Malia’s Story

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I’m sitting in my mother’s chair, gazing into the mirror as she shaves all the hair off my head. I had finally had enough! Years of hatred and oppression are falling to the ground as I finally gain the courage, in my freshman year of college, to come face-to-face with one of my biggest insecurities—my hair. With a hairstylist for a mother, I grew up being very aware of my curly tresses. But, who knew that my hair and I would have such a love-hate relationship?

“Your hair is nappy.” “If my hair were longer, then maybe I would feel beautiful.” “Why did God give me this hair texture… did I do something wrong?”

These are the thoughts that ran through my head as a little girl who was trying to make sense out of why my hair didn’t look like that of any of the popular women on television that I idolized, or even my most sacred Barbie doll that I played with every day. As a little girl who was naïve and impressionable, I fell victim to the false standards of beauty that were being constantly maliaportrayed in the media. As if it weren’t bad enough that there weren’t many women on television that looked like me, the ones who did wore a lot of make-up to make their skin appear lighter, and they had long, straight hair. It was as if they were camouflaging their “blackness,” and I felt that I had to do the same to be considered beautiful.
I created Natura Magazine in 2011, at the age of 16-years-old because I was tired of not seeing women and young girls like myself, represented positively in the media. I know what it feels like to not be comfortable in your own skin because society has a way of dictating what look is in, and what look is out. I was that girl who was insecure about her hair, skin-tone and slim shape that I did everything possible to hide my true features. And, I know that I’m not the only one.

I wanted to create a publication that celebrated the beauty of natural hair, and the true essence of a woman of color. Through visuals and stories that have the ability to impact a culture, Natura acts as a positive voice for young girls everywhere.

At the age 19, I am the founder and editor-in-chief of Natura Magazine, and I have every intention of taking Natura magazine to the top, and changing the ideals of beauty along the way!

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