July 26, 2019

We Belong to Something Beautiful: Kai Cheng

The latest Sephora Canada initiative is truly something special: standing fearlessly together, a group of inspiring collaborators are celebrating their differences and sharing their personal journeys in the new We Belong to Something Beautiful campaign, with an aim to highlight that there is no singular expression of beauty. Each collaborator has a video in which they speak their truth on the importance of inclusion and the struggles they have faced coming from marginalized communities and here at Vita Daily, we seized the opportunity to interview each participant to discuss what it means to be advocates within their communities, the importance of speaking their truth and why they chose to be a part of Sephora Canada’s We Belong to Something Beautiful Campaign. —Noa Nichol


Q&A With Kai Cheng

Kai Cheng describes herself as a "writer, performer, lasagna lover and wicked witch". She is a prolific writer and winner of the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for emerging LGBT writers and a two-time LAMBDA literary finalist. Her work is a reflection of her story of navigating her identity as a transgendered Chinese-Canadian woman.

Hi Kai! Please tell us a little bit about yourself to start :)

I'm Kai Cheng, a writer, spoken word artist, and cultural worker based in Toronto.

How did your involvement with Sephora Canada's We Belong To Something Beautiful campaign come about, and how did you feel when you discovered you were going to be a part of it? Did you celebrate?!

I was very surprised! Particularly because I'm not exactly a typical influencer—I don't even use Instagram! I was incredibly flattered that Sephora asked me to be a part of the campaign.

What was your connection to Sephora before this campaign? For instance, did you shop there often?

I actually very rarely wear makeup, although I love playing with different looks from time to time. I've always been kind of rebellious, and I don't like that there's so much pressure on trans women to "prove" our femininity by wearing makeup every day. So I wasn't by any means a frequent Sephora shopper! However, I've always had friends who love makeup and are huge Sephora fans, and I absolutely understand why that is. The first time I walked into a Sephora store, I felt like I had walked into a more beautiful world—a place where anything was possible. All the vibrant colour and creativity was inspiring and overwhelming.

What does being part of this campaign, that celebrates the diversity and belonging of all Canadians and highlights that there is no singular expression of beauty, mean to you?

I'm so honoured to be a part of this campaign. To me, it means that as a society, Canadians are expanding our collective definition of beauty into something more inclusive. It means we are finally beginning to celebrate the resilience and strength of people who are different from the norm.

What do beauty, diversity, and inclusion mean to you?

To me, beauty is about courage: the courage to be who you are, every day, no matter what anyone else thinks. Diversity is when the beauty of all people is celebrated as unique and special. And inclusion is when people who have historically been kept hidden or pushed aside are finally allowed to take centre stage.

What is your style/beauty mantra/philosophy?

It's pretty simple: just be brave, be bold and be yourself!

What would you say to other Canadians who may be struggling to fit in, feel included or simply feel comfortable/beautiful in their own bodies?

I would say that your feelings are always valid, because it's society that makes us feel that we aren't good enough or beautiful enough to belong. I would say that you deserve a place in this world, a community that sees you and loves you for exactly who you are. And I would say that I'm ready to fight to change society so that you can always have that place and that community.

One last, light question: if you could only shop for/purchase one item from Sephora for the rest of your life, what would it be? (Or, if you were stuck on a desert island, what one Sephora product would you need to have with you?!

NARS The Multiple highlighter in Orgasm! It's so ethereally gorgeous. Sometimes I put it on before going out, and I feel like a fairy queen anointing herself with a magical oil made of moonlight.


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