If you read any fairy tales, you likely remember the question posed in Snow White: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, who’s the fairest one of all? It’s no “tale” that most media outlets and public platforms believe the “prettiest ones of all” don’t look like me! Kinky-coily hair and dark brown skin is making a slow climb to the top; but, it’s not there yet!
Constant reminders of one-sided beauty standards stretch beyond the U.S. onto other continents. Today’s *I Can* powerhouse resides in Kenya and counters the lie that brown is not beautiful via Hairpolitan Lifestyle Magazine. Wambui JL‘s publication opens doors and creates a platform for African men and women to shine!
Do you dream of giving voice to untold stories? The founder of Hairpolitan Lifestyle Magazine is a reminder that “YOU CAN” do that…and even more!
What made you decide to create Hairpolitan?
The idea behind came about after I had been in the natural hair movement in Kenya for a couple of years. I met the most amazing women in my life, who were making strides in their careers, businesses and lives. However, when I looked at published magazines and newspaper articles, I did not see these women or their stories there. Instead, what I saw were the standard celebrities being interviewed over and over. As much as they were sharing their truth, I did not relate with them.
Initially I wanted to start a campaign to showcase beautiful natural haired women to compel media to show more of us, but then I realized that would be futile. I decided to create our very own platform that celebrates us everyday for who we truly are. Hairpolitan Lifestyle Magazine is a space to share authentic stories about being a true African woman and man.
What obstacles did you face?
The first obstacle was just getting started. The idea festered in my head for 3 years before I joined a mentorship program dubbed African Women in Creative Leadership (i.e., an initiative by Arterial Network and Creatives Garage). In the 6 months that I was there, all my mental challenges about starting were addressed.
However, once Hairpolitan started, the challenge was raising funds to pay the writers, photographers, graphic designers and makeup artists for the monthly magazine issues. Sadly, it became too much, so I stopped the creation of the online magazines. I just decided to publish weekly articles online while I re-strategized.
What has been the biggest surprise along your journey?
The support! While the idea was marinating in my mind, my fear was that no one would like it or they wouldn’t see the value of it. However, when I hear someone talk about Hairpolitan, what it means to them and how it’s helped them… I am so very proud and it gives me impetus to keep pushing relevant content on our platform.
What does the phrase * I Can* mean to you?
It means feeling the fear and doing it anyway. It means facing the challenge head-on tears and all. It means being beaten down by things not going your way, but deciding to wake-up, dust yourself off and do it all over again.
Give some encouraging words to readers who feel like their lives are marked by * I Can’t*!
I’ve lived most of my life believing that I couldn’t or shouldn’t or that no one will care if I did. But I have been blessed with people around me who push me to be my best, especially on the days that I just can’t. They remind me that I am an awesome, deserving and child of God. Find those people and make them your tribe.
God gave us each individual breath to live. Make the most of the one true gift that has been given to you. The first way to do that is to believe that YOU CAN!
Click here to subscribe to the bi-monthly newsletter!