It's Deeper Than Skin: Meet Florence

Florence on growing up with a biracial identity, confronting Eurocentric beauty standards and empowering social media influencers.

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It’s Deeper Than Skin™

It’s Deeper Than Skin™ is a compilation of interviews featuring diverse multicultural individuals each carrying unique aspirations and desires yet bound by a common passion to create a more joyful, diverse and inclusive space for us all. They inspire, empower and help transform the way we think and feel about beauty, culture, ancient traditions, diversity, mental health, societal standards and more. Through these multifaceted lenses, we learn to celebrate our uniqueness and are reminded once again that our beauty is deeper than skin.

As a creative and influencer coach living in Atlanta, Georgia, Florence has lived all over the world. She founded @theblendedbeauty to honour her Bajan and Filipina cultures. Sharing her stories on social media helped her to embrace her own beauty whilst helping others embrace theirs too.  In this interview, Florence discusses growing up with a biracial identity, confronting Eurocentric beauty standards, and her work empowering social media influencers.  

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself?    

I am a Bajan and Filipina creative and influencer coach living in the peachy keen Atlanta, Georgia; however, I am a military brat, and I’ve lived all over the world. 

My handle @theblendedbeauty was created to pay homage to both of my cultures Bajan & Filipina. Growing up, I struggled a lot with my identity. As a digital creator I share my story so that many mixed race people can feel seen and heard as they face similar challenges. Through creating content I also have the opportunity to embrace my beauty and document my growth as a person.

 

     

 

What inspired you to join the online skincare community?

I started creating content online when I first moved to Atlanta in 2015. I had the worst eczema flare up in my life, most likely due to the move and stress of finding my first job out of college. I made it out of necessity to stay sane and find new friends because I was lonely and I needed support. Enter the K Beauty & Asian Beauty community. Farah, the founder of Sachi Skin, was one of my very first Instagram friends in the skincare community.

 

 

What is your current skincare ritual?

I take my time when doing my skincare ritual. I truly relish rubbing in my oil cleanser and water-based cleanser for 60 seconds while in the process of giving myself a nice facial massage. 

Like many creators, testing new products is the norm but light hydrating layers and SPF are non-negotiables for my oily, acne-prone skin.

 

    

 

Do you have a favourite Sachi Skin product?

You’re going to make me choose?!?! 

Ok I would have to say the Triphala Pigmentation Corrector. What’s not to love? It’s a stunning blend that combines gentle clarifying ingredients with powerful, yet gentle brightening ones to treat both hyperpigmentation and the potential cause at the same time. It has a hold on me and I have never experienced any irritation!

 

Can you tell me a little about your Filipino heritage and how this has impacted your perception of beauty?

My Filipino heritage has been a winding road. I think knowing my history is very important and Filipino beauty culture has been very problematic and still is. Some of the earliest memories I have is with whitening products like papaya soaps and whitening creams. Eurocentric beauty standards take precedent in the Philippines, even today. Colorism is a major problem because fair skin is seen as more attractive. I was often told by my mother and aunties to stay out of the sun or wear long sleeves so I wouldn’t get sunburned.

I was very confused. Why couldn't I simply exist without these barriers?

I woke up one morning, and I just got tired of people trying to tell me who I was. As a mixed person or someone with a marginalised identity, it's critical to claim who you are, if you don't, more room opens up for people to tell you who you are. 
Given my position and identity, I find it integral that I speak up and use my voice to inspire change in the way people think about beauty culture in the Philippines & all over the world.

 

Growing up, what beauty traditions or customs did you often practice?

I didn’t have many growing up. My mother only wore makeup on special occasions. She was big on using natural ingredients. So I often saw oatmeal & honey masks.

 

What beauty practice helps you connect with your heritage or cultural upbringing?

My mom had long beautiful hair when I was growing up so beer and tea rinses, as well as oil treatments were big in our house.

I often practise these methods in my hair routine when I miss my mom. Black tea rinses are great to reduce breakage and hair shedding, while oil treatments before shampoo help nourish the hair and help retain moisture because the act of shampooing the hair can be harsh. 

When I buy beauty products I’m always intrigued by products with honey, rice or oatmeal because of what my mom instilled in me. The I’m From Honey Face Mask is actually one of my favourites for the dry winter months. It’s wonderful if you also have irritated skin.

 

I’m Florence, I’m not a size 2, I have brown skin and eyes, a big wide nose, curly hair and hooded eyes and I’m beautiful. 

  

Which beauty practises, ideals or standards have you found challenging as you have grown older?  

Eurocentric beauty standards.   

I’m Florence, I’m not a size 2, I have brown skin and eyes, a big wide nose, curly hair and hooded eyes and I’m beautiful. 

I couldn’t say that with confidence before. 

