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People Said A Writer Was Too Ugly To Take Selfies And Now She’s Getting Support From Twitter, News Outlets, And Even Brazil

Being a woman with a public voice makes you a target to trolls — especially when you’re criticizing powerful men and even more when you live with a disability. Case in point: Melissa Blake. The freelance journalist published a critical piece about President Donald Trump on CNN last week, and instead of commenting on the content of her article, people — mostly men — on the Internet bullied the writer for her appearance.

 

Blake has the genetic bone and muscle disorder called Freeman-Sheldon.

 Syndromes affect the mouth, face, hands, and feet and recently she was inundated with tweets from people calling her “ugly” and “fat,” referring to her as “it” and comparing her to a potato and a blobfish.

One cruel commenter even suggested she should be banned from posting pictures of herself online because of her appearance. For Blake, that remark was the last straw — and an invitation for defiance.

“I thought, well, I’m going to do the opposite and show them that they’re not going to get the better of me,” Blake, 38, told BBC

In response to the bullying, the DeKalb, Illinois-based woman posted three selfies, grinning at all her haters.

“During the last round of trollgate, people said that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. So I’d just like to commemorate the occasion with these 3 selfies,” she tweeted Sunday alongside the photos.

The inspiring message has gone viral, with nearly 26 thousand retweets and more than 273 thousand likes at the time of writing. People all over the Internet have been celebrating Blake’s retort. Some have called her a “goddess” and a “bad bitch.”

Latinas are also among her fans. Melissa Aguilera showered Blake with compliments, saying, “from one Melissa to another. You’re beautiful.” While Mila Gonzalez offered a bit of advice: “Fuck the haters! You look happy in the selfies. I love that!”

Blake told the Chicago Tribune that the massive support was “beyond anything I could have imagined — and quite overwhelming.”

“I posted the tweet on Saturday night and didn’t expect this huge response at all,” she said. “But I’m so glad that it’s resonating with people and to have something so positive come out of those nasty, negative comments is such a joy!”

The extreme torment followed by international support resembles the story of Lizzie Velásquez. In 2006, the Austin, Texas-based motivational speaker and author was dubbed the “World’s Ugliest Woman” in a video posted on YouTube. Velásquez, who was just 17 years old at the time, lives with a non-terminal rare condition called Marfanoid–progeroid–lipodystrophy syndrome, which, among other symptoms, prevents her from accumulating body fat and gaining weight. Inspired to speak out against bullying and share her story, she co-authored “Lizzie Beautiful: The Lizzie Velásquez Story” with her mother in 2010.

Like Velásquez, Blake is also refusing to stay silent and allow bullies to win. The writer, who later posted screenshots of some of the mean things Internet users have told her in the past, took the moment to highlight that vile criticism of her looks isn’t new. By now, she says, being judged on her appearance during her 14-year-career as a journalist is something she’s “come to expect.”

“I find this is something a lot of women who put themselves out there face — they are subject to visual attacks,” she told the newspaper.

In addition to the loving community that has come from her response to cyberbullying, her cheerful defiance might also have a positive impact on her career.

Since her viral tweet, she’s been interviewed by mainstream national and international news outlets and even received an email from a book publisher.

The writer, who graduated from Northern Illinois University with a journalism degree in 2005, has published articles about disability, relationships and pop culture in the New York Times, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. Additionally, she runs a blog called So About What I Said, which has a tagline that reads: “Smart is the new sexy, awkward is the new cool, flawed is the new beautiful.”

Despite all the attention, Blake shares that not much has changed in her life. Ultimately, she wants to highlight the abuse women who dare to have a voice on the Internet experience. 

“I’m getting so tired of people (read: men) thinking it’s OK to insult a woman’s appearance. Yes, my disability makes me look different. Trust me, I know that. I’ve known that my entire life,” she said in a blog post.

Blake continued: “And people wonder why I’ve struggled so much with self-acceptance when it comes to how I look and our society’s notion of what “beautiful” is. It’s because of comments like these — comments that dismiss me and deem me unworthy.”

Read: Get a Box of Tissues Before You Read This Woman’s Brave Fight Against Bullying

5 Makeup Looks From Your Favorite Telenovelas That Look Just As Fire Now As They Did 15 Years Ago

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5 Makeup Looks From Your Favorite Telenovelas That Look Just As Fire Now As They Did 15 Years Ago

Canal de las Estrellas

Telenovelas are life. For a lot of us, these daytime shows were a part of our lives since childhood, and let’s face it, every time we visit mom or abuela, even now, we’re bound to gather around the TV and watch the drama du jour unfold. But it’s not just about the drama though, it’s the sex appeal, the glam, the over-the-top costumes and mansions —and the galán.

These daytime soaps are the perfect blend of beautiful people, intensely physical scenes and the lyrical drama of the Spanish language in all its romantic splendor.

