Updated: Jul 24
What is your racial mix?
I am Half White (Portuguese) and Half Black (Brazilian)
What do you like about being mixed-race?
I love that I got the best of both worlds! Both cultures gave me good music, good food, and a great bum! 😂😂
Who taught you about your heritage(s)?
I had to learn everything by myself. I was raised in a Small Portuguese island, by my mom's family. I grew up known as the weird kid. Kids would call me Michael Jackson; broom hair; bleached out; washed out... uff it’s still hard to remember and talk about it without getting a bit emotional.
Do you think there are any challenges that come with being mixed-race?
Long story short: I was bullied until my early teenage years, then I became a model and people started appreciating my “exotic” (aka different; aka unfamiliar) kind of beauty. In 1 year span, I went from the underdog to the popular/desired kid to be around.
But let’s be honest, The scars of years of verbal and physical abuse were so deep, that I was never able to see myself as beautiful! (It's only very recently that I've started loving my skin color, my hair texture and its volume, big lips, and bum)
I always dressed and acted as if I had something to hide.. not sure if I’m making sense, but I never wanted to show my body or be the centre of attention because of the things I didn't like about me. And I’m not even talking about nudity! Just the simple fact of wearing my hair down; more fitted clothes; or something that showed any cleavage; or even showing my knees. It was enough to give me anxiety or even panic attacks.
I had to look, search, and learn from my origins to start loving everything about me and not feel like a freak! Because I’m no different! I’m simply a perfect mix of two cultures, and God took Time to make each perfect curl, sculpt each curve on my body. We have to love God's creations, therefore, we have to love ourselves.
In Portugal, History class is very limited and one-sided. I’m pretty sure all the Indigenous people were doing amazingly fine without the flu and plagues that were caused by Europe’s lack of hygiene and basic common sense. There is a continuous need to justify the tax and crown money that were put in the captain and his crew, so they decided to make heroes out of thieves, rapists, murderers, and kidnappers.
I truly believe that History worldwide should be taught in its full form. And we, as the intelligent human beings that we are, will decide who is the hero, according to society’s rules (shall not harm, shall not steal, shall not kill).
In (corporate) work, I never felt I experienced any special/different treatment. In fashion, I did find it very hard to fit in the niche that they created. Because they wanted white girls ( 90%) and black girls (10%), and since I’m mixed, I didn't fit in either group. It was only in 2015 that we started seeing brands, tv, magazines appreciating mixed people.
In relationships, it was very hard! I was always seen as “the black girl” to my white friends and as “the white girl / light skin” to the black friends, but in relationships with black men, they would literally say that I was the darkest skin girl that they ever dated and that I was the “darkest shade” they would ever date.
It’s not pleasing to hear this, nor to feel like I’m less worthy of love because maybe, the one I love will think I am “too dark” to be loved by him.
That makes you reconsider your worth in this world, and that is not ok to do.
Ana has a whole series of interviews discussing topics surrounding racism including mixed-race experiences on her multilingual Instagram page