Earlier this year, R&B songstress Alicia Keys initiated a #NoMakeup movement but the backlash flew once onlookers realized she wasn’t just applying this to her private day-to-day life at home. Live TV shows, the year’s biggest awards shows, you name it…Alicia Keys was baring it all and beautifully might we add.
However, the fact that she received backlash for such a personal decision was shocking. She’s decided she no longer wants to cover up any aspect of herself, whether mentally or physically…and that is just as beautiful as her outer appearance..makeup or not. So, we were inspired to explore the beauty beyond being beat for the gods. Like A. Keys expressed, her flaunting a bare face doesn’t mean she’s anti-makeup or anti anyone who will continue to wear it. But beyond that, what makes you beautiful most of all can’t be seen on the exterior and can’t be masked by makeup. Now granted, we had to learn this lesson along our journey and now we want to share with you how we found our #BeautyBeyondtheBeat.
I learned the true meaning of beauty in middle school and it was a rocky road to get to that understanding. At the time I was so insecure about my appearance – being overweight with round glasses and slightly crooked teeth was a recipe for disaster. And to top that, my hair broke off really bad so I wore wigs and weaves to cover up the truth.
I didn’t think I was beautiful so I used to imagine what I would look like if I had other people’s features…
My smile + Ashley’s long hair + Mia’s tiny waist + Tiffany’s hazel eyes = Perfection
I wanted so badly to be someone else. I sought validation from boys who didn’t even know what beauty was. We both thought that beauty was the size of a woman’s jeans but in retrospect, my size 12 was miniature compared to the proportion of my heart.
While middle school was a rough period for me, that pain helped me find my light. Around this time I fell in love with writing. Poetry got me through the darkness and helped me see that beauty was more than my appearance.
I realized that the way I expressed myself through writing was beautiful… the desire that I had to make a difference in my community was beautiful… the way I smiled so hard that my eyes looked closed was beautiful.
I began to see that I was beautiful for so many reasons aside from what I looked like. And as that inner beauty began to glow, it spread to my outer appearance. Gradually my self-esteem found it’s way off of the floor and I saw that I was beautiful just the way I was even if my thighs rubbed together or my glasses were a little thick. All of those characteristics were apart of who I was, and I couldn’t expect to be happy or fall in love if I couldn’t love the woman in the mirror first.
The most beautiful women are those who love themselves — their whole selves. Not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that they learn to play the cards that they were dealt without asking for a better hand. A beautiful woman is authentic and shines her light to encourage other people to do the same. Whether she’s going for natural look or her face is beat for the gods, she knows that her outer appearance is only one facet of her beauty and she’s much more than what meets the eye.
Throughout all four years of high school, I vividly remember begging my mom to puhhhhleasssseeee let me wear makeup. I was always a girly girl so it was natural that I wanted to get dolled up on the daily and even now as a 24-year old woman, the love I have for all things beauty is borderline obsessive. However, back in my high school days there was an underlying reason I was so adamant about applying these products, in hopes of achieving what I then considered perfection.
Cue my adolescent enemy: ACNE. It became a struggle to embrace my natural beauty when I couldn’t get pass the constant breakouts and hyperpigmentation they left behind. The pure yearning I once had to learn and experiment with different beauty products and techniques just out of teenage curiosity, became more of a personal necessity in an effort to be seen as “beautiful” again. But I’m thankful that my mom didn’t allow me to wear makeup for as long as she did. I wasn’t able to hide but instead identify the beauty within me, beyond what was skin-deep.
And that’s when I learned… the real definition of beauty, which included more than having clear skin or being a pretty face. It’s the intelligence and maturity that I pride myself on. The compassion I have for friends and strangers alike. It’s my desire to never stop learning, growing, and becoming the best version of myself daily. And my favorite…it’s the smile that lights up a room, buckteeth n’ all with the sense of humor to match.
In my early adulthood, I’ve found the most beauty in situations that display growth. Like how I still love doing makeup and buying cosmetics but I only beat face on a good week, two days out of the week. The rest of the time I’m bare face and free. And it’s not just because I’m way past adolescence now and my skin is pretty clear. It’s because I still have acne scarring but I love the girl in the mirror fiercely and know only a fraction of what makes me beautiful is shown on the surface.
Being brave is beautiful. Having the tenacity to go after your dreams is beautiful. I could literally go on about what makes you beautiful beyond being beat but in the words of one of our favorite rappers, your true beauty is…
“…something that the eyes can’t see, that the hands can’t touch and that others girls can’t be…and that’s YOU.” –J. Cole
Join Becoming Brilliance’s #BeautyBeyondtheBeat movement! Whether you’re a girl who loves to beat face daily or a bare face beauty, we want to hear your journey of identifying and embracing your inner beauty until it ultimately shined outward.