Skin Deep


Shawna Marie, Chris "Kazi" Rolle and Jenelle SimoneCall me Pollyanna but I do believe that every single soul is beautiful in their own way. Recently I had the pleasure of participating in Chris “Kazi” Rolle’s Together Apart LIVE Convo: Skin Deep. The event featured a panel of experts in beauty, fashion, health, fitness and grooming. Co-hosting the event with Kazi was model, actress and media personality Jenelle Simone.

Panelists for the evening included celebrity make-up artist Andrea Fairweather-Bailey, health and wellness expert Supanova Slom, fashion designer Nefra Dabney, fitness expert Reggie Lamptey, celebrity hair stylist Ursula Stephen, and celebrity groomer Gee DaBarber. As usual I served as the in-house therapist. The intention was to discuss our preferences and perceptions around beauty, the impact of both in our dating relationships and how to look our best from a healthy place.

By definition beauty is a quality that evokes a feeling of deep satisfaction in another. It’s natural, individual and intuitive. However, our natural inclinations and perceptions may be overridden by conditioning from our circles of influence (family, peers and media). Our perceptions of self and others are colored by layers of complexity within the context of deeply rooted historical racism, remnants of slavery and modern day white privilege. We also may receive mixed messages within our circles of influence.

We did unpack some of this at the event. Having been called everything from gorgeous to ugly, too light, too dark, too skinny, too tall and white-looking… I know the work that I have done and continue to do to develop a positive perception of myself. As a therapist, there’s no shortage of clients both male and female who’ve shared with me their struggles around looks, self-esteem, dating, loving and being loved. For these reasons I was inspired to offer an intensive individual course, Love NOW!, specifically focused on developing self-love and the capacity to both attract and maintain a mutually satisfying love relationship.

While my wish is that every single soul on this earth realizes their beauty and never suffers from the negative perceptions or comments of others, I know that this type of healing will take time and effort. I applaud Kazi for kicking off yet another provocative and important convo. I also encourage all of you to invest time and energy into regularly evaluating your perceptions. What you believe about yourself and your looks plays a role in your ability to attract and maintain healthy relationships. There’s also the fact that what you believe will influence your partners, peers and also your children.

Since the goal is to live from a healthy place, free from negative and distorted perceptions of self or of others, perhaps you’ll find these questions helpful.

1. What do you consider to be “good looking,” beautiful and handsome?

2. Do you consider yourself to be beautiful/handsome, average attractive, just okay or unattractive?

3. Would you say that you have “good hair”, “okay hair” or “bad hair?”

4. Is your shape perfect, okay or less than ideal?

5. What do you love about your skin tone/shade?

6. How did you come to believe this about yourself?

7. What experiences have you had about your skin tone/shade? Were the messages you received primarily positive or negative?

8. Which areas could you have been abused or received negative messages with your hair, body and skin color?

9. What if anything would you change about yourself if you could? Why?

10. How do/can you regularly encourage a positive self-image?

For additional support, consider taking my Love NOW! course this summer. It’s a great way to get focused individualized support and education to uncover/unlearn distorted harmful beliefs about yourself, heal from relationship heartache, empower yourself in relationships and revitalize your love life!

Love ya!


SHAWNA MARIE is a Spiritual leader, psychotherapist and author. She provides consultations, courses and speaking engagements integrating spirituality and mental health. Be inspired and connect with her at


2 Responses to “Skin Deep”

  1. Rev. Dr. Robert Yarbrough Says:

    i think im cute

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