Memu Conteh On The Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection
“You are beautiful, you are worthy and ready to take on the day/night,” I sometimes say. *Winks at self in mirror*.
This is one of the mantras I try to go by when I leave a place I’m calling home…wherever that may be. It’s not easy being female at times, but I try my best. I’m Memu, currently in a profession that demands I am perfect all the time. Which is understandable, I guess. Humans are ‘perfect’, whether we like that word or not, with makeup and without.
Modeling has changed my self-perception. Physically, I’m forever searching for the perfect combination of skin treatments. Mentally, I see myself continuously wanting to outshine my ego and five-year-old self, letting them both know that I’m pursuing my dreams.
Society demands we’re perfect all the time. And amidst this ‘chaos’, it’s easy to forget that our identities are a complex patchwork of race, culture and more. There have been times in my life where I try to conform to that ideal. Goals are great. But striving to be something you are not is a recipe for disaster. Personally, I’m a workout fiend. Though lately, I’ve been drawn to workouts that teach be present, like yoga and Muay Thai class. Most of us will never be able to obtain those sculpted abs or that crazy v-line thing. But hey, we’re all just trying to exercise in a way that helps ward off those feelings of laziness and unworthiness. I mean, let’s be real, after you’ve included a workout two to three times a week you feel a whooooole lot better.
For me, long distance running has been such a huge part in developing confidence. When I run, I feel free. All that matters is what I’m doing in that very moment. Many of us have different ways to handle our mental discourse with ourselves. It’s almost a given that everyone has suffered some sort of trauma at a certain stage in their lives. Most of us are still fighting ourselves, so there’s nothing like a good chat with your inner demon to shut her up. I’ve found that ‘voice’ in my heads tends NOT to listen, but with time I’ve found ways to acknowledge, yet also reason with that part of me. It’s a balancing act that keeps me going.
African Black Soap
First, let’s talk about the holy grail product in every black woman’s beauty arsenal. Black Soap is an all natural remedy, that’ll leave you a mess. It’s 100% natural and comes from West Africa but you can find it in African shops around western Sydney or online. Ingredients include bark from the shea butter tree, palm tree leaves, banana leaves, cocoa pods, plantain leaves and a deeply hydrating blend of hemp seed, olive and coconut oil.
It’s rather harsh on the skin and most would tell you not to use it everyday, but it’s my go-to face and body soap. In fact, I’m beginning to think it’s my number one beauty secret.
Aesop Two Minds Facial Toner
Aesop, Aesop, Aesop! Ahhh yes. products tested on animals is a big no-no from me and this Australian brand hold its moral standards high. It may be ridiculously pricey, but I’m more than happy to fork out my hard-earned cash for my go-to’s, including their In Two Minds Facial Toner. It works great on my oily t-zone, it’s super refreshing and doesn’t leave you with that tight, dry feeling.
Aesop Two Minds Facial Hydrator
Next up, their In Two Minds Facial Hydrator, a mattifying moisturiser, much needed for my hyper-shiny complexion. I apply a small amount and rub in circular motions on my face, giving a light massage as I go. Combined with that herbal fragrance, it’s quite therapeutic, really.
Youth To The People Travel Duo
I recently discovered another brand called Youth to the People, in amongst a dizzying array of facial products. I travel often, so I was determined to find something with cute packaging that I could work into my extensive in-flight spa sessions. Inside you’ll find a face wash made from kale, green tea, spinach and vitamins. Plus a super food moisturiser packed with my all-time, skin-plumping fave: hyaluronic acid. Again, it passes on my no-testing-on-animals rule – it’s vegan too!
Green Clean Make Up Meltaway Cleansing Balm
I don’t wear make-up often. Only when required for work or a particular occassion. But I do have an exception to that rule. A couple of months ago, I swore never to use face wipes ever again, as they left tiny spots on my face. With these wipes the spots have all but disappeared. Hailing from Korea, Green Cleanis balm-based makeup remover, which, after application and some warm water, comes off gently. It leaves my face clean and hydrated.