First Black Editor of Harper’s Bazaar Shines a Light on Indigenous-Owned Ah-Shí Beauty

“Diné/Naahiłi Girl Magic,” celebrates Ahsaki Báá LaFrance-Chachere on Facebook. “Indigenous Black Girl Magic.” Ah-Shí Beauty is featured in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar showcasing Rihanna on the cover. Ah-Shí Beauty translates to “This is my beauty.” 

Indigenous-owned and -operated Ah-Shí Beauty is featured among six “Beauty Game Changers” in the September pages of Harper’s Bazaar. These Black and Indigenous-owned brands “are re-framing the conversation about representation in beauty,” the renowned fashion magazine states. 

That’s exactly the reason Ah-Shí Beauty launched in the first place: to empower people of color. Ah-Shí Beauty speaks directly to an Indigenous audience.

Ah-Shí is the Diné phrase for “this is me.” Ah-Shí Beauty translates to “This is my beauty.” 

The beauty brand was founded by Navajo Nation-based Ahsaki Báá LaFrance-Chachere, Diné, to give Native American women “a seat at the table” in an industry that “espouses diversity but hasn’t always practiced it with Indigenous cultures,” states Harper’s Bazaar. The publication recently appointed a black editor-in-chief for the first time in its 153-year-history. Samira Nasr, former executive fashion director at Vanity Fair, started heading the title’s U.S. edition in July 2020.

As Nasr states, “My worldview is expansive and is anchored in the belief that representation matters. My lens by nature is colorful, and so it is important to me to begin a new chapter in Bazaar’s history by shining a light on all individuals who I believe are the inspiring voices of our time.”

Ahsaki Báá LaFrance-Chachere debuted AhShiBeauty.com online in July 2018. 

Bazaar reports that Ah-Shí’s first product was “personal”—a range of perfect-match foundations. “Our nude shares are ideal for Native American skin tones, and they last a long time,” LaFrance-Chachere told the magazine. Her cosmetics line also touts more than 200 lipsticks. (Check out Ah-Shí Beauty’s monthly lipstick subscription at ahshibeauty.com.) 

As a half Diné and half African American woman, raised in Besh-Be-Toh on the Navajo Reservation in Northeastern Arizona, LaFrance-Chachere birthed Ah-Shí Beauty because she desired to see more people of color represented in the luxury beauty market.

“My culture has been appropriated so many times,” LaFrance-Chachere told Bazaar. “I want to show that Indigenous people are here and need to be represented. When my client looks in the mirror, I want her to see a Native American boss babe.” 

READ MORE: Ah-Shi Beauty, Navajo-Owned Skincare Line, Empowers People of Color 

Since launching in summer 2018, her business has skyrocketed to success. Native Business interviewed the entrepreneur when Ah-Shí first came into the market: “From what I know so far, no Native-owned luxury skincare line exists. I want this line to be in Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and Harvey Nichols overseas,” LaFrance-Chachere told Native Business. “I feel like people may not see Native people as luxury. But if you look at our beadwork, our silversmith work, our rugs—those are luxury. Our homeland is luxury. I want to make that statement: We, too, are luxury.”

Ah-Shi Beauty offers a space where people of color, and particularly Native Americans, are not only represented but uplifted, encouraged and inspired. Since day one, LaFrance-Chachere has challenged her social media followers: “Take a picture and show us what makes you unique. Show us your beautiful self.”

Here are the results:

As LaFrance-Chachere shared on social media: “When the world 🌎 see Ah-Shí Beauty, they see my reservation, they see my people across Turtle Island. Our Indigenous Beauty is getting recognized and respected in the Beauty Industry. The wait is over, now its time to keep building and expanding. Vision turned into reality. …Thank you so much @harpersbazaarus for featuring my brand!!!!!”

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