Firsts: LaTonya Yvette

by Charisse Kenion

 

Image Credit: Bee Walker via LaTonya Yvette

 

Firsts” is a series of conversations where women share moments that aren’t always talked about, in the hope that they inspire, encourage and comfort.

This week we’re talking to blogger, stylist and author LaTonya Yvette.  Her eponymous site is where she shares everything, from her style inspiration, to her battles with Vitiligo, and everything in between – no subject is taboo. LaTonya expands even further upon her life’s journey in her new book Woman of Color which recently launched to huge acclaim. All The Pretty Birds chatted with the Brooklynite about how she handles life on the internet, and the moment she knew that Woman of Color had to happen.

The first time I…decided to share my life online was back in 2012. I realized there was no space available where all the parts of me could truly co-exist.

The first time I…experienced negative feedback was when a ‘friend’ told me what a hate site had said about me. Normally, I take critiques and feedback very well, even though I am a Cancer and will cry quietly, I normally come around. But actual negativity feels different.

The first time I…felt alone was when I was maybe 8 or 9. Although I wasn’t physically alone, I felt alone in my head, which was a scary place to feel alone.

The first time I…knew I had to make Woman of Color, happen was when I had the first meeting about it – it felt like sparks were flying from my head as I crossed the street. All of a sudden, it all made sense.

The first time I…felt like, ‘yes this is what I was made for’ was when I felt myself moving confidently on the subway and running around the city with my daughter in tow when she was a baby.

The first time I…realized beauty is something that women are measured by I was very young –  maybe too young? I think I was around 7, and someone in my family commented that I always painted my toes – I loved polishing my nails as a kid and was really good at it. This person said something along the lines of, “That’s good! Well-done toes are what people look at first.” I don’t think they meant for me to take it with me my entire life. Painting my nails was something I enjoyed back then, but I learned that it was something I could be judged on one day.

The first time I…realized that others were inspired by my life and work. It was just after I had lost a baby and so many women emailed me. Women who had quietly followed me or people I worked with. They got in touch to show their support, but also how they had been inspired.

The first time I…felt beautiful was when I held my newborn in my arms.

The first time I…met someone I truly admired. I was talking about this the other day with my therapist. I think I was born into a family that raised me with a sort of adoration for the matriarchs in my life. I really admire all the women in my life, especially my mother. Also, I think, in some way I was/am slightly obsessed with her beauty and power.

The first time I…felt at complete peace. That’s a hard one. Having kids and multiple pregnancies has combined many beautiful moments into a flood of one. And I’m super thankful for it. I think there was one moment when River was a newborn, it was winter and the sun was shining, I’d just finished nursing and she fell asleep next to me. The world felt small and peaceful. I think that’s essentially why we keep on having babies, because those tiny moments of peace are magic.

 

Image Credit: Bee Walker via LaTonya Yvette

Image Credit: Bee Walker via LaTonya Yvette


This interview has been edited and condensed.

Visit Latonya’s website and read Firsts with Kenya Hunt. Stay in the loop with #ATPBFirsts and watch out for the next edition!

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