“Born and raised intermittently in France I felt subjected to a beauty ideal I could never attain. Growing up, I felt shamed for my African traits – plump lips, curvy body, kinky hair – and gradually grew a sense of disesteem towards them.
Not only was I reminded of my differences through mere encounters and interactions, I was also reminded day in & day out by society itself – one that continuously pushes Euro-centric standards of beauty onto us.
What impact does that have on a young girl, on anyone?
Naturally, it made me believe, ‘I am not good enough’.
Fortunately, after rediscovering myself by interacting with empowering communities, researching the richness of my heritage, and finding out the significance of beauty in various cultures – my horizons were broadened.
I truly believe confidence in your individuality is one of the most attractive and powerful traits a person could have; it is what fuels one’s determination and ambition. This mindset turned what I once viewed as flaws, into beauty and felt were weaknesses, into strengths.
Believe me, I still have moments of doubt, but I know I’ve come a long way.
At the end of the day, I am proud of who I am and will continue respecting myself – my mind, body and soul.”
Anne-Sophie is originally from Cameroon and of French nationality. She studied Politics in Montreal at McGill University and is now pursuing a Masters in Human Rights Law in London.