Nollywood star actresses — Beverly Naya and Linda Ejiofor-Suleiman joined BellaNaija‘s Mary Edoro in a candid conversation, powered by NIVEA, tagged “Challenging the Norm: beyond Trends & Influences” at the first #BNSCONVOS this year, commemorating the 5th Edition of BellaNaija Style Women’s Month.

Our viewers said listening to these successful African women felt so empowering as they delved into the world of beauty beyond trends and cultural influences. Balancing successful public careers, these remarkable women embrace their authentic selves unapologetically, paving the way for others to do the same.

Speaking on the power of authenticity, Beverly Naya, who is also the award-winning producer of the prolific Netflix documentary, Skin, aimed at addressing colourism in our society, said during the session:

Of course, there are pressures that come with the industry but it’s really important to know who you are and have values and respect them at all times.

Ensure that you are truly yourself at all times and authentic to who you are… if it doesn’t feel right, if it doesn’t feel natural, you have to put yourself first, because the last thing you want to do is loose yourself in this industry. That’s not sustainable, you know.

One of the things that has given Linda and I, and so many others, longevity in the industry is that we are authentic and people have accepted us for who we are.

Speaking on utilising her platform to inspire others to be authentic, Linda Ejiofor-Suleiman, a chic mum, and co-producer of the Due-parenting pod said:

How I carry myself, How I dress is very important. How I look, How I talk, How I engage with people is really important because first impression matters.

I always remember and say: now that I’m a mum, will I be proud of how I look now in 10 years? Would my kids be proud of how I look when they see me in 10 years? I have to be proud of me…

I might not look a certain way people are looking right now or want other people to look or that is considered good for TV but I am me, I am being me, I am authentic and I am unapologetically African.

From the session, we found these prominent figures in media, TV, and film alluding to the fact that it is okay to be different from others. It is okay to be your own version of beautiful with confidence.

To watch the full conversation, hit the ▶ button below: