Growing up as a black, slim girl in West Africa, I was teased and bullied about my height, my body structure and my skin color. It was supposed to be harmless talk most of the time but it damaged my self-esteem and made me question God as my perception of self was formed by how people described me. I internalized all the negative vibe and couldn’t see any good in my skin color or body shape. For the longest time, I believed that a “real Black girl” had to be curvy all round and that light-skinned girls had the advantage in life. It didn’t help that everywhere around me Eurocentric beauty was the ideal - chemical hair straighteners and bleaching creams to mention a few. Young or old, it was common to see people altering their skin tone in a bid to become “more beautiful” by being less black.
As a young adult, I began to question this toxic stereotype I had naively bought into, I studied to know more about my skin, 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 to see myself differently, but to experience firsthand what I call “the unique shades of beauty” people of color had been blessed 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 confidence and joy I had found.
In 2014, my best friend (now husband) and I founded Podozi, the first of its kind online platform to connect Africans on the Motherland to the best products we curated from the global market. Within the Podozi community, we interacted with thousands of women: most were succeeding brilliantly in life, the lies about their skin of color be damned. Yet, there were many who still bore the shackles of Eurocentric beauty standards on their being, and felt invalidated by the silly notion that they were not good enough or somehow limited because of their skin color. We knew then that the answer lies in re-telling the narrative of beauty for people of color, and empowering them to embrace a radical love for their skin tone.
Our goal as a beauty brand is to help you think critically about how you see and speak to or about yourself, as well as give you the tools you need not only to be seen but to see and embrace the totality of who you are. As a couple and business partners, it is work worth dedicating our lives to! Our hope is that you will come to have a healthier relationship with your skin of color, impacting how you think and see yourself, and that this newfound knowledge will rise from your skin to PowerUp every aspect of your life.
Our Truth is: You are beautifully and wonderfully made, whatever the shade of your skin, your body shape or size. The MIAH woman knows this truth and lives it with all of her being. We hope that you too will become a MIAH Woman, the one who embraces and radically loves her herself. And that you will always remember: you are not average or merely enough - You Are More Than Enough!