Mar 21, 2019 | By Joanne Thomas
2017 has been the year of self-exploration, acceptance and self-love (I’m not talking hot baths and inhaling donuts on the sofa). To compliment this, mainstream art and culture spaces have been celebrating dual identities. To see exhibitions such as the Beauty of Being British Asian in East London, Illuminating India at the Science Museum and Ayurvedic Man:Encounters with Indian Medicine at the Wellcome Collection unfold throughout the year, has made my 2017 feel magical.
Being British Indian myself, I have always struggled with not seeing a true representation of myself in book publishing, print magazines, mainstream art centres and more. I’m not just talking skin-colour, eyeliner flicks, and my penchant for culottes. I mean seeing women of colour like me on fashion spreads, as regularly as other skin tones, and not just for one-off specials. I crave opportunities to see authentic, strong and empowering women from different cultures in the mainstream, finally being celebrated.
Happily a change is on the horizon. A new wave of Millennial and Gen Z creatives are forging their own paths, making their own zines and showcasing cover girls I can FINALLY relate too. Get to know their names.
Azeema is an independent print magazine repping Middle Eastern, North African and Women of Colour. Azeema is a Arabic name meaning strong, brave and courageous. Finally, a magazine that resonates with me. Finally, a space where I feel my heritage is celebrated, loved and most importantly accepted. B I G. UP!
Leyya and Roshni are the founders of The Other Box, an award-winning platform for increasing diversity in the creative industries. Through events, workshops and a growing network of bad-ass creatives, The Other Box celebrates people of colour and other minority backgrounds. Watch this space for 2018.
Chidera Eggerue aka The Slumflower is a blogger, presenter and inspirational speaker. Her empowering talks encourage young black females to take charge of their careers and bodies. I love listening to her podcast, where Chidera discusses all things around life priorities, #saggyboobsmatter, mental insecurities, boys, beauty standards, body issues and the creative industry. It’s real, relatable and on point!
Farzana is beauty blogger who is breaking the beauty standards in the industry. I love how she explores bold eye and lip colours (some colours I’d be scared to attempt) but she gives me the confidence to go try and kill it. Keep slaying gurl!
Part clothing store, part new blog: Amaliah, curates modest yet fashionable clothes from online retailers and gives Muslim women a platform to speak up. The blog discusses relationships, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, identity and the world at large. This startup is a growing platform, which encourages and inspires Muslim women around the globe.
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