ROLE MODEL OF THE WEEK, THE AMAZING GLENICE ALLISON, LIVING IN BIRMINGHAM, UK

I am proudly one of the longest serving “faces” in Avon UK. Being a part of the Avon PR process has opened my eyes to what the company is about, what they are trying to achieve and from my own experience knowing what my face can do for other women that look like me upon entering the industry. I started Avon when I saw a black woman in one of their adverts in 2009. I had heard of Avon, knew very little about the opportunity but thought to give them a call based on just taking a chance. I went for an advert opportunity in 2015 and it was then I had to really wonder if Avon were even prepared to have someone like me to be a face for them. The audition process was long but it was fun and in one of the final elements of the process, I had to stand in front of a camera and talk. There was a Scottish woman that looked at my shiny face and asked me if I had my makeup on me. When I looked on the table there wasn’t any shade of foundation for me. Long story short, I ran to get my makeup and on the way back to the room, went to the ladies and simply blotted my face with tissue paper. She declared that was “much better”. At this point, I wondered if I had walked into a parallel universe because I couldn’t figure out why a makeup company would not have my shade of foundation. I persisted with the process anyway and looking back on that video, I can remember feeling thrown by it all.

 

I didn’t get the advert (at the time) but what I did get was something called Beauty For a Purpose. I’ll be honest, I was working part time and didn’t even realise the scale of the project until I was on my way down to London for the photoshoot. On the journey down, I watched videos of the likes of women like Orenthia Ricketts-Palmer and her story and what Avon meant to her. It was amazing (and they had her shade of foundation too!) At the shoot, just meeting other UK reps that were achieving things, like I had never seen, was also an eye opener, the likes of Zoe Davies and Catherine Piggott was just incredible. And it made me want to achieve even more. But I was a lone voice. It wasn’t something that I was scared of but once the pictures were released, I soon found how lonely being that one woman could be. Whilst other reps were celebrated, I got attacked online, I got asked questions that would never have been asked to my colleagues. Did I have good days? HELL YEAH but my biggest support boost had to come from within. All of my main cheerleaders lived miles away. Avon HQ always listened and always supported in ways that took me by surprise for a corporate of their size if I’m honest and they have continued to listen where possible and included my voice to be heard where they see a good fit.

 

Are things much better?? Yes and No. Shooting on the recent #stand4her campaign, there were a number of representatives/ models – myself included that each had an envelope of Avon makeup. I was the only person that was asked if I had my makeup on me because they didn’t have any one of the Avon shades of Foundation for my skin. Luckily, 2015 (and the stories of legendary Supermodel (and aunty in my head) Iman taught me to carry my own makeup to these things. Now granted, they may not have known which shade would be better suited to my skin but there are at least 6 shades that they could’ve carried with them into the envelope to find out. For the unseeing eye, I could be seen as an “add-on” but I have been representing for so long that Avon and I have the receipts to prove that this isn’t exactly true. But considering the ever changing demographics in Britain, does diversity still matter?

 

In short, HELL YEAH!! But as I have alluded to in my previous blogs, diversity won’t matter if the products are no good or people are just seen as an add-on. Black consumers of make up are far more discerning in 2019 – we know our worth. The black and mixed-race population in the UK has doubled in the last ten years. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising estimates that black women spend some £4.8 billion on products and treatments, with African Caribbean women spending six times more than their white counterparts on their hair. But even with such an impressive spend, ethnic groups remain drastically underserved and under-represented in the industry and at the beauty counter.

 

I am all over social media. I have a two Facebook pages called Avon Beauty and Cosmetic Diversity and Avon Beauty and Cosmetics which features the products that I use or the cosmetics that me or my customers wear. Both of my pages are fantastic and you will see me adding to my team of representatives or sending out callouts for new customers. These pages are for real Avonistas who recognise the diversity in business and beauty!! I am always looking for representatives and customers – there are opportunities for growth – an opportunity rarely taken up by black people, but my team is growing steadily. If you are interested in joining the team and gaining the benefits of being an Avon rep, then call me. If you want to shop with me, then ask as I may have the perfect products for you. My motto is to Join | Shop | Follow and I have been able to fit it around my children as the advert of us shows.

 

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About Tony Tokunbo Eteka Fernandez

Tony Tokunbo Eteka Fernandez is an International Award Winner, Published Author & Poet, Broadcast Journalist, MC and Youth Empowerment Consultant . He is also The CEO of AFRICA4U and The Founder of Africans in The Diaspora People also see him as a Cultural and Social entrepreneur, which means he is skilled in working with many different communities, bringing people together in successful focused events. Tony has organised many cultural events …involving both BME and mainstream communities. He is skilled in hosting events that reinforce community cohesion and bringing different kinds of people together. He has organised events in The UK, The U.S.A, Holland, Germany, Romania, Malta and Nigeria and has visited over 22 European Countries. Tony has also organised The Black History Month Celebrations at The UK House of Parliament for over five years in a row He continues to promote the true life and success stories of Africans in Europe and Africans around the world and has organised several small scale literary and awards initiatives aimed at empowering young people. He has also spent time as an International broadcaster and was The Producer and Presenter for AFRICA4U International Radio Talk Show at Reading4u Radio Station for nearly three years. Tony has interviewed high profile Members of Parliament, Distinguished celebrities and some of Africas best musicians including Ivonne Chaka Chaka and Kanda Bongoman. He has also been a guest on BBC Radio on numerous occasions to discuss the community cohesion events he organises at UK House of Parliament and also to recite some of his published work in memory of Nelson Mandela, 50 Years Anniversary of The race relations act and major community issues. Tony has also a Guest on popular Radio stations in Nigeria and The States In the last few years he has been very passionate about Youth empowerment, community cohesion and cultural intelligence. Tony was born in South London and has lived in several parts of England and Nigeria . He started writing at the tender age of nine, a habit he expressed with creative enthusiasm. Tony writes Poetry, short stories and proverbs on personal development. He is currently working on his 4th book which will also be his first novel. He is also into Public Speaking at Special events and Social functions and is a Mentor for young people in the UK Community. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at The University of Lagos, Nigeria in English and World Literature. He later went on to attain a teaching qualification at The Frances King International Training Institute, South Kensington London, it was here he studied Teaching English as a Foreign Language. He also studied Web Design at The City University in London. He published his first book in June 1999 called “The Beauty in the Dark” (A Collection of Poetry which received critical acclamation in many circles around the world). .Tony’s aim in life is to inspire the young generation and to encourage the youth to make the very best of their dreams and aspirations,. He published a 2nd book in June 2009 called ” The Sound of Running Water” – A Family gift book of proverbs and quotations on Personal Development and Positive Thinking . In December 2009, he published his 3rd book called “One Moment of Peace”.- A collection of Poetry inspired by personal experiences and spiritual growth. Besides the fact that the Artist has won International online awards, he is mostly inspired by Life experience, love, music and cultural awareness. He was Resident Poet at the 5th London Poetry Festival in 2009 and has been a guest on BBC Radio on very many occassions including The famous Anne Diamond Show. He has also been a guest on a few SKY TV stations and several International Radio Stations around The World
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