We all know the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but with the influences of social media, this age-old proverb has been shifted to, “Beauty is in the eye of the person whose thumb “likes’ this picture”. The concept of beauty has never been clear-cut, especially for young, African American women, leaving us with shallow examples, while piecing together what the media forces us to perceive as “true beauty”. But try finding confidence and self-love within yourself based on the number of “likes” you gain on your selfie and your journey might come to a screeching halt.

Every day, I work diligently to find new quirks and peculiarities about myself that makes my beauty exclusive, and although I’ve made progress & love who I am becoming,  I’ll admit that it’s not always easy. At 21 years young, I am just as confused about the concept of beauty now, as I was at 12. I have also come to the conclusion that I, indubitably, do not have all of the answers; because of this, I decided to reach out to one of my favorite Instagramers, Kym Williams, to shed some light on this topic.

Kym Williams, also known as K_merica, is a model and aspiring creative director from Long Beach, California. I found her Instagram page a few months back, and instantly fell in love with her style! She has created her own look based off of 90’s couture with fabulous 60’s inspired hair, and exudes a sense of confidence that turns heads. In our interview below, Kym opens up about her journey to self-love and shares her perceptive on the concept of beauty, the influences of social media, and her advice on how to beceome the best YOU!

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Strawberrys & Carbonara: Tell the readers of S&C a little bit about what you do.
Kym Williams: Well, I use to work for a buy sell and trade Company. I quit that job on the 5th of November 2013 after 9 years. It was a really tough decision but in retrospect I do not regret it at all. My income is minimal but the freedom and happiness I experience is priceless. So currently my goal is to one day become a creative director. Perhaps creating fashion advertisements and maybe one day editorials or videos. Who knows. I’m constantly working on my creativity and trying to always stay inspired. I just returned from New York about a week ago where I had the opportunity to interact with so many creative wonderful people all pursuing their own creative goals and I was highly inspired to take my personal aesthetic to the next level. I am truly grateful for that experience.
S&C: From what or whom do you draw your style from?
KW: My style is combination of lots of people and things that inspire me. I am surrounded by so many fashion forward friends who inspire me all the time. I am constantly on style.com watching all the latest runway shows. W and Vogue magazine I try to stay religious to. But my favorite things…what inspires me the most is 90’s couture. So like…Versace, Pierre Balmain,  Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier,  Thierry Mugler, Chanel and the list goes on. I watch a lot of old TV shows with mom too so I’m always inspired by the glamour and poise women exuded back in like 50’s and 60’s. I think my 60’s hair is the best representation of that. Lol.
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S&C: You seem to exude this great sense of confidence about yourself; what is your definition of confidence? And what did it take for you to reach this point in your journey of self-love?
KW: Wow…thank you so much. Well, the city I grew up in was a small town where if you didn’t act and dress a certain way then you weren’t cool. So it left little room for individuality. At least it felt that way. When I moved to long beach it felt as though the city offered me the chance to explore with my personal aesthetic without feeling ridiculous. Long Beach, California is very diverse and full of creative people. It was here that I would eventually gain the courage to evolve into who I am.When I get ready to go somewhere, whether it’s to the grocery store or a night club. I make the decision to be the best me possible (weather I’m in my air maxes or my Mui Mui’s) So that when I leave the house I am fully confident with the image I project. And that leaves little room for insecurity or jealousy. And the better I feel about myself the more light I can radiate to the people around me. And when you radiate light the light will be reflected back to you. The journey of learning yourself and being comfortable with yourself is not easy. I am still on that path. I am learning to embrace my insecurities and to be aware of the things that i am not satisfied with so that I can readjust. It’s constant renewal. Perpetual growth.

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S&C: How has fashion played a role in your development as the person you are today?
KW: In my youth I was very quiet. Expressing myself through conversation was very difficult for me. So I would write. I kept journals every year and wrote poetry consistently. When I was a senior in high school my mom introduced me to individuality. She constantly bought me new clothing. And we always explored the latest trends. It was then that I developed a true love for fashion. Not long after that I was introduced to couture. Fashion became this form of expression that I honestly can not put into words. Gaining the courage to explore with my outward appearance paralleled with gaining the courage to also be comfortable with who I was and what I liked and was inspired by. The creativity and the sense of freedom that comes along with fashion…it’s incredible.
S&C: Do you believe that the concept of beauty has been construed due to the impact of social media?
KW: Absolutely. The media has always had a large influential power of projecting what should be considered beautiful and what should not. In social media, Popularity is everything. Often times you’ll succumb to what is popular for that since of approval. You’re given a handful of faces and told to pick the one that you can relate to most (so to speak)  Those are the only choices I have?? That’s all you got?? I’ll find my own. Thanks though.
S&C: What’s your advice to young women who may be struggling with their confidence?
KW: Don’t be afraid to be who you are in this moment. And if at some point you realize you are on the wrong path…Start over.  Walt Whitman said “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am Large. I contain multitudes.”

I’ve learned that confidence radiates from the inside out. It’s how you feel about yourself and how you treat yourself; Getting comfortable with who you are. Arrogance is the negativity you project to others. Which usually stems from a lack of confidence anyway. I never want to be on the latter side.

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S&C: What’s something you know now that you wish you knew as a teenager?
KW: Everything. Lol. I wish I had known that it was okay to be who I was in that moment. That I was good enough.
S&C: Are there any final remarks that you’d like my readers to know about you and/or self-confidence and beauty?
KW: “Enlightenment is not becoming a different person; it’s becoming the person you already are without any hesitation or any reservation — having the insight, and the courage, and the openness — to be the person you already are, and to trust the wisdom that;s already within.” – Reggie Ray
I hope this advice reaches you where you are. Comment and tell me what you think; what are your views on the concept of beauty and what steps do you take each day to love yourself?
Posted by:aleyarion

when i first set out to create my blog, i just wanted an outlet to balance my mundane college schedule. but over the years, it has become so much more. writing is how i process my world & the events that take place within it. through aleyarion.com, i seek to help my fellow 20-somethings, like me, working to find light when their paths seem darkened and learn from my mistakes so i can save you the trouble of repeating them. aleyarion.com is witty, vulnerable, and transparent, but most importantly, it's me, unapologetically. peace, peace, peace Aley Arion business inquiries: aleyarion@gmail.com

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