Jessica Williams Gets Real About Internalizing White Beauty Standards

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Jessica Williams. Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Netflix

With only one week to go until Jessica Williams’s The Incredible Jessica James makes its Netflix debut, the comedian is rounding the final lap of the movie’s promotional tour. Most recently she chatted with Allure, where the Daily Show alumna waxed poetic about her favorite nude lipstick, Kat Von D’s bestselling Lolita, and explained why she always wears braids (it’s “low maintenance”).

The conversation assumed a heavier tone when Williams addressed how she internalized white beauty standards as a child:

Growing up as a black girl in a society that traditionally values white European features, I really was down on myself as a kid. You know in the old Barbie advertisements they would play with the white Barbie first? And the black girls played with the black Barbie. And in the final shot, it would be the white Barbie with the black Barbie behind her. I picked up on those subtle things, and unfortunately I internalized them.

She continues:

The more I learned about womanism and feminism, the more I learned to accept myself. As soon as I learned to do that, it was like, Everything about me is valid. Every curve is valid. My skin is valid.

We’re so lucky to have Jessica Williams.

Jessica Williams Gets Real About White Beauty Standards