Afro-Hawaiin woman with curly hair wearing a sweater

Photography: @_str8dope_ Design: cuur

Taija Kerr recently made history for being named the first Afro-Hawaiian woman to star in a beauty campaign. Although the beauty industry has made progress in being more inclusive, there is still work to be done. Taija hopes to expand the conversation on representation and be a beacon of light for others, especially Polynesians. “Being apart of the Sephora Campaign at the beginning was just something I wanted to do to make my family proud. At the time I had just moved to NY to find myself, but after the campaign went up people were finding themselves in my photo! Not only representing natural hair, but as soon as you see that photo, you see a proud Polynesian woman!! Something you don’t see much of in the beauty industry and my only objective is to be a great representation of my Polynesian people.”

Afro-Hawaiian woman wearing a white t-shirt sitting on a stool

Photography: @joe_chea

For most of us, hair is a part of our identity and how we express ourselves, but it can be extremely tough to find the courage to embrace your individuality when you don’t see people that look like you in the media. As Taija got older her perspective changed and she became more expressive and embraced her unique features, especially her naturally curly hair.

“My hair has always been another way to express myself. Right before I started my natural hair journey, three years ago, I was coloring my hair once a month, but that was my way of expression. Now, my hair does all of the expressing for me! Honestly, I’ve always felt like my hair doesn’t define me. The hair that grows from my head tells a story about what’s going on in the inside. Usually, when I’m happy, my hair looks happy and vice versa when I’m sad. The more I learn about my inner happiness the more my hair reflects how I feel.”

Afro-Hawaiin woman with curly hair wearing black suspenders

Photography: @mounttainbikekeith

Can we take a moment to admire those beautiful curls! You know I had to get the scoop on what her holy grails are. Taija loves the Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Curl La La Defining Curl Custard, Aunt Jackie’s Curl & Coils Quench! Moisture Intensive Leave-in Conditioner,Vernon Francois Co-Wash Shampoo, and a Metal Black Power Pick for ultimate volume.

Being a bi-racial woman it’s truly amazing to see someone like Taija break barriers and use her story to empower others, especially multi-cultural women. Thank you, Taija for your courage and vulnerability to use your voice and shine a light on the importance of representation. Every opportunity to expand the conversation on traditional beauty standards is essential for progress. Let’s continue to support brands, people, and organizations that are genuinely working towards creating inclusive and diverse spaces for all.

“Find whatever makes you feel beautiful and add a little creativity. We all have the same parts, so always know we’re one in the same, but the sparkle you add is what makes you beautiful.”– Taija Kerr

Do you feel the beauty industry is striving towards creating an inclusive and diverse space? How can we help use our platform to push the needle? Let me know in the comments.

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