Interview conducted by Leah T. Johnson/ColorBlind Magazine
(Part 2 of Weddings, Beauty, and YouTube with Wura Manola)
CB Mag: What is your personal definition of beauty? And how do you work to portray this?
WM: Uniqueness. I am obsessed with people who are able to stand out, whether it’s fashion or makeup, etc. Being confident in your own skin is also my definition. Everyone else is taken so you have to be yourself.
I portray this in that I try to be unique. I don’t like looking like everyone else, so I try to dye my hair a different color. I have had grey hair, blonde hair, red hair. I love standing out. As women, we have so many issues that we are fighting in the world, such as equality, hating your body should not be one of them.
CB Mag: Do the standards of beauty differ in Nigeria and the UK? If so, how?
WM: The standards of beauty definitely differ. In Nigeria, you are considered beautiful if you are light skinned. But, here in the UK, no one cares about that! I prefer the standards of beauty in the UK because here, it’s about how you put yourself together (i.e. your health, fashion sense, your hair etc.), which are all these are things you have control over. But if people define your beauty by how light your skin color is it’s harder because changing your skin color is more complicated than going on a diet or changing your wardrobe. I would say Nigeria has a lot to work on. I feel that the craze of being light-skinned to be beautiful in Nigeria is so backwards and needs to go away because it’s doing a lot of damage to women causing them to bleach their skin and it’s going to affect the younger generation. This isn’t that all Nigerians feel this way, and it’s not in ALL of Nigeria. Please know that it’s not a generalization.
CB Mag: Has it always been this way?
WM: Yes, because when I look at my mom’s generation and aunt I can see that some of them have bleached. They talked about it was the “in” thing. But I think the difference then is that it was a trend, but now I think it’s borderline discrimination. I’ve heard of men in Nigeria say that if you’re dark you’re dirty. There’s also an article in the newspaper about why a light skinned woman would make a better wife. Things like this baffle me. I wouldn’t want my child to grow up in a country that she thinks she’s ugly because she is dark skinned. Again, not every Nigerian man thinks this way.
CB Mag: Do you think women can set their own standard of beauty?
WM: It’s very difficult to set your own standard of beauty because society has done this, and social media doesn’t make it easier. They [social media] give it [likes] to a person who has a big butt, is slim-thick, and provocatively dressed. As a woman, it’s so hard to set your own standard of beauty when every day you see what society says is beautiful and you don’t look like that.
For example, my standard of beauty is when a woman is a little bit thick but toned. Toned, but voluptuous. I am thick and consider myself voluptuous and I have accepted that I cannot be skin and bones. Women can set their own standard of beauty by accepting themselves. Accept the way you look. You can start this by appreciating the features that you like. You may like your lips, boobs, hair, butt, legs. For me, I like my boobs and my waist, they contribute to what makes me voluptuous. I am not as toned as I would like to be but I am working on that. I am thicker, and because I’m okay with that, I accept that. I work on my skin and being toned. If you don’t like anything about yourself then it will be hard to set your own standard of beauty and you will fall for what society says is beautiful.
CB Mag: What are your thoughts on the rise of social media and the effect it’s having on young women?
WM: This is one of the most difficult issues to tackle. It’s so difficult. I’ve once been a victim of this when I was 24/25. I was addicted to Instagram and if people didn’t like my photos I thought I wasn’t pretty/skinny enough and “likes” can really mess with your mind. But I’ve matured, and I know what life without social media is. Social media is such a fake life and world. I know people who get sooooo many likes, but in reality. People don’t really think of them as good people you know or they are not happy. A lot of “Insta” famous people have the same insecurities, knowing that helps me a lot because the thought of someone being perfect and you’re not is where the depression or self-hate/loathe stems from. Young people don’t have the knowledge to know they should reflect and that it is all a show, they just see someone’s life and automatically #goals it.
I would tell young people- social media is fake and that before a picture on Instagram is posted, the best angles will be captured, the bad angels cropped out, the picture lightened and filtered, it’s no longer a picture but an advert. Also, let’s not forget that the best cameras are being used, so before you compare yourself to someone with 1,000 likes think of you with the same makeover, angels, camera quality and filters. Also, let’s not forget your #bodygoals probably had surgery. People show you what they want you to see. All those relationship goals are and things on there are premeditated. They don’t put their bad angles, and their relationship drama or fights. Do not believe the hype. Appreciate yourself. I’m a huge believer that God has created people the way they should be. Your self-esteem is not worth an edited picture or a bae picture. It’s not worth it at all.
Return for the final part of this interview on tomorrow!