Intersections of Beauty is 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. And this Pride Month, we’re inviting members of the LGBTQIA+ community to share their stories. To kick things off, we’re bringing you a staff feature — oVertone’s own Senior Art Director and designer of our June poster, Winnie Hefner (@winnie.wears.what). Keep reading to learn more about Winnie and what their artwork represents for them and their community
Q: What does June’s poster artwork represent to you? How does it represent Pride Month?
A: It represents the history of the LGBTQIA+ community and the trials and tribulations we had to go through to get where we are today, and while we’re not quite fully liberated, it’s a reminder that we are taking steps forward and the more we continue to fight for our space in the world, the freer we are to be ourselves. The original mark of the pink triangle was a mark of oppression, shame, and even a death sentence for some. It wasn’t until the 1970s when Queer activists took that mark and made it our own, turning it from a life-threatening symbol to one that meant safety. I think at the very essence, that is what pride is. We have Pride month to celebrate our hardships with joy, and happiness and to proudly yell “HERE I AM!” – the glitter is just a bonus.
Q: What inspired you to become an artist? When did you first start creating?
A: I’ve had the privilege to have always been a self-expresser; it just so happened that my first form was with crayons and colored pencils. I used to love watching animated movies as a kid and just seeing these beautiful pieces of art moving really is what set into motion my love of art. The more I explored, the more I fell in love with it and knew it’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Q: What does safety and freedom of self-expression mean to you?
A: That’s a toughie, mainly because the two [safety and freedom of self-expression] are so intertwined yet so separate. Every Queer person, technically, is free to self-express how they want to, but that isn’t always the safest thing for them to do… it becomes a pros/cons list. To me it’s about feeling safe in your own skin and community to embrace the things that make you happy to be you. I don’t always feel safe when I go out in public, I see the side glances, I see the whispering and the jeering, but because I’ve embraced who I am as a human being (pink hair and all) I feel safe for whatever comes my way – because I’ll face it as my authentic self.
Q: What do you want society to know about the importance of safety and freedom of self-expression?
A: I want them to know that it’s not going anywhere. There’s always going to be people with fun colored hair, of two people of the same gender loving each other, or people realizing their gender. Make space for us, because the world can only get more beautiful when you let people express who they are.
Q: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself this year?
A: I definitely think I’ve learned how to trust myself more over the past year. I’ve gone through an extensive self-discovery journey over the last 6 years and it was such a labor of love. What started in a really dark place has ended up in the best place possible for me. This last year was really less about healing and discovery and more about putting all that I’ve learned into action and just fully doing and less thinking.
Q: How does the beauty industry/community support you in your-self expression; in what ways does it fall short?
A: I definitely think the beauty industry and community has embraced the idea of queerness and incorporating it more into the space. What I think it falls short in is in fully acknowledging that we’ve always been there. We were the muses for some of the most iconic looks and experimentation with beauty. Gas that up!
Q: In what ways do you want to see the beauty industry grow?
A: I really just want it to keep doing what it’s doing. Show us your care about our community. Show us you want us here, keep making space for us.
Q: How do you intend on celebrating and promoting self-expression and freedom and safety to be during Pride Month?
A: For me, it’s further educating myself on how to be an ally, especially to my Queer siblings of color. They were the sparks that ignited the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and as a white member of the community, it’s honoring them. Sharing their stories, and fighting to keep their space within our community safe and free for them to be themselves.
Learning about different viewpoints and experiences within the world of beauty helps the entire industry change for the better. Stay tuned to our IG and blog for more perspectives from people of color in the beauty industry.
We compensate all of our content creators and have developed a standardized fee structure to ensure all partners are paid equitably based on their scope of work. Photos courtesy of Winnie Hefner.