Beauties, we’re BACK with our ‘My Beauty Journey’ series!
‘My Beauty Journey’ is about people empowering each other to ‘own their beauty’ by sharing their journey to self-acceptance, empowerment and ultimately, self-love. Here’s Yann, a brand ambassador and commercial model for male skincare and grooming products.
Hello there I am Yann W.Tanoé multidisciplinary entrepreneur, commercial model, men’s grooming influencer, husband and dad of 2 beautiful and energetic children. As a male grooming influencer/ grooming guy, I was very interested in sharing my beauty journey, the role that ‘Beauty’ as a concept holds in my life as a man.
The term ‘beauty’ historically beauty has been a word associated and reserved to women, from my understanding beauty is a state of being, a state of contentment, overtime it also became a sort of discipline, an institution a concept that encompasses all the different aspects, tools that were utilised to achieve this state of being/ or energy if you rather.
Madame Ori Skin Care commercial shoot campaign
For me as a man, a previous model, a man interested in cosmetics, beauty holds a very important part in my daily life, right down to how I feel about myself, to the way in which I care about myself and checking-in with my mental well-being. When talking of male archetypes, I see beauty as a man’s lover’s energy and to me taking care of myself is a way to show deep love to myself and also to those around me.
I grew up in a family with mum, dad and 4 sisters so very early on, I was exposed to beauty trends, routines and that’s where my love for taking care of myself arose. My mother encouraged me to take care of my skin, she would always say that it is good manners and that young men like me were the new generation of gentlemen that would bring back grooming (and she didn’t lie). She had tried with my dad for years but with not much success but clearly succeeded with me. Being French also played a huge role in our/my affinity towards the beauty industry, cosmetics, style etc. I grew up around high end French brands of cosmetics, fragrances and it was just part of our normal habitudes.
Growing up in England this made me ‘different’ from the majority of guys my age, I became known as the go to guy when it came to the ‘good stuff’ guys would come to me for advice and this was something girls loved about me. When I became a fashion Model at 20 in Paris I got to live my dream of being in front of people and be seen. life was good, I looked my best and the world was my oyster, I modelled for haute couture brands such as Hugo Boss and many others. And as much as this industry was brilliant in the beginning, the cracks started to show and my confidence became affected as a black man in an all predominantly white backstage. I was made to shave my hair, my build was scrutinised, I wasn’t lean enough, I wasn’t slim enough, I wasn’t tall enough and many more things that became quite painful in the end.
Shot for a Parisian publication (2004)
I left the Modeling industry with less illusions than when I entered, I left with some scars that affected my beliefs and I think that I never quite recovered from the microaggressions. As a result I am, even today, very weight conscious because I was made to feel that my 20 year old build which was at its best was not good enough. And the important lesson that I pulled from this was that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, totally subjective. Did I need the modelling industry to validate my looks? Or to give me value? At the time yes but looking back it was just smoke and mirrors.
Fast forward to now in my mid thirties I am a husband, dad, have enjoyed the smothering of a dad bod, yet something made me decide to bring the 20 year old back so I decided to lose a bit of weight and rebrand and go back into the modelling industry this time with a focus strictly on grooming and skin care. This has taken the route of brand ambassadorship and commercial modelling. What I love about this new awakening is that it is on my terms! If I’m not what you want, I will not let you waste my time. I’m onto the next. I love my current age I feel more settled in my looks, my appeal, my masculinity and just in my skin.
When it comes to a beauty journey, never underestimate the power of maturity or getting older, it is the best time ever.
Setting up my men’s platform, my aim was to show other men that it is possible to be straight, a dad and a husband and get in touch with your lover energy like I call it, it is okay to be playful, flirtatious, joyful, to take care of and love the skin you’re in. I Love the DMs that I receive from guys asking me advice on what skincare products or beard products to invest in. You will not realise how many straight men actually care about their skin, face or appearance.
My platform and my engagement with my followers which takes the form of playful grooming videos/ Modeling shots etc really helps cement the way that I feel about myself as a man, knowing that I need to ‘deliver’ outstanding content by my standard is a way to keep myself in check. Though I see it as extremely fun, on down days it can be a huge challenge to upkeep, just like when I was a model there is this unspoken pressure to always be in ambassador mode, look and feel your best and maintaining this energy can be tough.
Aaron Wallace Grooming
Lockdown has changed the way in which I operate, though it was the period where I rebranded and really reconnected with my love for grooming and self care. It has additionally changed the opportunities available – no commercial shoots, no photoshoots, but through finding amazing online platforms and collaborating with them this has greatly helped. My greatest ambition in my beauty journey at the moment is getting back to my weight of 5 years ago and this for both health and opportunities in the commercial model world, though I have been able to redefine my engagement with this industry on my terms, I am conscious of finding the right balance to self contentment in my journey. but if the past has shown me anything about this topic, it is to not put pressure on myself to obtain self acceptance, results…
I have understood that time and patience with ourselves is the most powerful agent in our beauty journey because really when you strip it down to the basics it is not about tweaking and changing yourself to self acceptance, it is rather about shifting your mindset to self acceptance. It all starts in the mind then the heart shifts, that’s how I have come to understand it anyways. We all deserve to celebrate and love ourselves, give yourself your flowers for how far you’ve come, you are beautiful. Allow that affirmation to bloom.
Yann W. Tanoé
You can find Yann at @imeveryman2.0 on Instagram. His personal brand ‘I’m Every Man’ empowers men to become who they want to be by promoting the use of grooming and style.