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Bright Body Ambassador: Meet Cheyenne Varner

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You might have noticed that we like to partner with social media "influencers" when it comes to spreading the word about Bright Body products.
Most beauty brands look just for beauty influencers, but I like to think of BB as a relative of both the beauty world and the health & wellness world. Health & wellness isn't just about products you use but also about what you eat, how you move your body, and how you handle the stress of modern life. That's why I blog about much more than our products - I want Bright Body to be a resource for natural living in general.
With that approach in mind, it was a no-brainer to partner with Cheyenne Varner, a true renaissance woman and jack-of-all-trades. She is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, and doula, and she is starting a new magazine, The Educated Birth. To say that she is impressive is a gross understatement. This boss babe is slaying the game and is focused on bringing a voice to LGBTQ+ and families of color in the birth world. She also happens to have gorgeous curls and beautiful skin and is a mixed-race woman. As a half-Latina woman myself, it is very important for me to work with "influencers" of color because the beauty & health/wellness spaces can be dominated by white voices. When Cheyenne agreed to collaborate with me, I couldn't have been more excited!
When people think of Bright Body, I want them to think of accessible all-natural hair, skin, and body products. I want people to understand that this line was created with a variety of skin & hair textures in mind, and that diversity is a super important value to me and my company (my curly hair products are a labor of love to help women of all races embrace their natural texture).
With that in mind, I want to introduce y'all to the inimitable and badass Cheyenne Varner. Enjoy learning more about her...
What do natural living & healthy living mean to you?

To me, natural and healthy living start with looking at my habits and learning my options. It means I want to make the choices that align more with my own health and the earth's health. I have to do the best I can within my means. Right now, I feel like this plays out for me in a lot of the food choices I make. I've started buying a lot more fruit and fresh vegetables and making large-portion slow cooker meals, because if I'm going to be honest with myself — I'm not about to spend an hour in the kitchen every night making a healthy meal. But I can spend a few hours on the weekend making a couple I can heat up throughout the week. Balance!
What does self-care mean to you? What is your favorite self-care routine or ritual? Why?

Oh man, lol. There's self-care that I need consistently and then there's self-care that's like a cherry on top. I've learned that exercise is one kind of self-care that I cannot skimp on. I take yoga and cycling classes on a regular basis because yoga helps center both my mind and body and cycling makes me feel like a warrior queen. Then on top of that, one month I might get my nails done, or go grab some of my favorite chocolates from the store, or I might give myself a day off from all work and emails. I rarely plan those extra things, and sometimes they can be few and far between. I understand the need to hustle, but I've also learned my limits, and recognize how to step back before I burn all the way out.
How does your work fill your cup? How do they drain you?

My work fills my cup in many ways. When folks reach out to me and let me know that something I've written on my blog, or posted in The Educated Birth or Everyday Baby touched them — it just makes my day. And when my graphic design clients get their pieces complete and sent out into the world or printed and they're proud of them and feel well represented — that makes me feel so proud of what I do. And when I deliver photographs to clients who've hired me for that and they get excited to share them — it's wonderful!

I think the most draining thing about what I do is that — for the time being — I do so much at the same time, and also that I am emotionally invested in a good deal of what I do. I can't separate myself from my work and I think that's why I put more hours in so willingly.
What is your favorite “healthy” recipe?

My favorite healthy recipe is salmon with quinoa and broccoli. It. Is. So. Easy. I put olive oil, salt and pepper and sometimes rosemary on some salmon and stick it in the (cold) oven, then set it to 400 degrees and set my timer to 20 minutes. About ten minutes into that I put some quinoa in my rice cooker and some broccoli in the veggie steamer on top. The broccoli usually steams all the way before the quinoa is done, and then the quinoa is done and then the salmon. I'd love to learn a few ways to spice this super easy dish up in the future, but for now, I'm good. I'm really not a foodie. I'll take ease and practicality over glimmer any day of the week.
What do you think the beauty world should do more of? Less?

I don't follow the beauty world very much (I haven't even really worn make-up since college and then... pretty much just eyeliner). I've been encouraged to see the Fenty beauty line come out making space and products for many more skin tones. Affordability is big for me, but I understand also that quality comes at a price. I love beauty DIYs, like making your own lip scrub. That's on my list of things to do. My ask to the beauty world: Don't tell me how you think I can look better, show me what I can do with what I already have that can help me feel more confident and like my best self.
What is your favorite Bright Body product? Why?

I really love the facial cream! I was noticing clogged pores and dry skin on my face before I started using the toner and the facial cream and neither of those issues have shown themselves since.
What is the biggest misconception about doulas?
I think the biggest misconception about doulas is that they're only for "natural" or home births. First of all, birth is natural no matter how it looks for you and your situation. We have to stop creating this scale of good to bad births based on whether there was a cesarean or any medications used. There's no scale! So a birth doula is really just someone who's there to walk with you through all of your specific wants and options and help you get all the information and support you need. You can have a doula if you're planning an induction, or want an epidural, or a cesarean, or if you're in a hospital, birth center or home. No matter where you are when you're giving birth, or what that looks like, you can always use someone who's been in that space before to encourage you and massage you and remind you how strong you are.

What would you say is the most surprising thing about you?

As a petite and quiet Gemini/Virgo, I think I carry a lot of opposites inside me, lol. I think people usually get to know the very quiet, serious side of me first. And then it can be surprising to see the light-hearted, silly side of me later. I also think that because I'm small and quiet I've been deeply underestimated by some folks in the past and it surprised them later to see how when I get my mind on doing something, I can really push through with a great amount of practicality and purpose and achieve my goal. I may be a bit of a dreamer but I'm not naive.

When did you start embracing your natural hair? What was that like as a woman of color?

If anything, growing up I wished my curls were tighter and denser like most of the women in the family. I came to a place in college where I was like, "Okay, so my Black hair isn't like my mom's Black hair, my sister's Black hair or my aunt's Black hair but it's still Black hair because I am a Black woman too!" I've definitely embraced my hair since then, but I feel like I'm still learning how to do my hair well. I look a lot online to see what other folks with my sort of curls do, because I don't think we're always spoken directly to in the general hair care world.
Curly Hair Diversity Doula Graphic Designer Health Healthy Living Natural Living Photographer Self-Care The Educated Birth Wellness Women of Color

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