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Original Author:
Tania Tesson

My name is Tania Tesson. I am 23-year old, and I’m from Paris, France. I am the first in my family to attend university, setting an example for my younger sister and brothers. I am very ambitious, independent, and persevering in anything that I do.

I came to St. F.X as a recruit for the X-Women Basketball team and wanting to pursue a career in kinesiology. However, in my second year, my education took a turn. I became more interested in sociology, and I changed my program of study. Around that time, I also decided that I wanted to start my own business. However, it was not Naturally Me just yet.

I have always had a passion for sewing and hair. In 2017, I wanted to sew my dress for my prom as I found every dress to be too expensive and not to my liking. I wanted something original and unique that represented me and my origins. Initially, I am from Congo, Tunisia, Italy, France, and Angola. I love the fabric of all of my cultures, however, I enjoy Congolese fabric the most. I then made my prom dress in my dorm room out of African Ankara fabric. This was my first creation, and it made me believe that I can create more. From there, I kept that in mind but did not have the time during university, since I was a student-athlete. However, I still managed to design and make some hair accessories.

Then, I decided it was time for me to separate from athletics and focus on academics and on my business that was slowly growing, especially with my presence on social media, particularly on YouTube. While working on my business, I realized that I am passionate about my multiple cultures. To me, it is essential to share my cultures with others and help them understand my cultures.

However, I also encountered a phenomenon that prevents us as a society from understanding and respecting each other's cultures. This phenomenon is cultural appropriation, which constantly divides us and prevents us from unifying and seeing our shared history as a human race. Cultural appropriation is defined as "the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society."

My goal and mission to tackle that phenomenon and transform it into cultural appreciation.

I created "Naturally Me" to have everyone experience another culture with the confidence of knowing about it. To support "Naturally Me" is to show appreciation of and proper respect for another culture of our world. Right now, I have decided to express that through clothing, starting with the "Naturally Me" masks. 

"Naturally Me" masks also came to life to support the essential workers during the pandemic and those that are now required to wear a face mask when outside of their home. "Naturally Me" masks have three layers for better protection. The inside layer is the satin fabric to prevent skin breakouts, and the ear loops are adjustable for even more comfort.

I genuinely believe that I can contribute to social change through fashion, which is my way to start.

Stories of Hope