As an American Iranian I never felt like I fit beauty standards in the US. When I became a mom, I needed to relearn how to love myself.
- I'm a mom to three daughters, the youngest looks exactly like me.
- Her birth was what I needed to rethink the relationship with myself and what I thought was beautiful.
As an Iranian-American growing up in the 90s, my relationship with Eurocentric
The message was clear: to be considered beautiful, feminine, and desirable I needed to erase my ethnic features.
This message was reinforced by how frequently I was bullied over my appearance. In a world before diversity and inclusivity were a hot topic, my sense of self was shaped. I viewed myself as less than. I didn't feel safe or accepted. I felt a lack of belonging, which confused me. Was I American, Persian, both, or neither?
I reinvented myself
We moved in 8th grade and I looked at that as an opportunity to reinvent myself. As my Grandmother ceremoniously tweezed my unibrow and when I saw my brow separate, I gasped: 'I am human.' I spent the next 24 years keeping my "secret" locked away. Lasers, tweezers, and treatments helped conceal my ethnicity. I married young, and gave birth quickly to two beautiful blonde, blue-eyed daughters. My alibi was on lock.
The universe had a different plan.
A few years later, I gave birth to my youngest daughter – a replica of me. Her birth was the mirror I needed to reevaluate my grooming habits and the binary thinking of needing to look one way to be "beautiful."
How could my daughters stand a chance in this world if their own mother didn't accept who she was? It was time to rewild, rewrite, and reclaim my beauty narrative.
I grew back my unibrow and my entire attitude changed. The shame stories that were controlling me were gone. I found freedom in meeting myself and peace in loving myself. For my daughters, I've been healing my childhood wounds and telling my story to help shift the world into a more inclusive space.
What I want my daughters to always remember
A few years later, I launched TooD Beauty, a cosmetic line that provides tools for the art of being you. It was time for the beauty industry to have an overhaul. Non-toxic thinking is equally as important as nontoxic formulas. Here are four lessons I hope to teach my girls and reinforce with TooD:
The first, and arguably most important, is to give themselves consent. To allow their mind to change and to encourage that change. Let your armpit hair grow out knowing that there's no shame in later choosing to shave it.
I also want them to invest heavily in knowing themselves. Learn about them in all its amazing weirdness and beauty. We are all creators and no one can be a greater inspiration to yourself than you.
To not be afraid to embrace their body's evolution. Each day I am reminded that the only constant in life is change. This could not be more the case for women than when we think about our bodies. Embrace the changes your body naturally encounters.
And lastly, that when they use makeup, use it as art. Makeup is true individual expression; an art form to be explored. Whether it's adding a dash of glitter to my unibrow or a graphic liner down my neck, there isn't an inch of my body that cannot be used as a canvas.
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