How does one find beauty in chaos? Jennifer Lord, recipient of the 2019 Arnold Miller Find-A-Way scholarship, credits her Caribbean heritage and the creative process with helping her find beauty in a chaotic year. Author, advocate, and artist . . . this AAA creative talent shared with Beauty Changes Lives how she is channeling beauty in 2020.
A Caribbean Twist on Finding Beauty in the Mess
My coffee table book, Natural Hollywood, published in November and focuses on natural hairstyles, avante garde style and fashion. I’m also producing a short film, Comess In Creation. The name pays homage to the French Creole word, “comess” which translates to confusion. There is always beauty to be found in the mess.
Early Influencers Inspire a Career
As a child, I tortured my Grenadian Mom, playing in her hair and creating a mess. She would ask “Jennifer, what’s all this comess you’re making in my hair?” The origin of the word comess is French Creole meaning confusion. It is used in many Caribbean households. You see, I didn’t know what I was doing in her hair at the time, but I swore I was creating amazing art. Eventually, I got nice with it.Like many Creatives, I discovered creating is necessary for me to breathe. It is the only thing that fills me with the will to push on and live life. It is my therapy, my happy place.
Pivoting to Share
Pivoting has been the lesson of the year in 2020. If you work in the beauty or creative industry, you have a gift to share and I have been sharing my gifts virtually, teaching hairstyling and production to members of the Broadway Union. Sharing my knowledge from behind the chair with those who work behind the curtain is a way to keep my spirits up and give back to other creatives.
Textured and naturally curly hair doesn’t get enough attention in cosmetology education, so I am honored to be part of a group of advocates seeking to change this inequity. The change.org petition is a chance to show support for teaching natural and curly textures in beauty school and including this skill on state board exams. The Black Lives Matter movement brings a silver lining to our industry as it is helping next gen students have access to education that celebrates diverse textures.
There is power in creativity – even lifeblood. Creativity is essential to survival. In difficult times, people have to activate their super powers to make the world more beautiful.
Creative Direction: Jennifer Lord
Hair Team: Jennifer Lord Rachel Auguste Safiya Richards Breiana Spruill
Makeup Team: Manouchka Milliance Toni Ann McKnight
Model In red: Lanaisa Elmore
Model in white: Mangbe Sylla
Model with locs: Keisha Charmaine Felix
Models on Brooklyn Bridge: Alexandra Casado Andrea Casado
Photos: Virginia Kluiters
Fashion: Indigo Style Vintage, Natural Hollywood, Tribal Groove and Styled by Sy