Don't Make-Over Yourself for Anyone

Have you ever heard of Munroe Bergdorf? No? That's alright. You have now. She's a transgender model. Bergdorf's also the new face of Illamasqua, the British-born cosmetic brand – whose mission is to empower people of all ages to celebrate their individuality – after L'Oreal fired her for making comments on Facebook about systemic racism.

This all began after the events last month in Charlottesville, Virginia. Bergdorf posted on Facebook: "Most of ya'll don't even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour. Your entire existence is drenched in racism (Bergdorf, 2017)." (*SIDE NOTE: I do not necessarily agree with her statement, as I don't really think I'm racist, but I understand that I'm not the white audience to whom she is speaking.) L'Oreal claimed that Bergdorf was fired because this statement was "at odds with [its] values"; this statement was released on Twitter (LOrealParisUK, 2017). Ironically enough, Bergdorf was to be one of the faces of L'Oreal's new diversity initiative as the company's first transgender representative.

Personally, I believe Monroe's new partnership with Illamasqua is for the best. The cosmetic company, seeing the backlash from Bergdorf's statement, stood up for the model: "We don't stand or accept any form of racism, but we also believe Munroe's comments have been edited out of context by a certain media title (who we won't bother naming) without telling a true story" (Illamasqua, 2017). On Wednesday, September 13, Illamasqua announced that Bergdorf is to be the face of its new campaign on gender fluidity. This collaboration could not be more ideal, both for the firm and Bergdorf. Illamasqua believes that Bergdorf "embodies diversity and individuality" and "...isn't scared to be truly herself" (Illamasqua, 2017). They went on to say that "she speaks out about the issues that affect not just her but the rest of our generation, seeking to improve the society we live in" (Illamasqua, 2017). I hear ya, Illamasqua!

Illamasqua stands behind Munroe Bergdorf in early September

Illamasqua stands behind Munroe Bergdorf in early September

So, what's the takeaway from all of this?

  1. We should all try to make it a point to build each other up instead of tear each other down, no matter your size, color, sexual orientation and more.
  2. For those that try to stand in the way of your happiness and close the door in your face, slam through the next door and come out on the other, better side. Bergdorf wouldn't be the new face of a huge campaign if she had any doubt in her mind that she wasn't good enough or strong enough or tough enough.
  3. If you exude confidence for the right messages the way Bergdorf does, people will follow in your footsteps. In fact, DJ Clara Amfo, the black DJ and model, quit her own L'Oreal campaign "in solidarity" (Adam, Ferrier, 2017).

Bergdorf announced her partnership with Illamasqua on Instagram on Tuesday, September 12 (Bergdorf, 2017). On Wednesday, September 13, she posted a screenshot from a Dazed magazine article with the caption: "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything" (Bergdorf, 2017).

If you hold your head high and never tire in your fight for your right (to party ... just kidding), you will come out better, stronger and unstoppable. Thank you, Munroe Bergdorf, for the ultimate lesson in confidence and self-respect.