Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Are you SURE you aren't mixed race? You're too pretty to be African!!!!

Today I would like to introduce you to the gloriously divine Miss Epi Ferreira! Stunning right? Now, I know there is no need to ask you to look at her properly... because I am pretty sure that you are doing that right now. However, as you do that, tell me where you would say that she 'comes' from? Hmmm, well she is very fair... and with a name like Epi Ferreira...

Okay let's talk to Epi and let her tell you herself!

Anthonia: Hi Epi, thanks so much for your time today, I know how busy you are, so it is very much appreciated.

Epi: It's a pleasure. I really like what you are doing with the blog so I was quite excited to talk to you about this topic.

Anthonia: Thank you very much Epi. Can I start by asking you to give us some basic information about yourself please? 

Epi: Sure, my full name is Epiphania Ferreira. I am 23 years old and I am a dancer, model, actress and aspiring entrepreneur.

Anthonia: You are a very busy women indeed! Okay so can we put an end to the guessing for the readers and can you tell us where you are 'from'?

Epi: Sure, I am originally from Nigeria in West Africa, but I was born, raised and currently live in London.

Anthonia: Okay and when people first meet you, you say that they generally mistake you for a mixed race person, is that right?

Epi: Yes, when people first meet me a lot of the time they will just assume I'm mixed race and then as we continue to get to know each other, if the topic comes up, they are often surprised to learn that both my parents are black and equally surprised that they are black African. 

Anthonia: Mixed race women are generally considered to be very beautiful. So when you are mistaken for a mixed race person, how does that make you feel? Do you take it as a compliment or are you offended at the assumption!

Epi: I'm really not offended or annoyed by this as I think it’s an understandable mistake based on my skin tone and a lot of people’s lack of knowledge on the diversity of skin tones within the black race. The only time it does get on my nerves is when after learning that I'm not mixed race, people sometimes, for some reason, are not able to accept this! I've had people ask me if I'm SURE both my parents are black! That somewhere along the line I MUST be mixed... now this is not an impossibility as generally speaking, where I am from (my tribe) people are not generally my complexion, plus I do have a Portuguese surname. But at least as far back as my great great grandparents on both sides go, I know that they are all 'typical' looking Nigerians from the relevant part of Nigeria that I am from. Plus neither of my siblings have my complexion, both being much darker than me.

One thing that does annoy me about these kind of statements is that whether they realise it or not and to be fair I've had these kind of comments from both black and white people, they are reinforcing this idea that typically ‘white’ attributes are what’s beautiful and if you as a black woman (or man) are ‘lucky’ enough to possess these attributes then you've got to have some white blood in you somewhere because there’s  no way you could possibly be this fair or apparently beautiful and still be 100% black. On the flip side typically ‘black’ features e.g. big bums and full lips are only widely accepted and desired when they've been displayed on white people.

Anthonia: How has your skin complexion influenced your time growing up?  Would you say that it has been an advantage or disadvantage?

Epi: I think with boys especially when younger there was a lot of ignorant thinking where boys would prefer mixed race or lighter skinned girls purely because they had light skin- sadly a lot of grown men still think like this. This thinking is something that really does baffle me, it’s one thing to have white people not accepting or celebrating black beauty but I really can’t understand black men who have black mothers and sisters thinking in this way. At school (I went to all girls primary and secondary schools) I did have issues in my early secondary school years but I never felt like it was because anyone was jealous of my skin.

Anthonia: Growing up in the UK do you feel as though you have been influenced in any way by the media in terms of your perception of beauty?

Epi: Yes I don’t think you can help but be influenced by something you've been so immersed in. I remember when I was little thinking that Baby Spice (Emma Bunton from the 'Spice Girls') was just the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Why not Scary Spice? Someone who looked a lot more similar to me. 

Anthonia: So what about now, as an adult has your ideal of beauty changed at all?

Epi: Definitely! I don’t remember ever actively feeling that black wasn't beautiful I think it’s subtler than that. The media tells you that these things are beautiful: fair skin, long  straight hair, blue eyes etc.  I don’t remember ever being told or feeling that dark skin, coarse hair and a broader nose were ugly BUT it was more that the aforementioned things were beautiful and if you didn't have those attributes you simply weren't part of that group. It’s so important for black children to be able to see people who look like them represented, appreciated and celebrated in popular culture.

Anthonia: So who do you admire in terms of beauty now?

Epi: I definitely appreciate beauty in all races. In terms of darker/black women I would say Joan Smalls: I love her cheekbones, and Leomie Anderson: I love her face and her smooth, glowing skin... the girl has no pores!

Credit: David Roemer, Glamour Magaizine, Spain

Credit: Chris Craymer, Glamour Magazine, UK

Anthonia: How does the way you wear you hair affect your work as a model/dancer?

Epi: I feel that when I change my hair it does have a dramatic effect on my general look. As a dancer the types of jobs you will get are definitely affected by your look.  At the moment I wear my hair in a weave and generally am told I have quite a commercial look. I feel that generally styles like braids, twists etc. are seen as ‘quirky’ and ’edgy’. I haven’t had braids or twists in a loooooooong time (I haaaaaaaate being sat in the hairdressers chair for hours on end) but have been thinking a lot recently 
about getting braids again so it would be interesting to see what kind of jobs I’d get if this was the case.

Anthonia:  Okay, Epi so finally, what is your skin care regime like?

Epi: I’m so lazy and inconsistent with skincare (hides face in shame) I find it really hard to form new habits so I try and do the whole cleanse, tone, moisturize thing but it doesn't always happen that way. I look after my skin by washing and moisturizing my face every day. I also enjoy a good facemask every now and then too. I like to use products that I can feel working, so face scrubs with the little exfoliating beads in them or masks/ washes with that kind of stinging antiseptic feeling that lets you feel like its really cleaning your face. I like the Garnier wash and mask & St Ives Apricot Scrub. I’m also looking into getting one of those cleansing face brushes so I’ll update you on that once I’ve got one.

Anthonia: Your favourite make up brand and product?

Epi: I use a lot of different brands when it comes to make up but when I like something I will continue to use that product. My favourite product is Lancome Oscillation Mascara- it separates your lashes amazingly with a vibrating wand.

Anthonia:  Epi, thank you so much for your time today. It's been a real pleasure speaking to you about your experiences and your thoughts on beauty.

Epi:  Thank you!  It's been fun!

That's it guys.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post. If there is anything that you would like to comment on, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

If you are interested in booking Epi, please contact me.  

Stay confident and beautiful.

Peace and love,  Anthonia

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