HOW I PREPARE FOR A BLACK BRIDAL SHOOT

This year was trying to say the least. Though our journey through this new reality is not over, I am proud of the connections and creations I have made in the latter part of the summer.
I met determined black women. Discovered their talent and collaborated in their artistic visions. We laughed, cried and grew together. But most importantly we hoped, dreamed and bonded over our quest to represent excellence: black excellence!
In this blog, I will break down the products and techniques used to create what I am proud to call my most stunning bridal looks yet.

PRELUDE FOR THE DREAM
After June 2nd I set out to put my feelings into words.
On September the 18th , after weeks of painful self reflection, I finished my latest and most personal post to date: I’ve Been a fraud.
In it I make a set of promises to myself as well as my clients, notably, the promise to become completely unapologetic about my blackness as well as what I experience on a day to day basis.
To succeed, I am sure I will lose some and strengthen my bond with others.
I shall push forward, regardless. Look for allies to my cause, lean on friends, family and most importantly, continue to use my black voice to affect change in my community.
It is in that spirit that I welcomed a meeting with Nathalee from Ma Cherie Bleue
She asked me to join her and the Marilyn Event Planner team for a shoot and I just knew I had to stop everything I was doing and just create.
To say I am happy the results would be an understatement…
We set out to create a modern, chic luxury bridal event centered around Ayé, a stunning model from Ivory Coast and her boyfriend, Mike Di Genova, founder of Prose Vodka.

FIRST TASK: DREAMING THE DREAM
I started, as I always do, by creating mood boards of my inspirations and once approved, I invested in the necessary products. Notably some Fenty Beauty (I HAD to…) and Sweed Lashes.

As you will see below, I was inspired by sparkly smokey eyes and soft cut creases. My take on a modern version of a 1960s classic to pair with the gowns’ shape.

 

SECOND TASK: CREATE THE DREAM
Marilyn Event Planner and Nathalee from Ma Cherie Bleue grouped the cream of the crop when it came to Montréal wedding specialists.

I had the absolute HONOR to work with the following creators…

Photography | Manoucheka La Cherie

Dresses | Hayley Paige

Suits for MEN | BAGGISTORE

Vidéographe | First Class Pictures

Bijoux / Jarretière / masque | La Gartier

Shoes | Bella Belle Shoes 

Hair | Sherley, As God Made

Cake | Vanessa Joseph

Floral Designer | Le Lili Fleur

Location | Hôtel William Gray

Stationery | XKiz Solutions

Mobilier | Diva Location

We are an elite group of luxury bridal specialists and as per usual, failure was not one of my options.
We had 3 major visions to bring to life on the day of the shoot so I started by prepping her skin with a blend of Tatcha, Sundae Riley and Mac Cosmetics.
I created her skin look by applying small layers of Makeup Forever and Ben Nye.
Her lashes were from Sweed…I will definitely be repurchasing!
Last but no least, I finished her look by blending some Patrick Ta glow oil into her chest and back.

THE EYES
My first look was soft sandy cut crease to pair with the Havana dress.
Then I allowed myself to play with some SPARKLE for a pink color blocked eye. This one was for the outdoors looks and Ayé was wearing the Walker gown.
We then concluded on the Terrasse William Gray with a golden smokey eye for the Didi gown.

THIRD TASK: SHARE THE DREAM
If there was one question that was posed following the May 26th riots it was: How can I help???
I will try to make my answer as short as possible by confirming that:

– Voting is extremely important as it has direct effects on the social and economic state of the country you live in.
– I can also vouch for the fact that being anti racist both on and offline will have a direct co-relation to the quality of life your non-white counterparts can expect.
– And finally, as a former black child, I have to proclaim as loud as I can that representation matters.

Representation in media through the hiring of talent from a diversity of ethnic backgrounds.

Representation in office – back to why voting matters!
And representation in every art form you can think of.
You have no idea how many little black boys and girls are just waiting for the opportunity to see themselves in the positions they aspire to hold.
So when you see black art, and you like it, comment on it, critique it (constructively), and most importantly share it!

You just never know what child, teen or adult dreamer will be inspired by what they see and just how impact that can have!

I want to end by thanking the amazing team that collaborated in bringing to life and by thanking YOU, my reader for being here and sharing this journey with me!