Telenovelas are more than just drama, for a lot of kids these shows were a source of fashion and style growing up.

credit Instagram @telenovelasfans

But Telenovelas aren’t necessarily just about love and lust, they’re a source of trends of both beauty and fashion. There’s a reason why the cliché about Latina women being glamorous at all costs, is alive and well —it’s a major unspoken theme in just about every piece of Latin-American pop culture. 

There are so many things these shows teach us about makeup. There’s always a protagonist —who might be a little passive and a goody-two-shoes. There’s the evil antagonist —probably a bat-shit crazy evil lady. And then there’s the love interest —a wildly good-looking human, who most of the time happens to be a millionaire; and they all have their own, unique makeup looks that set them apart. The greatest thing about all of them though is that these dramatic characters weren’t just people we watched on the show, for most of us Latinx growing up watching them, they served as our first source of fashion and beauty inspiration. They all had their signature looks and you’d be lying if you said you were never inspired by Mia Colucci’s pink-hued glittery glam or Belinda’s masterful Silvana Del Valle and her signature red hair and pigtails.

So, are you a good girl, with a protagonist-worthy glow and perfectly coiffed hair? Or a bold, red-lipped bad girl? No matter who you want to channel today, Telenovelas have looks for everyone. So we went ahead and rounded up our favorite Telenovela glam looks that you can recreate in 2019 and will look just as fire now as they did way back then:

1. Mia Colucci from Rebelde

credit Instagram @miacoluccistar

The rich and popular but very spoiled Mia Colucci aka. Mexican Regina George, was a style icon for every Telenovela-watching teen in the early 00s. We chose her makeup because it’s very simple, dewy and glowy, basically the original Glossier no-makeup makeup look. Recreate the shimmery pink eye shadow look with Lime Crime’s iridescent Diamond Dew shadow in Rose Goals.  Go crazy with your highlighter and blush, we recommend Fenty Beauty’s Killawatt highlighter in Wattabrat for a pink shimmer or in Lightning Dust/Fire for a more pearlescent finish.  Finish off the look with a pink lipgloss, we’d go for the most iconic pink gloss of 2019, Nars’ Orgasm.

2. The queen of evil herself; Rubí

credit Instagram @rubisincera

Of course, we had to include the baddest of them all, the original gold-digger Rubí. This bombshell’s glam is nothing short of iconique. The bouncy hair, the full lips, and perfectly delineated eyebrows…swoon. We were almost more obsessed with her than we were with heartthrob Sebastian Rulli who played galán de galanes, Héctor Ferrer. The beautiful anti-hero’s makeup look was just as trendy in 2004 as it is now in 2019 —fifteen years later! The red lip, wispy lashes, dark brows, and perfect complexion are every beauty vloggers’ dream. So to do it yourself we say, you can’t go wrong with the classic Ruby Woo lippy for that crimson-red Rubí pout (it does carry our heroine’s name after all). Sculpt your brows with cult favorite Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Dip Brow Pomade. And obviously go crazy with the falsies —blow-out strongly encouraged.

3. Marimar – Costeñita soy, con mis abuelos crecí yo.

credit Instagram @Diosathalia

Marimar was the story of a poor girl who lived by the ocean with her grandparents. She was sun-kissed, her hair had the perfect beachy waves, she was basically a beautiful Latina mermaid and we stan. Yes, granted, her makeup didn’t require much production —this character might’ve been the very precursor of the beachy-makeup trend way back in 1994. To get her mermaid-worthy hair, a Surf Styling Cream which adds texture and gives you that salt-water wavy finish would do wonders. Add a dark, copper-hued bronzer to ace the beach girl tan. And for the lips? Choose a matte, velvety lipstick to get the classic 90s nude lip, may we suggest Urban Decay’s Vice lipstick in the shade fuel? You won’t regret it.

4.  Jade from ‘El Clon’

Jade was every Latinx kid’s favorite middle-eastern beauty growing up, her and fellow gem-stone babe Jasmine, but we’re not focusing on Disney here. The Brazilian Telenovela ‘El Clon’ had all the best elements of the genre, love triangles, twins separated at birth, evil villains, lots of eyeliner, genetic experiments —nope, not kidding— and it all took place in the beautiful land of Morocco, needless to say, there was a lot of kohl involved. We loved the over-the-top styling, and even more over-the-top makeup looks on Jade. 

Trying to recreate her signature eyeliner might be complicated, to say the least. But with a lot of patience and a few Q-tips, we’re sure you’ll get there. Give it a go with a highly-pigmented and super precise pencil, Le Crayon Khôl eyeliner from Lancôme, might be your best ally to achieve a similar shape to the one Jade wore most of the time. For the rest of the look, she always wore natural tones, so add a dark brown eyeshadow on your lids and finish off with a matte nude lipstick of your choice. 

