These creative and inspiring women share their personal approaches to self-care and beauty and how they embrace their mixed heritage

Emma Dabiri
academic, writer & broadcaster


I was born in Dublin. My mother is Irish but was born in Trinidad and my dad is a Yoruba Nigerian. Growing up Ireland was very homogenous so my Irish-ness was always contested and I experienced racism. I also spent five years in Atlanta with the Nigerian side of the family and from a young age I began reading a lot about black history and forming a sense of my place within the global black struggle, which inspired me to study African studies in London and informed the course my life has taken.

Self-care journey.
It hasn’t been easy. I grew up in a place where blonde hair and blue eyes were the ideal so I used to wear contact lenses and relax my hair. Dublin could be a pretty tough place in the 80s and 90s, there was a lot of emotional repression and an emphasis on acting hard. I certainly saw things like yoga as only for hippies and I somehow thought that drinking water - a pretty basic human need - was for lightweights. Ccan you imagine? So it’s taken a lot of reconditioning but things like accepting my natural hair texture and getting pregnant (I have a six year old son) have helped me become more in tune with my body and understand the interconnectivity of everything spiritually as well.

Hair and skincare rituals.
I’ve had natural hair for a decade now. I usually wear it in braids - at the moment it’s boxed braids - and I love traditional Yoruba hairstyles too. When it’s just been done I feel so regal and empowered! Before, make-up was a disguise for my features but now I enjoy it and I love black winged eyeliner. And these days I actually wash it off before bed, which is an improvement! I also like Aesop products. So yeah, it’s just braids, eyeliner, melanin popping from some sun and I’m good to go.

What makes someone beautiful?
I’m often drawn to black people because of their hair. If I see a resplendent afro, if I see beautiful braids - which I’m happily seeing a lot at the moment - I’ll probably approach the person and have a little parley with them about hair.

Emma wears Catherine Wang jumpsuit and her own jewellery


Margot Bowman
filmmaker & creative director


I was born in London. My mum is from New Zealand and Christian and my father is South African and Jewish. So I’ve always been fascinated by migration and how very different people can come together through love. When you’re of mixed heritage and have immigrant parents, you become open-minded because you experience how different cultures live their lives and you also develop a kind of quiet pride. As a creative, that has become a big part of my perspective.

Self-care journey.
I’m not mixed race but I come from two very different national identities and have a weird mix of genes. And growing up I didn’t feel like anyone looked like me in terms of my features and body type. I’ve had rough times getting to a place where I don’t hate my body and can celebrate myself. When I was younger I dieted aggressively and fucked myself up so much. After putting my body through years of disorder eating, it takes time for your metabolism and liver to recover. Now I swim a lot and I meditate. I don’t look at fashion magazines and I don’t expose myself to celebrity culture and I’m not trying to spend all my time on Instagram because it doesn’t make me feel good about myself.

What makes someone beautiful?
It’s a really about being comfortable with your self and having an energy inside you that is joyful. Having a positive relationship with your sexual identity is really important too. Those are the things that make people beautiful because it means they just flow in their own special way.

Margot wears Aries top, Levi’s jeans and her own jewellery


Nuha Ruby
musician & artist


I was born in Bedford but my mother is Egyptian and there’s some Italian and Sudanese in my family too.

Self-care journey.
I feel very lucky that I spent my childhood in Cairo because the temperament of the people is so warm and open. There are a lot less airs and graces and people in the community really look after one another. That’s instilled in me to be more aware of and have compassion for the people around me. In a way though, I’ve always felt a bit like an alien wherever I am as I’m often the only brown person. And for the majority of my life I’ve not had contact with a lot my family so I’ve had to look after myself and make sure I’m sane and alright. I’ve had various things that have been problematic but in the last year I’ve made a concerted effort to just be happy in myself.

Hair and skincare rituals.
I’m a big on essential oils and aromatherapy. I know a lot about it and make my own potions. It’s important to learn what’s good for your skin and good for you. I have fun with my hair and wear a lot of wigs. I mean, not wigs that look like real hair, just quite outrageous ones! I tend to get attached to a look for a while and then get bored and make a drastic change, whether that’s another wig or cutting my hair. At the moment, I’ve got a cut I’m calling the Egyptian Samurai.

What makes someone beautiful?
When someone is self-aware it is a beautiful quality, being switched on and aware of people around you. I also appreciate people who are free in themselves and comfortable in their skin – that’s really sexy! That’s fucking great!

Nuha wears Ottolinger top and trousers and her own jewellery


See Good Women Part 2 here

Photography Jermaine Francis
Styling Saranne Woodcroft
Production Cat Crawford
Hair Yoshi Miyazaki
Make-up Liz Daxauer at Caren using Sanctuary Spa
Photography assistance Jakub Gessler, Shane Ryan
Make-up assistance Velta Berzina
Interviews Precious Opara
Studio Commune
Lighting Pro Lighting
Thanks to Leanne Elliott for use of her space

Published on 20/11/2018