I’ve spent a good part of my life in France. I was born in Cameroon then I came to France at 9-years-old. I grew up in a very white neighborhood. I always felt like I was a part of the schools. I didn’t have many friends. It was hard for me to find friends. The only friends I made were black girls. That I just realized when I was 17. That’s when I realized, even with discrimination, if people don’t do it on purpose or realize they are doing it, it’s still kind of sad.
When I went to university, I made white friends. There I realized how those people thought of people like me—black people. Even them, they don’t realize that they have so much prejudice. If I go to school dressed like this with this kind of makeup, they’re going to say, ‘oh, she’s the angry black girl.’ Even if they are smiling or laughing or joking, somehow it still hurts me. I try to dress like this. This past year I didn’t really have the time to because I’ve been focusing on school. When I do dress like this, their reaction makes me proud. I just want to stand up and say, ‘look how beautiful I am,’ [laughs]. Seeing all of that, I just want to find a way to show off more.
I want to work in communications for companies. I think it’s a great way to express my education and creativity, even though I know when you start, you won’t be the director and you won’t have the power to decide which color [race] to use in a campaign.
Jessica Barrano, 22, IG: Jess_brn