the process of shopping the story around and I was thrilled to find it a home at BeautyScene.
Stay tuned for the full editorial as well as upcoming installments in this ongoing project.