I dig deep into people. I question everything. I did a show a few days ago and they asked me to speak. I didn’t know what to say. I said, “My name is Toushai (touché), it means to touch. Through my art I allow you to feel me. Feel me?” I guess what I’m trying to say is, I think the thing I love most about myself is my capacity to understand people fully. I feel them. It’s easy to find people who you have similarities with, but it’s very difficult to find people who actually understand you. That’s what I do. I don’t sympathize. I have empathy, and I understand.

I dig deep into people. I question everything.

I live with two views aside from my own, my parents’. I think my father’s definition of beauty was all about name brands, diamonds, and gold. Realizing who my father is, a baller, and I didn’t like his idea of beauty. It’s the reason why this world is so fucked up. My mother is more like a regular person. She’s just a normal person. No makeup, no brand names, no diamonds, and its dope. My mom’s view created these two incredibly different worlds situated completely opposite one another. I’m neither of the two. I just understand both. My dad showed me a sort of “hood rich” lifestyle, but when I was with my mom, I lived a totally different lifestyle , dirt poor and living off social security checks. It all allowed me to grasp an understanding of both extremes, that’s why it’s so easy for me to understand where people are coming from because I can say I lived it.

I look in the mirror all the time, almost habitually. I don’t know why. My mom told me, “When you were little, all you did was look in the mirror.” It wasn’t like I was conceited it was more like, I was amazed in realizing that this is me. It was an acknowledgement of my existence in a reflection of myself. I was trying to separate my physical form from the reflection. I realized through it that I’m physically two different people. I have two different jaw lines, two different eyebrows, and two different earlobes.

It was an acknowledgement of my existence in a reflection of myself.

When I was little, I was a tomboy, but I mean, I’m a girl. I always felt like the whole makeup thing was something you adopted as you got older. It seemed like something someone would stop you somewhere along the line and say, “You’re a woman now, ” and then you begin doing the stuff you do when you’re older. But, now I am actually getting older, and I’m realizing what beauty is. It’s developed into something else. Beauty for me is my comfort. I could put on a pair of tight jeans and worry if my butt crack is out. I can pull them up every few minutes. I can fidget and twist, but I rather just be comfortable. If I’m comfortable in my clothing I’m comfortable, and that makes me feel beautiful. And I can’t tell you how beautiful it makes me feel when someone smiles back at me.

Growing up, however, beauty was more materialistic. Now, I’m sitting here, and I don’t care. If I want to wear a cowboy hat, basketball sneakers, and a tutu, I feel like I can do that. Before it was Nike, Jordan, etc. Now it’s these grandma looking boots I’ve grown so fond of, and they’re so comfortable. I love them. The way I am is not an act of rebellion but it feels like one. I can do all that extra stuff to be what everyone is striving for, but I just don’t like it. Everything feels like an act of rebellion. I wanted to be friends with people who weren’t physically beautiful and that isn’t rebellious to me. Its what I wanted to do, and it just so happened to be taboo. I body paint, and I don’t care who my subject is. You don’t have to be a certain weight or height, but people do worry about shit like that. I love plus size models and people who have disabilities. They’re dope cause they’re way more powerful than anybody acknowledges.

OKAY, AMERICA. Nah, my perception of beauty does not align with America’s. America is building a perception that makes people think beauty is what America says it is. My perception is what I would like to think is what it actually is. It’s the people’s beauty. It’s the private beauty. When babies babble, we teach them to talk. When dogs bark, we train them to understand us and respond to our language. The way we interact is learned. This is no exception. Society’s perception of beauty is a taught language. What truly determines whether a person is beautiful or not is their personality, their mindset. But, you can have the dopest personality in the world, and still be society’s version of the ugly person.

My transition into my own ideas of beauty came when I was cutting my “friends” off. I became the loner I wanted to be. I was friends with them more so because I felt a responsibility to them instead of being their friends organically, like the friendships I have now with people who are simply themselves to the max. When you cut all those toxic people off, when you’re not around them, your ideas can flourish and become what they truly are because their ideas are no longer clouding yours.

I probably wore makeup a total six times my entire life and it was mostly when I was younger. I no longer attempt to conform to anyone’s ideas of what I should look like. I had a full head of hair locked for two years, and then it was too heavy. I decided to cut it but I didn’t want to. I was just tired of the headache so I kept these two locks. Because I only had two years with them, they symbolize my own little journey. So many people talk shit about locks, but it’s not about the way it looks. I looked crazy half the time, but its about the journey. You learn a lot about yourself because it’s tiring. The exhaustion teaches you something.

 I know I can’t change the world but I can shake it a little.

Women have so much more pressure on them to be beautiful than men do. Men can have these scruffy nasty beards, and a woman can’t have so much as a hair on their armpit or on their legs. I’m going on a year without shaving my legs, and I mean, fuck it. I’m doing a project right now where I get people s reaction when I tell them they’re beautiful. I tell them why they’re a part of this, “You’ve been chosen cause you’re a beautiful person.” I’m trying to get people to be able to tell someone that they’re beautiful. I’m training people to acknowledge other peoples’ beauty without challenging their own. Complimenting each other is all it takes. I went to Jamaica and I went to an elementary school as a part of the beautiful project. Some people are like awkward about it an its interesting to see. You can tell how they feel about it just by looking at their immediate reaction after I’ve told them. There are girls who were never told they were beautiful.


  1. Nick D'Amato

    Love this article.. She has awesome style


  2. Emely

    This was amazing! I enjoyed reading this and getting such a different aspect on how someone sees beauty and shared beauty with the world. In my eyes Toushai you are beautiful and what you do is just as beautiful and it speaks out I love what you do and what you stand for! Such a wonderful mind and soul ❤


  3. Keith

    Your right Shaina beauty is not about your looks or what society puts on you.Beauty is everything that makes up and individual. Their personality , their charisma..there vibes etc.. I give you credit for jumping out of what people thought you should be. Everything you spoke about I felt me. Thanks for the post 🙂


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