Willow Smith on how despite growing up with Will & Jada, she STILL didn’t think society thought she was beautiful
We all remember Willow Smith as the ten-year-old who whipped her hair back and forth back back in 2010 – and whipped the world up into a frenzy in the process. Ever since, the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smithhas rarely been out of the spotlight.
Having recently hit the landmark age of 18, the youngest member of the Smith gang is now a empowering force to reckoned with, hence why she has just landed her first big fragrance campaign for Maison Margiela latest new perfume , Mutiny. Willow leads five other women who symbolise Mutiny’s celebration of nonconformity, individuality and diversity. This is a fragrance and accompanying campaign for the world we ACTUALLY live in and also features transgender model, Teddy Quinlivan and intersex model, Hanne Gaby Odiele.
Here, the singer discusses how despite growing up in a house of public role models, she didn’t feel that society thought she was beautiful, her relationship with conformity and how weightlifting has completely changed her relationship with her body. Prepare yourself, Willow Smith is so empowering she’ll leaving you feeling super inspired…
I love the campaign for Mutiny, it’s super empowering and impactful. What does being a ‘mutinist’ mean to you in 2018?
Being fearless in the creation of your art, whatever that may be, and not letting other people’s negative outlook make you question your intuition and question yourself.
You are a totally positive person, aren’t you?
Oh yeah. I feel like I’m like definitely a realist who is optimistic about the world. I’m a positive realist.
The fragrance celebrates non-conformity. As you’ve got older, how has your relationship with conformity changed?
It’s definitely evolved. When I was younger, conformity was just doing the opposite of whatever the authority wanted me to do but now I think to myself that non-conformity is really trusting your intuition and that part of yourself that you’ve been taught to not listen to – over the years you’ve just put in the background. Every human has intuition and over the years, through all the standardised schooling and indoctrination, we forget that we have inner confidence and neglect our spiritual selves. That’s what I’ve grown to see it as.
You’ve grown up in a house of incredible role models, especially your parents. What do you think is the biggest lesson they have taught you about individuality?
The biggest thing they taught me is that you have to spend time learning yourself and over the years you’re always growing into who you are. It’s never set in stone. You’re always changing, and you must never be afraid of that. Always welcome it with love and compassion. Be kind to yourself when change is happening.
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Despite having these two public role models at home, as a girl growing up, how under-represented did you feel when looking at the mass media?
In my house there were still many examples of strong black women that I never really looked to the media or outside of my group/tribe for those examples. Deep down, I felt like I wasn’t going to get them so when I looked out, I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t see myself represented. I definitely didn’t feel like I was what society thought was ‘beautiful.’
What have you observed in the last year from the beauty industry becoming more representative?
I feel like it’s a beautiful thing and any effort towards changing the idea of what beauty is and broadening it and making it all inclusive is amazing.
If you were going to go into a department store, how would you pitch the Mutiny fragrance on the shop floor?
I would say this is the fragrance of a rebellious strong woman. The scent is slightly unisex, too. It could be cologne as well. That’s something I really like about the scent. It smells like a man could wear it, too.
What’s your biggest beauty guilty pleasure?
I don’t know. The first thing that comes to mind is staying away from milk because it breaks me out but sometimes I eat it when I’m like ‘eff it’, I don’t care if I break out today!
What is your biggest beauty regret?
I used to darken my eyebrows so much when I was younger, and I see pictures of myself and I’m like I thought that was an editorial look but in reality, it’s so bad.
Is it frustrating that people can look at your back catalogue of beauty moments like that?
That’s the internet for you!
What’s the best piece of beauty advice you’ve ever been given?
What’s going on inside always shows outside. If you feel angry or scared, that shows on the outside. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your mental and emotional health. It’s the foundation of everything.
If you ever had a down day, what’s the positive mental mantra you tell yourself?
There’s many depending on how I’m feeling. The general one is to breathe and tell myself I’m beautiful and intelligent. That’s my thing.
Do you have a beauty hack?
Moisturisation. I love that dewy look. Sometimes I put a little too much on my face, but I love how the light softens my face when I do.
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I always try to do at least 30 mins of cardio 5 days a week. Maybe 3 to 4. Whatever works for you. I’ve been getting into weightlifting. That’s my thing now. I do more weight lifting than cardio.
What got you into weightlifting?
I was like you know what, I want to grow. I want to get buff. This is my chance to get buff. I’m trying the buff vibe. I squatted 115 pounds the other day. I love it. I used to do a lot of cardio, go to SoulCycle the whole time, but now I do way less cardio. I probably only do 30 minutes twice a week and lift weights the rest of the week.
How has your relationship with your body image changed?
It makes me feel good. That feeling of after you work out and you walk out with a little sweat and dew on you, it’s the best feeling. Your mind is calm. It’s made me feel more in turn with my body than ever before.
Aside from weightlifting and cardio, what constitutes a cheat day food wise?
Because I’m trying to gain muscle and weight, I don’t really have a cheat day. The more I eat, the more it will create muscle. There are two types of working out – to lose weight, which everyone swears by but there’s a balance between losing weight and gaining muscle. You have to eat more than usual to gain muscle. There is a myth that losing weight and being the skinniest thing is where it’s at but realistically, being skinny doesn’t mean your healthy or fit.
Willow Smith is the ambassador of Maison Margiela’s new fragrance, Mutiny. Now on sale for £83 for 50ML RRP at Selfridges.