 

I’VE BEEN A FRAUD

As entrepreneurs we are called to make sacrifices, concessions and down right acrobatics to reach our goals. One of the sacrifices I chose to make have, at times, affected my family life, my sleep and my friendships. On more sombre occasions, they’ve hurt the very core of who I am. A Black, adopted woman of color.  This is my mea culpa.

Bare with me, or don’t. I needed to say this.

GROWING UP ADOPTED
I was adopted from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as a baby and grew up between Québec and Ontario in a multicultural but mostly white family.

There are role models a child looks to during their formative years, and while I appreciate everyone who chose to take on those roles, none of them were Black.

What this created was a comfortable yet scary environment, one where I never fully knew how to operate, express myself and defend my blackness.

I say comfortable because of the stability of my household and the well balanced life I was given, but scary because of the lack of intrinsic motivation to wholly understand the trials and tribulations that a black child could face in predominantly white settings.

I regret no parts of my youth and chose to celebrate each experience I encountered as they continue to be invaluable lessons to me.

That being said, I understand now, how the 6 year old Gabrièle (yes, that was the first time I recall facing outright racism in it’s purest form) became the 26 year old Gabbie that is SO uncomfortable with her behavior that she feels the need to pen a full mea culpa at 12:41 in the morning.

TOLERANT, PASSIVE, HIDDEN
I was 6 years old when I was first called a stinky nigger by a little girl on the playground. For weeks, rumors that my skin was brown because I bathed in shit had gone around the class. I felt pain, humiliation and frustration.

My white mother taught me to love my skin, my hair, my nose, my forehead…

How other children could choose to ostracize me because of those same traits was as unnerving as it was confusing to me.

I wished I had had more friends during that time. A part of me wished I could crawl out of my skin, leave it at home to be more palatable to these young ladies, meanwhile, another part of me was furious, enraged even at the sheer audacity displayed.

I told teachers, my parents and the playground educators. I didn’t actually even know what nigger meant at the time so I don’t know how I explained what was said or how it affected me.

I do, however, recall being offered an apology from some of the students. I also recall being asked to forgive them and move on, which I did tried to do, they did not.

Don’t touch me nigger
You are dirty because you are black
Don’t get you poopy skin on me

Became recurrent themes of the ire I faced.

I would cry, scream, argue, leave, get apologized to and move on. 

I can’t confirm how many times this manege went round but I can say that I eventually chose to simply tolerate the behavior, hate myself & my skin, my hair, my person…and move on!

What began then was a pattern of tolerance towards aggressions.

The less I argued, the easier I thought the ride would be.

My mother finally changed my school when I came home one day telling her that looking at the brown skin on my arms made me ‘not feel too proud honestly’.

I carried my brokenness into my next school, into highschool and eventually all the way to Montréal.

I made the decision to simply exist, live my life, build MY business and most importantly be tolerant, passive and hidden.

Rita Mae Brown

Tolerant of micro agressions if they weren’t directly aimed at my person.

Passive in my defense of my person as to not offend clients or business partners using ignorant language.

I also hid my adoption for many years to make sure I never got the most painful comment of all: oh! Great well that explains why you are so well spoken!

These practices made my existence in an oppressive society bearable. It made my existence within myself quietly intolerable.

As I type these words I realize that I am the first person I wish to apologize to.

I apologize to the little girl within me for tolerating racism. 

I apologize to the teenager self for tolerating microaggressions and instances of disrespect.

I apologize to my ancestors for not being more vocal towards the systemic racism that me and my people have continued to feel for the past 400 years.

I type this is an absolute state of brokenness by my behavior. I am SORRY.

RISING FORWARD
How to’s on how to move forward in the future

 

No more:

Tokenization
Tokenism is the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of minority groups, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of racial or sexual equality within a workforce. Wikipedia 

How does this apply to my brand:
I demand that you, as my clients, refrain from using our glam sessions as proof of your racial tolerance and openness.

Insensitivity
When issues of obvious racism and/or racial discrimination arise, I will no longer tolerate comments that aim to blame the victim(s). I will also not welcome ‘All lives matter’ speech or other similar narratives. This is both for my personal and professional worlds.

Fetichisation
I am gorgeous…not for a black girl, even though you usually don’t think we are pretty, not for a Haitan (an by the way I am from Saint-Vincent)

Touching my afro
I am not justifying my right to personal space now or ever. Thank you.

