I had the chance to share my story of how my Mother’s image affected my natural hair journey and the power of image, with ‘ThandieKay’, an incredible new beauty site, focusing not only on the physicality but showing the core of true beauty stemmed from within. If the name sounds familiar then this is because ThandieKay is derived from the first names of Bafta award-winning Actress, Thandie Newton (who has graced the screen of well-known films such as, Oscar award winner for Best Picture ‘Crash’, ‘Beloved’, ‘Mission Impossible II’, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and ‘Interview with The Vampire’) and Top Celebrity Makeup Artist & Beauty Director of Lula Magazine, Kay Montano (whose work has graced the faces of Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightley, Lady Gaga and Nicole Kidman to name a few) 


The two connected professionally years ago when Newton was asked to do her first feature for British Vogue, Newton states “Crash had just come out and was a huge success, and I was asked to do my first feature for British Vogue,” Newton recalls, when we all meet in Montano’s west London home. “I’d worked with hundreds of make-up artists, but what was so new and exciting about working with Kay was that for the very first time she celebrated my skin colour in the way she used the make-up. She brought out the richness of my skin tone and its depth. What usually happens is that make-up artists will use lighter tones for my skin colour; they’ll use matte products and too much powder. But Kay was all about letting it shine out and I had never looked better.”


See why we immediately fell in love and connected with ThandieKay, plus my personal journey of how my Mother’s image affected my own…

Thandie Newton & Kay Montano’s Message


Thandie Kay


Thandie says:

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“I was coming out of a chrysalis when I met Kay – personally and professionally. I’d reached a point where I’d taken command of my life as a successful woman. That’s no easy task in a high profile profession where women are continually objectified, and where women of color struggle to get a foothold in the mainstream.


My epiphany came when I realized that I had been holding myself  back – by allowing the mainstream to define and determine who I was. Once out of that pecking order I felt liberated, ecstatic and keen to shift the ground for other people who might feel similarly trapped.


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We’re not going for the stereotypical beautiful people, although to us they’re the most beautiful. Here are people in successful positions that you think are unattainable, making themselves completely available and vulnerable. But you can when you’re talking about beauty and self-image. You can make yourself really vulnerable, because you’re talking about something that seems quite arbitrary but is actually one of the most powerful mechanisms for expressing yourself, for establishing who you are.


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We want to look at how we define beauty, and to try and reimagine what that term means. Beauty is a feeling and a sensation much more than an actual.” (via: independent.co.uk)


Kay says:

Kay Montano photo Alice Whitby


“Being a make-up artist from the age of 16 has given me a lot of access to ‘the beautiful people’ and I’ve earned my living collaborating in a rarefied and often bizarre world. This has been a most valuable vantage point for what ‘ beautiful’ does, and doesn’t mean. Beneath the myths I’ve helped create, I’ve learned a lot about gold pots at the end of rainbows because I’ve polished, painted and gilded them. Although successful, it was never a place I felt much belonging, but meeting and getting to know Thandie has coincided with, and cemented a belief that beauty can be more of an inclusive word, bigger and kinder than most media might suggest. I have to say that Thandie’s epiphany is also mine. 


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Make-up can mask, enhance and disguise. It can accentuate the good or the bad, can be obvious or invisible. It can be used to erase or embrace cultural diversity, perhaps even be a self-affirming ritual of our growing years.  I never grew up thinking there was a right or wrong way to approach make-up or beauty. It should be about feeling good about yourself and about attitude.”


Thandie and Kay’s promise to you:

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ThandieKay is about liberation, celebration and living life to the full. That starts with you. You are radiant, beautiful and full of bright potential. We want to share in the positive energy that awareness can bring, and have fun exploring the many aspects of all of our sassy selves, inside and out.

Full Circle: My Mother’s Image


by: Cipriana Quann
via: ThandieKay


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“For many years I was told the natural state of my hair was holding me back but something always felt wrong about that statement…in fact very wrong…that in the image I was born with was considered anything but the ideal…that my Mother’s image was anything but beautiful, this to me was absolutely not ok, and started to weigh heavily on my self-esteem. 


I made a decision to step away from the industry, people and men who felt I needed to conform to upkeep a certain type of image, allowed by my own state of fear in expressing my creative growth…I was tired of stifling my natural beauty to become someone else’s ideal”read much much more as I talk about the power of image and how my Mother’s image affected my natural hair journey with ThandieKay here