Victoria, or Vicky as her friends call her, was all smiles plus dimples at the photo shoot! Her naturally spiral curls fell perfectly around her shoulders and her energy lit up the room. Her natural beauty shined through the camera and when I asked her how she would describe beauty, she explained that “beauty is being able to be yourself. The way a person loves themselves inside and out is beauty to me. Being able to accept your flaws and all and being completely content with who you are is beauty.”
Being a darker person myself, I always assumed that people with lighter complexions had it easier, but in reality they have to overcome obstacles that society has placed for them.
Victoria shared that “A lot of people get confused sometimes with being able to tell if I am black or not but indeed I am. I am multiracial and sometimes that is hard for some people to accept. I always get stared at in the most awkward ways by people who aren’t the same as me.” Society has strategically placed people in boxes and when a certain person doesn’t fit into a box, we try to find one for them. This is experienced frequently with people of mixed heritage or race. For people in Vicky’s situation, the question is ‘do I treat you like a black person or like something else’. The answer is to just treat her as a person. Period.
People of mixed races sometimes feel as though they have to pick a side when it comes to their identity. Vicky explained that “I’ve had people who I am close with (and who are not black) make black jokes or comments and I have tried to be understanding because they aren’t serious but other times I wonder ‘should I be okay with this?’ I got this comment at work from a woman who asked one of my coworkers if I am black – I didn’t know what to think. At the end of the day, I know who I am and I love where I come from. From being in college, learning more about myself and really seeing that I am a person of color has made me the happiest woman! I love my people and I think others who make these comments just don’t understand us. So many people want to be us and I love the fact that I am a black woman.”
‘What do your love about yourself?’
“I love my sense of humor! It’s like no other and it’s just funny because no one else’s is like it! I love my personality because it’s who I am and it’s what makes me stand out from others. I love my eyes but to be completely honest, I love all of me! I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for my friends, family, and loved ones. I love that there are characteristics that make everyone so different from one another and that is why I love myself – because I am like no one else!”
What does it mean to receive your college degree?
“I want to mention that I am a first generation student so to receive my college degree is extremely important for not only me, but my family. I’ll be able to show my sister that she can get a college degree just like her big sister and that it is very much possible! I think being a woman of color shows the world that it is possible for people of color to succeed. I will be able to show young girls of color that they can be just as great if not better. I love being a role model to others so if I can show young people that it is possible, then I have already done my job.”
Vicky was already leading up to my next question which was ‘what words of encouragement would you give to young girls struggling with their identity?’
I would say first of all baby girl you are beautiful because you are YOU! There is no one else on this planet like you. You are what makes you beautiful. Society will beat women and young girls down to be someone they aren’t but it’s our job not to listen to them. We are beautiful and unique. No one else can be like you and you must shine on your own because it’s not fun trying to be like others. You lose that authenticity the moment you try to be someone else. Be yourself. It will take you far in life and you’ll learn to love yourself so much more once you are able to accept yourself for who you are and what makes you, you. Be bold, be beautiful, and be you!”
Creative Directing Assistants
Daniel de La Fé
Daniel de La Fé Photography
Facebook & Instagram: @danieldelafephotography.com
A special thanks to the Aspen Grille for allowing us to shoot at their location. The Aspen Grille is student run, supports local and sustainable producers, and located in the Lory student Center. Be sure to check them out here and make your reservations! http://lsc.colostate.edu/dining-at-the-lory-student-center/aspen-grille/