Today we’d like to introduce you to Ebony Jean.
Hi Ebony, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for sharing your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
Alopecia is an autoimmune hair loss condition that has impacted my life since age four. Over 20-plus years, I watched my hair fall out and grow back suddenly. Since 2017, I’ve been a content creator and beauty influencer on social media – in addition to alopecia advocacy. Art and fashion became an outlet to express myself growing up. While in high school, I learned how to draw eyebrows, thanks to my mom and eldest sister. This added a facial frame and was drawn for me each morning before school; until becoming independent. Mind you; I didn’t know a thing about makeup, lol. Hence, the introduction to makeup artistry. Following high school in 2008, the goal was to become a fashion designer. I even created a blog! But somehow, I had a change of heart. For over ten years, I worked in retail sales, with half of the time dedicated to beauty. Interest sparked by watching makeup tutorials, and I bought every eyeshadow quad possible, haha. As a self-taught makeup artist, my experience increased, working with various brands and models. Upon a series of events and revealing my hair loss story in 2016, I took my skills to social media. This avenue allows me to bridge the gap between advocacy and beauty; through tutorials, product reviews, and informational videos. Finally, I am on a career path that I love.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve had concerns that my content was not good enough or that others would laugh at my appearance, but I soon discovered that people were rooting for me. Living with Alopecia is not easy, especially at a young age. This invited issues of insecurity, bullying, isolation, and depression – that took years to overcome. A person’s self-esteem and mental health can be affected by detrimental comments; from society. During adolescence, I learned the true definition of beauty and did not develop confidence until later. Adversity builds strength, character, courage, and purpose. The purpose of my platforms; is to help educate, empower and motivate others like me – while embracing beauty and fashion. “The Creative Adult is the Child Who Survived.”
Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I specialize in drawing eyebrows also creating various makeup and wig looks; via Instagram and YouTube. But people mainly know me for my advocacy. Educating others on Alopecia is essential as many are still unaware. There was a point in life where I could not talk about it. Over time I was blessed with speaking opportunities at conferences and meeting with fellow peers, medical personnel, and Legislators. Removing my wig on the steps of Capitol Hill; was a momentous occasion. There was a level of “peace” I felt upon my reveal. What sets me apart from others is my story. Many people where I’m from have questioned my confidence without hair. Before, I could not leave home without a wig or hat. Now, I no longer let opinions, stares, or hair loss control how I live my life.
Do you have any advice for those just starting?
Support will come as long as you love what you do and are consistent and faithful in your work. While expensive equipment is worth the investment, you can record from your phone and buy a tripod from Amazon. It may be cool to go “viral,” but what’s even cooler is making an impact. The purpose is more important than popularity. What is your content about? What is your niche? Who is the target audience? It doesn’t matter how many people are doing the same thing or if the market is “overly-saturated”; your voice, perspective, and gifts are needed.
“Melanin” personal photo and All Black” suit (photo #3): Q11 Photography, Detroit, Michigan