My Skin My Nude

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It’s an absolute honour for me to partner with ‘Shades of Mia Mina’ in their  ‘My Skin, My Nude’  campaign,  where they celebrate all skins tones and believe ‘Nude is not and can never be one colour, because nude comes in all shades’. 

My involvement in the campaign reminds me of being 16 years old when I had just started college. It was an exciting time for me because I went to a girls secondary school and to be quite honest, I was excited to be around boys in a studious environment. Of course, the ladies were checking out all the good looking boys (myself included), and visa versa. On my fourth day, there was a list the boys had made to celebrate the girls they thought were the most attractive. A few of my friends had seen the list before me and said my name was on it. I definitely wanted to see what category they had placed me in.

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Jewellery – Buckley London: The Livi Collection

‘Girl with the nicest hairstyle – Sharlene Rodney’ it said so far, so good. ‘Best looking dark skinned girl – Sharlene Rodney’! It was at that moment that my face dropped, because in my opinion I was not dark skinned. I was offended that I had been placed in a category that I felt did not represent me. I can remember asking one of the boys why my name was there because, I reasoned, ‘I am not dark skinned’. He responded by saying ‘You’re not dark skinned compared to who’? I was stunned, and began to wonder why this had offended me. It’s not until recently whilst processing this with a friend, I realised that our concept of ‘blackness’ had been redefined so that the bar of beauty had become the lightest of the light. It was clear that I had been seen as dark skinned because to him, there was no beauty in the dark skinned woman, they had been rendered invisible.

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If you have followed by blog for a while you’ll know I struggled with my self image for many years (see previous post ‘Sparkle‘ & ‘This Is Me‘), but until this point I didn’t think I had any issues with my complexion, and to be honest I didn’t until I became associate with the notion of darkness. What was wrong with being referred to as ‘Dark Skinned’?, absolutely nothing but growing up I can remember the boys going on about the lighter skinned girls as if they were more attractive, so I guess that was why. There were (and are) family and friends in my life who were dark skinned and I always thought they were stunning. I know it’s not that I personally didn’t find a dark skin tone attractive, but the response of the boys had affected me as well as that of  the images that are very often demonstrated in the media. It had infected my mind set and I didn’t even realise it.

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Dress – Amina Peplum Bandage

I like that our children will see the likes of Alex Wek and Lupita Nyong’o who have all been featured in major magazines such as vogue and elle. More recently the stunning Khoudia Diop also known as the Melanin Goddness , who has conquered the internet.  However, it frustrates me that this would somehow make it all ok now, and I do wonder if this is some sort of tokenism? All shades and colours must be represented because they are all beautiful, and us as women must compliment and celebrate each other.

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Hair & Make-up – MO ISO

To any of my beautiful, stunning , gorgeous, luscious, delicious followers who have ever struggled with the completion of their skin I am here to tell you that you are so beautiful. You’re skin is perfect whether you’re dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, olive or honey skinned. You are a beautiful radiant queen and you must love all of who you are despite the opinion others may have of you.

Big Love

Sharlene-Monique

With thanks to Karen Gibson (mskarengibson.com) for her additional thoughts and comments.

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Photography – Relm Photography

Hair & Make-up – MO ISO

Dress – Amina Peplum Bandage

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