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Lessons For A Better Future.

Hello lovely readers! <3

How are you doing today? I hope you are healthy & well!

Over the past two weeks, the world community has gathered together to have a very important conversation, long overdue and that isracial injustice. For way too long, we've lived in a world where people are treated differently because of the color of their skin. This has got to end once and for all. Enough is enough! Don't you agree?!

I have to admit that it's only recently that my mindset changed and I realized that not being racist wasn't enough. I/We have to be anti-racist because this is not a BIPOC problem, this is about Humanity and our born right to be treated as equal no matter who we are. We simply cannot exist any longer in a world of injustice.

I believe that if we all are committed to this work and our part, we won't have to live in the same world again.

As my life changed forever after these past weeks, I have been reflecting a lot in the ways that I can create personal change & support the community of BIPOC around me.

Today, for the community blog, I want to introduce you to a special person that I have recently encountered in my life, who's perspective is totally worth hearingAMINATA DIAO.

Ami & I met a couple of months ago when I had the pleasure to dress her for an event, she came to my studio for a fitting and that's where we first met. We were previously only speaking on Whatsapp so I had absolutely no idea how she looked like and when she arrived I was in awestruck by her beauty, presence & way of being. She tried on the clothes, we loved it, we were all so excited because everything looked so amazing on her. She loved the clothes, said she felt very elegant in it and that was very meaningful for me. I was happy to know she felt good in her skin with the clothes that she would be wearing at the event.

From the beginning there was no small talk, we immediately got into talking about our lives, our stories & our roles in the fashion industry. Ami shared her story & how she got into the fashion world. A couple of years ago, a friend of hers asked her to model for a school project and she accepted it to help out her friend. Slowly after that more people started reaching out and she started working with lots of different brands. We talked about diversity, body image & inclusivity in the fashion industry. I knew that her perspective would be more important than ever to share right now. Here is our little virtual interview & lessons she shared for us consider:

Where were you born & where did you grow up?

I was born in Senegal but at 3 and a half years old I came to Spain with my mother.

At that time my father and one of my older sisters already lived in Spain.

What was the most important lesson your mom taught you? And your dad?

One of the most important lessons my mother has taught me is that no matter what happens you always have to be a good person, even with people who have misbehaved with you, it is not your duty to "punish" them and after all, time puts everyone in its place. And the most important lesson my father taught me is not to trust anyone and always keep going. Of these two lessons the second is the one, I follow the most.

What is your biggest struggle with the fashion industry today?

My biggest fight in the fashion world and the one I think most black girls face is having poor visibility. Typically brands prefer biracial or light skin girls who have "European attributes".

How could brands be doing better in your opinion?

Luckily, brands increasingly hire more different people, but something that has not changed is the fact that major brands prefer very thin people and I think that changing that would be very important. A person's weight does not determine their beauty or professionalism. Seeing such thin people in the media causes many insecurities in both girls and boys. I think that should change. I'm not saying that thin people don't have to have visibility, but I think that major brands should start hiring more diverse bodies.

What advice would you give to a young woman like you living in the world today?

One of my main goals in life is to have a clear conscience, I think that is very important, so I would advise a young woman and anyone to be the best good, kind and generous person possible.

I have always thought that life is a function of your attitude and your actions, the more good acts you do, the better.

That's a little bit of Ami for you!

I love her perspective on inclusivity & the importance of diversity because it can impact the self-esteem of young boys and girls. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that I have been impacted by the lack of diversity and spent a very long time trying to achieve a body that wasn't natural for me. Even to this day, I have to remind myself constantly that my body is beautiful the way that it is. As long as I'm being healthy and taking care of myself, how my body looks, that is how it's supposed to look and I want to embrace that. Sometimes it's easier than others but that's the life of some of us living in this world today where there is still a huge lack of representation all around us in media.

There is so much that can be different, so much that can change. And we know that change only happens when they happen inside of us. I believe this time has been a huge awakening for all of us. Now, it's time to act differently, from the new lens that we now have.

I am committed on a personal level & career level to be an advocate for a better future. I hope you are too!

Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate you!

With Love,

Raphaella Santana

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