Normani Says the Only Person She's in Competition With Is Herself

Brennan Kilbane

When Fifth Harmony, the multi-platinum girl group that launched Normani's career, disbanded, the musician set out to find herself — and also improve her skin. As she tells Brennan Kilbane in her own words, both projects are coming along beautifully.

Do I consider myself a beauty queen? I do. When I was younger, I was a Miss Texas contestant, and I think that when talking about pageants, people have a single kind of idea of what beauty is. It should represent all women, to be quite frank. Everyone has a beauty queen within them. And it takes time to tap into that awareness.

So, yes, my answer is yes. I am a beauty queen. Right now, there's beauty in me having the time, even in this pandemic, to be still, to disconnect from the rest of the world, to journal. It's just me getting to know myself, spending time with myself. I love being in my natural state. 

I have braids in right now. Typically, my hair would be pretty manipulated — a lot of brushing, half up, half down, extensions. But I'm in a season of being. And I'm able to give myself facials. I learned from the best: my aesthetician, Celeste [Rodrigues]. I had been struggling with my skin for the past few years. Wearing makeup all day — and heavy makeup at that — takes a toll on my skin. At the beginning of this year, it was the worst it had ever been, to the point where I was supposed to go to certain events, take certain meetings, and I couldn't work myself up. It'd be me having conversations [in the mirror], trying to convince myself I could do it, but I didn't feel comfortable at all.

Double cleansing changed my life. Because you think you got everything off, but it's still living in your pores. I start with the iS Clinical Cleansing Complex, which is a lightweight cleanser; it's great for removing makeup. Then I really love this Warming Honey Cleanser by iS Clinical. It hydrates my skin while also giving it a deep cleanse. And it exfoliates as well. 

I also really love the Hydra-Cool Serum by iS Clinical. It kind of soothes my skin, and I put that on right before I put my moisturizer on. It gives me an extra boost of hydration. IS Clinical is what my facialist uses on me. 

I also use the Celluma Pro light system for my face. It has [different lights] to kill bacteria, to brighten the skin, so I use that at night before I go to bed. That's the last thing I use. I also use this Apreuty high-frequency device. It almost feels like little lasers. It tightens the skin but pays attention to specific areas. And it helps with hyperpigmentation, because of all of my melanin.

I think I learned a lot about myself being in Fifth Harmony. It was obvious — I was the only significantly darker, African-American [member]. Knowing that I looked different sometimes, I think, definitely altered the way that I felt. But honestly, I have such an amazing support system. My mom and my dad and my grandmother always reminded me I was beautiful. I was one of three little Black kids in the whole school and I remember asking my mom to straighten my hair, wishing my eyes were a little bit lighter, because that was the standard. Every Black girl should be able to look at the television screen and see herself as beautiful.

I think I'm just discovering who I am, to be quite honest.

Naomi Campbell was such a huge part of my childhood, and me being able to look at one of the biggest supermodels in the whole entire world — not only being a Black woman but being a woman with a similar complexion to me. Colorism is a whole other thing. Musically, Kelly Rowland is the mother of chocolate girls. I don't know if you saw her latest video, "Coffee" — she looks stunning. And Michelle Obama. The fact that a first lady can be not only a Black woman, but a Black woman that looks like me, that is typically at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of having the conversation about beauty standards.

I think I'm just discovering who I am, to be quite honest. And it's not me in contest with anybody else; it's me in competition with myself. I want to start taking more dance classes and being more physical. Naturally, I'm athletic, because that's who I was at a young age. You'd think I [trained] more, but I probably work out three times a week. I work out at this gym called Dogpound, with my trainer Kevin [Mejia]. If I work out twice within the week, I'll do yoga once. 

Dance is the best way to stay physical but not feel like I'm working out. Dance is such a part of my brand. Every time I watch Rosalía, I'm so inspired. Similar to music, dance is such a universal language. I may not be as educated [as Rosalía], because she grew up around flamenco, but it still speaks to me. 

I'm curious about a lot. OK, so what's the history behind that? What does this mean when you hit this [move]? I'm very detail-oriented. But I love to be educated. To know everything.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

More on Normani:

Now watch this ballerina's entire beauty routine:

Watch Now: Allure Video.

Originally Appeared on Allure

More From