This is Novera
For a significant amount of time in my life, I was not comfortable in my own skin. A big factor to that was because I was a born a dark-skinned woman in a country where my family could not protect me from advertisements of bleaching creams portraying dark women as inferior, and comments associated with darker skinned people such as “black ghost” and “how come your mother is so fair-skinned and you aren’t?”
Growing up in Bangladesh, I felt forced to make decisions about who I wanted to be based on what society told me what I couldn’t be. I knew as early as elementary school that I couldn’t be prom queen, I couldn’t be that supermodel representing companies on runways and billboards nor could I be that actress living happily ever after with her Prince Charming because I just wasn’t fair enough. I grew up participating in various skin whitening remedies by family members who encouraged me to drink carrot and tomato juices and apply several bleaching creams despite my skin irritabilities when what I actually needed was a conversation about self-confidence and self-acceptance.
I found confidence from educating myself about the origin of this attitude: historically in many Asian countries, dark skin color has been a clear indicator of poor economic and social status as it is associated with laborers who made a living by working under the sun. Parts of this history, alongside the aftermath of post-colonialism does not only exist in Bangladesh today, but in many other countries and territories who used to be colonized by countries in Europe and North America.
I found confidence through surprise, when I noticed fair people tanning for the first time abroad and wondered why they would ever want a dark skin like mine.
I found confidence through Naomi Campbell, and Chanel Iman, who have been wow-ing the world with their dark-skinned beauty and not in spite of it.
I found confidence in my mother, whose confidence outshines the ageing skin she worries about sometimes.
After many years, I finally found the confidence in me.
I now know that self-confidence is not only empowering for yourself but is also so radiating that it can help others feel comfortable in their own skin too. You can always pull off anything when you are proud of everything that you are - you are BeaYOUtiful.