I constantly tried to alter the way I looked. One of my friends once told me: ‘You should make more effort and wear more make-up, that way the boys will like you more.’ So, for years, I would spend hours straightening my hair and disastrously tweezed my eyebrows – all in an attempt to fit in with this unachievable idea of beauty.
Marlyee Copeland, 28
Growing up, I had low self-esteem about the way I looked. Although my mum would tell me how beautiful I was, other sources were feeding me a very different story. I am of mixed heritage (my mum is white British, my dad is black Jamaican) and I grew up in a suburban, majority-white town, so at nursery I didn’t have the same skin colour as the dolls I played with, at primary school I certainly didn’t have the same hair texture as the girls in the books I read, and at secondary school people that were held up as role models didn’t look like me.
I am not here to please the eyes of others.