The #BEYOUROWNPRINCESS Project is very near and dear to me and was inspired by personal experiences in my life. Because of that, I felt that it was important that I give you guys a little bit more background.
WHAT WAS MY INSPIRATION?
I remember being in the 5th grade in a room full of girls who looked nothing like me. They all had blonde hair, blue eyes, wore Abercrombie & Fitch (yes, even in the 5th grade), and I just remember wanting to look exactly like them. I got the colored contacts, the streaks in my hair, saved up money to get that shirt with the big A&F branded across it and I still found that I wasn't happy because it wasn't me.
Growing up, my girlfriends and I played dress up frequently. I always wanted to be Posh Spice, but by default, I was Scary Spice. I always wanted to be Kelly Kapowski, but I had to be Lisa Turtle. As far as the Disney Princesses go, I actually did always want to be Jasmine. It was the first time there was someone I saw in the movies (even if she was a cartoon character!) that had the same color skin as me and was quite frankly a total badass. Jasmine is the definition of an independent woman & I loved that. What bothered me was that the assumption was that I would automatically be Jasmine just because of the color of my skin. I just felt like I should be free to be whoever and whatever I want to be whether that's Jasmine, Snow White, Mulan, Elsa, or yes...Prince Charming.
WHO WAS MY INSPIRATION?
When we were making this video, I really thought about my nieces and nephews. I mean, I thought I had it bad, but I can't imagine the pressures they feel in school these days with social media everywhere. I hope that they watch this video and it makes them realize that they can be whoever they want to be and that they don't need to change one thing about themselves to fit in because it's actually WAY cooler to stand out.
I also was inspired thinking about 5th grade Deeps - I want so badly for her to know that the things about her that she's so busy trying to mask will actually be what makes her succeed and achieve her dreams in the future. The sooner she embraces who she is, the sooner she will be happy.
This was really inspired a little bit by every person who has come into my life at some point or another. The video isn't just for Indian girls or ethnic girls - heck, I have caucasian girlfriends who want to be Jasmine or Mulan but feel like they can't! You don't need to have blonde hair to be Cinderella and you don't have to be a guy to be a Prince - being a "Prince(ss)" is a state of mind!
THE HASHTAG INSPIRATION
The hashtag selection was one of the hardest parts of the project for me because I felt it was important that it truly embodies what this video stands for. It actually change quite a few times but I'm happy with the final outcome! I finally aligned on #beyourownprincess (w/ the help of my gf & old roomie @jdalfeen - she's sort of a social media whiz kid) - it just felt right (never under estimate the power of your gut feeling)! The word "princess" is really just a placeholder for person. I happened to illustrate my message using iconic princesses but the whole concept of the video is for you to be your own person no matter what society tells you.
THE INTRO/OUTRO OF THE VIDEO
So the text convo in the beginning of the video is super real (w/ some tweaks here & there). I felt it was important to start with that because it's actually what triggered my desire to create this video before Halloween. I also feel like it truly sums up a feeling that I think a lot of people have felt - having assumptions made about them based on skin color.
I also felt strongly that I needed to begin and end the video as myself. The whole idea being that a text conversation with my friend turns into me wanting to prove her wrong. I go into this sort of dream world where I show her I can be anyone I want to be. I then snap back into myself and sort of give a BOOM *mic drop* moment. It was important for me to end as my normal self applying a crown on my head to basically give the message that I am a princess exactly the way I am - no fancy makeup, hair, or costumes...just as me. Every girl deserves to feel like a princess in her own skin.
THE PRINCESS SELECTIONS
This was tricky - I mean I wanted to be them all! What I knew for sure was that I had to start as Jasmine because my true emotion when I read the texts from my friend was "I would love to be Jasmine". Knowing that we could only create 4 in total due to time constraints, I narrowed it down to Ariel and Cinderella - both iconic in their own right & not the princess you'd expect an indian girl to transform into :)
The most important inclusion in the video for me was the Prince. I will be the first to admit that I'm not a pro, but it makes me sick to my stomach reading about all the bullying happening to the transgender community. I hope this video helps a kid out there feel comfortable being his or her true self, and I also hope it helps parents out there let their kid feel comfortable being their true self.
I could keep going, but I think you guys have heard enough of my soapbox! Thank you for all the support, and please be sure to subscribe to my channel here. Also, this Halloween, please share your unique Halloween costume w/ #beyourownprincess and continue spreading the inspiration!!!!
Read about all of the makeup details that went into creating these looks here!
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