5. Soraya Montenegro from María la del Barrio

Credit Instagram @balmorepadilla06

“¿Qué haces besando a la lisiada?” has turned into the meme of an entire generation. Naturally, whenever there’s a conversation about Telenovelasevil mistress Soraya Montenegro simply must be involved. There will never be a more iconic villain than the woman who bitch-slapped an innocent girl in a wheelchair and murdered the sweet old lady who took care of la lisiada. 

Soraya sported the most perfect 90s hair flippin’ blowout there’s ever been, so we can’t recommend anything other than an appointment at the nearest hairstyling salon to emulate the look. As far as makeup goes, you have to choose an earth-toned lipstick like a deep brown or a warm terracotta like NYX’s velvet lipstick in the shade Berlin to get the super-villain pout. Add some statement clip-on earrings and a lot of sass, and you’re ready to kick some ass.

This Latina Fell Into A Coma After Using A Tainted Skin Whitening Cream Imported From Mexico

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This Latina Fell Into A Coma After Using A Tainted Skin Whitening Cream Imported From Mexico

#1: The scourge of colorism has had a stranglehold on Latinx communities for centuries, and it manifests in insidious ways. Although nicknames like “la morena” are often used in Latinx families as a term of endearment, these seemingly-harmless labels can create deep roots of self-hatred within the subject. This self-hatred can be especially prominent in young women and girls who are taught to tie their self-worth to their outward appearance. And although the Latinx community is doing more now to tackle colorism than it ever has before, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

In fact, recently a Latina was hospitalized in Sacramento for using a tainted skin-lightening face cream. 

According to public health officials, the as-yet-unnamed woman arrived at an emergency room “slurring her speech” and “unable to walk or feel her hands and face” public health officials said. She is now in a semi-comatose state. According to friends and family, the woman frequently bought her face-cream from a friend in Mexico. But this time, her Pond’s Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream had been laced with the toxic heavy metal, mercury. According to officials, the woman is the “first known victim of methylmercury poisoning from a cosmetic in the U.S.”, making her case especially alarming. According to The Daily Beast, the sale of skin-lightening products is “a bustling market” that is “driven by immigrants who buy them from their home countries”. 

Although the FDA is tasked with monitoring imported cosmetic products to make sure they reach our health-standards domestically, it is impossible to keep track of unreported and/or illegal trade. That’s why you should be wary when accepting beauty products from a friend or relative who lives out of the country. According to Businessweek: “no one knows how many of the world’s skin-lightening creams are tainted with mercury.” Even if you are sure your friend is trustworthy and the product is safe, in the end, there’s no way to know for certain. 

In many Latinx countries, the skin-lightening market is a widespread and lucrative trade that holds no stigma for its customers.

Reports suggest that across the world, the skin-lightening market is valued at $20 billion, which proves how ubiquitous the desire for lighter skin is, cross-culturally. Because of its known melanin-suppressing effects, mercury is often found in skin-lightening products–including “legitimate” products that insist their ingredients are safe. Methylmercury is an extremely toxic compound and is used in things like “thermometers, batteries, and mirrors”. According to experts, long-term exposure “can cause kidney damage, loss of peripheral vision and lack of coordination”. That means that many of these skin-lightening creams that are marketed as being safe are actually laced with poison and are extremely toxic.

Colorism comes from the history of European colonization and oppression in Latin America. Europeans used the socially-constructed idea of race in order to divide and subjugate the people they were trying to conquer. Identifying with white Europeans was a way to prove superiority and therefore align yourself with power. But subsequently, the idea of lighter skin being more desirable has persisted until today. And, as is evidenced above, some Latinos will go to great lengths to appear whiter–even if the outcomes are dangerous. 

Fortunately, there are a vast number of Latinx people on Twitter who are vocal about the negative effects of colorism within the community.

Many people in the Latinx community (especially the younger generation) are finally waking up to the realities of life for people who are darker-skinned. Luckily, there is a large cohort of people who are no longer staying silent on the issue. 

This Latina has seen colorism manifests itself within her own family:

The beautiful part about being Latinx is the spectrum of colors of the community has–a spectrum that sometimes shows up inside a family. 

This Latina recognizes that, while she thought colorism was “normal” when she was younger, she now knows it’s a harmful social construct.

Sometimes it’s hard to see when something is wrong when it’s so ingrained in society.

This person sees colorism as a major divisive factor in the Latino community:

Even when we see representations of ourselves in the media–often the accepted version of a Latino is European-looking one. Look at any telenovela.

This Latina understands that colorism isn’t just a black/white issue:

In reality, colorism is nuanced–it comes from outdated colonial mindsets of white and European-supremacy.

Although it’s terrible that this woman was victim of this black market cream, this incident is bringing to light the undeniable harmful impact of colorism within the Latinx community as well as the dangers of skin-lightening products.