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Outside Voice: Beauty influencers on the importance of visible representation

Outside Voice, our annotated playlist series highlighting creative people of color, continues with two beauty influencers who are challenging tokenism and championing BIPOC-led brands within the industry.

As the Outside Voice playlist series picks up, we step into the glam light with playlists by beauty entrepreneurs and creators Hannah Harris and Joyce Lee. These curators find common ground in their mutual admiration for Beyoncé—and they may be more akin to Queen B than they realize. Acting as cultural movers and shakers in their own right, Harris and Lee both wield the superstar courage and creativity needed to inject some much needed diversity into the often homogeneous beauty industry.

Hannah Harris, Creator & Founder of Brown Girl Hands

“The difference between being tokenized and being seen is intentionality. Consumers can tell when a brand throws in a Black model to hit a checkbox.”

Hannah Harris is the founder of inclusive content studio Brown Girl Hands, which she created in response to the lack of dark-skinned hand models in the beauty industry. But she isn’t in the business solely to tackle racial bias and underrepresentation; she advocates for widespread industry reform to reflect the breadth and diversity of the consumers it serves, from the facets of race and gender, to ability and age.

Harris’s ethereal hand photography quickly gained prominence during the Black Lives Matter movement, becoming a cornerstone of industry transformation as her Black skin-focused work filled a major gap in digital representation. Led by artistic acumen and a strong sense of social justice, Harris hopes to inspire more inclusivity in beauty and beyond.

“I think it's really important to include a diverse set of people in all of the content we consume,” she says. “Instagram, TikTok, movies, TV, media… that really has an effect on how we see ourselves and how we see the world.”

Joyce Lee, Creative Consultant & Founder of Her Place

“The advice I have for BIPOC creatives … is to not forget your heritage and who you are, because those are your most powerful assets.”

Joyce Lee is the founder of sexual wellness brand Her Place and beauty consultancy Talk to Her. Originally from Seoul, Lee draws on the strength of her ancestors to do the work of breaking down culturally and socially imposed barriers to authentic representation. Lee strives towards fluency between the East and West, combining K-beauty innovation and expertise with an American sense of individualism and empowerment—for her clients and for her own brand.

Lee’s intent with Her Place is to champion sexual wellness as a means to overcome harmful stereotypes often pitted against Asian women. Ultimately, Lee hopes to forge a pathway, build community, and connect BIPOC creatives along similar journeys.

“When I’ve felt marginalized, I've been able to rise above because of my grandmother," she says. “She escaped North Korea during the Korean War and raised my mom and uncle as a single parent, while successfully running multiple businesses. In times of trouble, I've recognized my strength and determination [to overcome] any challenge, just like my grandmother rose to the occasion.”

And that's a wrap for Outside Voice this year. We hope the words of Hannah Harris, Joyce Lee, and all of our other entrepreneurs and creators featured in the series help to inspire you in your own creative challenges and struggles. Stay tuned for the next season of Outside Voice to hear from more creatives from underrepresented communities.

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