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If I could take away one important thing that I have learnt from filming GRWM: The Docuseries is that there needs to be more spaces that young people can learn and find inspiration from. Most of those I interviewed spoke of feeling lost when it came to beauty, fashion, styling and hair as it was not easy for them to find themselves represented in the mainstream. They struggled to know what products they could use and if they did know, they didn't know how to use them. When facing issues such as colorism and body politics, they were aware that the issue existed but unaware of how to overcome it. These struggles left them feeling disheartened, lost and sometimes even broken. It also forced them to recover and heal by themselves.
However, now has come a time where we are no longer allowing the same issues to control our lives. Now we don't want to do it alone and would rather create a community whilst empowering others. This need to regain control of our destinies has led to the creation of spaces and events like Shades of Beauty Live. Shades of Beauty Live offers Talks, Tutorials, Hair, Make Up, Skincare and Male Grooming brands all under one roof. With a range of speakers and exhibitors, you can guarantee that most of your problems regarding these areas can be solved. There were brands you would be familiar with and also new businesses with innovative products and ranges. It was buzzing with people, young and old, who wanted to know and learn more. It was truly uplifting.
The highlight for me was listening to a talk by Beverley Knight about colorism. Beverley Knight, a British singer, shared her experiences of make up within the industry during her 25 year long career. She retold her horror of having to get make up done for shoots and performances with shades that were nowhere close to her complexion. Not only did this look bad, it also affected how she felt about the work she was putting out. This resonated with me and was one of my inspirations for my documentary. It is never just make up or hair or clothes. They mean something to us and the world around us. In this case, Beverley Knight recalls hating one of her music videos because of how her make up looked. Not liking your make up can affect your confidence. Beverley Knight's experience not only speaks to the personal effects of make up but also to the music and beauty industries which till this day rarely consider black women. My dissertation explored the representation of black people in the media in which I analysed black women and explored their presence in beauty media. Black women may often seem to not exist, especially in the UK. This means that women struggle to find make up that matches their complexion. What may be a quick trip to a drugstore or department store for some, may mean extensive research beforehand and travelling long distances for others. Whilst there has been some progress, it is still shocking to hear that Beverley Knight's experiences are still being reflected in young black girl's stories today.
I also gained some tips and advice for starting a business. Something that stuck with me was Suki Fuller, in the Beauty & Business: Expectations vs Reality talk, telling the audience to not take out money if you don't need to. Deciding to try and forge a career in content creation has been expensive to say the least. I have also learnt that there are often cheaper alternatives to the expensive equipment and services that are often advertised to be instrumental to success. Therefore, I understand why people would feel pressured to take out loans and borrow money when they may not necessarily need to. You want your brand to be the shiniest, sparkliest and most attractive and that costs money. However, rather than just chucking money at your brand, be intentional. Don't spend money on something that won't necessarily make you money. Assess the pros and cons of borrowing money or purchasing expensive equipment/services. Do the cons outweigh the benefits? Is there a workaround? From my experience, not spending buckets of money has forced me to learn how to use various equipment and software. This, in turn, has allowed me to develop new skills.
Overall, I felt very inspired by the show. I often have doubts about releasing this documentary but this show reminded me of why I am doing this. Not only do I have a voice that needs to be heard, the topics I cover and intend to will provide some form of solace for those who have had to navigate issues by themselves. I want to challenge issues of media representation on and off screen. I want to cover stories that never get airtime. I want to start discussions necessary for empowerment. I have a story to tell and I will tell and I will tell it successfully. I cant wait to attend more shows like this and I am thankful to have been able to be an ambassador for this year's show. I know that one day I will be leading talks and I am reminded to trust the process.
I am so excited to announce the docuseries is coming out very soon and I can't wait for you to see it. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch the documentary and share the documentary - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCan0oqE_If7d7dtP9bk8elA
Get Real With Me (GRWM) is a docuseries that explores our connections with fashion, beauty, styling and hair. A play on the Get Ready With Me style videos, each episode tells the highs and lows of navigating self-styling and explores the wider topics at play here. The way you look isn’t just superficial, it tells the story of who you are.