My Beauty Journey began when I realised that in every picture during my teenage years, I used to hide behind someone just to hide the lower half of my face.

My lips didn’t fit me and I had already begun to make myself more suitable but trying to make it not so obvious that I had them. And then one day I saw Missy Elliot, chocolate, curvy and moving around like she owned the video. And she had fuller lips and the camera kept zooming in and out of it like she didn’t even care that the entire world and this girl in a small town in the Eastern region of Ghana noticed it. She wanted it to be in our faces. I started wearing lip gloss afterwards and I used to get the oily sweet smelling Sleek ones for a while and I absolutely loved them especially the strawberry scented one; even though the roller ball always popped out.

And then I went to University and it was my fight against the ‘being called pretty’ stage. I would literally walk back to my dorm room anytime someone called me beautiful. I thought my intelligence should be obvious and not what I am wearing when you meet me. I have grown into it now but we all still have a long way to go with regards to women’s bodies and their rights and control of them. It wasn’t just the catcalls, it was the assault on my appearance after an intensive science lesson, ain’t nobody got time for that!

I figured out that a good bra will help with my back (I have an ample bosom) so it was a birthday tradition then to get fitted in a small shop in Kumasi, Ghana and it still is now, but at Bravissimo in Covent Garden. Back then, makeup was on the horizon and honestly, the only brand I could find that had my shade was Sleek and my shade was a Deep Sable – the cream to powder foundation. I vividly remember a smoky eye fail at a church mixer (or probably the photographer was out to get me) but I swore off smoky eye looks until now. It was 2005, lol.

My eyebrows then were set to rival Cara Delavigne’s, bushy and full. They framed my face but in my second year of university, I made an appointment to get rid of them for a sleeker outline. Peer pressure is real.  I loved them and kept shaving them and tweezing a little, now I wear them proudly without much threading because to me they look great a little unkempt and filled in with Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pomade. I have them threaded at least once a month. I am busy. I distinctly remember attending a Forever Claire Foundation class in my third year of University in Kanda in the Accra, Ghana. I guess I was a beauty blogger before I even knew it. I wanted to get the technique down and YouTube wasn’t a thing in Ghana in 2006. Now I am all about skincare because clearer, soft and well-kept skin means I can go without makeup and makeup will look great on me because I don’t have to work to cover so many flaws. Being a blogger is a great excuse to try things and shopping my stash is always Christmas to me. The first brand I visited for a makeup consultation was MAC – here’s a selfie from that day and I swore by it and even did my own makeup on the day I got married. Check out these struggle brows then. Well, we live and learn.

Interestingly, I still have my palette given to me by my Uncle’s girlfriend when I was 19, I have carried it across continents and it now hosts the basic never-used eyeshadows from Inglot. What can I say, I am not an eyeshadow girl… yet

With regards to my full lips that I was hiding when I was 12, I have grown into them and wear lipstick proudly. Most people who remark about how in your face they are usually don’t have full lips and it’s about how they feel and not how I feel about my own lips.

They are mine and they are soft, juicy and incredibly beautiful. They are part of my smile and my badassery and a key part of Vesta. My blog was named Chocolate and Curves to make it an absolute truth to me that this is who I am and to use it to explore what I can document about myself, living in a Western country as myself. It has brought into my life so many experiences and women who make me walk chin-up because I am not alone as someone who is chocolate and curves. Like a hashtag, I see us all, living and being ourselves, no matter how and when we got to where we create our lives now.

And to little Vesta, out there in my past, finding stretch marks and hips that grew overnight and breasts that seemed not to be of your bloodline, because everyone asked how you grew them; don’t fret one bit. I actually wish I could hug you and say, girl, you are so going to own these and sashay with your friends your final year in the all-girls boarding school. You kind of got frightened of your influence in university and that’s was never your problem, baby girl.

We are beautiful as we are, full lips, chocolate skinned or whatever hue or shade, melanated or not. My beauty lets me see your beauty and that’s amazing. Own it.

Find Vesta on her blog Chocolate N Curves: