Friday, 26 June 2015

Black Girls on Beauty: Tara Akintewe

Today I would like to introduce you to a beautiful young woman called Tara Akintewe. 

Tara is based in the USA, however has been fortunate enough to live in four different countries whilst growing up: UK, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and USA. 

I thought it would be interesting to speak to Tara about her opinion on beauty, how it is perceived in the various places that she has lived, and how her experiences living in different countries may have affected her perception of beauty.

Here is some of what the gorgeous 'Miss T' had to say.

Anthonia: When you lived in Nigeria, what do you think people generally considered to be beautiful in a woman?

Tara: I spent mainly my high school years in Nigeria, where I attended a boarding school.
For us as high school students (boarders specifically) beauty was seen in how you walked, talked, smiled, your confidence and personality. As far as guys were concerned, they were attracted to our natural state with no physical alterations or enhancement. I can't say if it's still the same nowadays, as it has been well over 10 years since I left Nigeria. I hope it hasn't but I am guessing that things have changed.

Anthonia: Nigeria is known to be a hotbed for skin bleaching! As a lighter skinned girl, do you think that Nigerian guys responded to you differently than perhaps to darker skinned girls?

Tara: Well, I had a lot of male attention, but I honestly do not think that it had anything to do with my skin tone. However some guys do prefer light skinned girls and have made that known.

Anthonia: On the subject of skin tone, to what extent do you think that your fair skin tone has been an advantage/disadvantage to you at any point in your life?

Tara: The subject of my skin tone has only come up in the sense that people say certain things would look better on me because of it e.g dress colour or hair colour, nothing discriminatory. I have had a lot of comments based on my size as opposed to my skin tone.

Anthonia: Okay so tell me about your time in Papua New Guinea ('PNG'). Papua New Guinea is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. How would you say that beauty is perceived there?

Tara: [Laughs] That has got to be the funniest question yet! Beauty, to the native people of Papua New Guinea, is practically non-existent in the western sense of the word. Unlike in other places I have lived, I would have to say that beauty in Papua New Guinea has to be the purest form of beauty I have ever seen. You will never catch a native woman wearing high heels or overly manipulating her hair. The women wear their hair natural and tend to just have it in a fro or tied back. It's so simple and natural.

Anthonia: So how would you compare that to beauty as you find it in the USA?

Tara: [Laughs] Beauty in the USA is high fashion, heels, make-up, clothes. It's a cult [laughs]. It's something that you have to adapt to or be left behind. However, there are those who quite frankly do not care. I guess it mostly depends on where you live. The expectations are to fit in with the norm. Generally speaking in the USA, I find that there is a high prevalence of interracial relationships, and so I guess that all kinds of beauty is appreciated. 

Anthonia: Okay so do you think that your perception of beauty is affected by what you see on TV?

Tara: On TV, beauty is pumped-up lips, botox, boob jobs, vast amounts of surgery etc. plus altering or editing the way people look on screen. TV has personified beauty into something that does not exist and is almost impossible to attain; a kind of perfection that has left people going way too far to try and achieve. Now that I am older, I recognise this and so I think that I do not let it affect me. So I guess the answer to the question is no. I'm sexy and I know it [laughs]. I feel very comfortable in my own skin and confident in how I look, nothing has influenced my perception of myself other than myself. I tend to want to look good for me

Anthonia: Is your hair natural or relaxed and why?

Tara: I have always been relaxed because I can’t deal with the stress associated with natural hair, plus I have no experience in looking after my natural hair. I am however transitioning to having natural hair because years of constant relaxing has left me with damaged hair. 

Anthonia: What is your opinion on wigs and weaves? 

Tara: I don’t care what people say [laughs]. I rock weaves proudly. Now wigs I don’t fancy that much.

Anthonia: You have lovely skin. What is your skin care regime/secret and which make-up brand do you favour?

Tara: My skin care regime is so easy: lots of water, and lots of fruit - practically daily. I can’t say the same for veggies, but I will get there. I use Aveeno's facial cleanser but I also love the Cetaphil face wash and face cream. In terms of make-up, I'm a MAC girl.

Anthonia: Thank you Tara for your time and sharing your thoughts and experiences.

Tara: You're welcome. Thank you too...

That's it guys... I hope that you enjoyed reading about this beautiful black girl's thoughts on beauty. Until we talk to the next 'Black Girl on Beauty' take care of yourselves.

Stay confident and beautiful


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