My name is Stephanie Bola.
I’m originally from Congo and I grew up, live and work in Brussels, Belgium. Fashion is one of my biggest passions. I started modeling at a very young age and participated in some beauty competitions. Currently I am working part-time as office manager and artist representative. Being in front of the camera is still a big passion but I enjoy taking a position behind the camera and being able to create my own work. Because of my love for photography I decided to document artists around me and I created a blog called filmandfriends.com. I am a very positive and creative person who loves life, art, traveling and new challenges.
How do you defy society’s typical beauty standards?
I think you have to find who you are and the rest will follow. You have to have a good attitude towards yourself and accept who you are; to me that is the finest form of beauty.
By taking care of myself, doing what I love and sharing my joy with those around me, I do not see the need to follow anybody’s beauty standard.
How have you come to recognize your beauty and your power over the years?
When I was younger, I felt a lot of pressure on how you have to look to be beautiful; it was defined by long hair and a lot of make-up.
Even though I really liked my natural hair, I was influenced by typical African beauty standards. I was basically hiding myself behind artificial hair. Being natural, wearing your natural hair, you were quickly considered to be from the village, not taking care of yourself.
When I saw Alek Wek rocking the catwalk with her natural short hair, I realized how beautiful and cool this was. So I made the decision to cut my hair very short. Finally I could take care of my own hair and be a little more myself. My boyfriend basically pushed me even further to appreciate my true beauty, the beauty of being natural.
What inspires your style?
My style is influenced by my mood. But I like elegance and simplicity in what I wear.
What are your go-to beauty products?
Something I really love and that I use all time is a 3 step skin care by Clinique to be applied every morning and every evening. It is a real pleasure to feel smooth and clean skin – it’s like magic.
During my stay at the Cote d’Azure this summer I found this wonderful nourishing balm for dry skin “Petit Marseillais” made with shea, sweet almond and argan. It provides a smooth feeling immediately after application, has a very nice fragrance. It moisturizes and nourishes my skin perfectly.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
Being in love. And waking up with beautiful natural skin.