Growing up as a brown-skinned, slim, young girl in West Africa, I got teased, bullied, labelled all sort and daily had my self-esteem pummeled. Talk about skinny black girl problems. Everywhere I went, I was told to “grow some fat and better get light-skinned because life wasn’t fair to slim and black”; my perception of self was shaped by how people described me, I internalized all the negative vibes and I just couldn’t see any good in my skin color or body shape. For the longest time, all I wanted to be was curvy and light-skinned. It didn’t help that everywhere around me Eurocentric beauty was the ideal - skin lightening or bleaching creams was the norm. Young or old, it was common to see people altering their skintone in a bid to become “more beautiful” by being less black.
As I grew into a young adult, I began to question this negative story I had naively bought into, I studied to know more about my skin, why I was created black and what benefits (if any) it held for me. I read about and began to practice the art of self-validation and using words of affirmation; working in the beauty industry also gave me an outlet to not only think differently about my beauty, but access to lots of women who wanted to know why “I thought so powerfully” about myself and my skin.
As I travelled around the world as a beauty consultant, I experienced and developed a special appreciation for what I call “the unique shades of beauty” people of color had been born with. From Lagos to New York, London to South Africa, LA to Nairobi, I met hundreds of beautiful women who were unaware how special they were due to years of Eurocentric conditioning and internalized self-hatred because someone had taught them their skin of color was less than enough. I sought for a way to teach what I had learnt about the power of beauty, and wanted women whose skin color matched my own to experience the same freedom and joy I had come to find in my skin of color
This led me and my husband Wale to found Podozi (Swahili for beauty) in 2014. We wanted to source around the world and curate the best products we could find for women of color. From the Podozi community, we got to interact with thousands more women of color, who had been invalidated by the silly notion that they were somehow limited in their capacity because of their skin color. We knew then that the answer lies in re-inventing the narrative of beauty for people of color, and developing a brand that enabled them to confidently wear their skin of color.
For us, empowering people through beauty, giving them the knowledge, resources and products they need to become confident in their skin - whatever the hue or shade - is our life’s mission. And that is why we have started MIAH Beauty; Our hope is that you will come to have a healthier relationship with your skin of color, impacting how you think and feel about yourself, and that this newfound knowledge will rise from your skin to PowerUp every aspect of your life. We want you to know that you are not just enough - You Are More Than Enough!