I have so many questions about the concept of beauty! To begin, why do we feel compelled to appear beautiful? Second, does looking beautiful come naturally, or does it entail applying layers of makeup to your face or wearing designer labels? Can’t beauty be defined by being comfortable in your own skin? Top model Kaone Kario discusses beauty with Istyleblaq.
Kaone Kario is a successful international Motswana model and actress who has travelled the world extensively since winning the Nokia Face of Africa in 2005. She has appeared in a number of TV commercials, editorial campaigns, featured in numerous magazines such as Elle, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Glamour just to mention a few. Kario worked with some of the most influential photographers and top brands, and is famously well known for working with Nivea.
MUZI: Beauty is defined as a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. What is your idea of beauty?
KAONE: I didn’t grow up a beautiful child, so it took a while to adjust to being called beautiful. My idea of beauty is something even I am still figuring out because for so long it’s been validated by how others see me. It was something outside of me. As it stands, I know it has a lot to do with one’s internal world as much as the features on the outside. It’s an inside out thing for me.
MUZI: How do you think the concept of beauty has changed today compared to the past 10 years?
KAONE: Firstly, I feel that when it comes to beauty, we are making progress in some lanes and going backwards in others. I feel like we’re in trouble as long as we live in a world where a black woman feels a need to bleach her skin, a world where black people categorise one another or judge one another based on how light my skin is as if we don’t have enough problems? I think at the moment we’re doing amazingly because now there are products that cater to the different shades that people have.
Secondly, It’s not just black girls, I am actually thinking of brown girls, even your Indian women. How, for example, the beautiful Indian woman that is exported out of India isn’t a reflection of the diversity of colour within the country. Lightness, “light-skinned”, is actually associated with whiteness, as long as that is still our benchmark to success there’s no progress. That is too sad.
And lastly, why do we have to wait for the west to validate our skin, our hair and our way of life. Why are we always waiting on them to validate our blackness. We don’t have agency over ourselves. Blackness is not a trend!
MUZI: It takes confidence to have the courage to let your natural beauty shine. Too often, women are encouraged to cover up with makeup and the latest fashion, however, you have embraced your natural beauty and features. Have you always been this confident?
KAONE: For as long as I have been a model and been consumed visually, It’s not like I wore my hair as a statement, it just worked for me. I feel the most myself, the most grounded and the most beautiful just because of how I was made with as little as possible, It was easy. It was affordable. It wasn’t complicated. I wasn’t the girliest of girls so working with hair and all that stressed me out. So I just went like that, but it’s really fun to play with hair and makeup and all these things.
MUZI: Was there ever a feature (part of your body) that you struggled with loving that you embrace now?
KAONE: I absolutely hated my thighs. I do a lot of work around that. You have to be kind to your body, you know? I am in the business of perfection, and we’re very brutal to our bodies, this is why when I meet women or girls who want to be models I advise them to appreciate and embrace who they are. I don’t like when I hear women beat upon their bodies or compare themselves to models. Don’t compare yourself to models”. We are airbrushed to perfection, and we know how to position our bodies for that perfect shot… This is work for us, and there’s a reason why we look a particular way.
MUZI: How do you practice self-love daily?
KAONE: Self-love? Self-love can be so annoying. What the hell does that even mean? Anyway, I know exactly what you’re saying. So, for me, a simple thing like getting decent sleep is crucial. It’s necessary that I eat a full meal, I tend not to eat properly sometimes. Lathering my skin in body oils after a nice shower, meditating- making time for my meditative practices, and making sure I spend as much time offline as I do online. And lastly, long phone calls with my family are always a treat. They love me and that makes me brave. PRAYER is also important to me.. Time spent in prayer feeds my love for the self. Hanging out with God anchors me.
MUZI: Lack of body diversity and racial diversity has always been an issue in the fashion industry – Why is diversity and inclusion important in the fashion industry?
KAONE: I mean. It took so long just to get plus-sized models! Why is it important? Well, it’s important because we’re all so diverse, we’re all so different, however I can’t stand performative inclusion. Let’s say for example you are Victoria’s Secret of old, Victoria’s Secret of old had no interest in diversity or inclusion but Victoria’s Secret of now wants to do that, right? I think it’s important because for one you keep a clientèle, two- it’s just less “douchebaggy”. The world is so big, how can you just have one version of what’s beautiful? It’s boring, it gets boring at some point, you know?
MUZI: You’ve had an amazing journey in the modelling business – What are you currently busy with?
KAONE: So, I still absolutely enjoy modelling. I may not enjoy some of the nonsense that we have to deal with in the business, but the fact is, I am a performer, baby. Sometimes you must accept that some of us were born to be in front of the camera, I light up…my soul lights up. I still model, I’m pursuing acting, and I have a newly found passion for farming. So those are sort of my interests…and television. Yeah, you will always find me in entertainment and farming…this is where I belong.
Photo credites by ramzimansourphotography#
Wow this is beautiful, Kaone kario is one of my favourite model and she inspired me to embrace my beauty. I am an aspiring model and I almost gave up on the dream because I thought I was not beautiful enough; no hairline ,thin hair,dark, skinny and short. So ,seeing a top model like Kaone in social media, tv etc with my kind of hair and kind of skin helped me overcome my fears .I have learnt to embrace my beauty, I shine my blackness Infront of the camera and I have absolutely nothing to hide.
I am glad you enjoyed the article.
I love the spirit and mostly the positivity behind this person. I salute the beauty of her mind!
She’s amazing, I love her.