When I started the Milan Rowe brand, it was imperative for me to develop a cosmetic brand that was inclusive. Not only did I want to provide options for women of all skin tones, but it was critical to also take skin conditions into consideration. Part of our mission is to establish a product line that makes women feel confident and beautiful. Suffering with a skin condition is difficult enough, sourcing the right makeup should not be a daunting task. I had the opportunity to interview Kennedy Newton, a model and influencer. Kennedy was diagnosed with vitilogo when she was 8 years old. She spoke to me about her experience with the skin condition and how she overcame her insecurities.
You are a model with a skin condition known as vitiligo which is categorized by a loss of pigment. I imagine when you were growing up that you had to deal with some cruel people and their comments. Can you tell me about such a situation and how it affected you?
One time when I was feeling particularly low, I was bullied in middle school. I was in my reading class and there were four boys that surrounded me. At the time, I was insecure about my face and dealing with kids in middle school was difficult because of their insensitive comments and words. This particular day, these four boys were moo-ing at me, calling me a cow, and asking me if I was black or white. This one boy in particular by the name of Hector was the one that would always have something negative and mean-spirited to say about me. As I grew older though I realized that I was one of a kind and unique. I would have a lot of people call me beautiful. Gradually as I got older, I began to recognize and appreciate my beauty.
How do you define beauty? Very simply, I define beauty as one’s individuality. No one person is the same and that is beautiful.
How do you define confidence? Confidence is owning who you are and wearing it as a badge of honor.
Describe a moment in which you did not feel beautiful and how did you overcome it? When I was first diagnosed with vitiligo at the age of 8, I did not know anyone with vitiligo so I felt different and not “normal”. Because of I was so young, I did not know how to handle it so I did not feel beautiful. However, as I grew older, I realized that I was one of a kind, unique, and beautiful.
Define self acceptance to you. Self acceptance to me is having unconditional love for yourself despite the flaws you may have or think you may have.
Who is a person in your life that you look up to and why? How did that person help you to grow into the person you are today? I look up to my mother, she is a strong individual who practically raised me on her own and molded me in to the person I am today. I look up to my mother. She taught me what confidence is and how to be a strong individual.
In the age of social media, how do you use social media to advance positive images of beauty? I use social media to show off my confidence and beauty to the world. I hope to inspire others to love themselves.
What advice would you give to a young girl that lacks confidence and self-esteem in her appearance with or without vitiligo. In order to for you to gain self-confidence, you must love yourself on the inside and out. Loving yourself first will allow others to love and appreciate you.
Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it? My favorite quote is “beauty begins the moment you decide to love yourself” which was stated by Coco Chanel.