When Ebony Kankam London walked into Ulta Beauty in Holmdel, NJ, this past December to get her makeup done for what was to be her baby shower, she thought it would be a day to remember. She did what most of us do when we’re getting made up by a pro—she brought in a picture for reference.
However, things did not go as planned. The makeup artist told Ebony that her skin tone was too dark for most colors in the store. And what she ended up doing was ‘the best she could do.’ The conversation got even more uncomfortable when the artist asked Ebony if she had ever gotten her makeup professionally done.
“It was sad, “ Ebony wrote in a Facebook post. “I felt like I was in 1990 when makeup was made for one type of skin. In a store full of people who didn’t look like me, I felt sad and upset, like my skin tone was a problem.”
A week after her post went viral, Ebony says the experience has been eye opening, to say the least. The makeup artist’s comments weren’t anything she hadn’t heard before, but they have since reignited Ebony’s need to become an advocate for herself and others like her.
That social media post certainly made its rounds online—I read it, as did BELLA’s Glam Team. Together, we decided to fly Ebony back from her home in Texas to New Jersey on January 13, 2020, for the ultimate “redo”—the way it always should have been.
Joining forces with Vivian Pasano (photography), Lauren Vena (makeup), Tajane (hair), Tiffany Pinero (stylist), and Jessica Cirz Photography (video shoot), it was BELLA’s privilege to give the expecting mom the full glam experience she and baby London so deserved.
After our shoot, Ebony shared: “I left feeling empowered, appreciated, grateful, and—of course—drop-dead gorgeous! Thank you, Vanessa Coppes for putting together a team of artists who were trained and skillful in their prospective roles and could see the beauty in different shades. Thank you for making me feel like I mattered.
”Since our time together, a healthy and gorgeous baby has made its way into the world. And, Ebony and representatives from Ulta have also been working together to make amends. The best part? She sees for herself a bright future advocating for women of color, diversity, and inclusion.
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