A Conversation With Aliza, Founder of Brown Girl Beauty

Aliza is the founder of Brown Girl Beauty, a South Asian beauty startup for all shades.

Kate Anderson-Song Head Interviewer

Introduce yourself! 

Hi, I’m Aliza, and I’m the founder of Brown Girl Beauty!


Where did the idea for your company, Brown Girl Beauty, begin, and how did you start making that idea a reality?   

I was always interested in fashion and makeup as a mode of expression and wanted to create something down the line. But, after finishing my degree in bio, I started realizing I recognized a lot of skincare and makeup ingredients from the lab and learning about how they work with the skin.

I had collaborated with other brands and loved playing with color, makeup, and style but quickly realized there was a lack of brands that really catered to brown skin. Even back home in India and Pakistan, most brands still cater to lighter skin tones due to antiquated colonial notions of beauty. Rather than adhere to beauty standards not made for us, I wanted to create something that actually celebrates our own features and heritage.

Brown Girl Beauty is “the first all-inclusive makeup line for brown skin. South Asian inspired, for all shades.” How did you come to the decision to center inclusivity in your business? And how does that affect how you run your company today?  

Being South Asian, my community and culture were truly behind every part of my vision from day one.

I wanted to create something that my community would love and stand behind and that would empower other Brown girls to love their skin in the face of a society that often says the opposite. As we started growing, that message was resonating with women of other cultures and ethnicities beyond my own ethnic community and began to be something that really resonated with the broader community of women of color.

We just passed our 1-year mark and are still growing and evolving! The idea was really born out of deep love and appreciation for South Asian culture and heritage, and I think the brand is a way to show that love for our culture both within and beyond our community, bringing elements of South Asian culture to all. I think that other women of color also really connect with the idea of owning our own features and beauty, and I love that! One year later, inclusivity remains central to the vision, and I hope that it can continue to grow. IMG_0013 (2).JPG

Brown Girl Beauty also has a blog—Who writes for the blog, and what sort of content is there?   

I, as well as a team of students and recently graduated interns, write for the blog! Topics cover beauty, fashion, and culture, and I hope to see that expand as well. 

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment? Personally and work-wise?    

I’d say learning to be flexible and not box myself in too much with what I want to do. I think a lot of that comes with becoming more comfortable with yourself and with change in your twenties. Both with the business and with my education and career, learning how to switch gears when faced with a problem and how to handle setbacks. Especially for our community, being newer to this country, there often isn’t a roadmap, and we’re kind of learning as we go—it’s up to us to CREATE the roadmap.

Who inspires you? Do you have any role models in your life? 

My parents. The drive and determination it takes to make it a new country is something I’ve always admired—they put family and community first, and I hope to emulate that as well. 

Is there anything you wish you knew when you were beginning to create this business?  Is there any piece of advice you’d want to share with other aspiring young Asian entrepreneurs?

I would say that now is the time to pursue new ideas—we definitely need more representation in this space. You don’t have to be perfect—just start. 

This time of COVID-19 and the rise of anti-Asian hate has been difficult for the whole Overachiever community—and we know it has hit students very hard. How have you been coping with this time? How has your year been? Has your work changed or been affected at all? 

The rise of anti-Asian hate, anti-immigrant sentiment, and hatred towards our communities and other communities of color are painful to watch and, unfortunately, are not new. I think it shows how important it is for us to have safe spaces within the community and to support each other and build solidarity with other communities of color—we need each other.

Collectively, our voices carry weight, and we are stronger together. I have always been grateful for the strong sense of community within Desi culture, and honestly, that sense of community inspires me to create in a way that truly brings us together and empowers people that look like me. I think that message has resonated across our community and other cultures as well. 

What does self-care mean to you? How do you take care of yourself?  

Spending time with my family, taking walks, and reading! I like to find time to get outside and take walks, even when it’s cold here in the midwest. Just getting outside for a little bit makes me happy! I’m definitely still learning, but that is something that always helps me feel calm and more energized. 

Thank you so much for talking with Overachiever. Final question: What are you working on right now? Or what is upcoming for you and your work? 

Right now, I am working on a new collection for our next product launch! I am excited to unveil some new products in the pipeline. 

Your go-to coffee shop order: Iced coffee 

What item(s) can you not leave your house without: Lip gloss (Rani, please!), notebook, and a pen

Any good films/TV shows you’re watching right now: Lupin and Never Have I Ever. I loved The Queen’s Gambit as well.

Ultimate comfort food: My mom’s biryani! 

What has been the highlight of your day today: Walking around the city! The sun came out after a rainy week. 

Aliza is the founder of Brown Girl Beauty, a South Asian beauty startup for all shades. Rooted in culture and community, Brown Girl Beauty is the first all inclusive makeup line for brown skin! Brown Girl Beauty seeks to celebrate, not erase brown skin. Find BGB at @shopbrowngirlbeauty and shopbrowngirlbeauty.com

You can also read Overachiever Magazine’s review of some Brown Girl Beauty products HERE! 

Head Interviewer

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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