Serving looks & perspectives: Meet the models of our Nazar No More campaign
By Kulfi Bites Team
From creative director, to makeup artist, to models, Kulfi highlights the diversity within the South Asian diaspora. We have the honor of telling you more about the 3 barrier-breaking models behind our Nazar No More campaign: Bethany Morrison (@betaniarenee) is a vegan food blogger/cook and mental health advocate. Eyesmin Yunus (@eyesminyc) is an athlete, content creator, and a passionate gardener. And Sarennya Srimugayogam (@sarennya) is a designer, artist, and advocate. We had so much fun getting to know more about their cultural roots, how they navigated beauty standards at a young age, and what Kulfi means to them.
Q1. What makes you most proud to be South Asian?
Bethany wearing Underlined Kajal in Purply Pataka
Bethany: My relatives & ancestors came to Jamaica from India in the mid/late 1800s to work as indentured servants after African slavery ended in Jamaica — the Europeans still needed people to work on the sugarcane field. I’d say I’m proud of them for making ends meet for their families and future families. When the Indian prime minister didn’t want a lot of them to come back, most of them remained in the Caribbean. Overall, I love the diversity and the presence they have in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean.
They were stripped from their culture in many ways but didn’t let who they are die where they decided to stay.
Eyesmin: My pride as a South Asian starts from our traditional and cultural attire to the amazing food that we cook with our incredible spices. Not to mention, the amazing music each culture has to offer. Lastly, I am proud to say that we have one of the best wedding traditions, which sometimes last about a week long.
Sarennya: The first thing that comes to mind is the decadence of it all. There is so much richness and vibrancy in all aspects of the culture, from the clothing, the traditions and ceremonies and especially the food. There is an air of ceremony and celebration to everything. From getting dressed to the deserts that are available, it's brightly colored, ornate and exciting.
Q2. At a young age, were you aware of the unjust beauty standards that South Asians face?
Bethany: I wasn’t aware of colorism, in general, at a young age. As a kid, I just saw people from where their families were from, not their complexion. In Jamaican culture, Indians and Black/Indian (referred to as ‘Dougla’ in the Caribbean) are actually praised. I remember constantly being introduced to my parents’ friends or acquaintances (always Jamaican), and hearing, “Look at her beautiful hair, she looks so Indian.” I never understood the obsession until I got older.
Now, I’m aware that the colorism in South Asia was very much brought to the Caribbean. My family personally might not be colorist, but I know many Jamaicans, Trinidadians and Guyanese Indians who don’t want their kids dating or marrying Black people; even some don’t want them to date darker-complexioned Indians in the Caribbeans. Thankfully, I’ve always loved my skin tone. When I was a kid, I always admired darker-skinned Indians or the look of people who were just like me — we have a look!
Eyesmin: I remember growing up in Bangladesh and using Fair & Lovely to make my skin ‘whiter.’ While commuting to school, I always carried an umbrella to avoid the sun hitting my face. As a young adult, I didn’t think of these actions of mine as detrimental to my existence. I thought my life would change when I migrated to New York, but it consciously transformed when I became an athlete. Due to my busy training schedule with running and swimming, I lost track of how tanned I would get in the summer. I then realized I was unconsciously unlearning the unjust beauty standards our culture has taught us.
About two years ago I had reconnected with a few schoolmates from back home. As they saw my images (where I was tanned) on social media, their first remark was, “Why did you get so dark? You used to be so light when you were here.” To this I had to say, “I didn’t get dark, I am tanned. I love my skin color. As matter of fact, I wish my natural skin tone was tanned because brown skin is so beautiful.” Adding, “I hope one day you realize it.”
Sarennya wearing Underlined Kajal in Rain Check
Sarennya: Being raised in a society that upheld ideals perpetuated by fatphobia, colorism, and colonialism definitely negatively impacted my self worth. There was no one who looked like me that was depicted as beautiful, worthy, or capable. I had to unlearn all these ideals and move towards a radical self love:
I create the imagery and media that my younger self would have loved to see.
Q3. What about Kulfi's brand resonates with you?
Bethany: Kulfi’s brand strives for inclusion and to make a difference. For instance, casting me for this campaign when they didn’t have to. I may not be the standard face to many or have the same upbringing typically defined as South Asian, but Kulfi chose me: A Black girl with a Jamaican upbringing. Kulfi tackles colorism, featurism, and texturism by including all types of faces and shades.
Eyesmin wearing Underlined Kajal in Tiger Queen
Eyesmin: I love the fact the Kulfi brand is named in our South Asian languages. It allows our South Asian community to be more connected by recognizing the similarities. At the same time, it arouses people to inquire about the meaning of the word which creates an outlet to be educated on our culture.
Kulfi celebrates and welcomes inclusivity, while challenging damaging beauty standards.
Sarennya: I think Kulfi addresses the need for South Asians to feel represented within the beauty world, in all our variations. It’s creating a space to feel seen.
- Creative Direction & Branding: Badal Patel
- Campaign Photography & Video: Melissa Isabel & Frankie Leroux
- Production, Casting, & Styling: Reva Bhatt
- Talent: Sarennya Srimugayogam, Bethany Morrison, & Eyesmin Yunus
- Makeup Artist: Amrita Mehta, assisted by Erica Janssen
- Hair Stylist: Takuya Yamaguchi, assisted by Chika Keisuke
- Fashion/wardrobe: Abacaxi NYC