Being able to connect with Whitney was much more enjoyable than I’d even imagined. I was looking forward to delving a little deeper into her life as a mother, wife and business woman and as I anticipated, during our conversation, her spirit unfolded over the hours revealing a woman who is authentically sincere and kind. I meet lots of amazing women, who in their own right inspire me as well, but the wisdom, humor, humility and unabashed candor and poise that she embodies all at once delivered a refreshing melange. I agree that Whitney is the same person as “Naptural” is online as she liked to point out, but there is something more there, possibly something even she does not see. I think it was those moments of being able to feel her ‘it’ that made me proud to spend time and share space with a woman who also feverishly seeks out seeing the ‘it’ in other women too.
“I’m just a really laid back girl and what you see is what you get. I don’t try to hide anything. I like to make people laugh and I care about people. I like to share ideas and be creative. There’s really not much that I don’t share online regarding who I am. I think people are more shocked that I’m the same in person as I am online. That really is just me.
On External Beauty: Natural Hair, Mineral Makeup and Oil Cleansing
My staple hair products don’t really change a lot. For conditioner I still love Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo with Peppermint and I really like Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Conditioner. I stopped using shampoo so I’m back to using my own mud wash that I make out of Rhassoul Clay. For a leave-in I like to use aloe vera juice with a mix of my homemade hair oil. For stylers, I use my shea butter mix and flax seed gel. As far as other store bought products, I use the Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Edge Control Smoother and I like the Shea Moisture Manuka Honey. I kinda keep the same products in rotation. It’s all about low maintenance and moisturizing.
I wear natural makeup and it’s gone in two seconds! I always start the day with makeup and I end up not having any by the end. I’ll go to an event and I’ll put on makeup and think I’ll be really cute and by the time everyone starts taking pictures it’s like, ‘Who’s that oily girl in the middle?’ [laughs] I’m like, ‘Dang it Whitney, can’t you just use some chemical makeup on your face!’ [laughs] I don’t want to be that person that’s always having to have makeup on. I want people to watch my videos and know I’m comfortable to show my face and I make an effort to vlog without makeup a lot of the time. I keep it real with the oil and acne and what I look like. I like to see people who are just average looking and it’s relatable to not see cake face all the time. My makeup is gone at the end of the day because it’s Bare Minerals Foundation. It probably blows off my face when I walk out the door [laughs] but I feel like my skin can breathe with it. I’ll use Origins Concealer and Origins Stay Tuned Foundation too. Right now I’m in a Bare Minerals phase and I kinda went crazy and now I have a Bare Minerals everything, but I also really like Tarte’s Eyebrow Pencil and I like Aveda’s Petal Essence Eyeshadow. They are so pigmented and beautiful. I’ve actually started using NYX which is not even close to being natural but I don’t care. It used to be cute to be natural when I didn’t have a kid and I had all this time but now it’s like, ‘no.’ My favorite blush is Contour by Gabriel Cosmetics and I get it from Whole Foods. I also really like Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blush. Nude is my favorite lip color and my favorite nude is Bare Escentuals Shell Lip Liner because its a perfect pink-y brown color. It’s discontinued but you can still get it on Amazon. It’s not brown and it’s not pink. It’s perfect for my lips.
Right now I’m using Bare Minerals Mineralixirs Facial Cleansing Oil. It’s nice but I’m still on the fence about it. I’ve tried pure oil cleansing and the water only method and black soap to cleanse my face, but right now the Bare Minerals work. I’m trying to get back to doing all natural and I’m going slow because I don’t want my face to freak out. I also use Argan Oil and I noticed that my face started glowing the day after I started using it. It’s perfect. I can put it on my entire face and my hairline and I swear my hands look like I’m a freaking teenager.
On Entrepreneurship and Being Your Own Boss
There are some projects that I’m working on that I can’t really talk about [yet] but I really enjoy being my own boss. I used to be a graphic designer and out of school there were not many jobs because of the economy so I got used to being a contractor straight out of school. At first it really sucked but now I enjoy being self employed and carving my own future. I work really hard. I like that the harder I work the more I can get out of it. I like that my future depends on what I put into it.
On Motherhood and Taking Care Of Yourself
I like to ask myself [if women can have it all]. I was listening to NPR and they were saying that someone found or has this theory that you can’t have it all. You can’t have the perfect career and be the perfect parent and be the perfect this and be the perfect everything, you have to pick where you’re going to put 100 percent of your effort and try to keep up with the rest. I kind of agree with that. I think you can have it all but you can’t be perfect with it all. I think it takes a village to keep it moving forward. I don’t think that it’s one person that can make that happen. For me I’m lucky that I have my husband who can hold the fort and my mom when I need to be working when I can’t give my daughter love and attention at that moment. My career takes a hit too; I can’t be as in it as I used to be before I had my daughter. I have to be responsible and make sure I’m giving my daughter the time and attention that she needs. It’s impossible to be 100 percent all the time. Personally, I do my best [and] I choose to dedicate half of my time to my career and half of my time to my family which means that I don’t take time for myself. It’s not good. It’s not good, but if you realize that, you can take steps to fix that and that’s kind of what I’ve been working on. Taking some time out of my career and dedicate that to me. You need to be well rounded in that sense. It won’t be 100 percent but it can be like 60 percent and 10 percent and 30 percent or whatever. I’ve been trying to make more time for me.
On Beauty, Self Love and Her Daughter Oya (Short for Oliva)
I think beauty is self love. I don’t think you can have beauty without self love. I try to not focus on outwardly appearance, but I really try to keep it real and not be something that I’m not. I hope that more women don’t get sucked into the whole trying to look like something they’re not. No, I’m not the most beautiful person in the world. Some people think I’m ugly. Some people think I’m okay. You have to love who you are for who you are. I never knock people for their choices but I don’t ever want to augment who I am. What I look like and who I am was a gift from my parents and if I want to change that it’s kind of like slapping them in the face. I always want to be true to who I am because it’s my heritage. Even if it’s not the most beautiful, it’s history and my family history. Beauty is how you make people feel about themselves. Beauty is not makeup or clothes or how thin you are.
I want my daughter to give no f’s about what anybody thinks about her. I want her to obviously care about people but I want her to be true to herself and love everything about her. When I look at her I see my husband and my mom and my dad and I don’t want her to hate any of that. I want her to be proud of who she is. I think she is beautiful but I don’t want her to focus on that, I want her to focus on kindness and happiness because her outwardly appearance is not important at all. I want her to cultivate her inner beauty. I want her to be fearless.
On Living and Being Fulfilled
I don’t live with regrets, ever. I don’t want to look back when I’m older like, “Oh man, what would have happened if?” I’ve always kind of been I’m fearless and borderline reckless with my career choices. I quit my job once and moved to pursue an opportunity and then I came back home. I like moving around and going for it. There is really nothing to fear except not doing it. Yes, it might be scary but I find that there is more to lose than not doing it. Even if you fail you’ll learn something from it. You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not learning.
I had two things that I always wanted to be in life and that’s just happy and helping people. Honestly that’s all I wanted in life. I even wrote that in my yearbook with all that other cheesy stuff we write in our yearbooks. I never forgot that because those have always been my goals and I think that’s probably why I took so many chances with my career. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do but I knew exactly how I wanted to feel even when I was little. I wanted something that I felt fulfilled and I didn’t care how much money I made. I didn’t want to live with regrets. I feel really happy with where I am right now. I’ve made tons of mistakes but I think it’s important to try to learn from them. I think I’m on the right track.” – Whitney White.
Interview and Photography by Angel Jordan