“The brightest skies are always foreshadowed by dark clouds.”
― Harriet Jacobs
By: ABELLA TEAM / Photos: V.Marie Williams
LIVES IN: New York, NY
V. Marie Williams personifies the essence of love and positivity. She is an Entrepreneur that started a skin care company based on her own auto-immune issues. After relocating from Ohio to New York to build her brand and her dreams. The Founder of ATARA BELLA has learned the true meaning of love of self through her hair and wellness journey.
Her most recent adventure is not only exploring what beauty is- but how social norms confine its definition. Her goal is to bust the box. When asked about her latest hair change, she gave us a run-through of her favorite inspirations, style and life lessons all in one.
_________________ Inspiration _________________
WHERE DID STYLE BAE COME FROM?
Style Bae was created because I wanted to give voice to different types of beauty. The motto for our brand is “No two people are exactly the same, so why should your skin care be?’
One day while in my kitchen cooking, I had the idea to express it. JET Magazine beauty of the week instantly came to mind. Focusing on the outer and inner beauty was super important for STYLE BAE. Also, living in New York you can’t judge a book by its cover. You learn that differences make us so amazing and intriguing. Why not show that to the world?
HOW HAS FASHION INFLUENCED YOUR LIFE?
When I was a young girl I wanted to be a designer. I fell in love with how fashion can change how people looked at others. I was so inspired by previous generations.
WHICH DECADES HAVE INSPIRED YOU?
“The 70s for sure. The bell bottoms, the hair, and just the freedom of the time. Another decade I’m really feeling right now are the 40’s. The late 40’s suit game was fierce for women during that time.
Photo Courtesy of: https://samechicdifferentday.com/tag/fashion-fair-cosmetics/
“The natural movement is awe inspiring in itself. I created a brand so that people could see the beauty I grew up seeing.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ACCESSORY RIGHT NOW?
It’s not really an accessory, but lashes. I love the way that the right lashes can change up your look entirely. Especially with this big chop- I find my features stand out and I love it!
WHAT MADE YOU SHAVE YOUR HEAD?
I have an auto-immune disease. I’ve done this twice. My hair is impacted as well as my skin, which becomes very brittle, dry and breaks so badly. The first time, my Dad shaved my head.
I felt a need to do it this time because I just wanted to start over. My hair has been my platform of acceptance and creativity for a while until I realized that I was much more than enough. With extensions and wigs, it’s easy to play with color and styles, but its nothing like the freedom of getting up and rocking what you were created to be.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR REAL HAIR?
From the time I was a little girl, I had long hair. It is naturally a reddish brown color. Since I’ve shaved my head a couple time, the texture has totally changed. My hair traditionally was like a 4a, but now it’s like a 3c. I’m not sure if its health wise or just because of the shave but my hair has definitely changed.
I had an experience where my mother cut it into a TWA when I was in the 5th grade. I think that is when the condition started to manifest early on. I remember crying as I saw all the hair fall around me. I was a bit of a tomboy, so prior to that I would put my hair into a ponytail and go. It wasn’t until that time, going to school and church, I learned how much hair mattered with regard to expectations. People put such an emphasis on something that is tangibly dead. Being bald is so freeing because I don’t have to worry about whether someone likes me for me, or how I look.
HOW DO YOU MOST EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY?
I create with ATARA BELLA. I founded the company because I learned so much from dealing with my health. I couldn’t use everything on my skin, so I had to learn and create on my own. I find myself leaning more towards Graphics. I love creating visual representations of my brand.
HOW DID YOU START YOUR BRAND?
Prayer. Before I fell in love with fashion, I wanted my own business. Around 5th grade, I saw the work struggles that my Mom went through by being a single Mother and raising us. There was very little room in her schedule because she worked so hard to provide for us. Somehow at 11, I came to the conclusion that I could have the freedom to live and not struggle so hard with owning my own business.
Years later, I made a list of my dreams. I was a personal exercise to find my passions again. On a piece a paper, I started writing out my childhood dreams. Immediately Entrepreneurship came up. After making the list, I was praying. I said in prayer, “LORD, I want my own business. What kind of business should I start?” I heard the words Hair Organics. I heard it and immediately started doing research. I completed a year of research before any concept came forward. There is a scripture that says GOD IS “A LAMP UNTO OUR FEET AND A LIGHT UNTO OUR PATH.” I still want HIM to guide me every step of the way.
JESUS has been so good to me and I am grateful. #NotAshamed
THE LOOK OF ATARA BELLA IS…
Empowering. Self Love. Exploration and True Stories.
I’ve been asked “why do you use women of color?” when discussing representation so many times. I started the brand originally with that in mind. I read an article about 10 years back saying how black women were undesirable. The author was trying to prove black women were least desirable with scientific facts. The man who wrote the article referenced bone structure, obesity, skin tone and more. The article was all over the news media.
I was living in Atlanta during the time. It blew my mind because I didn’t understand how someone can say black women are “undesirable” when all I see is beauty all around me. That’s when I decided that others, should see the beauty around me. Tradition and societal norms should not put a ceiling on beauty.
ON THE GRAM, WHOSE STYLE ARE YOU CHECKING FOR?
WHAT IS YOUR MOST COVETED FASHION ITEM?
“My mom had this belt that she gave to me when I moved to Atlanta. I was 18 and I decided to leave home for college. Before I left, my Mom gave me this belt that was a classic in her closet. It was made by a Boy Scout, and it had studs all around it. It was waist belt that was thin and black. It is symbolic of both my childhood and how she taught us to love ourselves.
“Traditional and societal norms should not put a ceiling on beauty.”
WHAT DOES SELF-CARE MEAN TO YOU? AND HOW DO YOU PRACTICE IT?
Self-care means emotional, mental and physically breathing. We run marathons a lot of times as women. The goal is to be one with yourself and above. I practice self-care through prayer. I believe JESUS IS the love of my life. I believe in making time with and for HIM. I like to give HIM my mornings. I like to rise early and just talk to HIM. A simple conversation and praise are so key to starting your day. I feel weird when I don’t get that private time with GOD. The second thing that I do is movie night. A bubble bath, some candles and then a Rom-com. It is my time to reflect and just enjoy myself.
WHO IS IN YOUR PLAYLISTS RIGHT NOW?
Prince’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s – A Case Of You.
Mary Mary – Go Get Your Blessing
WHAT IS ONE BEAUTY ESSENTIAL YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
My face tends to be dry right now. Tea Tree & Lavender Micellar Water.
Everyone tells me my face glows when I use this.
WHAT IS YOUR LATEST BEAUTY DISCOVERY?
Herbal Steam. I like steaming my face, but dry herbs infused in water is just dope.
BEST ADVICE PASSED DOWN IN YOUR FAMILY?
Your sanctuary should always be the comfort of home. When your home is a sanctuary you can rejuvenate and be at peace before facing the world the next day.
PERSONAL STYLE IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
______ When We Celebrate Each Other, We Get Stronger As A Whole ______
ARE YOU BAE? If you are a style enthusiast, or just beaming from a change in your look- share with us and be featured as our Sunday Style Bae.