Producer and model, Ayesha McKanon is a lover of self-care, nature and serious brews. On her Instagram, you'll find tips on skin routines, hair care and ultimately how to vibe positively on grey days.
Ayesha can be spotted in the recent music video from Mahalia and Kojey Radical, both good friends of hers, in the song titled 'One Night Only'. The model, actress and production assistant has got a lot of say about body positivity and life in general, so we managed to pick her brains on a couple of tips and tricks on how she does it! s
Keep up with Ayesha via Instagram @eeshamarr
Image credit: Eivind Hansen
You’ve been doing so much recently, from your work for World Afro Day and your recent trip to Vietnam! You seem to be having the best time.
I’m guilty of taking on a lot of work, I think I’m addicted to stress and pressure?! I love to travel and being part of projects that are close to my heart.
We first spotted you on Refinery 29 for a special feature when you discussed your personal feelings towards the consideration of afro hair in the beauty industry. This was such a beautiful article and feature, could you tell us a bit about how this opportunity came about?
This is one of my proudest works to date, it makes me well up even thinking about it. This came about when Refinery reached and contacted me about being involved in a shoot that celebrates the art of African hair threading. I was also familiar with Charlotte Mensah and I love her and her work. The shoot focused the beauty of afro hair and the traditional style of hair threading- I was grateful to even be asked to be a part of something so wonderful.
East London born and raised. Do you think you’ll ever move abroad? If so, where would you move to?
East London has my heart and soul but living in Essex has made me appreciate a slower paced environment. To live abroad would be a dream and I always think somewhere hot! But in reality, I’d love to move to The Netherlands or Canada.
You recently made a trip to Vietnam, what was it about the country that made you want to visit? What was your favourite part of the trip?
Oh my, Vietnam was actually amazing. Initially, this trip was to celebrate my friend’s 30th, we knew we wanted to be in Asia but it was just a case of where! Vietnam for me was the perfect place in temperature, food, culture and was a much-needed break. My favourite part of the trip was a trip to Ha Long Bay and staying in Cat Ba on a private beach. There’s something about nature and untouched lands that I find so moving.
You’re a graduate in film, where did you study and what was the best thing about going to university?
University actually feels like a lifetime ago. While I was studying it felt never-ending, but my degree flew by like ‘wait what’. I studied at Royal Holloway in Surrey and I initially wanted to study English but I didn’t meet the criteria and so offered me a new option to study Film theory. The best thing about going to university wasn’t the sole intent to get my degree. I wanted to challenge and discipline myself to achieve something while being under pressure of high outputs in a short space of time.
What’s your go-to movie? The one that never lets you down.
Oooo this is a tricky one. Harry Potter hands down. Lazy Sunday, a date with my duvet and a Harry Potter marathon- the dream.
You advocate for such amazing female empowered causes and often talk about the perception of beauty within the black community. What advice would you give to your younger self or young women of today regarding standards of beauty?
For me, I just want my views to be my own and quite frankly be honest and tell it like it is. There are so many constructs and rules, standards and within these are intersections regarding gender, race and culture. Colourism, hair is so prevalent within the beauty industry it hurts my heart and so I like to discuss my experience and share it on my platform. I would advise my younger self to stop adhering to others and what they deem makes you beautiful. For jobs, I used to straighten my hair, allow others to influence the way I presented myself in the way I looked, spoke and how I saw myself. When I was younger I don’t think I had anyone to aspire too or see myself in others that were representative of myself. So I became what I wanted to see in myself. The standards of beauty I quite frankly, ignore. I understand what makes me feel and think beautiful. Young women, you are beautiful no matter what, please be true to yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself or force something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you’re only being disloyal to yourself.
Who do you admire most in your life?
Can I say me? I think I admire my family most, we’ve been through so much and we’re still a unit! The group chat is a bit mad!
What's the most important part of your 5-year plan?
Oh I don’t have one…umm Moving forward in my career I’d want to inform, innovate change and just travel as much as I can. I’d love to own my own home within the next 5 years but let's see! Even the idea of a five-year plan can make me feel I’m applying too much pressure on myself! But its so important to have goals and prioritising the things that make you happy.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of myself in staying driven in this creative industry, it's not an easy task! I’d say the Refinery29 X Charlotte Mensah I’m most proud of. Those images make me feel so proud and it even became pieces of art! Artists were sending me their work, it made me so happy!
What makes a perfect day?
The perfect day hmm. Sunshine, warm but not so hot I can’t wear layers. Going to a flower market and having brunch, cooking dinner then wrapping up warm with a movie and a cup of tea.