Afro-Indigenous content creator, model, and activist, Kara Roselle Smith, champions her people in everything she does. This is evident via her own personal page and writing, where she discusses terms like Land Back and No More Stolen Sisters. Additionally, in 2020, she created a page dedicated to educating people about her ancestors– the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag tribe– who are the original people to live on Martha’s Vineyard’s historical Chappaquiddick Island. Most recently, she is in the early stages of writing a book about the Indigenous experience and gender visibility.
And when it comes to holidays such as Indigenous Peoples’ Day and this month’s Native American Heritage Month, “this is something I celebrate every single day of my life,” Smith tells ESSENCE via phone. “But I’m glad to know there’s some progress in acknowledging and honoring Indigenous people,” she adds.
And honoring her people in these times, and beyond, comes with supporting Indigenous-owned beauty brands, too. Specifically, Smith loves Afro-Indigenous-owned Ah-Shí Beauty– especially their concealers and lip products. Another favorite is wellness brand Moskehtu known for their healing herbs that help people manage things like depression, acne, and more. “It feels good to support brands that create intentionally,” she says.
Additionally, a big part of her self-care routine is having firm boundaries. “That includes saying no in different ways,” she says. This practice allows for proper rest and time to grieve. “Last September, I lost my mom,” she explains. “I feel grateful to be in a position where I can say no to things that do not feel aligned. This has definitely improved my mental health and general wellbeing.”
Speaking of wellbeing, ashwagandha has been a game changer in Smith’s routine. “It really helps with anxiety and stress that we hold in our bodies,” she adds. Additionally, massages have been her bread and butter. “It’s great to treat myself and aid my body in getting out tension that I can’t do on my own.”
In a lot of ways, for Smith, telling stories about her culture is a form of self-care, too. “It’s beautiful to claim your own heritage and to not let what’s projected onto you in mass media make you think you can’t,” she says. “It’s important to tell your story. The beauty in that lies in reminding others that we’re not all monoliths.”