Recap: Cocktails x Conversations with PureWow

 
 

What’s Your Definition of Beauty?
October 15, 2018

Oftentimes, it seems like there’s one definition of beauty. You either fit within this narrow definition of what constitutes as beautiful or you don’t. Oftentimes, different ethnicities are underrepresented within the beauty industry making their absence easily assumed as not fitting within that narrow box.

In partnership with PureWow, MoxxieMade talked with some of the beauty industry’s top champions of diversity to discuss these exact issues. Our panel highlighted: Jenny Jin - Senior Beauty Editor at PureWow and MoxxieMade Mentor, Amanda E. Johnson - Co-founder and COO of Mented Cosmetics, Stephanie Flor - Celebrity Makeup Artist and Founder of Around the World Beauty, and Liah Yoo - beauty influencer and Founder of KraveBeauty.

Jenny opened the conversation up sharing her experience and how she’s seen beauty defined - “The definition of beauty is complicated. In the past, and still certainly today, conventional ideas of beauty have been confided to a specific list of qualities (like sleek hair or a tall nose, a certain skin tone or specific body type), but we are all so unique and can’t possibly - nor should we be expected to - meet those qualities in order to be deemed beautiful. Growing up as the only Asian girl in my entire school, I certainly felt this way for much of my childhood.”

The other women’s experiences were not too far off as they graciously shared with us a time they felt undesirable and singled out because of their race.

Beauty is a mindset

Stephanie was the first one to speak up. Growing up, she never felt “enough.” Especially during her school years where she attended an all Caucasian school. She tried her best to ‘fit in’ but it never felt like a genuine click so when a new group of Latina girls moved into the neighborhood she was excited to finally have a community. Despite multiple attempts to befriend these girls and relate on their cultural likeness, the girls felt like Stephanie wasn’t Latina enough. Leaving her confused and misplaced on where she fits in.

It wasn’t until much later, after traveling and retracing her roots, did she realize that Latina beauty had nothing to do with her outside appearance, like her skin color or how she wore her hair. It had to do with the pride that comes from her heritage.

This thought shifted everything for her as she no longer felt like she had to prove herself because she was 100% connected to the woman she was inside. Her mission is to show “ love, inner beauty, and to connect with people -  no matter who they were or what they do for a living. It’s [all about] authenticity.” She admitted as a celebrity makeup artist, that she gets to work with many powerful women, and they all have insecurities. Everyone has insecurities, which showed her “beauty is a mindset.” Being connected to your authentic self allows you to radiate that beauty mindset from the inside out.

Your uniqueness is your advantage

Liah had a more unique perspective since she was born and raised in Korea for most of her adult life. Whereas most of the speakers felt singled-out for their race, she felt singled-out for both her race and age. When she moved to New York to start her skincare line KraveBeauty, she felt a lot of ageism from white middle-aged men during industry events.  Her advice to combat this negativity? “A little bit of faking it until we make it” and embracing that “this different perspective is my competitive advantage.”

“Otherness” is a choice

One of the most powerful stories of the night came from Amanda. Long before Mented Cosmetics was founded, Amanda was passionate about ballet. She recalled the first time she realized her “otherness.” She was auditioning to be one of the snowflakes for The Nutcracker, and as she looked at all the dancers around her, she realized that she was the only black “snowflake” in the sea of white ballet snowflakes.

In hindsight, she realized she has always been that black snowflake throughout her life; during her times in the finance as the only African American female employee and in business school, where she felt like she was the “only black snowflake in the room.”  All these moments taught her that “otherness is a choice.” Each of us will be an “other” at some point whether it be for race, age, body type, or sex. “Everyone at some point will be faced with a choice - with accepting the otherness that the world gives you, or deciding that your “otherness” is beautiful.”

Here’s to embracing our individual “otherness”, owning it, and defining beauty for ourselves.

 
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Cocktails x Conversations’
Wise Women Speakers

 
 

About our Wise Women Speakers

Jenny Jin

Jenny is refreshingly real, especially when this isn’t the norm in the beauty space. It takes courage to allow yourself to fully be seen. Jenny Jin is a New Orleans native living in New York. After a brief career in nonprofit and finance, Jenny decided that writing about beauty would be way more fun. She came to her current role, Senior Beauty Editor of PureWow, after serving as the Associate Beauty Editor of Real Simple. As an expert in the industry, she will be moderating our discussion at the event.

Visit her website

Amanda E. Johnson

Co-founder & COO of Mented Cosmetics, a digitally native beauty brand targeting women of color. Launched in January 2017, Mented has turned the traditional beauty model on its head by placing women of color at the forefront. The company has been featured in several publications including Essence, Allure, Vogue and Forbes as shepherding a real change in beauty diversity. Along with her cofounder, Amanda became the 15th African American women ever to raise $1 million in funding while on average, black women only raise $36,000 in venture capital.

→ Visit her website

Liah Yoo

Beauty influencer turned entrepreneur, Liah founded skincare brand KraveBeauty to help people press reset on their skincare routine. She is known for sharing skincare tips with the knowledge and experience she gained while working at Korea's largest beauty company, AmorePacific. She has an international social media reach of over 700,000 followers and built her credibility by helping hundreds of other women who have tried literally every other conventional regime to clearer and healthier skin by sharing her unconventional acne-fighting tips based on her own skincare journey.

→ Visit her website


Stephanie Flor

Celebrity makeup artist and founder of Around the World Beauty. Stephanie regularly works with industry leaders ranging from musicians to television personalities - including Mariah Carey, Eve, Sting, and Kathy Griffin. With her love of travel, she founded All Around the World Beauty - a site dedicated to exploring beauty rituals practiced by women of various cultures across the globe. She’s traveled to over 30 countries exploring the deeper meaning of beauty and combining her passion for makeup, hair, and culture. Her highlights have been traveling to  the tip of India, where she took part in the Ayurvedic way of living, and the depths of Central and South America, climbing the pyramids and Machu Picchu to get closer to the sun. Her global beauty tips have been featured in Marie Claire, Glamour Magazine and currently "Sacred Beauty,” a regular beauty and travel series on Latina.com.

→ Visit her website