issue three : fear thy neighbour

We interview Akira as part of our "Melanin" beauty series. 

What is your ethnicity?

I'm a black woman.

What culture do you identify most with?

Jamaican, West Indian 


Do you still practice any of the traditional practices of your heritage at home? If so, what are they?

I cook Caribbean food regularly and listen to our music. My parents have also raised me with a Caribbean upbringing and to embrace my Caribbean heritage.


Do you know any traditional beauty practices from your culture? Could you share some with us?

Moisturising ! I cream my body and face everyday, morning and night. 

What is the most frustrating thing about being a model and having your makeup done?

Probably make up artists not getting my skin tone right, especially because there's more than one tone on my face. When I was living in Hong Kong I had bring my own makeup and foundation with me because they could never match my skin tone. MUA's would bring an extremely darker foundation to match my complexion.

It's also very frustrating when a hairstylist doesn't know how to do Afro hair. I usually wear weave when I shoot, as I don't want my natural hair to be damaged from work. Most - not all - hairstylist's aren't equipped with afro hair products or know how to work with Afro hair, so I usually have to bring any hair products with me to work.


What are some of the misconceptions other people might have about your culture/heritage? 

There is so much going on it the world right now to do with ignorance towards other people's culture, it's heartbreaking. Change needs to happen. Our ancestors would be turning in their graves if they saw the state of our society. What bothers me the most is when people assume all black people are "ghetto" or that we have to speak and act a certain way to be perceived as black. There is still such a negative stereotype in 2017.

A personal misconception is people assume I'm mixed race because of my light skin tone. Black skin comes in all different shades and tones. 


What has been the best part of being part of this beauty project for you?

Definitely furthering my knowledge and awareness of organic makeup brands. I'm really closed minded with makeup, I go to MAC for everything. It's great learning about new organic beauty products that are suitable for women of colour.

If there was one thing you could make others understand about your culture, what would it be?

Probably for others to realise how many things originate from Jamaican culture. Jamaica is such a small island but with such a big influence on the world, from food, music, dance and style. Many of these things have been brought to the media eye, and turned mainstream without making reference to it's true origin and neglecting the knowledge of the source.