I remember the first time I realized I was different as a child. I was sitting in the school cafeteria in 1987 and about to eat a delicious curry with rice when I heard a girl shout, “Ewwww, Minara is a dirty Indian who eats stinky food!” That was when my cheeks burned with shame, and I quickly began a tradition of dumping my lunch instead of eating it.
I lost so much weight that my parents and pediatrician were concerned for my health. Little did they know that it wasn’t a health issue but a social issue that manifested as a physical scar on my body. Bigotry doesn’t just hurt your feelings; it can manifest itself physically.
I would even refuse to sit in my house when my mom cooked, fearing ever smelling like curry. The foods that nourished my ancestors for generations became a source of embarrassment for me.
Why am I sharing this story now?
I wish I could say that this only happened to me. It has happened to countless Asian Americans for decades. Our culture and heritage are rich in tradition, yet we have subconsciously or even consciously subdued our “otherness” to fit the “American” mold. As a little girl, I wish I could see the beauty in my Asian heritage and some representation in mainstream media.
Trending AAPI Beauty Ideas and Brands
With anti-Asian rhetoric on the rise, it is more important than ever to showcase the beauty of Asian contributions within our communities. And Asians aren’t just a monolith. Our skin tones and features range from porcelain skin to ebony beauty.
Asian beauty practices and culture are gaining more momentum. We see it with the rise of gua sha, hair oiling, and even halal cosmetics. Why not amplify the voices and beauty brands from those communities?
The beauty industry is listening, and retailers are finally taking the time to showcase Asian beauty brands meaningfully. As a beauty founder, I am proud of the strides made with so many retailers. One retailer working hard to amplify AAPI voices and stories is JC Penney.
This year, Mora Cosmetics is proud to be a part of the first-ever JCPenney Beauty AAPI Founded Beauty Gift Set. This specially curated collection features 11 AAPI brands that range from color cosmetics to skincare. My kindergarten self would be fiercely proud to see a 120-year-old American retailer embrace Asian beauty brands like this.
Celebrate AAPI month by supporting AAPI businesses, and pick up your AAPI Beauty Gift set today.