Beauty to me is supposed to be fun, experimental and bring joy. But oftentimes the intersectional aspect of it with gender, class, race, and culture has made it hard for me to see myself as beautiful and shunned myself from participating.

Not seeing my shade or undertone in a range of foundations is hurtful. 

Not seeing myself represented in a commercial, or brand messaging can be disheartening. 

When I was younger because I never saw myself being represented I didn’t think I was beautiful as I was and I oftentimes wanted to conform to be normal. 

I got blue contacts, dyed and straightened my hair. I would even dream of going to Korea to get eyelid surgery so I could be like my American friends.

Even now with my acne, acne scars and hyperpigmentation I show up. No filter, no retouching because I want others to see normal skin.  

 

       

 

We love the makeup looks that you feature on your instagram page. Where do you get your makeup inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from all over. Believe it or not, I’m a makeup newbie. I've taken the time to understand, explore and enjoy finding the right base makeup for me by learning from others. Thank you YouTube university. 

I love looking at editorial makeup artist work and recreating those looks at home. 

This year I’m trying to master winged eyeliner…again lol I haven’t done it in 5 plus years so expect to see a lot of that on my platforms.

 

Has the pandemic changed the way you approach your skincare, makeup and self-care rituals?

Yes 100%. I think I value even more multi-functional products. I love finding SPFs that also double as moisturisers, when a serum can hydrate, brighten and help my skin barrier and LED masks omg! My new obsession. 

As far as makeup, before the pandemic I don’t think I would have been experimenting as much as I am now. I am comfortable with my bare face but to discover different looks I can create and pick up different techniques has been fun. I’m currently trying to master putting on falsies. Wish me luck, it still takes me 15 mins lol.

Self-care rituals have increased. I typically journal on my phone, but the pen to paper with a physical journal has been amazing. Currently using States Of Change AM/PM Daily Journal and I love the prompts.

 

    

    

How did your social media account Theblendedbeauty evolve into supporting creators on the IG platform?

I think that I wanted to document my journey as a creator because 7 years ago when I started I didn’t have any help, there were gatekeepers of information and I wanted to lift the veil and show others that you can do this too. Especially for people of color, including myself. 

 

Tell us more about the "Steal my monthly content ideas" post. What inspired this?

I wanted to create a valuable resource for others who might be stuck in their editorial calendar. I feel like it’s a great resource to spark inspiration and help others create a content strategy that works for them. The ideas can be used in any industry.

 

If you could make one change happen in the beauty industry what would it be?

I would change how wasteful it can be. I wish there would be a big coalition for all the beauty brands to see how we can create less waste and alternatives to give their consumers. Whether it be refills, biodegradable or compostable options. Partnering with local recycle plants or not utilising ingredients that are scarce in the name of profit. Something needs to be activated within all companies to take sustainability seriously.

 

    

 

What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty is play, a spark, it’s an energy that can be enhanced.

Beauty is how I feel about myself and not what I see in the mirror.

It’s joy and the spirit behind makeup, while makeup is the art.

Beauty is empowerment and stepping into your light because you deserve the acknowledgement.

 

Let's do some quick fire questions:

 

Coffee Tea or Neither?

Milk tea or matcha all day everyday.

 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My cat Mojo biting me toes.

 

What's your favourite Filipino dish/snack?

Omg it has to be Sinigang, Caldereta, and Arroz caldo. For a snack, Lumpia or Turon all the way.

 

 

What are you currently watching on Netflix?

I’m more of an HBO Max kinda girl and I’m currently watching the second season of Raised By Wolves. It follows two androids, named Mother and Father, who are sent to an unexplored planet called Kepler-22b after Earth is destroyed.

It’s a show produced by Ridley Scott and it’s futuristic, dystopian, and features weird space adventures. All things I love! 

 

What is on your current playlist?

Justin Nozuka

Lianne La Havas 

N*E*R*D

Khruangbin

Yuna

Leon Bridges

Jordan Rekei

Tash Sultana

Nick Hakim

 

Finish the sentence: I feel beautiful when…

I am completely accepted and loved for who I am, where I am, and what I am doing now. 

 

Anything exciting coming up for you in the next few months?

I’m finally releasing my first product in March. They are templates that help creators speak about money. Whether it be a situation in negotiation and you need to defend your rate, asking a peer about their rate or requesting an invoice be paid. It will help creators navigate all money talk in the influencer world. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know about it and receive 3 FREE pitching templates straight to your inbox!



All of my links to my social handles:

https://www.blendedbeauty.biz/

https://www.instagram.com/theblendedbeauty/

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeXV1SjA/

 

If you are an influencer and you’re struggling to get noticed by brands, need help with negotiation or pitching or need to solidify your content strategy, set up a 1-on-1 consultation or 4-week training make an appointment here: 

https://blendedbeauty.setmore.com

 

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