Refinery 29 Feature: What Indigenous Beauty Means to Me

I’m in Refinery 29 Canada’s online piece What Indigenous Beauty Means to Me. This article is written by Kelly Boutsalis and also features Shanese Steele, Arielle Twist, and Cheekbone Beauty‘s founder Jenn Harper.

“I’m Plains Cree, or Nêhiyaw, and I started doing research and learning about the traditional face paint that warriors would have worn and the beautification traditions of my people and I thought, this is my war paint.  There’s a great poem by Patricia Monture and the final line is: I hide my face, behind a mask/ of Revlon “easy, breezy, beautiful”/ I hide. / (Or maybe, I just like “war paint.”) That poem sticks with me, because it is empowering and feels like political resistance.”

The action of doing my makeup and taking time for that care and beauty is such a political space, as a femme, queer, and two-spirit woman.

The article includes beautiful photos by Nadya Kwandibens at Red Works Photography, based in Toronto. This was my second shoot with Nadya and my first virtual shoot with her, and I highly recommend Nadya if you need headshots or gorgeous photos in general!

Photos by Nadya Kwandibens

“Being urban Native means we don’t have as much access to ceremonies or the land as we should, so we have to create our own rituals as we move through the world. I take time for my inner beauty throughout my day by creating little ceremonies wherever I go, whether it’s meditation, restorative yoga, smudging, or learning about the types of beauty products that my ancestors would have used, like berries for cheek or lip stain.”

Read the full article here.