We are constantly inspired by the amazing mamas in our Tubby Todd community. In our Inspired by series we profile some of these incredible women and give you a little glimpse into their lives as they discuss family, careers, style, activism and more!
Today we're inspired by Ashley Sirah Nicole Chea: a mama, author, founder of the Beautiful Me movement and co-founder of Moms in Color. Ashley is the latest collaborator in our Bubbles & Books series, and we are beyond excited to be able to feature the incredible message she shares in her book, Beautiful Beautiful Me. This book (and the movement itself) are all about helping parents teach their little ones love and acceptance, of others as well as themselves. It's a message that's more important now than ever and Ashley shares it in the most beautiful way. Read our interview below to learn more and get inspired.
Q: Tell us a little bit about how the Beautiful Me movement was born.
A: I started the movement after I noticed my daughter was having a hard time accepting our differences. I wanted to create content that taught all children, teens and adults to love themselves along with finding the beauty in others.
Q: We love teaching little ones through art and stories. What types of conversations are encouraged through your book, Beautiful Beautiful Me?
A: Conversations based on diversity and self love, I intentionally had the little boys telling the girls that they loved their skin, but then asked them “what do you see.” I think conversations around racism and sexism will happen for all people. So we are teaching boys to compliment girls but also acknowledge that the way they think of themselves is most important. Equally for young girls to hear compliments but realize what they think of themselves matters most. Also that people shouldn’t ignore race, but instead embrace it, acknowledge differences and celebrate them.
Q: How can we continue to celebrate diversity and encourage self love for our little ones in our daily lives and activities?
A: I think making sure you are showing your children diversity in books, movies and even peer groups is important. There is nothing wrong with maybe going to story time in a neighborhood you don’t live in. Going to parks in neighborhoods you don’t normally go to. If we do normal everyday things with our children around people that are different, then people that are different become normal and every day for them. When it comes to self love, compliment your children, tell them to point out things they love about themselves, encourage them to be confident and never shame them for having pride in themselves.
Q: How can we use bathtime and skincare as a teaching moment for our babes to encourage self love?
A: Bathtime is a great time to say things like “ look at your beautiful brown skin, your beautiful creamy skin etc.” When washing their hair complement it, tell them how beautiful it is. Tell them you love taking care of them, you love washing their hair etc. Just celebrate their features and their skin. These little moments make such a huge difference in the way they feel about themselves.
Q: We love the voice you bring to the importance of diverse women collaborating with and supporting each other. As consumers, how can we encourage this behavior and continue to celebrate women of color both on and off social media?
A: I think number one everyone needs to look at how intentional they are about everything they do. Are you supporting local farmers, local stores etc. I don’t think non black people realize that even black people have to be intentional about supporting people of color. Everything around us is majority white. Movies, books, shopping centers, almost everything we see in mass production is produced for and from white people. So everyone, black, hispanic, Asian etc has to do their research and try to find black owned businesses. Look at your companies and be intentional about hiring qualified people of color on your staff. The same way we are intentional about eating something different than we did the day before, we need to be intentional about supporting new things and new people.
Q: As mamas, we have such an important job in both teaching our little ones love and respect for all people, and supporting our fellow mamas to help them do the same. What are some concrete ways we can show that support?
A: Again it's all about being intentional with your everyday actions. If you are in a position of power, empower other diverse people. Share businesses that you really like that are led by women of color. Use your platforms to give other women of color opportunities to be seen. Also make sure that you are paying everyone equally and not accepting more than someone else that is doing equal work as you. Watch films that aren't just centered around white stories and white experiences. The rest of us have been enjoying films made by white people for white people our whole lives. Realizing what a privilege it is to be white in America and how everything is truly made for white people is a start. When you realize your advantage you are more likely to make an effort to create equality. The same way we get our children step stools because they can't reach a sink, we recognize our height is an advantage, if we want them to be independent of us we have to create ways for them to exist without us picking them up. That is the same mentality everyone should have. If people truly have a goal of being equal with everyone, it’s not that hard to figure out every day ways to be of service to those around you who may be at a disadvantage, and that goes beyond race.
Q: Once we’re able to schedule in-person events again, how could someone request a Beautiful Me workshop at their school or group program?
A: Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know the age group and number of children and I will schedule a program if we are in the same area. If your school isn’t within driving distance we can arrange for me to be flown to the school.
Click HERE to be notified when the Bubbles & Books Beautiful Beautiful Me Gift Set restock hits tubbytodd.com!