It’s not very often that you’re introduced to someone that exhibits so much confidence and is totally unapologetic about who they are. When they finally appear, you 100 percent take note.
When the world was finally introduced to mocha-colored beauty Amara La Negra on the premiere of Love & Hip Hop Miami, it was as clear as her sassy attitude and perfectly shaped ‘fro that she was going to be the breakout star.
As a very proud Afro-Latina, we quickly learned that Amara would not stand for anyone criticizing her skin color or unique look. On the first episode, we witnessed her fellow castmate, producer Young Hollywood, blatantly tell Amara that she should change her look and be less Macy Gray and more Beyoncé. Unbeknownst to both of them, that conversation would spark a global conversation about colorism and outdated beauty standards.
Seemingly overnight, the 27-year-old reality star (née Dana Danelys De Los Santos) became an "unofficial" spokeswoman for Afro-Latinas. Fans were heavily impressed by the unapologetic Miami beauty.
Quickly reaching 1 million Instagram followers, people were excited to learn more about the woman popping up everywhere. Interestingly enough, she's not new to the game at all. Amara has been in the presence of greats, which include the incomparable salsa queen Celia Cruz. Her mission? To prove she's much more than a pretty face.
“I want to use my voice to do something positive. I use my music, my platform and my talents in order to inspire young girls that look like me and let them know that they are beautiful,” Amara shared with BET Style exclusively.
“Let me tell you something: I had a 6-year-old girl who came to one of the viewings for Love & Hip Hop and she was crying. And she said that people have treated her badly because of her [skintone]. Kids do understand that there is colorism and they need a role model that lets them know that they do not have to change themselves in order to be beautiful,” she explains. “I take on the challenge of being a role model. I know that I will not always be perfect. I do make mistakes but I want my message to be that beauty is not based on your color.”
Although she's busy managing her social media — through which she still personally responds to fans — and catering to tons of media requests, she found time to share her biggest beauty secrets. Yes, she even discussed the 'fro!
The adorable Dominican receives a lot of love from her community and it’s no wonder why she has the substantial amount of confidence that makes her a star.
When we asked her where she got her shining personality, she accredited two things: her beauty pageants days and her protective and loving mother, Mami Ana. “I want this to be clear. My mom is everything!” Amara shared with enthusiasm.
“I love my mom and she is the most important people in my life. She is my role model and she has taught me what a strong woman is. I can only recall once or twice in my life when my mother cried because she had to be strong. She had to be a strong woman because she left her country and she had to be a provider. She had to go through the process of working, getting her citizen papers and taking care of her daughter, who wanted a career in almost everything.”
Working two to three jobs to pay for Amara’s dancing lessons and “everything else that [she] wanted to do,” it was clear that Mami Ana only wanted the best for her daughter.
“She did all of this because she was able to see my potential and I am so grateful to that woman and I would do anything to make her proud. My mom is so important to me,” Amara said continuing to praise her mother.
When it comes to life as a beauty pageant girl, she was very honest about how it affected her views of beauty.
“I think that in that moment, I learned that in order to win beauty pageants, you have to look and walk a certain way. But now that I know better, I think that it did have an impact on my thoughts of beauty, but now I realize that none of that matters,” Amara shares. “After living a fake lifestyle of what society considers a beauty standard, I realize that I am beautiful because I naturally am.”
Amara feels that, even with all of the extremes, she has learned a lot. "It helped me to build confidence and, at an early age, it helped me express and be the sassy girl that I am," she mentioned.
Of course, many are intrigued by Amara's beauty routine since her exotic look is tied to her overall image. We didn't have to pry to hard for her to unveil her beauty secrets, which include her healthy ‘fro (that is maintained by her mom), perfectly white smile because she is “psychotic about teeth” and her healthy glowing skin.
On how she maintains her melanin-rich skin:
“I love to scrub. I am into sugar scrubs and I believe that you have to exfoliate so that you can get rid of the dead skin cells. I am also a firm believer that if you can’t put it in your mouth, then you shouldn’t put it on your skin. Your skin will absorb anything that you put on it, so I suggest to stay away from lotions and use natural oils like coconut oil,” she shared.
On how Mami Ana has perfected her Afro:
“I think she cares more for my hair than I do,” Amara opened up honestly. “My mother is the only person I allow to do my hair. I do add pieces to my hair in order to enhance what I already naturally have. It is really hard for me to have a perfectly shaped Afro all the time because of all the work that I do but my hair is mostly natural.”
On what she uses on her hair:
“My mom likes to use avocado, cinnamon oil and lavender in my hair. She like to create her own concoctions that actually work for my hair. She gives me scalp massages and she uses her Dominican old school recipes that are perfect for my hair.”
Beyond beauty, we were also wondering how she maintains her physique. Surprise! She was actually a fitness instructor once upon a time.
“Before I began focusing a 1000 percent on my career, I was a Zumba instructor and I am still certified to instruct. I use to weigh 230 pounds. My mom and I were going through a really depressing time and I found comfort in eating,” she confessed.
“So when I decided to change my life for the better, I stopped eating pizza, which I love, and I started dancing like three to four hours a day and naturally lost the weight. Dancing is all that I need. If I could dance my life away in sweat, I would be satisfied. I also train with King Fitness.”
Speaking of surprises, we were in complete shock when she shared exclusively with us things no one knows about her — including how she calms her nerves by popping other people’s pimples!
“When I am nervous, I pop people’s pimples. It gives me peace. I know, its gross,” she admitted. “I have a blankie that I carry with me everywhere that I go. It gives me comfort and I can't sleep without it. Oh, and I love to thrift shop. I don't hide it at all. I take $100 and rack up! It is what I love to do.”
Even with her perfect beauty regimens, fitness triumphs and real life quirks, Amara admits that she is still learning. She recently posted a photo with the caption, "I wish I could tell the younger me all the things I know today,” so we inquired...what exactly would she tell her younger self?
“Learn to say no. I am naturally a happy person and I never want to hurt a person’s feelings even if it means sacrificing my own. I would tell my younger self to love you first. It is important to know that the only thing that is real in life is you and your family,” she shared openly.
Seems like Amara's star isn't slowing down anytime soon. We're excited to watch her rise all the way to the top.
(Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images)
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