What irks Lizzy about traditional beauty standards
Additive, excess, hair. Everyone needing to feel like they have to have full lips and wear a whole lot of mascara. I'm not a makeup person at all. I'm all for enhancing, but if you're going to wear makeup, it has to be fun.
The story behind her shaved head
I had a 'fro and I did the braids thing; I even played around with wigs—and it was all too much thought. I remember being 12 and telling my mom and my older sister—who's like my second mom—that I wanted to cut off my hair. It was that awkward phase of wanting to be different. And at the time there was a lot of ignorance behind it. They said, "No. If you do that, then you're saying you want to be a boy." It really stuck with me. Now as an adult, I realize that was so stupid, and two years ago I was like, Eff it. I shaved my head, and it was so telling. I felt way more beautiful than I ever had.
The product she can't live without
Shea butter. It's the medicine for my life. I started using it, and instantly the blemishes I had within a month were gone. I love bronzer too. In the summer it gives me that extra glow.
Lizzy Okpo, 26, is a designer and cofounder of William Okpo clothing line.
What "beautiful" means to Darlene
There's a new empowerment to be yourself that's going on in the beauty industry—to try things and not necessarily follow certain trends. I think for women of color, African American women specifically, we’re embracing our natural hair state more. I don’t know when that change happened, but I’m glad it did.
Why she loves her gap
I used to get teased for it, but I didn't want to fix it because it's expensive. It wasn't until I stepped out of the United States that I realized it's accepted everywhere else. In countries in Africa, like Zambia and Nigeria, it's a beauty statement. It took a while to really embrace it, and say this is me and it's beautiful, but now it's my trademark.
The hair brand she can't live without
Shea Moisture. I have really hard, coarse hair, and its products keep it from tangling.
Darlene Okpo, 30, is a designer and cofounder (with her sister) of William Okpo.