Rômulo Rosa: Born in My 20s

Rômulo Rosa (25) is a gender-fluid Brazilian from São Paulo. They share with us their journey.

“I'm from the east side of São Paulo, Brazil, and when I was a kid, I grew up in a very humble, simple neighborhood. Then, my parents bought a house in a neighborhood that was more accessible and liberal. But in Brazil, there is still the highest murder rate of LGBTQ people and blacks. Sometimes people treat us as if we are imposing on society even though we are the ones who are oppressed. However, I believe that Brazil can change and that Brazil is on the right path. People are struggling with great pains to change things, and thanks to them, things are adapting. LGBTQ and black people can step away from the shadows of European beauty standards and into reality. Now, we can be more empowered.”

“For example, the Skin Positivity movement has saved me and empowered me. Because of the beauty standards I was surrounded with, I always had a problem accepting my skin. I have always been seen as different by people, and in many ways, I have nothing in common with a lot of people that I meet. When I became apart of the Skin Positivity movement, I saw that normalcy was an option for me just like anybody else. I’ve been feeling so included, and that feeling is very necessary. People need to know that their skin doesn’t make them better or less. We are who we are on the inside! Skin positivity screams out to the world how we must make space for all social classes and all skin types because they too can possess talent, knowledge, and wisdom. Our intellect is not limited to the state of our skin!”

However, Romulo explains how they did not always feel this way. “I will never forget the times when I stopped going to school because of the giant, inflamed pimples that appeared on my skin in high school. Because of this, I always tried in vain to fit in and to be taken seriously. But today, I honestly don't care. I can take on life by myself. Now, when I look in the mirror, I literally say “hi” to my pimples, or I don't even notice them!”

Romulo sits on the floor with swimming trunks on and a crystal necklace. He wears sunglasses, and his exuberant curls push out freely.

Romulo continues to explain the troubles he used to have. “At 18 years old, my skin started changing out of nowhere, and I was so scared. I tried some soap creams, but nothing worked. I didn't have many resources 8 years ago, so I couldn’t get help. I started taking medicine on my own, but I gave it up because it was really bad for me. Eventually, I actually found a job in a beauty market doing makeup. I was happy, but whenever I arrived at work, I saw how the models had stunning, beautiful, and healthy skin, and that made me feel insecure. It made me feel inferior, you know? When I became of the Skin Positivity movement, I saw that there were people who were dealing with the same depression and anxiety about their skin as me. They were going through the same oppression from beauty standards, only somehow, they were able to accept themselves. From there, gradually, I understood that what people have to offer the world comes from inside. It does not come from how we look. Self-love and loving others is not even about beauty. It’s about the print of your soul, and that goes far beyond anything physical. When I realized this, I started to form more confidence, and I was willing to take my life much further.”

Romulo is wearing flair jeans, sunglasses, and blonde braids. He grasps the sunglasses with his fingers cooly.

Romula candidly confesses, “Don’t get me wrong, I still have my insecurities and fears, but the difference is this - I know that’s okay. Regardless of how you look you can do good for the world. Let go of self-judgment and stop taking notes on how to be perfect because perfection is a label. Labels are not healthy for the mind or for the skin. Strive to admire yourself from the inside. People may think you’re narcissistic, but they don’t understand. When you’re someone who was labeled “ugly” throughout their entire childhood, self-admiration is necessary to survival. When I understood this, I let go, and Rômulo Rosa was born.”