The ‘Dark is Beautiful’ campaign’s focus last year was to start city chapters in India. So far, we have been able to successfully initiate conversations with some of our ardent supporters in Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. We have even managed to do awareness events and workshops in these cities.
At this point, the most active and happening city chapter is our Mumbai Chapter. We have always felt welcomed in the city and have built great friendships and partnerships in the last year alone. From the lecture at St. Xavier’s College, to the presentation at the Kahani Karnival, the city is all set to tune in to the ‘Dark is Beautiful’ mission of celebrating ‘beauty beyond colour’.
Today, I want to introduce to you one of our Mumbai Chapter Coordinators. We met Hazel Correa for the first time in Mumbai during our petition delivery trip in September 2013. Though I couldn’t spend much time with her then, I got to know her during my subsequent visits to Mumbai. Last year, when I approached her about being a part of the Mumbai Chapter, she willingly and promptly said ‘yes’! Since then, the WOW team has enjoyed working with Hazel.
– Kavitha Emmanuel | Founder and Director, WOW
Love The Skin You’re In
I was probably around six years old when I distinctly realized there was a difference between my siblings’ skin tones and mine.
I’ve tried hard to recall if I came to that understanding myself, or if it was because of what I had heard people say. My guess is that it was the latter. I was very young when I started getting picked on about my skin colour. Sometimes it was name-calling, sometimes I was excluded from games, and sometimes I just stayed away to avoid being hurt. I didn’t like my skin and I wondered why I was darker than my siblings. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked.
If it weren’t for my older sister constantly telling me that she loved my skin, and saying she wished she had my skin colour, I would probably be a very different person today. There were days when I’d come home crying. I would be upset about something some of the other kids had said to me; but my sister was always my safe haven. She would explain to me that it didn’t matter what the others thought. It was important for me to know that I was special, unique and perfect in my own way. Her unwavering support and reassurance is why, in time, I learned to not only accept the way I looked, but to love it!
As a child, things started to change when I was about twelve. I began to play sports competitively. The better I got at sports, the more popular I became. My parents encouraged me to participate in more activities. I competed in elocution and singing contests. Competing, and winning went a long way in building my self-esteem.
Going to college broadened my horizons. I met people from different parts of the country, and eventually different parts of the world. Exposure to different people, and different ways of thinking helped me evolve into the person I am today. Diversity is an amazing thing.
Today, I am happy, healthy and grateful for the life I have. My self-worth isn’t based on how I look. I don’t buy into anyone else’s perception of beauty. My wish is for each of you to be comfortable in your own skin. When you feel secure and positive about yourself, you’re bound to be naturally radiant.
When I learned about the ‘Dark Is Beautiful’ campaign, I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved. I wanted to be a part of a network of like-minded individuals who spread the message that ‘beauty is beyond colour’.
Beauty is natural. Beauty is grace, confidence and radiance. Beauty is what YOU want it to be.
About the author:
Hazel works in Governance and Internal Communications for Alcatel-Lucent. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Chennai and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. A native of the city, she is a ‘Dark Is Beautiful’ Mumbai Campaign Coordinator.