Amplify Melanated Voices: Ciara Johnson
As we look to #AmplifyMelanatedVoices, we connected with nail artist and global traveler, Ciara Johnson @hey_ciara on Instagram, to get insight into her inspirations and see what fuels her today. Everything from business advice, to leading meaningful discussions, she gives us her perspective on what it takes to create substantial changes for the future.
As one of our industry leaders, what challenges have you faced getting to where you are now and what do you think the opportunities are for change?
I feel really fortunate to have garnered organic interest and support from my online community over the years. However, it's proven to be really difficult to get a seat at the table and usually there is only one, if any are available. This results in tokenism, where one or a few black people get opportunities. However, we are not a monolith so it’s important to have more representation - across shades, ages, sizes, etc. Individuals and brands should seek out a variety of BIPOC voices to engage with. It’s important that we’re accepted in our fullness and seen as more than a quota.
What strengths do you feel the nail industry has in terms of diversity and inclusion?
Fortunately, nail polish is for everyone! Women across every demographic love and enjoy nail polish, so there should be no shortage of representation within the industry. It’s been great to see a variety of skin tones and shades represented on social media platforms and webpages!
What role do you think YOU can play in opening doors for others?
As someone who has a platform, I always have the opportunity to speak up for those who may not have a voice. If I am given a seat at the table, I have the power to pull up additional chairs, invite others into the room, and hold brands accountable. I’ve been able to lead several panels discussing areas of improvement with brands.
What do you think nail color companies can do to lead the way for meaningful discussion and substantial change?
I believe that it’s so important for BIPOC to be represented both internally and externally. While it’s great to see representation across social media, advertisements, and front-facing roles, it’s important to make space for us in the boardroom. Conversations should continue at every level in order to address issues that BIPOC have faced within these industries. These conversations can be led by D&I experts and/or these conversations can take place in open panel discussions. Hiring and pay practices can be reviewed to determine implicit biases or unfair practices. Nail companies should reassess their product offerings and campaigns to ensure that polish names and collections are not culturally insensitive. This is how we can ensure long-lasting and meaningful change beyond optics. Finally, nail color companies can ensure that they are donating to charities or even seeking out ways to sponsor/partner with communities of color for future campaigns.
Share with us any people of color in our industry whose strengths and talent should be noticed - and tell us why - we’d love to spotlight them!
Sure thing! A few ladies I’m loving right now are @thevicstyles, @jnaydaily, @dlolo, @thenotoriouskia - These women are extremely empowering. They stand for what they believe in and they (along with their nails) look good while doing it.
You can follow Ciara @hey_ciara on Instagram, for tons of travel tips, inspiration, and amazing imagery. Be sure to stay tuned for more check-ins with our OPI community as we look to continue lending our platform and voice to others.
Get Ciara's look from our Mexico City Collection!