Africa Miranda, Beauty and Entertainment Aficionado

I’m Africa Miranda, giver of life [laughs]!

Well, you do so many things!

It’s funny because I think the challenge, especially when you’re a creative, is to get to do the things you want to do. But the problem is when you start getting the chance to do a few of them, every time you meet somebody it’s like I’m a model, actress, performer, digital personality, influencer, speaker, and host! You sound crazy!

But technically, in the span of the year, those have been all of the things that I’ve been doing on a regular basis.

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You’ve really owned Periscope. And you’ve created an audience that’s like your tribe.

Yeah, you’re right. It’s one of those things that I kind of have a natural knack for. That’s the hard thing about live streaming. There are of course people teaching classes on how to do it or use it. But it’s one of those things that you either get or you don’t. I got on it and it just kind of grew from there. I think that it really did well for me because I didn’t have a plan. To me, being authentic and just kind of sharing in a real way is best.

Has it transformed your career?

It has. It gave me a visibility that in many ways may rival what probably wouldn’t have happened for me when I was on Bravo. I’ve gotten different opportunities just as an individual to post or be a Periscope correspondent at events. It definitely raised my profile and also introduced me to a lot of different audiences. Especially at places where there really weren’t a lot of people that looked like me.

What has the transformation in the industry been like, as a Brown woman with natural hair, from the beginning of your career until now?

It’s beautiful to see. I was one of the first natural hair models in a major campaign. When I did the Crème of Nature Argan Oil campaign in 2007 or 2008, they weren’t even planning on using a natural hair model. I just went to the casting and they liked my hair and they booked me. From there, that’s when you started seeing a lot of more brands using natural hair models in their campaigns. I did the campaign for Curls Unleashed which was ORS’ natural hairline.

Now it’s really prevalent. When I did Bravo, it wasn’t many Black women on TV with natural hair. I’m just very thankful to meet women who may have been watching me from the beginning and hear them say I inspired them to go natural. That’s huge to me because when I was growing up I didn’t like my hair and I didn’t want to be natural.

Why?

All I wanted was long hair; with a side part and big barrel curls. That’s where I felt comfortable. So, when I started to break out of that, there weren’t many people I could look at and say, “Well she’s wearing her hair natural, too”. I just kind of had to do it.

What were you doing with your hair before you returned natural?

Oh, girl I had a relaxer and a sew-in! I was relaxed my whole life and I wore weaves. I wore a weave 90 percent of the time. I’ll still wear sew-ins, U-part wigs and half wigs and pieces. I love hair extensions. I love the freedom to do whatever you want. I’m not one of those people who’s like “Oh, you don’t love yourself if you wear a weave.”

What was your honest experience as a Brown woman when you were on Bravo?

I’m so far on the other side of that so I can [finally] look back. When I was in it, it was really overwhelming because you’re excited about the opportunity and what it could mean, but at the same time, it’s very scary because you realize you’re in a situation where you have absolutely no control. And then, I think that when I sat back and watched it, I realized that [reality TV] is not just entertainment anymore. I actually don’t watch reality TV anymore.

I don’t either. I had to stop.

Yeah, and you realize you’re a part of it and I never thought that I would be apart of something that, while it has the potential to be entertaining, really has ended up being so damaging to Black women and women of color, period. I never would have thought that as much as I like girl power, and Black Girl Magic, that I would’ve been a part of something that honestly was so damaging. Because you don’t think it is. But when you really sit back and watch it and think of the things that matter, you’re like “No, this is not just mindless entertainment.” Especially when young girls and even grown women are looking at this and thinking that this is how we should interact with one another. But I don’t begrudge people who watch reality TV at all.

You have “Africa in the Middle”, which is your version of reality TV. Are you going to make that a series?

It is. But it’s a way for me to share my story, share the drama and all the ups and downs without it being like “Oh, we have to turn up”. You know? I’m actually putting together compilations as we speak.

My goal is securing funding so I can do a few episodes at a time versus having one come out and sit for a few months.

I feel like you’re in a new chapter. What do you hope this next chapter of your career will flourish into?

I feel like I’m definitely in a season of purpose. I could sit around and talk about what I use on my hair and my favorite beauty products and all of those things are important. But, I feel like it’s at a point where I just want to know that the things I’m doing will have an actual impact on people. I’m from Montgomery, Alabama. I didn’t foresee that I would be in the South of France with Kia. You realize that there are still doors that you can open and those are the stories that I want to tell.

Yeah, it seems like people are trying to find more purpose than popularity. 

Yes! I look at my life and I see that God has given me 100 percent blessings, based on like 70 percent of my effort. So imagine what your blessings would be like if you really put in the work.

He has blessed us in spite of.

Tell us more about your newest blessing, Beauty by African Miranda.

It was inspired by all of the beautiful places that I’ve been to. People know that I love to travel. So that’s where Beauty by Africa Miranda was born. The components are skin, body, and spirit. The first piece that’s launching is skin. It’s a facial elixir that’s inspired by Brazil, which I feel is my spirit home. It has the maracuja oil, a little coconut oil, and it’s great because you can use it at night or in the morning. It really works to give back that glow and improve the texture of skin.

How did you develop it?

A lot of people may be familiar with Erica Douglas, or her social media name Sister Scientist. She’s a cosmetic chemist and she’s the brain behind half of the hair products we use in our cabinets. She’s also my Soror. I reached out to her two years ago and we met in Chicago and the rest is history.

We’ll be ready for a release in November.

I don’t think Black women get enough attention when it comes to skincare so this is amazing.

We’re a little spoiled with thinking that Black doesn’t crack. It may not crack, but it can get a little rough. I think that there definitely needs to be a more in-depth conversation about Black women and skincare. I really hope that’s where my contribution can fit in.

Where will we be able to buy it?

We’re going to start online but I’ll be able to announce other locations soon! But it will for sure be available on AfricaMiranda.com.