Photography credit: Taylar Barrington-Booker.
by Arika Linton, Contributing Writer
…because black millennial women who balance the personal and professional need the spotlight, too.
In life, our main assignment should be to use our influence to impact. Today’s millennial woman is multidimensional and chooses to define herself by her acts of service in the community in addition to the lives that are impacted by her influence. Meet Amber-Nicole, a beauty entrepreneur and wellness enthusiast with vitiligo who continues to navigate her own path while encouraging others to do the same. Above all, she is here to chat with The Chicago Defender on the importance of self-care, self-love, and self-efficacy.
Amber-Nicole, how does your influence impact the world?
My influence impacts the world by challenging beauty standards and through showing up as myself and being a force in the global beauty industry.
Growing up with vitiligo, I didn’t see myself represented in any industry. When I was 18, I was introduced to Winnie Harlow and her story.
I believe it’s because of myself and thousands of other people with vitiligo just showing up in this world as ourselves that we now get to see ourselves represented in mainstream media.
I hope being proud and confident in my vitiligo will continue to break the mold of what is beautiful.
You pride yourself on inspiring women to be their most confident self in everyday life, style and beauty. How has living a confident life shaped your life?
Choosing to live a confident life has shaped my life in the best way possible because it helped me believe I could do anything. For example, confidence helped me choose to follow my path to art school instead of attending a traditional university. It helped me take the leap to open my own business despite a lack of entrepreneurial influences in beauty in my immediate network.
Having confidence enables me to show up online exactly as I am and not be afraid of what others think of me. If it wasn’t for my confidence, I’m not sure where I would be.
Amber-Nicole how did your own personal journey lead you into the skincare and beauty industry?
I’ve always been into skincare and body care as far back as I can remember. When I was six years old, my grandmother started buying body care products for me from Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works. I would always take whatever my sisters had and mix up my own “potions,” as I called them. I got in trouble for always mixing everyone’s lotions and sprays together!
In college, I started struggling with acne which was new to me. I searched and bought all I could to clear my acne scars from the store, and nothing was working. I knew I had to come up with something on my own. So I searched the Internet and YouTube to learn about natural remedies that would clear my skin. It was during this journey that I created my first mixture that started working really well for my skin.
This empowered me to experiment with other things like making my own body butter, soaps, and scrubs.
In my last year of school, I gave the products that I made to friends, family, and classmates.
And the unanimous feedback was, “you should sell the stuff.”
And, so I did.
I started Naked By Nature with a mission to empower all women through self-love and self-care. Our products are handcrafted in small batches that are cruelty-free and free of toxic chemicals, parabens, phthalates, and other skin-harming ingredients. We use all-natural and organic ingredients in each product to ensure that you get the best quality for your skin.
You’ve managed to navigate yourself as a leading millennial. For anyone that may consider you an overnight success can you break down your background, industry, and how it led you to the 42.9K followers you now have?
I signed up for an Instagram account in 2012, and I loved it instantly.
I’ve always loved taking pictures, so when Instagram came out, I hopped on it as a creative outlet right away.
When I started college in 2014, I began to take Instagram more seriously because I noticed that I was starting to build community.
Photography credit: Taylar Barrington-Booker.
In 2017, I posted a picture of myself and wrote a caption about loving myself with vitiligo. That picture went viral for over a year, and I grew my reach to an additional 17,000 supporters.
At this time, popular blog sites, yahoo.com, and other accounts continued to share my content and I earned a community of nearly 40,000 people.
I believe it is safe to assume that my community enjoyed my content and was inspired by me.
I continue to show up on my platform every day by authentically being myself – skin and all.
What advice would you give the professional looking to defy odds in the beauty industry?
The beauty industry may be saturated, but there’s still room for anyone that wants to be a part of it. As cliché as it might sound, it’s just about being yourself. You just need to be confident in yourself, not worry about anyone else, and show up authentically.
Shifting gears, with so much movement happening in your life professionally – how do you show up for yourself personally?
I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, so I typically don’t stop working until I feel like something has reached a level of perfection. I have to hold myself accountable and to be honest, I’ve struggled with knowing when I need to stop working and take time for myself.
I reached a point where I knew I needed help to navigate life’s changes. This last year I learned to take a step back and immerse myself in self-care. I don’t mean lighting candles, journaling, and bubble baths – I started prioritizing therapy. I needed the space to be able to talk about new life changes with someone who wasn’t biased.
I suggest therapy for everyone who wants to walk away with more wisdom, more knowledge, and more equipped to handle the twist and turns of their journey.
How does Amber-Nicole define self-love?
I would define self-love as constantly showing up for yourself. Set healthy boundaries with your tribe, take accountability, and make sure that you are as healthy as possible- whether mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally. I’ll also define self-love as treating yourself with grace, love, and kindness because if you aren’t giving that to yourself, why should you expect that from the world?
What self-care tips can you share with millennials experiencing professional burnout?
- Take a break – As soon as you start to dread the day, take a break. Call off sick if you have to, take the day to sleep, to rest, to feed yourself. If you have the means, book a massage, or find yourself a counselor because burnout is real.
- Listen to your body – I recently experienced debilitating migraines because I was working through burnout and it sat me down for over three months because I did not take the time to just stop and take care of myself.
- Be patient – What I’ve learned from my burnout is to just be patient. Sometimes it’s can take you months to come back from, but give yourself the time you need.
Lastly, finish this sentence. As a millennial mind, it is important for readers to know…
I am human and still learning how to navigate life. Give everyone grace, and never assume that you know anyone’s story. We all go through life’s challenges differently, so be kind to everyone.
To connect with Amber-Nicole:
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/withambernicole/
Shop Naked By Nature: https://www.nakedbynature1.com/