issue three : fear thy neighbour

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

J ess @ Named Models   @  jess_whitneyx

Jess @ Named Models


What is your ethnicity?

I'm full African, I was born in Uganda. 

What culture do you identify most with?

I moved to the UK when I was 7 so I've spent majority of my life surrounded by British culture. I identify mostly with British culture however I still grounded to my Ugandan roots.


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

I still acknowledge the Tribe family my family is from, the Banyoro tribe. Being part of a tribe is a way of affirming ones social ties in the Ugandan community. Each tribe has their own individual language which I sometimes speak at home, although I'm out of practice.

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

I don't think we have any beauty practices out of the ordinary. Women don't tend to wear a lot of makeup in my country. Natural beauty is praised more. I think I'd get strange looks if I walked around wearing a full face with contour and bright lipstick. 

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

I'd be a very wealthy woman if I had £1 for every time I've been told by a makeup artist that they don't have my colour in foundations. Or every time the wrong colours were used on me. I've learned over the years to always carry my own makeup kit for those situations. 

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

People have the misconception that my country is dusty and poverty stricken. 
It's actually very green and very beautiful and developing very fast. 

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

Highlighting the fact that there aren't enough makeup brands and makeup artists who cater to darker skin tones and this needs to change.

I've also enjoyed learning about untainted and the clean beauty it promotes and how it caters to my skin without causing further damage to it.


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

Our food is rich and delicious and you should try it.