Icon of the Week: Joy Ubani

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United Colors of Fashion likes to highlight individuals who have committed themselves to making a positive difference in their communities while using fashion as a tool. Every week, UCOF recognizes a leader who has shown tremendous passion for philanthropy and fashion, whether regionally or world-renowned.

This week, United Colors of Fashion would like to highlight a young achiever of resembling values– Joy Ubani. Joy is an entrepreneur, and the Founder of the Beneath Your Beautiful campaign, a platform aimed to encourage girls and women to embrace their identities and boost their self-esteem. Originally from California, this ambitious woman currently resides in London, and has been able to take her passions internationally. Joy is a fashionista, and has a passion for blogging, traveling, bringing dreams to life and engaging with those who do the same.

What is Beneath Your Beautiful, and what was your motivation for creating this campaign?
Beneath Your Beautiful began as a social enterprise to facilitate discussions and challenge the media’s ideas of fashion and beauty. It has evolved into a platform purposed to inspire women to pursue their passion. Through BYB, women are encouraged to journey together to reinvent the way media shapes our self-confidence.

What message do you hope to inspire through the #10LayersofBeauty, Be Beautiful challenge?
The #10LayersofBeauty challenge is an online challenge purposed to encourage women to build confidence, realize her beauty, and delve into passionpreneurship. Through the Be Beautiful challenge, I want women to dig deep- to find their authentic self and realize her beauty. With this challenge, I hope for women to gain the courage to go after that which they aspire to accomplish – fearless and without hesitation.

What qualities, interests, or experiences do you look for when inviting women to speak as panelists at your events?
I seek out women who have a desire to influence society through their work, and are doing so effectively mostly by way of social media (e.g. bloggers, passionpreneurs). They don’t necessarily have to have a strong social media presence, just a strong voice in general. I look for women whose brand speaks for who they are and what they believe. For my recent event, most of the panelists were actually women who had started their own businesses from scratch. I think it is important to give these women a platform, enabling them to impact other women who have a similar passion.

What are some similarities you’ve noticed among the women you’ve encountered through your campaigns in the UK and the US?
In both places I’ve noticed the curiosity and eagerness to learn. Most women have encountered difficulties or experience challenges when it comes to confidence, but lack a platform to voice their concerns or learn who they are.

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What do you envision for your next event?
Shhh…That’s a secret! But I will tell you this: come with a passion (for purpose and for fashion), come ready to learn, and be prepared to grow in beauty, confidence, & authenticity!

Why do you think education and empowerment through fashion is important?
Your outer appearance can speak so much to who you are. I believe it is important for individuals to know how to express themselves despite a society of ever changing fashion and beauty trends. It’s important for us to know that there is power in her confident, authentic, and beautiful appearance.

Similar to United Colors of Fashion (UCOF), Joy values being able to provide resources for building confidence and leadership ability. As the first registered 501(c)(3) organization to offer FREE Fashion Education to under-resourced youth, UCOF supports NYC Middle and High School students by enhancing their academic journey through a fashion lens. Through strategic seminars, we introduce them to opportunities in fashion, while stressing the importance of written and oral communication, mathematics skills, and collaboration.

UCOF is excited to be able to highlight the accomplishments that Joy Ubani has made so far. We look forward to continuing to witnessing her growth as we share the platform of mentorship and empowerment through fashion education.

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Mariah Cochran
Mariah is an American Studies graduate from UC Berkeley. With a strong passion for youth advocacy, she believes in using fashion as a means to social justice and personal empowerment. Mariah joins United Colors of Fashion as the Manager of Development and Strategist for Ombre Magazine, and currently resides in Oakland, California.

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