Maria Thattil on What Being South Asian Means to Her
"The lack of representation I had growing up in not just fashion and beauty, but business, politics, media, and other spheres affected my self-perception and made me wonder what my prospects were beyond a 'safe and conventional' job. How could I dream of a creative career with a platform when I had limiting self-beliefs? If you don't see it, it is hard to believe it. Interestingly, my journey in the industry started by sharing beauty tips for people of color on social media — I was so surprised to see the growth of a loyal, engaged community. I realized the hunger stemmed from our collective yearning to see ourselves make it. The platform I have in the fashion and beauty industry has allowed me to unlearn self-rejecting conditioning, reconcile seemingly disparate cultures — my Eastern roots and Western upbringing — to proudly embrace my hybrid identity, and represent 'US' in a public sphere. I hope that has shown other South Asian people that they can do the same."