Meet Vanita Sawyer: Beauty Junkie and Mother

New mom, Vanita Sawyer offers a unique perspective on makeup, confidence, and feminism in our beauty focused interview. She is fun, goofy, and caring to the extent that she considers it to be both a strength and a weakness in her life. She recently became a first time mom to her beautiful daughter, and shares her newfound parenthood with her husband, a US Army veteran. They have been together since they were 15 years old and are undoubtedly soulmates through and through. 

From her entertaining and distinct YouTube videos to her stance on beauty, self-love, and motherhood, Vanita offers a refreshing perspective. One of a kind, she considers flaws to be a part of oneself that should be accepted rather than worried about. My chat with her only further encouraged my belief that women from all walks of life find common ground with beauty one way or another.

OPENLETR: Please share a bit about your background with us. What led you to start your YouTube channel, and how did you get where you are today?

Vanita: I am 25 years old and from Massachusetts. I’ve been an only child for 10 years until my baby brother came along. I’ve had to take care of him throughout my teen years due to my parents divorce. I discovered YouTube at that time and started my channel, because I found it so cool how people made beauty videos and shared them with the world. Specifically, I was very interested in doing my own nail art at home, and I wanted to share how I came up with certain nail designs with people. It was something I was very passionate about at the time. I was into nail health as well, and growing my nails really long naturally. Eventually, I became interested in other things and broadened my channel, and slowly it grew to almost 2k. I wasn’t very consistent as things in my life got in the way, but I have done it just as a hobby and for fun here and there.

OPENLETR: When did you first start wearing makeup and why?

Vanita: I actually don’t wear much makeup as I am not the makeup type of person. I was always taught growing up that I was beautiful without makeup and that I had “natural beauty” so I never really had the urge to wear much makeup all my life besides mascara and lipstick. When I’ve had makeup on a couple of times in the past for a wedding or fashion show I was in, I never really liked myself with makeup. I think I look like a clown to be honest. I just feel it doesn’t suit me. Not that I think I don’t need makeup, but I truly don’t feel good wearing makeup or think I can pull it off, which sounds weird, I know, because wearing makeup usually enhances people’s looks and makes them feel better.

OPENLETR: What are your three most favorite beauty products and what makes them holy grails?

Vanita: My favorite beauty products has to be Kylie Cosmetics matte lipsticks, they are the most comfortable liquid lipsticks I’ve tried so far, the Aztec Indian healing clay mask works really well with cleansing my skin and to keep my face clear. Also, it makes your face pulsate which feels cool in the process. Lastly, it would have to be coconut oil, you can use it for many many things, it’s very useful, and works wonders on anything like your hair, body, and you can even use it to freshen your breath.

OPENLETR: What is your favorite thing about being part of a the online beauty community? And what is your least favorite?

Vanita: My favorite thing about being part of an online beauty community is being able to share what I personally do as far as beauty and what I like in terms of fashion, to interact with people from all over the world, and seeing all the creativity that people bring forth. My least favorite is how some people let the fame get to them, change them negatively, and also it has become more of a competitive thing than something everyone does for fun.

OPENLETR: Who do you look up to for beauty inspiration? Celebrities? Women in your own life?

Vanita: For beauty inspiration I love many different people. Some of my favorites are SMLx0, Evettexo, Nicole Guerriero, Carli Bybel, and BeautyyBird on YouTube. Celebrities I look for inspo in is Kylie Jenner & Khloe Kardashian. Honestly, I don’t have women in my life that I look up to for beauty inspiration, because the people in my life look up to me for beauty inspiration.

OPENLETR: Have you ever struggled with self-image issues? If so, how do you handle that and what advice would you give someone with similar struggles? (acne, body image, rosacea, etc.)

Vanita: Oh yeah! I’ve struggled with acne as a teen, which introduced me to Proactiv, and that helped clear my skin tremendously and I loved it! I’ve always struggled with how my nose looked, I never really liked it, because it is “different” I guess. And I have had people make fun of me for it as a child. I was told I had a “cow” nose, so I have always thought my nose was big. Also I’ve struggled with being small chested, having stretch marks at a young age from puberty, my weight here and there once I got into my 20’s, and currently I am struggling with my weight after the baby. But at the end of the day, these don't define me and I don’t let them bother me so much. I know I have flaws, but it’s not something that is constantly on my mind. It’s kind of as if it doesn’t exist or I just ignore it for the time being.

I’m still trying to love every part of myself and realize that nobody is perfect. What I see as a “big deal” most people don’t even realize it. It’s mainly all in my head. And any normal person who makes fun of a certain thing on your body is a reflection of them, and something they are going through in their life. But most people don’t care about flaws and you learn that as you age. Things like that don’t matter anymore. There are bigger things in life to worry about, and you just need to accept how God made you, know that everyone is different, and it is beautiful to be different. You should be grateful to be different and look different, it’s what makes you unique and stand out from everyone else. Embrace who you are, always!

OPENLETR: Congratulations on becoming a new mommy! Pregnancy seems to be such a different experience for each and every woman. As a new mom how has your pregnancy affected you when it comes to your confidence and self-image?

Vanita: Thank you!!! When I was pregnant, I absolutely loved it and thought it was so beautiful, and I embraced my big ol’ belly. It made me feel beautiful. Now post pregnancy, I’m struggling with my weight as mentioned before, but I know I’m not going to completely go back to my original weight overnight, so I am just focusing on working out and achieving my goals, and that is giving me more confidence as I feel stronger. I’m just allowing myself to have that “post pregnancy time” I guess, and not being so hard on myself. I’ve gotten some stretch marks from it on my belly and other changes, but again there is nothing I can really do about it but continue to try to be a better me and embrace it.

OPENLETR: Since becoming a mother has your perspective on beauty changed? If so, how?

Vanita: It somewhat has, as I am less focused on myself and beauty related things like liquid lipsticks and my hair, which I was obsessed with. I am more focused on the beauty my daughter brings in my life. And she has no flaws in my eyes and reminds me that we are all perfect the way we were made to be, because I think she is perfect! And I want to remind her of that every day of her life as she grows. Don’t get me wrong I still love to look nice and presentable, but it isn’t my main priority as of right now. There is beauty in many different other things in this world.

OPENLETR: How do you think beauty and feminism overlap?

Vanita: I feel like beauty and feminism overlap, as beauty tends to make people feel better about themselves, which in turn makes you feel more confident. It’s better to have confidence than not have it and bring people down; most women who bring others down seem to lack it which to me equates jealousy and bitterness. Beauty and confidence make us all better and stronger women that empower one another. Because after all, if you look good, you feel good right? Once you have that confidence, it makes you feel like you can do anything in this world. And there are those who feel powerful and confident without makeup as well, so that in itself is beautiful. 

OPENLETR: What do you think makes beauty such a huge part of women’s lives around the world?

Vanita: Everyone seeks to feel beautiful and desire to be enough, when little do they know they are enough and beautiful whether with makeup or not. Some feel they need makeup to feel “accepted.” But some like it, as it simply is fun to play and experiment with. Beauty can also be about being creative with different looks you can make yourself appear as, and that is what some women enjoy. At the end of the day, beauty is a huge part is women’s lives, it makes us feel good!

Vanita Sawyer, Massachusetts, USA