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March 8, 2022

Interview with Marcela Alcalá: Feeling empowered through beauty

Influencer Marcela Alcalá knows that beauty is about more than how we look: it's a fun, powerful way to explore and empower our identities. In this interview, Marcela Alcalá shares insights about embracing her multiracial identity through beauty and her inspiring Instagram account @MexicanButJapanese. She also discusses the intergenerational beauty wisdom she's learned from her mom, who often joins in her content creation, and how the best way to get started as an entrepreneur is to, Start today. Just do it! Don't overthink it. Don't make it perfect. Just do it.

Tell us about your journey to becoming an entrepreneur.
It all started with Instagram really. I started posting about beauty, skincare, fashion, and the community and support I've received has been incredible. I feel extremely grateful for everyone who takes the time to hang out with me via social media. From there, I began working with brands and also launched a tiny vintage shop. And it's been so much fun!

Do you find beauty empowering? If so, how?
Yes! For me beauty is a way to express myself, to play with my look, to build my confidence, and to feel good about myself. For me beauty products are kind of like jewelry just little accents/jewels that accentuate me.

Maya Angelou said, As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. How do you feel your platform has impacted your own identity? How has it impacted a larger community?
Oh! I'm not sure! A big piece of my platform and goal was to highlight my mom, her personality and style. And to show people that just because we age and grow older doesn't mean you don't want to try new things, play with your look, or be part of the conversation.

What has been your biggest challenge as a female entrepreneur?
The business side of things. I'm a one-woman show, so I wear all the hats. It's hard to balance the business side with the creative side and the ever-evolving social media landscape. However, it's a lot of fun. It's hard, but it's fun!

Scenario: It's been a long week, and you're finally coming home to rest. What's your go-to way to care for your mental health? Do you have any mini resets you take during the stressful times themselves?
A good shower! And I mean the one where you take your time. The one where you do a hair mask. The one where you exfoliate your entire body. The one where you take your time applying moisturizer post-shower. And then I just park on the couch and watch something funny.

Predictions: What trends are you seeing in your industry? What do you think women (and men) can expect from this space in the coming years?
People creating content not just "influencers." TikTok has made everyone a content creator and I love to see, to learn, to be a part of everyone's world.

What advice do you have for other women aspiring towards entrepreneurship, whether they're entering the beauty space or another industry?
Start today. Just do it. Don't overthink it. Don't make it perfect. Just do it.

Can you tell us about your journey to creating your Instagram platform, @Mexicanbutjapanese?
I work in the beauty industry, in education, and I found myself creating a lot of product training videos. So one day, I decided to just upload them to IG, might as well, you know? And the reaction from the IG world was wonderful and overwhelming in the most positive way. It changed my life. And I am so grateful that I get to work in the beauty industry and talk about beauty products every day. I genuinely love what I do.

As we celebrate intergenerational wisdom, were inspired by your collaborations with your mother. How did you two begin working together in the beauty industry?
My mom was always with me when I was making videos. And one day my husband said, why don't you guys do it together? You do it together in real life. And that's how it all started.

What is the best beauty tip you learned from your mother?
Don't care about what anyone else thinks about you. Do whatever makes YOU happy.

The way you explore and embrace your multiracial identity is inspirational. In both your beauty choices and in other areas of your life, how have you brought your two heritages together?
Well, I grew up very Mexican. I'm actually still exploring and learning about my Japanese culture. I'm not as "Japanese" as I am "Mexican" in my everyday life. However, I have a lot of family in Japan that I'm eager to see in the near future and continue learning/immersing myself in our family history.

What advice would you give to others looking to explore their identities through beauty?
Have fun with it! Embrace it, question it, enjoy it. Don't take it too seriously. The beauty that matters is inside.

Guess what? For every product you purchase in March as you explore your identity through beauty, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Movemeant, a non-profit that celebrates physical movement to unlock values like self-confidence, resilience, commitment, balance and community. Head to our Female-Founded shop to support women and look amazing.

Author

Jac Wray

While a self-described social butterfly, I find empowerment in my independence. Taking myself on a spur of the moment solo vacation, dinner dates to new restaurants or parts of the city where my company is solely the characters in the book I bring, visiting the local bar and getting to know the bartenders over a glass of wine… or 3. I find that intimate moments with myself leave me feeling brave, confident, and empowered to take on the world without depending on anything else as a buffer. It also gives me time to reflect, plan, journal and explore new places at my own pace.