Being Beautiful Vs Being Attractive

Q: When asked to be interviewed about your perception of black beauty, why were you immediately interested in sharing your views?

Amna: Because we need it! And sometimes people of darker skin tones grow up not feeling beautiful you know. I'm not going to broadcast my experience onto everyone but that's definitely a shared feeling my friends and I can all bond over, that we didn't feel beautiful in our formative years or we were treated differently because of how we looked.

So when I hear “let's talk about why black beauty is important”, I jump on the opportunity because for so long I was taught everything but that, even by people who look like me. So if that's happening within our own community then there's work that needs to be done within our community where we talk and share our experiences in what people's expectations of beauty did to us so younger generations have a healthier framework of self-identity.

Q: What are your thoughts on being Beautiful Vs being Attractive?

Amna: Good question, no one’s asked me that before. But before I answer that question, [pauses for a moment]..... so I'm a victim of sexual assault, my core of trauma happened from the ages of 4 to 12 where I was molested for those 8 years. I didn't feel beautiful, and I didn't feel attractive. I was overweight as a child, I grew up around white kids (so I was the darkest skinned kid all the time), and my last name is that of an immigrant background...so there were a couple of different things that just made me stand out from other people and made it harder to connect with other people.

Then when I got to high school and college I started losing weight due to an eating disorder and lost like a hundred pounds. I finally felt like I was in control of something, and it was my body. After the weight loss, people started looking at me and not even taking into consideration how I got into that size. But...finally people found me attractive.

I was finally able to feel like if I wanted someone I could pretty much talk to them. And if it didn't work, it didn't matter because there was always someone else I could talk to. But I didn't feel beautiful and I didn't feel like people thought I was beautiful. They thought I was “fuckable”, they thought I was visually appealing...but they didn’t like me or all the different parts of me that make me, me.

Those experiences in and of itself weren’t necessarily beautiful, but what came out of it was. For that I am thankful and I believe those experiences were worth all the beauty that I get to live in now.

But to answer the question of being beautiful vs being attractive…I think attractive is the shallow stuff, but the beautiful things are deeper. It's not just that you have a nice smile, it's what makes you smile. It's not just that you have beautiful eyes, it’s the answer behind what makes your eyes light up. Things like that you know. I mean yeah you have great hips, but what is it that makes you want to dance. It sounds corny, but those things are beautiful to me.