What people need to understand is my freckles are not a choice but I choose to embrace them. I can’t put them on or take them off.Hello lovelies. I’m Nikia Phoenix, born and raised in the South and currently living, breathing, and thriving in Los Angeles. First and foremost I am a storyteller and a dreamer. My dreams have manifested into my career as a model and content creator. I love what I do.
The moment that awakens me
I feel the most beautiful early in the morning when the sunlight barely hits my skin.I love the peace and the freshness of mornings when my dreams are still present in my mind. That’s also when I am probably at my most vulnerable and powerful moment of my day. I am stripped down to my bare essentials and all that I’d dreamed of is within my reach. The stress of the day has not set in yet and I am just me. I can look in the mirror and truly accept myself as I am.
Still, I definitely have moments when I am feeling ugly and ashamed.
To be completely transparent, I've struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life, and these illnesses make me second-guess myself often; whenever I feel the doubt creeping in I close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and whisper to myself that I’m okay. I think of it as a quick meditation. I know that I am beautiful and at the same time I’m still learning to fully embrace that. I have to remind myself that I’ve come this far because I’m supposed to be here and that I still have a ways to go. Discovering our own beauty is a journey.
The lyrics that inspire me
“It keeps holding on and it's holding strong…”My friend Jana and I always sing this song by Gregory Porter to each other and change “ it” to “I." It reminds us of the hymns and spirituals we grew up hearing in the South. It’s the same as when old people say "keep on keeping on." The climate of our society today tries its best to keep us down, but we’re still holding on. That dedication and resilience is deep within my spirit.
The ink that keeps me rooted
The tattoo on my left arm is the Adinkra symbol Dwennimmen--the two rams horns--and the other one is a lyric from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird that reads “And this bird you cannot change.”Both works of ink are on my arms, my wings. They keep me rooted in my heritage as an black woman and also a Southern girl. If you know anything about Dwennimmen or Free Bird, then you know that the strong will and the determination represented in both. That’s me through and through.
The feature that has thickened my skin
There are times when I look at myself and I don’t see freckles. Then there are other times when all I see are freckles.What people need to understand is my freckles are not a choice but I choose to embrace them. I can’t put them on or take them off. Over the years folks have picked on me or stared at me like I’m an alien because of the spots on my face. Dealing with that has made my skin thicker and in turn I have been able to stick up for myself and others that may not know how to speak up for themselves. I think my freckles are beautiful and more and more people are embracing them along with their own so-called imperfections. I’m glad I’ve been able to contribute in changing the tide.
The conversations that moved me to create Black Girl Beautiful
Black Girl Beautiful was inspired by conversations I’ve had with girlfriends about the lack of representation of black women in mainstream beauty.
When you look through beauty ads, you may see one black face that is supposed to represent all black faces. But how are we supposed to see if this foundation or lipstick works on us if it’s only being shown on one black model? And in my own experiences modeling, several makeup artists and hairstylists have not known what to do with my melanin or my hair texture.
Instead of making me feel beautiful, they made me feel like my beauty didn’t matter, like black beauty is an afterthought.
After talking to other black models and other women of color, we all share similar stories. How can this be when we’re the one group of people who spends the most on beauty and hair products in the U.S.? Our beauty needs to be respected and admired. We have to start by embracing our own beauty ourselves. We are still coming into our own and that’s fine, let’s just do it together.
This black beauty revolution will take a village to succeed--let’s build our village.
Black Girl Beautiful a unique beauty and shopping event for women of color. It is more of an experience that will be filled with memories and Black Girl Magic to get you through until the next go ‘round. I’m so happy to say that NaturallyCurly is the media partner for Black Girl Beautiful and I cannot be more excited.
You can keep up with me in so many places.
Visit nikiaphoenix.com and blackgirlbeautiful.com (purchase tickets to Black Girl Beautiful on Saturday, October 15th here).
Follow us on Instagram @nikiaphoenix and @blackgirlbeautifuldotcom.