Here I was minding my business waiting on the Vivienne Tam runway show to start. I was scanning the front row and who do I see sitting pretty? The utterly beautiful and poised Uzo Aduba (or Uzoamaka Aduba if you aren’t scared). Now as an Orange Is The New Black fan/stan I was naturally excited as I love the depth she brings to her role as Crazy Eyes. (She brought me to tears multiple times in Season 2). Seeing her outside the show’s prison uniform in an orange-red and black embroidered a-line dress was enough for my fan heart but something about seeing her stuck with me.
She looked so comfortable in her own skin. She didn’t shy away or shrink when attention from press, bloggers, celebrities, fans, and photographers were on her. She smiled so big and showed off her gap. She walked with such confidence and grace. In that moment she was the woman I aspire to be: confident, poised and accomplished with an inner glow. I love seeing another dark skinned woman loving who she is because social media’s attack on dark skinned women can bring down one’s confidence. I have often struggled with maintaining my confidence due being ridiculed for being dark skinned since I was 9 years old. Praise God that I was surrounded by women that taught me to love myself first but its very easy to forget those little lessons as you get older. But seeing Uzo brought me back to a place that I needed to revisit. A place that I tap into when I am feeling less than, not at my best or unappreciated. A place I have neglected. A piece of me that is there to remind me that before anyone else can appreciate and love my dark skin, awkward smile, dramatic Southern accent, etc. I have to love all of that first. I have to be both confident and driven in the body and personality that God gave me.
Queen Uzo Aduba, thank you for shining your light so bright that it captivates everyone that crosses your path.