Tatyana Ali has successfully transformed from a child star to a household name. Widely known as Ashley Banks in the hit series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the beauty has continued to take the industry by storm with various acting projects and recently hitting the runway in the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection presentation.
Living as an Afro Caribbean and Afro Latino, racism, appropriation and colorism have reared its ugly head at the star quite a few times. With the debate growing around Love & Hip Hop Miami’s Amara La Negra, we chatted it up with the beauty about her take and the moment she realized living healthy was about more than fitting into a dress.
Tatayana Ali: Love & Hip Hop has helped spike conversations around colorism in Afro-Latino communities. As a fellow Afro Caribbean, what are your thoughts about it?
TA: Afro-Latinos and Afro-Caribbeans have our issues (shakes her head). We have our color issues, hair issues. Aunties and grand aunties saying things like “good hair” and separating cousins by skin tone, it’s crazy. I’m glad people are talking about it and that people are standing up for themselves because it’s ugly and it’s divisive within us. And, you know the truth is, it makes us all feel bad, because when we should be connecting and feel like sisters, it separates us. So I’m glad people are talking about it.
Tatayana Ali: Given that, then, how do you define beauty? How would you like to see our beauty celebrated?
TA: Beauty means my mother; it means my grandmother and my sisters. It means rarity. Doing events like [Go Red For Women] makes me feel beautiful. I would like to see Black beauty celebrated in all its various shapes, sizes, hairstyles, personalities. There is so much to who we are and what we look like, what we’re passionate about. I want to see it all.
Tatayana Yomary: AHA is using beauty tonight to help raise awareness for heart health. Why was it important for you to be a part of this?
Tatyana Ali: I think it’s important for all women to take care of themselves and to love themselves enough to take care of their health because we do it for everyone else. We make sure everybody else is taken care of — our friends, family, co-workers — but rarely do we take that time for ourselves.
TY: How has participating in this event impacted your own conversations around heart health?
TA: It’s funny because I work out — and, often, I think a lot of us do this — I work out because I’m worried about what size I am. I’m worried about how I look on the outside. And since I’ve signed up for this, yes, I’ve worked out to fit into my dress, but I was on my spin bike like “Oh my gosh, there is something more important going on. I am actually taking care of me heart, my health.” And, I think, if we do think about that it might be easier to make these changes in order to be healthier.
TY: With red being the theme of the evening (and Hype Hair being about hair and beauty!), can you tell us what’s your go-to red lippie?
TA: Rihanna’s Ruby Woo!