“I’m a Texas girl, from Dallas, more specifically. I grew up in a very accepting environment; outside of my home and inside my home my parents and sister always let me know that I was loved no matter how oddball-ish people thought I was. But you know how it gets once you get to junior high, and you start noticing who’s popular, who’s cool, and how others perceive you. You know how it is. I always had great friends who, along with me, weren’t cool and popular and we loved each other for who we were. Still do! But as someone who was often the only black person in her class, who’s parents never (ever!) bought me the clothes that everyone else was wearing, who was accused by peers of “trying to be white”, I wanted to fit in so frickin’ hard. And no matter how much I tried, it never worked. It just made me stick out more, and not in a good way. So I gave up. And it was the best decision I ever made.
It was only about four years ago that fully grown me became interested in pursuing an acting career. A little of the way into it, I was told that I’ll definitely never book a national commercial with a major food brand because of my diastema – the gap in between my two front teeth. The person who said this suggested I get a temporary tooth-filler. I know they only meant well, and yeah, okay, you can drive a truck through that thang, but I’ve never had a problem with my two front teeth. And anyone who does have a problem with my teeth, my kinky hair, my stretchmarks, or my enthusiastic Harry Potter obsession, can continue to stay uncomfortable with my presence. I’m not about to go back to those days of desiring to conform, of feeling so uncomfortable in my own skin.
I’m a grown-ass woman, and I refuse to be held back and put inside the boxes that society has picked out for me just because of what I look like. I refuse to accommodate other people’s insecurities. Shoutout to Issa Rae’s for having the vision of “Awkward Black Girl” and carrying it out – I see myself in it, and I know there’s other quirky, “different” black girls out there who identify with it too! As a black actress, I will use my talent to reject the status quo when it comes to the representation of black women, and I’m gonna have the kooky career that I want. I will arrive at commercial auditions without a gap space filler between my two front teeth. I will follow the example of actors like Jessie Williams and speak out against injustice in the film industry and society at large. I will follow the lead of directors like Ava DuVernay and not ask for permission to shine, and not ask for validation when I do. I am Oddboddie!
When you feel like you stick out like a sore thumb, accepting yourself as you are can be so very hard. But in a world like this and in a society like ours, when you’re a black female oddball, self-care and acceptance is the most revolutionary thing you can do. So do it girl!”
– Alexandria Boddie
Editor’s Note: What do you get when you’re just hanging out and having a conversation over plates of Greek takeout about Black self-love and inspiring Black artists who challenge us to live our lives to the edge and back? This impromptu shoot. We are immensely encouraged by talented women like Issa Rae, Ava DuVernay and men like Jessie Williams who, in sharing their authentic selves, help to uplift and celebrate the diversity and beauty of Black people. #YouAreBeautiful #WeAreBeautiful
The Face: Alexandria Boddie. The Photography: Angel Jordan. The Model Direction: Nikia Phoenix.