“It wasn’t until I got older and started to come into my own that I thought, ‘Oh yeah, my melanin is beautiful; my melanin is poppin.'"
Jessica Williams, star of Netflix’s The Incredible Jessica James, recently opened up to Allure about her self-love journey. Admitting that she’s never been a “hair person," she says it was always made a big deal by her mother, who loved getting her own strands professionally styled.
For Jessica, the process of doing hair was painful, both physically and mentally. “I don’t like hurting. And a lot of the time, to get my hair done, I would have to get it hot-combed and pressed… I was six; I hated that. I ended up living in braids.”
She says avoiding that pain is what motivated her to wear braids. Getting her hair fried, dyed and laid to the side was something she was never interested in, especially since she always classified herself as a tomboy.
“I feel like I can get up and go and get out of the house. I just don’t have it in me to get my hair done all the time.” Although her hair isn’t something she spends a ton of time doing, she does love playing with makeup.
Jessica revealed that she often depended on her own skills while working on The Daily Show, and that she studied YouTube beauty blogger tutorials for inspo.
“You find a beauty blogger who has your skin tone, and pretty much everything they use will look good on you. Even now, I bring my own stuff to shoots because a lot of makeup artists don’t know how to work with African-American skin.” Jessica even shared some of her favorite chocolate friendly beauty brands, including Bobbi Brown, Nars and Kat Von D.
With European beauty standards dominating the media in the '90s (during the prime of Jessica’s childhood), she said she didn’t discover her own beauty until later in life.
“It wasn’t until I got older and started to come into my own that I thought, ‘Oh yeah, my melanin is beautiful; my melanin is poppin.' But that’s something that I had to actively learn: I went to college. I read books about women’s and gender studies. I learned there are so many different ways to be a woman.”
By studying feminism, womanism and the history of the African diaspora, the actress and writer eventually learned to appreciate her brown skin on a deeper level. And today, she's encouraging women to do the same.
“Beauty is personal- and a big part of becoming a woman is standing in your own power and being comfortable in your own skin.” We couldn’t agree more! Make sure you catch Jessica and all her dopeness in The Incredible Jessica James when it premieres on Netflix next week (July 28).