This month, we are honored to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Retrouvé, to uplift the incredible impact Asian culture and perspectives have had on our world at large and the world of beauty in particular. As we celebrate the richness of diversity that exists within Asian culture, we also acknowledge and join in solidarity with Asian American communities who have been specifically targeted by hateful rhetoric and physical violence historically and in the months surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this month’s ongoing celebration, we are excited to welcome Lucie Zhang, Director of Social Media at Vogue Magazine to share her experiences during our ongoing conversation series Every Skin Has A Story: Creatives of Color Take on Beauty.
Lucie stewards online community at the world’s top luxury brands, including Vogue, Ralph Lauren, Balmain, Anna Sui and more. She brings with her a deep commitment to community, an expert eye for beauty and fashion, and a passion for social change and justice. Learn more about Lucie by watching her moving and inspiring Every Skin Has a Story episode below.
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For me as a Black woman, I can say that much of what I learned about my own beauty routine and process comes directly from global Asian culture. From the Hindu use of turmeric as a key ingredient to brighten and even out melanated skin while reducing inflammation, to the joys and rigors of a multi-step skincare process uplifted in Korean beauty, to the Chinese use of Gua Sha, a tool and technique that helps to get rid of bloating and facial tension, and a self-care method I can’t get enough of! The influence on American beauty by Asian cultures is immense. Much of the innovation we see now in contemporary beauty has come from Asian communities. Credit given where credit is due.
As lovers of beauty and skincare, and as human beings seeking righteousness, it is important for us to be in solidarity with Asian American communities as they experience ongoing violence in America. This violence has come as one of the many outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic; but, as my mentor, culture writer and historian Jeff Chang reminds us, this circumstance is also an historical challenge that Asian Americans as a group have felt overtime. Jeff does an amazing job of linking the violence happening now, to the historical treatment of Asian Americans. Please read his thought-provoking and detailed article in full here for more historical background. In short, it is important for us to know that, “The Chinese Virus” is an update of a very old trope, and a long-offensive one. It plays off the ongoing idea that Asian Americans will always be seen as foreigners in the Western world. It is beyond exclusionary, and we must be proactive in pushing back against these stereotypes if we are to see and feel true change.
Asian Americans have always been at the frontlines of change. I think about Yuri Kochiyama, a civil rights activist who advocated for reparations and a government apology for the internment of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II. I think about Grace Lee Boggs, who spent much of her life advocating for civil rights and labor rights and became a beloved figure in Detroit’s Black Power Movement. I think of George Takai, Velma Veloria, and the countless other people of Asian heritage who have fought for and succeeded in bringing about change.
If we are to do this work of creating a better, more inclusive world, we must do it together. Please be proactive in supporting Asian American organizations strategizing and building around this work.
I am excited to share that Retrouvé is donating 5% of all product purchases at Retrouve.com in May 2021 to Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that proactively addresses anti-Asian racism. Please join us in supporting this cause.