Our beauty editor Grace Mantjiu jets off to Los Angeles in the US with the Dove team, and shares the experience.
When Dove invited me to be part of its partnership with Steven Universe all the way in LA, I got goose bumps all over my body. I was excited and nervous because I had never travelled outside the African continent. Despite the long and painful process of arranging my travel documents, I was still excited by the time the departure date arrived. I couldn’t wait to get on the plane and experience the business class that everyone always raves about on social media. The trip was about 23 hours, but I did not feel any of it; I even forgot that I had a fear of flying! Maybe it had something to do with the luxurious comfortable mini booth I was seated in on the plane. We finally arrived, and I had to pinch myself when I saw the famous Hollywood sign from my hotel rooftop.
First on the menu was the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I had always seen it on TV, and dreamt of walking where many of my idols had, such as late superstars Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin. Because the weather was extremely hot, wearing make- up during the day was not on the cards. But, my first day was a thrilling experience. On day two, we hit the stores in East Hollywood. The best part was visiting the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Everything is available for sale, from a huge slice of pizza (three times the size in SA!) to the best burritos I’ve ever eaten. Another highlight was going to the TCL Chinese Theatre.
It has concrete blocks set in the forecourt, bearing the signatures, footprints and handprints of famous celebrities as far back as the 1920s till today.
THE STEVEN UNIVERSE EXPERIENCE
The Cartoon Network channel is popular in my house because my 13-year-old son is obsessed with Steven Universe. Without a doubt, it is one of the most groundbreaking shows on our screens because of the strong messages about body positivity and self-love. So, when Dove took us to the cartoon network studios, the child in me came out to play. Meeting Rebecca Sugar, the creator of the series Steven Universe, was surreal. She is the first woman to independently create a series for the network. She created it because of her brother, who was bullied as a child. After learning this story, I fully understood the reason behind Dove partnering with the Cartoon Network. Dove is all about real beauty and confidence. So, this partnership will be effective in helping young kids deal with self- esteem issues. If you haven’t watched the series yet, I suggest that you start, especially with your child.
THE GRANDFATHER OF COMICS
Traffic in South Africa is nothing compared to LA! It took us three hours to travel from Hollywood to San Diego for the popular International Comic Con – a multi- genre entertainment and comic convention. This was to attend the Dove Self-Esteem Project panel discussion on body positivity.
I didn’t know how popular Comic Con was until I walked inside the venue. Every possible character was there, so it is no surprise that I went in search of my favourite characters from shows such as Star Wars and of course, Steven Universe. The best part was getting front row seats to the Superheroes of Body Positivity panel discussion, where six women sat around the table and openly talked about the challenges they faced regarding self-esteem. The talk meant a lot to me as I know how bullying at school can affect your body image and self-esteem. Teaching children about positive body affirmations and confidence from a young age is crucial. Dove believes that no young person should be held back from reaching their full potential. However, low body confidence and anxieties over appearance stop young people from being their best selves, affecting their health, friendships and even performance at school. The brand is now looking to change this with this partnership.
Five days went by so quickly, and before we knew it, we had to come back home. I had ticked off almost everything on my to-do list and made new friends, so I left LA with a huge smile. After learning a lot from Dove, I made a pledge to continue doing my bit in my personal life and through BONA to affirm women and children about their bodies. It is imperative that such initiatives are supported. It takes a village to raise a child, after all. For more information on this Dove partnership, visit dove.co.za
Check out our social media platforms and follow the hashtag #BONAGoesToLA for more on Grace’s trip and the Dove partnership with Steven Universe. Please also share your stories around body image to keep the conversation going.