SPOTTED!! - Kayla Greaves
Who? Kayla Greaves – Senior Beauty Editor, InStyle.comSunday, August 23, 2020
Her Rock roots... via her parents Noel and Janice Greaves. Her mother (now deceased) hailed from the parish of St Elizabeth and her father from Hanover.
Her foray into fashion/beauty journalism was a full-circle journey for her... I was in Jamaica back and forth as a child, but attended school in Canada where I was basically the only black kid in the vast majority of my classes. I didn't see myself represented anywhere — I didn't even have a black teacher until I was in university; couple that with the fact that I was constantly bullied for looking different than my white and non-black peers.
Because of my surroundings, I grew up thinking my natural features, skin colour, and hair texture were somehow inherently “bad” or “ugly.” It wasn't until I went to high school and met other black and Jamaican kids that I started to gain confidence in my appearance. Obviously, it wasn't ideal to spend so many years feeling bad about myself, but it led me to want to make a real change in an industry that has so much influence on people's confidence. Now that I'm here, my goal is to not only normalise, but also to celebrate, black beauty in ways that have not been done before on a mainstream level. We deserve to be seen everywhere and by everyone.
The moment I got my foot through the door... my first call (typical whenever anything exciting happens in my life) was to my dad, then to my friends.
I remember when I first decided I wanted to work in this industry... a lot of people thought I was crazy, or they thought I wasn't going to be able to do it. Little did they know that only drove me to push myself harder. So when I saw my first byline in a magazine, of course I was thrilled, but it was also a moment where I felt I was finally able to exhale. I knew there was a lot more work to be done, but in that moment I knew I could actually do it.
Getting into mainstream magazine journalism is competitive for all and pretty daunting even for an ambitious black woman...
I was very intentional about what I wanted to do and I jumped at every opportunity to get experience and to meet new people in the industry from day one. And when there were no opportunities present, I created them for myself. One example is when the student paper at my university rejected an article I had pitched; I decided to work with a friend to create our own magazine for black students. We would even organise bake sales and all types of fund-raisers to cover printing costs. We really did whatever we had to do to bring it to life every quarter.
I've always held myself to an extremely high standard, and my dreams have always been very big — to the point where they would intimidate me at times... So I would tell my 15-year-old self to trust in the timing of my life. I learned that lesson recently, but things really do work out in perfect sequence, you just have to have faith.
We have pivoted during COVID-19 by working from home now, as are most people who are able. So my commute is a bit shorter these days...
We've also had to pivot our content and just generally the way we work. For example, it's hard, and not necessarily safe, to be on-set for photoshoots now, so we have to co-ordinate that type of thing digitally. But we have adapted and I think we've still been able to create quality content that our readers love. In terms of the Black Lives Matter movement, I've always prioritised black beauty, so nothing in terms of my personal work has shifted. However, within the overall industry there's a bigger push than ever for change. People rightfully want representation both in front of and behind-the-scenes. Movements like #PullUpOrShutUp have gained tons of momentum and brands have no choice but to answer. And while I do hope that this leads to permanent change, it's heartbreaking that it took a literal act of God for non-black people to start paying attention to the detrimental impacts of racism.
Audiences have always wanted, and will always want, authentic narratives... Whatever they're reading needs to feel real and genuine, and that's how I've always approached my stories. A lot of the time, I will include my own personal anecdotes in there, like a struggle I've had with my hair, hyperpigmentation, or any other common beauty concern black women face. Then I provide them with expert solutions. And in general stories, I always make sure that we are included. So I won't recommend a foundation line that doesn't have a wide range of shades for all skin tones, for example. When it comes to hair, I always make sure to include options for kinky and curly textures.
I have a few beauty icons... but Tracee Ellis Ross and Nia Long come to mind first. They are both effortless beauties, and have influenced the vast majority of my many hairstyles over the years.
My beauty regime... I'm all about keeping things simple — life is complicated enough. In the morning, I wash my face with a light cleanser, then apply epi.logic's Daily Dose Vitamin C + Multivitamin Defense Serum and SPF. I'm a huge fan of EltaMD's mineral formula that goes on clear. At night, I cleanse with Boscia's Clear Complexion Cleanser, then I apply Allies of Skin 1A Retinal + Peptides Overnight Mask and Dr Barbara Sturm's Night Serum. In the winter, I'll also layer on La Mer's Crème de la Mer Moisturizer — it's such a fantastic rich cream.
In terms of my hair, I love OGX's Argan Oil line as well as anything from Miss Jessie's hair products.
My preferred Caribbean designers are... my dear friend Perri Furbert, who is a brilliant Bermudian designer. Her brand, Gold The Label makes really beautifully unique pieces as well as fabulous accessories — the sunglasses are to die for! The only issue is that everything sells out so quickly!
I also love Fe Noel. She's a Grenadian designer with exquisite taste.
Preferred Jamaican food... it's hard to pick just one thing, but probably ackee and salt fish with fried dumpling or festival... it reminds me so much of Sunday morning breakfasts with my family as a child.
My all-time favourite reggae song is... Rock Away by Beres Hammond. It always puts me in a great, easy-going mood.
The one Jamaican phrase that has held me in good stead is... “Who don't listen, must feel.” I think as a kid it felt a little more literal in the sense that if you weren't under manners you'd end up with a soft behind. But as an adult, I've come to realise that when you don't listen to others who are giving you sage advice, life will find a way to sort you out. That's why I just listen the first time!