The Beauty Issue
Issue # 52   April 2018

The Beauty Issue


Khalifa Louie of Cool Pixx Studios


Jack Otieno


Ruth Odhiambo.




Glam up by Guchu


Kapoeta by Ambica

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“Makeup is not a mask that covers up your beauty; it's a weapon that helps you express who you are from the inside.” - Michelle Phan

There was a time I didn’t care to be beautiful. Of course I was also waddling and cute by default so that hardly counts. As I grew older I became aware there was a standard of beauty and I did not meet it. She has soft, clear, light skin with thick dark hair with big round eyes. As she grew older she was allowed to darken a smidge provided she had glorious curves to be ogled at in real life and increasingly, on social media. Then my flawless skin broke out at 29. Hormones. Stress. Genetics. Androgens. Environment. Diet. Dermatologists played blind darts. I sunk money into skin care and lifestyle. I got trolled for having acne. Threads confident in my ugly. That was the actual word used. Ugly. Other women were effortlessly beautiful so why was I working so hard to earn mine dammit! It would seem I was destined to be on the wrong side of beautiful my entire life. 

Yes, this story has a happy ending where I will gloss over all the hard times and tell you I finally slayed that dragon. Killed it. Dead. The end. Insert smiley face. After years of being told I was too black, that my hair was too something, my arms too toned, my body a little too strong and agile-looking, my muchness simply too much, a switch flipped in my head. I hate this cliche but it is ever so perfect. I found my beauty, as dramatic as it was. I embraced me. I realised I only had two speeds when it comes to lipstick: red and a deep plum. No nude lippie for me. I loved how my wild red hair went every which way. I was bemused by all the attributes directed my way simply because of how
I looked.

And you know what this made me realise? Beauty is an attitude. Yeah, I wanted to throw up too. I mean, a gorgeous woman is a gorgeous woman is a gorgeous woman, right? When ‘they’ say true beauty comes from within it sounds so goodie goodie, absent of fire. My interpretation of it is this: guard your heart, let people who look at you like the sun rises out of your hoohah in, and stop giving all those effs (I’m not allowed to say it here). I literally only have one F to give - Family. That includes friends who are so few it troubled my parents half my life; along with a formidable wall of incredible men who literally form a hurdle around me and think I am just the ish. And guess what; that I have this magical circle around me makes me a unicorn. Ok, a black panther…. Rare, stunning, sleek, free, untameable. I will also now concede I am in fact, vain, self-absorbed and arrogant. My F know this and can live with it. So, what’s beauty again? It is the quality that keeps life interesting.


Carol Odero.