Stupid jokes
They aren’t funny or acceptable

And still I rise – Maya Angelou

Racist expressions
Even though you think you ‘didn’t mean it that way’

No more apologizing and compromising for my blackness, my womanhood, my art. No more shrinking to fit into spaces I have so fiercely outgrown. 

I have been a fraud, but I am no more bound to self imposed reductive standards.

I am free and ready to represent Black Excellence to the fullest of my abilities.

Because I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams.

Because I, as a full black child, matter.

 

 

5 MAKEUP TIPS FOR BLACK BRIDES

 

 

Is your skin dripping in melanin and honey? Are you black without apology?

 

Are you getting ready to be married later this year or in 2021 and curious as to how to make your skin glows just like pearls?

Then you are in luck as I have just received bridal work from a project completed before the lock down started.

I hope that this provides you with much needed escapism during these challenging times.

 

 

 

 

 

This past March the 3rd, I had the honor of participating in a photo session with a series of entrepreneurs, each more creative and interesting than the next.

Our plan was as simple as it was glamorous. We were to accentuate our beautiful model while respecting the rose-gold theme for our shoot.

By the way, this was absolutely a faux wedding! I do lots of them to hone my skills and practice new trends before presenting them to my clientele.

The rose gold theme mood board created by Reine Prestige Events 

Tip for 2020 or 2021 brides. Share your inspiration pictures, especially your floral arrangements, with your makeup artist. This will help her choose the appropriate tones and undertones for your look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are now my 5 tips to sublimate your black skin!

 

Tip #1 – Go gold or go home!

 

I chose a blend of golden hues from Inglot with a generous amount of kohl eyeliner to frame her eye.

These hues are always a classic for dark skin tones. I’ll explain why with a little help from color theory.

 

To create the brown in your skin you need orange and black.

To create orange you need yellow and red.

Yellow and gold have the same root and that is why it is always a great choice for you.

 

Tip #2 – Brows on fleek

Despite the fact that most of us have black brows, some of us have lighter tones such as browns. It is therefore very important to always define your brows against your skin tone: especially on your wedding day.

I recommend you let your artist take care of this but you can also learn how I define my brows by clicking the following link 

 

Tip #3 Be spotless

If you have brown skin like me, you know we are occasionally blessed with dark spots as well as discoloration in various areas on our face.

I suggest you fight this with gentle skin brightening products.

Now be careful, I am in no way suggesting you lighten your skin as any product suggesting you do so is incredibly harmful for you. 

What I do suggest is that you invest in products such as the Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic.

Follow them with your usually moisturizers and serums.

 

Tip #4 Blush, blush and more blush

My black brides tend not to want to apply blush for their big day.

We already have such an easy to work with tone and it’s easy for clients to feel as though this step is not necessary.

But judging by pictures I believe it is extremely important that you apply generous amounts of blush after your foundation. This can only warm up your complexion and make it look more inviting and youthful.

I suggest a cream based blush to be applied right before you set your face. One of my faves is featured in the following video.

Nada, our stunning model, wore a blend of cream and powder blush featuring some MAKEUP FOREVER products.

I suggest you look into pink or purplish shades as they, in my opinion, warm our sometimes dull skin.

 

Tip #5 – Smeyes beautiful

Your guests, parents and friends will notice, first, and foremost, your eyes.

My last time is therefore to accentuate them as much as you can.

I did just that using kohl eyeliner on Nada. Here are my top picks for colors that will suit your melanin:

  • Black
  • Espresso brown
  • Midnight blue
  • Aubergine

Don’t be afraid to explore liquid eyeliners as well for an even more glamorous effect.

What really counts, above all, is that you feel like your most beautiful self on your wedding day.

Know that your melanin is rich, and beautiful and unique and enjoy rocking it with your friends and family.

Faithfully yours,

xoxo Gabbie

 

Thank you to our wonderful team

You can discover their work here:

– Planner and Art Direction | Reine Prestige Events   

– Venue | L’eloi

– Floral arrangements |   Aura Design

– Invitations | Charlotte et cie 

– Photography | Lisa Plus Eddy Photography

Table accessories | Divalocation 

– Furniture rentals | Joe’s Prop House 

– Wedding dresses | Chateau nadia

–  Groom’s suit | Baggi Montréal   

– Cake and Sweet table | Sweet Savour

–  Make-up artist | Gabbie McGuire

– Hairstylist | Amelie Fatou    

– Floral structure and rentals  | Decor and more mtl 

– Model | Nada Piry