point of you: micah pegues
i-D asked our readers across the USA for their point of view on beauty. Micah Pegues tells us about her magazine, Polychrome, why the industry needs to commit to diversity, and what moving to New York taught her.
Photography Micaiah Carter. Styling Shawn Lakin. Hair Kendall Dorsey. Makeup Raisa Thomas.
Earlier this year, i-D asked our readers across the USA for their point of view on beauty, asking them to submit stories to us that encapsulated what the future might look like. The six winners then came to New York to be shot by photographer Micaiah Carter, and tell us all about what informs their worldview. Here, Micah Pegues tells us about her magazine, Polychrome, why the industry needs to commit to diversity, and what moving to New York taught her.
How did you end up here today?
I initially saw the call for submissions on Facebook and a bunch of my friends sent it to me, because I'm always going on and on and on about how much I love i-D, and magazines. I called my friend, we Face Timed and I was like, "Please help me figure out which photos I can use." I run a magazine called Polychrome. It's about people of color, so I have a bunch of POC artists and friends that I've taken pictures of. I was really interested in showcasing them, and their style, and just my friends that I've made in the city. I put them all together in InDesign and stuff and wrote up a little thing and submitted it. I just figured I'd shoot my shot. I wasn't really thinking that anything would happen, so that was really cool to get the email later and say that I was one of the finalists. That was really exciting for me.
Tell us a little bit about Polychrome and how you started that.
So Polychrome I started freshman year of college. I really didn't know anyone, and I was really sad, or not sad, but just lonely. I didn't know a lot of people and didn't feel like I had my community yet in the city, which is I'm sure a thing that many people go through. But I was really used to going to the same school from pre-K through 12th grade.
Where did you move from?
I moved from Dallas, Texas.
So it was a big jump.
Really. So I came here [New York], and it was like, you don't look at anyone, you don't talk to anyone on the street, and so I was feeling really lonely. And then I went back home during winter break, and I was at Barnes and Nobles, just looking through magazine because I'm always looking for the new things to consume basically. And I didn't really see any that matched the POC artist kind of thing that I was looking for. And so, I went home, and I had a friend who just made a zine. I saw her produce it and get it in the Strand. And I thought if she can do that, I can definitely do that too.
From there, I started writing down all the people that I might want to work with, and I went through my Instagram and saw all the people that it'd be cool if I could contact them and put them in Polychrome. So from there, coming back, I guess that was spring semester of 2017. I DM'ed some people, and we started meeting up, and I started making friends while doing these shoots. So that was a big part of my sophomore year, and it helped me feel a sense of community in university, which was really important to me. And now I just feel so much love and POC power in the city... now, we have it in three stores here. We have it at the Strand.
How do you feel about increased diversity in the beauty industry?
It's a really strange dichotomy, because you're like, "Yes, representation," but also then you're kind of commodifying the look. So there's a weird balance you that you have to strike, and I think it has to do with the team who's there helping you get ready, and has to do with who's receiving the products, so that helps you feel a little bit better about it. I guess two years ago, all the September issues were just white women. There weren't any POC, which was a big thing, because they had done their diversity issue and they had done all this other stuff before where they're like, "We're celebrating diversity." But when it comes to the biggest issues of the year, when you're supposed to be making all your money, you're just going back to saying that anyone else is...
Yeah. It's not gonna sell.
What does sell to you? What's your take on beauty?
I guess I go for really simple. So in the morning, I have really sensitive skin, so I always make sure I moisturize. Right now, I'm doing a vitamin E serum or oil. I drop it on my face at night, and then I have a moisturizer that's a cruelty-free bee something, and I rub it all in. It's just most important to me to not be ashy and just be really well moisturized. It's just so cold up here. I'm still getting used to it. So my moisturizer is super important, and I really like blush. I really like 80s blush too, just because I think it looks youthful and energized. It just looks so cute. You look so fun, so I like that a lot and then also mascara. I really like having long eyelashes and really curly ones, so I just coat it on up. Those are my two faves, but basically making sure my skin is well moisturized and taken care of is super important to me.
Are there people historically or now, who you think are really doing it right and look fantastic?
I think Zoe Kravitz is beautiful, like drop dead gorgeous, and she always has the most perfect skin. Her and Tessa Thompson are my two favorites. They're such style icons and seem like genuinely good people.
What has moving to a new place taught you?
New York has made me a lot more open. In Dallas, I was really closed off and even more introverted than I am now, and so being here, no one gives a fuck what you're dressed like or anything basically. So you can just do or be anything you want, and I think that freedom has really let me become myself more fully, whether it's academically or style-wise or just my own personal thoughts.
All these things feed into identity.
Yeah, it's really helped me be more healthfully secure with myself and who I am and made me more confident, so that is probably the biggest thing. Like, when I go back home, they're like, "She's been up in New York!" Getting a lot more politically active and active in all my interests has really been what's it done for me.
Photography Micaiah Carter
Styling Shawn Lakin
Hair Kendall Dorsey
Makeup Raisa Thomas
Nails Leanne Woodley
Producer Chloe Mina
Production Manager Elina Angel
Senior Creative Emery Coopersmith
Associate Account Manager Sam Mark
Talent Director Andrea Haber
Photography Assistants Nigel So Hang, Rahim Fortune
Digital Technician Victor Tate
Stylists Assistants Nicole Chan, Charlotte Jackson
Hair Assistant Natalia Borgas
Makeup Assistants Keyana Morrisson
Production Assistants Ryan Hall, Tiye Amenechi