In an effort to amplifying the stories of Indigenous Peoples during National Indigenous History Month and every day, Sephora Canada has revealed a powerful new campaign that pays homage to the knowledge, wisdom, diverse strengths and teachings of Indigenous Peoples. We chatted with one of the campaign’s faces, Michelle Chubb, about the campaign, her partnership with Sephora and how she uses her platform to affect change. —Noa Nichol
Hi Michelle! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and grew up in the south end. I am a young Swampy Cree woman, part of the Bunibonibee Cree Nation (Oxford House) but also went to Pimicikamak Cree Nation (Cross Lake) for the summers and winters! During my time in Cross Lake, I would learn about my culture from my grandparents Kokum (grandmother) and mooshum (grandfather). They are spiritual healers and I was fascinated by the culture. I wanted to be just like them. While in Cross Lake, my aunties were already powwow dancers for as long as I can remember. That’s who taught me how to dance jingle and I fell in love with it! I would also go camping and fishing out in the bush. Being in that atmosphere, you feel peace and are humbled because you remember about your ancestors and how they lived back then. It was tough living in the city. I felt like an outcast and didn’t belong. I was always trying to fit in somewhere, but I always ended up by myself. I remember asking my parents if we could move to the Rez so I could have friends who would understand me. Now, I’m making TikToks and embracing my culture more than ever before and I’m loving it. I get a lot of positive feedback and love. Since I was young, it has been my mission to change the stereotypes of Indigenous peoples because I was always stereotyped by others.
How did you hook up with Sephora Canada for its National Indigenous History Month campaign? What about the partnership made it a perfect/poignant fit?
I actually got an email and when I read the subject line, I thought to myself … this isn’t real! They proceeded to ask me if I wanted to be part of the campaign and I automatically said yes, I wouldn’t want to turn down an awesome experience! I was intrigued about the campaign and what it was all about. I knew I wouldn’t be playing a character in the campaign, instead I could be myself which made it the perfect fit!
The campaign is centred around amplifying the voices of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, while paying homage to their knowledge, wisdom, diverse strengths and teachings; it’s also rooted in celebrating diversity and highlighting local Canadian collaborators’ authentic untold stories. How do these objectives resonate with you and the way in which you use your own platform to impact people/facilitate education/create change?
Like I said, it has been a goal of mine since I was young to be changing the narrative of Indigenous peoples. I was always told I couldn’t do it or I wasn’t smart enough, but I wanted to change the stereotypes because I’ve been through it and I didn’t like being told those lies. I wanted to share my experiences with the public and show them the real Indigenous peoples. Using TikTok definitely helped!
In a similar vein, how do you remain a voice for and active within your Indigenous community?
I always remember the little ones watching. They are what really pushes me to be myself so they can have someone to look up to and say “I can do it, too”. I’m really pushing myself to help the younger generations to reach for the stars, to just listen to themselves and stay inspired.
Sephora Canada has also announced that local Indigenous beauty brand, Cheekbone Beauty, will be launching on Sephora.ca in the next year; we hope this opens the door for even more Indigenous beauty brands to be placed on store shelves. What are some of your favourite Indigenous-owned beauty brands?
Cheekbone Beauty will always be one of my favourites. Prados Beauty is one I want to try out! Ninaminawshin, Rez Gal Lashes, DC Lashes and Sohka Lashes are also pretty lash companies I like to wear. 🙂
What is your advice for those of us who are not part of the local Indigenous community, but wish to gain more knowledge/understanding and be allies?
I would say to educate yourself on Indigenous topics and history, because it does take a lot out of us when we’re expected to teach everything about Indigenous peoples. There are so many tribes and different stories to hear from other people also!
What’s your personal style/beauty mantra?
I just come as I am and embrace my Indigenous culture. I could have never done that in high school! But I try to incorporate some Indigenous designs and jewelry in my everyday wear. 🙂