Recently we were able to speak with California based Afrogoth makeup artist and beauty queen Morbid Meka. In this interview, we spoke about not just about her experiences as a beauty artist, which includes recognition from alternative beauty icon and tattoo artist Kat Von D -but her survival stories dealing with being bullied as a black alternative woman and in general, mental health, self-care, and body positivity. (TW) This interview includes sensitive material.
So first thing- What made you get into makeup and how long have you been doing this?
What got me into makeup was being homeless and not being able to enjoy a normal childhood. So my mother forced me to stay inside and paint because we were in an unsafe neighborhood and we were living in motels. Then I started playing around with the cheap 99 cent makeup. I started getting heavy into it when I was around 20 years old.
What are your dreams and goals as an MUA?
My goals have changed a lot when it comes to makeup and my artistry has shifted a lot. My hair has been my staple point. My goal is to start a luxury hair line that is colorful and fun, and then branch off to doing eyelashes and etc. I want to do this for not just black alternative women, but all women of color. My art has turned into starting a hair care line. My love as a make-up artist has greatly declined because people want to tell you what you are worth, and they don’t want to pay unless you have a million followers or something along those lines.
Do you plan on staying in Cali or branching out?
I plan on staying in California, but I would love to branch out eventually. I want to stay here to get my brand rooted. California is all I know for now. But it’s so expensive here!
What has been a highlight for you as an MUA thus far?
Being acknowledged by the black alternative community. So many people have reached out me and appreciate me speaking up for people that look like us. Also being recognized by Kat Von D. I actually met her at least 10 years ago before her make-up line launched at the Montclair mall at her book signing. I cleaned out a garage for two days to earn the money to catch the bus to see her. We were still homeless and transitioning out of that. I stood outside waiting for her. She complimented me on my pink hair at the time! She told me to keep staying rad and stay true to myself.
How did it make you feel being recognized by Kat Von D Beauty and being invited to their 10-year anniversary party this past year?
Honestly one of the best feelings. I remember when she didn’t even have Kat Von D beauty. I admire her for her look, her tattoo artistry, and seeing her on TV. 10 years ago I was cleaning out a garage to meet her.
Who and/or what inspires you creatively?
Music inspires me creatively. My music tastes are extremely fluid. Depending on my mood that day is how I express myself. I listen to a lot of metal music. Music is an escape for me, it’s my passion.
You’re a metal-head, just like a lot of us here at Punk Black- what got you into metal and the alternative music scene?
My grandfather listened to a lot of rock music and country music. He was the one that told me to listen to whatever I wanted to listen to, despite what my mother thinks. He was into 70s rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. That’s what got into at a young age, my grandmother hated that kind of music, but my grandfather was very true to himself.
What are your favorite metal or rock bands?
Pantera would be number one. Black Sabbath and Type O Negative too. Those would be my top three favorites. I love so many alternative bands
Do you feel you’ve struggled with that being a POC, like were you ever bullied or teased for being an alternative black girl?
YES. I actually was bullied so bad that I was stabbed in high school. I was so bullied so bad my last few years in high school that a fight broke out and I was stabbed. It was bad. I dropped out early. It drove me to suicide. I was being bullied for my weight, for being dark-skinned, for being different, for pretty much anything. From my friends, family, to adults, and neighbors.
I see you talk about the importance of mental health, wellness, and self-care on your social media. In what ways to do you practice self-care and what does it mean to you?
Self-care is everything. If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anything in life. You gotta put yourself first. How I practice is smoking, which ain’t nice. But seriously, one day out of the week I will treat myself to anything to get my mind off anything that’s going on. That could include taking a walk, going to the library, having a music session, being away from technology, or buying a new facial or make up a product. I struggle so hard with my mental health every single day. It’s a journey, It’s not always easy to get out of bed. I take my self-care extremely serious because the struggle is real. Sunday is my favorite day out of the whole week because I can do what I need to do for myself.
What do you think us as POC need to do to make mental health less of a taboo topic within our own communities?
In the black community, no one speaks on mental health because families are telling you it’s for white people only. It’s frowned upon. Mental health should be expressed openly in our communities, homes, and amongst each other. Especially for our children because they don’t have anyone to look up to when it comes to that. Black families shame their children when it comes to mental health. I talk to my niece about the same things. There are so many people that struggle, that look like me, that have no one to speak for them. I fight every day for myself against self-destruction.
You also promote and are very much pro-body positivity on your social media, where does your confidence shine from?
Hmm. Probably years of self-destruction, self-harm, and self-anger. My struggle is my battle jacket. It comes from knowing basically a journey of loving myself despite my weight, flaws, or whatever anyone thinks of me. What I think about me matters. What other people think is none of my business.
What advice do you have to those that may be struggling with their appearance?
There are things you cannot change. You are best just accepting yourself and who you want to be, instead of trying to mold into something you are not. You can’t change who you are, so you might as well embrace it.
For the latest on Morbid Meka, you can follow her on her Instagram @morbidmeka.