via: Nylon Magazine
by: Sydney Gore
Photos: Rebecca Miller
In celebration of Black History Month, NYLON is running a spotlight series called Black Girl Power… The Future Is Bright. Every day, phenomenal black women from different industries will be featured to tell their stories—revealing how they became who they are, showing what they have accomplished, and pinpointing how they navigated their careers. Black women deserve to be celebrated 365 days of the year, and we hope that this series will inspire everyone to believe in the power of #blackgirlmagic.
If you’ve heard of Urban Bush Babes, then you’re familiar with Cipriana and TK Quann. The 28-year-old identical twin sisters recently signed with IMG and have been taking the industry by storm in all fields. They’ve been nominated on best-dressed lists galore for their unique senses of style, and that’s nothing compared to everything else they’ve already done. But when the Brooklyn babes aren’t starring in campaigns for & Other Stories, and Gap or features for Vogue and W Magazine, Cipriana is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Urban Bush Babes while Takenya is known by her stage name, TK Wonder. Having been “writers since the womb,” this all comes naturally to them.
TK got started as a performer through spoken word poetry and has opened for artists like Sting, Nas, Justice, The Prodigy, Erykah Badu, Gossip, and Queens of the Stone Age. “My sister taught me what it meant to be fearless, something I am still learning till this day,” says Cipriana. “She is the type of person who will dance by herself like no one is watching in a room packed full of people.”
In the five years since Urban Bush Babes officially launched, the site has become an amazing source of information for fashion, hair, beauty, health, food, film, photography, design, art, and culture. Cipriana and Nikisha Brunson, created the site as a way for people that are comfortable in their own skin to “connect, inspire, and share” with one another. TK is also involved as the executive contributor.
Both sisters expressed their excitement in continuing their journey together. “I know without a doubt that if I did not have my twin in my life I would not be the woman I am today,” adds Cipriana. Get to the 411 on the Quann sisters in the interview, below.
How do you maneuver your industries as black women?
TK: I am fully aware that diversity should be the norm but is not in the beauty, fashion, and mainstream media. This ideology of the ‘blonde hair, blue-eyed All-American beauty’ is riddled in the fabric of this country and rings false in an era where our country is more diverse than it has ever been. Women of color should not be incessantly bombarded by images that do not reflect what they see in the mirror.
Cipriana: I maneuver the industry as a human being first. Others may limit me as a black woman instead of their equal. Some see color, some gender, others both, and that is their problem. I am not naive to the fact that [this] is the reality we live in. C’est la vie, but I refuse to make it my reality. I will not place those limitations on myself to conduct business. Yes, I am black, yes, I am a woman, and LOVE that part of me but that is not all of who I am. I am also a co-founder, an editor-in-chief, a writer, an artist, an activist. I will not be defined by my race or gender to maneuver through my industry—if others wish to do so, I have no control over their limited way of thinking.
Could you describe a moment where you felt like you defied the odds or broke a barrier?
TK: I know when I broke a barrier within myself. When I reached a point when I no longer cared about the negative thoughts regarding the way I looked, particularly when I began my natural hair journey. At the start of my journey plenty of people, complete strangers, had derogatory opinions because in their eyes my texture was deemed too coarse to be attractive. I did not have loose coils. My hair did not blow in the wind. The term ‘wash and go’ was foreign to my strands. No way and no how could one just simply run their fingers through my hair. So with all that said, my hair texture was not appealing to many others and albeit I reached a point in my life a long time ago where this feedback had no bearing on the way I felt about myself. It was still difficult. I truly broke a barrier within myself when I…to read our complete interview with Nylon magazine click here
Cipriana: It had nothing to do with being a black woman but to do with my own inner struggle of self-belief, in trusting I could do what I love and work full time from just that. I worked a ‘nine–to–five’ for years to support myself while I worked on building Urban Bush Babes. Which means every day, I mean EVERY DAY, including weekends after work, I would go home and delve into more work on my passion, sometimes pulling all-nighters. Even my coworkers knew not to ask me if I wanted to hang out after because my answer would always be ‘I have to work on my site,’ and of course ‘I didn’t have to,’ I wanted to. It felt like a need—like something was wrong if I didn’t, and I knew then I had found something I loved! After years of commitment pulling double duty in two jobs, one I loved and one out of necessity, I had to take an honest assessment and step back to see if I was still holding on to the nine–to–five [job] out of comfort, lack of belief in myself, and fear of moving forward and turning Urban Bush Babes into a full-time job. The night before I gave my official two weeks notice to my nine–to–five [job], I had a very inspiring conversation with my twin sister and a really good friend, who asked me…to read our complete interview with Nylon magazine click here
via: Nylon Magazine