Intersections of Beautyis a platform to celebrate the unique perspectives, aesthetics, and life experiences within the industry and our communities. We believe that beauty isn’t just one-size-fits-all. It ‘s FOR all. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and to celebrate we’re welcoming members of the Hispanic community to share their stories. This week we spoke with activist, artist, therapist, and long-time member of the oVertone community Luz Miranda about self-identity, community support, and their love for their heritage.
How would your best friend describe you in a sentence or two: They are authentic, unapologetic, and loves to help others.
Location: Chicago, IL
Hair Type/Texture: Wavy, curly
It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! What does it mean to you, and how do you like to celebrate?
Hispanic Heritage Month to me is a recognition of the different cultures that make the Hispanic community bright and beautiful. I like to celebrate it by creating or reposting content specifically for the Hispanic community and particularly my culture.
What are three things you love about your heritage and culture?
I’m Mexican so a big way we show love and appreciation is with food. Food also brings our family together which is another thing I love about it. Another would be the music. Regional Mexican music is beautiful and there are so many genres of music in the Mexican community. Lastly, our holidays and traditions. I remember being a little kid and wanting to go out to the street on September 16 to celebrate the Mexican War of Independence. We also call it “El Grito” which is the battle cry of Dolores. Seeing my community come together to celebrate our rebellion is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen.
Was there ever a time when you struggled with your identity? How did you work through that?
I constantly struggle with my identity. It helped to know a bit about my culture in terms of what happened historically. Since I am Mexican, my ancestors were Aztec (maybe also Mayan because they would migrate back and forth). Reading about colonization and the ways we were deemed uncivilized and savage helped me see how truly wrong people have their history. The Aztecs were engineers, philosophers, healers, etc. I still think I have a long way to go in discovering myself and my identity. Right now, I am more focused on decolonizing my mind and reclaiming my indigenous identity.
Justice and equality have been major cultural topics in the last year. What stands out to you as some of the biggest moments for the Hispanic community?
Definitely the solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing support.
What do you think the beauty industry stands to learn from Hispanic culture? How should the industry change to be more inclusive?
That Hispanic cultures are not a monolith. If a brand wants to support the Hispanic community, they should be inclusive of all of its different cultures and peoples. They should change by incorporating BIPOC in their campaigns and advertising.
How do you use your platform as a step toward radical inclusion in the beauty industry?
I have “Xicana” on my bio because I am unapologetic of who I am and my roots. In 2016, when the hateful rhetoric towards Mexicans was being normalized, I couldn’t help but feel ashamed and afraid. I then realized that I would not want to live my life in constant shame but rather transform that into love for myself and where I come from. I talk openly about my status as a daughter of immigrants and first-generation. By sharing my experience, I can only help others feel less alone and educate some folx on the struggles of having an identity like mine.
Do you celebrate your Hispanic heritage through your style and aesthetic? If so, what are your favorite ways?
In Mexico, there is so much color. From the houses to clothing and ultimately decorations/celebrations. I like to think my hair color is an extension of my Mexican identity. In Mexico City, where my dad was born, there is a really prevalent punk rock scene. A dream of mine is to visit and connect with the people there as another way to celebrate that part of myself.
Tell us the first lesson you ever learned about caring for your hair. Who was with you when you began your hair care journey?
The first time I tried a fantasy (semi-permanent) color was with oVertone actually. After bleaching it so many times, I had no idea that hair can actually be so damaged. It made me pretty sad knowing that I had to sacrifice my hair health to feel like my most authentic self. Through oVertone, I learned the importance of using natural ingredients for hair health instead of relying on chemicals.
What’s a question we should have asked you? (and what’s the answer?)
What work am I doing for the Hispanic community right now?
I am currently on my final internship in my Counseling master’s program at Northwestern University. I specifically chose to intern at a community college close to my community because it is a Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI). Since I am their first bilingual student therapist, I will be giving therapy and case consultations in both Spanish and English. I am very passionate about going back to the very community that helped me grow and molded me into the person I am today. I am forever grateful for my Hispanic siblings and want to be able to give back to the Latinx community that has very little resources, but so much heart to give. Watch the full interview on IGTV.