When Katonya Breaux asked Twitter about sunscreen that does not leave a white sheen on darker skin, she spotted a hole in the market. She also realised that many people were unaware of the dangers of exposure to the sun. There is a learning gap between women of colour, she says.
Speaking from her home in Calabasas, California, she tells me about UnSun – a line of sunscreen that she has just launched. Although it is designed for darker skin, in a neat twist on diversity, it also works on all complexions. The plaudits are pouring in.
I ask her about moving from construction – the industry she worked in for 20 years – to beauty. She pauses, as a dog barks in the background. Sorry, she says. Two dogs, actually. Always barking. One is Bisous, a bichon frise, the other is Everest, a Bernese mountain dog who belongs to her son, Frank Ocean. Frank – the most talked-about artist of the year, the man whose much-delayed new album, Blonde, has topped the charts in the UK and the US – Ocean. That Frank Ocean.
But back to Unsun. Breaux has worn sunscreen ever since her 20s, when she noticed moles appearing above her lip. At first, she liked them, painting her lips red, going a little bit Marilyn Monroe. Then, when a few more appeared, she went to the GP, got scared, read about the under-reported problem of skin cancer in people of colour, and became more diligent, really, because you have to be. Then her aunt got skin cancer.
So, does she think about the beauty industry? I don’t think it’s diverse enough, but it is improving, she says. There is a long way to go.
Breaux features prominently on the Unsun website and, at 50 years old, is an impressive advertisement for her own product. But, when I suggest that she get Frank to model for her, she laughs. I can’t get him to do that, she says.
So, is her son supportive of her business? Incredibly, yes, I send him articles and he’s so great, so proud, she says.
What does she think of his new album? Oh, we love it – we meaning Breaux and her son, Ryan, Frank’s brother. Apparently, they play it in the car every morning on the way to school. We always turn it up loud at the end. And her favourite song? That’s hard. Nikes, I think.
Then comes the big question: was, as has been widely rumoured, hers the voice on the song Be Yourself that says: Do not smoke marijuana, do not consume alcohol, do not get in the car with someone who is inebriated. This is mom, call me, bye.
That wasn’t me, no, Breaux answers, but I would have done it happily. And why the delay – why did Frank torture us with such a long wait? Ah you know … Frank is an artist, he’s creative. That just happens.
News Source TheGuardianNews