Helping us celebrate this month’s theme of ‘Summer,’ Aeshia DeVore Branch – the writer, poet, producer and radio host with a permanent Summer body – is living her dream; helping teenage girls transition into adulthood through career development and fun health education, via her organisation, Teen Diaries and its initiative, “Pretty Girls Sweat.”
Before founding Teen Diaries, Aeshia spent 9 years working her way up the TV industry – from an intern at ABC to a producer on Sundance Channel’s celebrated primetime series, Iconoclasts – and was also a model at Wilhelmina in New York City, so clearly knows a thing or two about beauty and its difficult time in the media, and is the perfect person to ask for tips on getting real Summer beauty from the inside, out.
In her free time, the wife and mother of three enjoys reading fashion magazines, listening to music and enjoying the outdoors, and – amongst her busy fitness routine and inspirational work – Aaeshia also found a moment to chat with us at SPICE on beauty tips, signature looks and Lupita Nyong’o as the ultimate icon.
Read on for Aaeshia’s thoughts in full;
SPICE: Hi Aaeshia! Please tell us, what does beauty mean to you?
Aaeshia DeVore Branch: As the saying goes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The sincerity in a person’s smile and the light of hope in one’s eyes is by far the most beautiful assets one can possess.
What is your day-to-day beauty routine?
I try keep things very simple. I use a dime size amount of jojoba oil (or Cetaphil) to clean my face and wipe it off with a warm wash cloth. I follow up with Neutrogena rapid clear pads to remove excess dirt and prevent breakouts, and I use Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 to moisturize during the day (I add jojoba oil to it to moisturize at night).
I also drink tons of water and eat plenty of foods made by the sun: fruits and vegetables! And I can’t get enough of African Shea Butter; I use it on my skin and my hair – it’s one of the most effective and inexpensive products ever!
What do you spend more time on, beauty or health?
I spend way more time on health, which helps me avoid spending tons of time on beauty.
What is the inspiration behind ‘Pretty Girls Sweat’?
When young girls transition into their teenage years, they receive mixed messages from their peers and media that forces them to decide between being girly and being an athlete. We are here to let them know that they can choose both. We’re aiming to flip ingrained perceptions of beauty and sweat on their heads. Why? Because society often tricks us into thinking that sweating is unattractive. We see it differently. To us, there is nothing more beautiful than making your health a priority through exercise and proper nutrition. Child obesity rates are at an all time high and Pretty Girls Sweat introduces non-traditional fitness programs that put the fun in fitness and get girls excited about staying active for a lifetime. Pretty Girls Sweat aims to save lives.
What does your fitness regime consist of?
I do a 5K hike/run about 4-5 days a week – it’s my favorite way to listen to new music. I also enjoy zumba, yoga (for flexibility and strength), and swimming (to improve stamina).
If you could choose just one move/product/item for your health, what would it be?
Water! It’s the key to healthy skin, hair and healthy digestion.
What specific thing/item impacts your health the most – physically or mentally?
Sleep. Getting a good night’s rest can make or break my health. If my body lacks sleep, I’ll see a change in my skin, my energy, and my attitude. 7-8 hours of shut eye is a must!
Do you have a signature beauty look?
I typically wear my hair in a high bun (or wild and curly) and white nail polish (always).
What are your beauty dos and don’ts?
Do be kind to your body; eat fruits and vegetables; love your natural hair texture; apply sunscreen; exfoliate and moisturise; be confident; and also, trim your ends – it helps your hair stay strong and healthy.
Don’t try too hard; go to sleep with makeup on; squeeze a zit; drink soda; or stress the small stuff.
Can you please share an ‘oh no, I didn’t’ moment with us?
In high school, I use to wear light hazel contacts. I thought they were so cool and I actually started thinking my eyes were that colour! I would be afraid to let anyone see me without them. Looking back at photos of myself wearing those coloured contacts, I realise they looked so Fake – ha! That is one trend I wish I stayed away from. I am so proud of my natural eye colour now. It is a relief to discover that each of us were perfectly made.
If you had to give just one beauty tip or piece of advice, what would it be?
Love yourself as you are. Self love = power.
What is your fitness and beauty fantasy?
My fantasy would be to eat whatever I want, lay out on the beach in a bikini and never have to apply sunblock. The reality is that I would be overweight and freakishly fried by the sun! So I eat well, work out and apply sunblock.
If you could, what would you like to change in the fitness, health and beauty industry?
I would like the definition of beauty to be more broad. I wish Lupita Nyongo was highlighted in media when I was a teen. I had a hard time accepting my dark skin complexion in my adolescent years and I was often teased about it. I felt hopeless because my skin colour was something that I could not change. Lupita proves that beauty comes in all shades and colours and it is solidified by being intelligent and talented too. She is currently my beauty hero!
To contact Aaeshia, just visit www.teendiariesfoundation.org.
Image source: Aaeshia DeVore Branch