Selfies of an artist as a Wom*n of Colour

By Tabitha Prado.

Selfies are important. Not inherently so, but they’re a potent tool. Frida Kahlo knew, emphasising her facial hair and her own embodied self as the locus of her work, going on to inspire millions of Wom*n of Colour, Latin@ wom*n especially. Likewise, selfies for Wom*n of Colour often emphasise the things that diverge from eurocentric beauty standards, which does something powerful for the Wom*n of Colour community.

My advice to Wom*n of Colour: take photos of yourself like you would a loved one. Whether you keep your self-admiration private or fill your respective newsfeeds with your gorgeous face. Respect is due to the Wom*n of Colour who celebrate themselves. It’s invigorating to see. You deserve attention and admiration, from yourself and others. Take what is yours.

I’m a habitual selfie-taker but the light in my bedroom is lacking. Only good in the morning when my face is a puffball (‘I woke up like dis’), I often seek places out of the house to take selfies during the day. Here’s a guide to my favourite places to take selfies on Camperdown campus: suitable for shy mice like me. Note that these are mostly female bathrooms, which I acknowledge are not always accessible for all wom*n.

Female bathrooms, Level 2, Transient Building

5 stars

This bathroom is the holy grail of pseudo-public selfies – neutral background, plentiful natural light, and slim chance of being walked in on (and double doors as buffer). Honestly my favourite and most ethereal place to take selfies on campus.

Light: So natural

Chance of being caught: low

Extra points for: white fluffy clothing, “barely there” makeup, Glow by J. Lo fragrance.

Female bathrooms, Great Hall, The Quadrangle 

3 ½ stars

While the brown and murky green could be improved upon, this bathroom has an excellent mirror set-up that allows for flexibility as well as documenting your full outfit. Great for group selfies and “me & my girls” shots.

Light: natural

Chance of being caught: medium-low

Extra points for: Odd floral decorations sometimes find themselves in there after functions in the Great Hall – feel free to include them in the shot.

New Law Building, Eastern Avenue 

4 stars

This is a general recommendation for certain spots in this building that are doused in sunlight. The stark white background also acts to emphasise brownness which is a definite advantage. I’m too self-conscious around others to start taking blatant selfies on my phone so I take them on my laptop – I could very well be studying, I say to myself, whilst obviously posing (chin high, head tilted). I’ve done this shamelessly during tutes in this building with great results.

Light: natural, fluorescent.

Chance of being caught: medium-high

Extra points for: someone noticing Photobooth being open on your computer during class; forgetting to mute your computer before you take a shot.

Female bathrooms, Level 2, R.C. Mills Building (adjacent to Schaeffer Library)

4 ½ stars

The mauve door is a good omen – this bathroom makes up for its lack of natural light with a muted colour scheme and a cute painting as backdrop. There’s a shelf to put your books while you strike a pose, and the ever-convenient separate toilet room to give you ample warning of a potential audience.

Light: fluorescent

Chance of being caught: medium

Extra points for: trench coat, chic hat, accessorising with textbooks, accessorising with art itself.

Female bathrooms, Ground level, Madsen Building

3 stars

If gold is your favourite colour, come here. This bathroom’s ochre walls combined with the sunlight that drenches the room sets off brown skin nicely: as Beyoncé hath sayeth, “You can’t put blue light on a black girl.” However, not a bathroom on heavy rotation. Just for when I’m feeling a little sunkissed.

Light: natural

Chance of being caught: low-medium

Extra points for: gold jewellery and more gold jewellery, coconut-oiled skin.

Female bathrooms, Level 2, Physics Building 

3 ½ stars

This bathroom gets a mention almost purely for the babyish pale pink and blue colour scheme. Comes across nicely in both natural light and fluorescent light! Good for feeling cute day and night.

Light: natural, fluorescent

Chance of being caught: low-medium

Extra points for: adding sparkles and lovehearts post-production.