Interview by Klara Miller, Photographed by Joey Rosado
A few weeks ago a powerful group shot of women of color went viral on Instagram. We were instantly mesmerized and inspired by this image. We connected with the founders of The Colored Girl Campaign, Tori Elizabeth and Victory Jones to learn more.
Tell us about "The Colored Girl Campaign." What kinds of feelings do you hope to inspire in people who view your images?
The “Colored” Girl campaign is a creative initiative, using art, beauty and fashion to bring awareness to women’s issues. It was specifically curated to depict powerful, beautiful images of black women of various shades, ages and sizes coming together in sisterhood to break the stereotypes associated with black beauty.
We want to see women and girls get inspired and feel proud of themselves; no matter what color, shape, age or size. We hope to inspire others toward more self-love, confidence and knowing their worthiness. Essentially we aim to awaken, empower and inspire.
How did you choose the name?
We chose the name, “Colored” because we wanted to take something that’s historically and culturally seen as derogatory and controversial, and use it for something amazing and empowering. We also wanted to redefine the idea of black beauty with these images, so that women of “color” can see positive depictions of themselves and feel empowered, and inspired… and to show part of the range of beauty within the black community as well.
Your message is such a powerful and uplifting one for the black community. Are you hopeful it will reach other communities as well?
YES. It is our hope that these images and our message, not only spark conversations and bring awareness; but help to reshape and/or redefine the Western standard of beauty. We definitely aim to be more inclusive in the future, especially since we believe that there is really only one race- the human race! All the different variances in genealogical traits, ethnicities and cultures are merely differences, which should be celebrated, not used for divisiveness. It is absolutely our hope that this inspires others to be more loving and accepting as well.
What was the catalyst that fueled your creation of this project?
We are both creatives, (Tori a wardrobe stylist, and Victory a recording artist and songwriter), so we figured joining our creative forces and using strong visuals would be the best way to draw attention to the issues that plague so many of us: colorism.
We wanted to do something disruptive that would spark conversations and awareness about colorism…. Also to create an awareness of the range of black beauty, while sparking something positive in people. (Mainly women of “color”.) We figured we’d start with this campaign to launch the brand, by using our own authentic, unique perspectives as black women, since that is the lens through which we see the world. We both also feel that there is not enough positive representation of women of color in mainstream media. Plus, we are also feminists and hippies at heart, so everything we do is about love and empowerment. LOVE, first and foremost however, is the force that drives us.
How has this project impacted your own life and relationship with other women?
We are finding that the sisterhood, solidarity, camaraderie, support and love we have in our hearts and heads (and for each other) is more abundant than we imagined, and needs to be spread! Since creating this project we are seeing all these things manifesting in different ways, and being put into action everyday. It is truly amazing. We’ve expanded our network of women so to speak and it’s awesome!
What are your future plans for TCG?
We are currently expanding the movement (and brand) and working on more amazing campaigns and a few other things, which we cannot reveal yet, but everyone can follow us on all social media @thecgirlinc to stay abreast of things to come. We are definitely looking forward to creating more stunning visuals, and experiences for women in the future. We are working hard to make sure that everything we envision comes to fruition, can empower and inspire others, and touch people across the globe.
What would you like us to take away from The Colored Girl Campaign... to take with us, into our future interactions with other women and with our own selves?
We are all more alike than we are different. And the differences should be celebrated. But only when you truly love yourself can you be secure and confident enough to do that fully. And self-love is a lifelong practice. So, work on loving yourself. Everyday… and love each other.
Do not be ashamed of who you are, or of your power. Be brave: take chances, and do not be afraid to stand up for what you truly believe in. Be courageous enough to create the life of your own design, and do not let anyone limit you. But also help others along the way, because that helps the greater good of us all.
Campaign photographed by Joey Rosado IslandBoiPhotography.com