Editor In Chief of Afro-Vegan Beauty, Kaori Nik, is taking the world by storm through her online resource and magazine for all things plant-based and Black Girl Magic.
But Nik wasn’t always a plant-based lover. She began as a Chicago-raised, chicken and fish-eating girl; but once she made her way into the beauty world, in order to keep up with her lifestyle, Nik changed to a plant-based diet.
This led to her magazine, Afro-Vegan Beauty, that focuses on three prevalent categories in her life: wellness, beauty and community. Nik’s magazine strives to work with women to enhance their confidence and empower them through education. Beyond those three categories and her passion for empowerment, Nik also seeks to make the magazine an inclusive space.
All of the ad space within the glossy pages is dedicated to Black-owned businesses that are cruelty-free and vegan. This is because Nik is pushing for the Black dollar and believes it can change the Black community drastically.
Nik also advises that if you are in a room full of people and you witness an injustice, speak up in that moment. Individuals can help the Black community by not being complacent or silent.
In this interview, vegan activist and entrepreneur Victoriah Bech sits down with Nik, for the live IGTV episode of “You Can Change The World Girl,” a series Bech created to highlight women making a difference. Bech designs t-shirts that boldly state “You Can Change the World Girl” (made from vegan cruelty free ink and 100% organic cotton) as a reminder of the super powers all women have. Visit VictoriahBech.com for more information.
Victoriah Bech: When did you become vegan, and why?
Kaori Nik: It actually kind of happened haphazardly. It was never my goal to be plant-based because I didn’t know what that meant. I’m from the South Side of Chicago. I’ve eaten chicken and fish all my life. So, I really didn’t understand how it all worked. But over time, I just kind of manipulated my diet to fit my lifestyle. So, I have always been a woman of many trades, doing hair and makeup in the industry since 2009, when I got licensed. I’ve always kind of had to be here, there and everywhere; and that requires me to have really good energy and to be in people’s spaces and to share spaces. So, I always needed to be nice — and I feel like when I’m hungry and I’m cranky, I’m not nice. So, in order for me to move around the world the way I wanted to, I needed to change my diet, which meant cutting the chicken because that was getting weird.
Victoriah Bech: Your magazine touches on vegan products, right?
Kaori Nik: Yes. A hundred percent. All of the ad spaces are dedicated to Black-owned businesses because we are really trying to push the narrative of the Black dollar and how powerful it can be in improving our community. So, all the ads are Black-owned businesses, and they’re all cruelty-free vegan, and I love it. We have everything from makeup wipes to food delivery services, to hairbrushes, detangling brushes — things like that.
Victoriah Bech: People sometimes say it’s hard to buy vegan products, even with household products. Why is this?
Kaori Nik: Yeah. It’s because it takes time. The thing that turns people off is re-educating themselves. A lot of times, we’re too lazy. We’ve gotten caught in our regular flow. I still use bleach openly, and honestly, I need to change it, but I’m still searching for the right alternative — and I had a big old tin of bleach. So, I’m like, I haven’t used it all yet, but once I’m done, I can then take that opportunity to educate myself and get something that is more eco-friendly.
Victoriah Bech: What are your favorite Black-owned vegan beauty brands or products?
Kaori Nik: My favorite brands and products I use that are vegan and Black-owned are Black Girl Sunscreen, Juci Roots Raw Body Butter, Fresh Paige Makeup Wipes, Mented Cosmetics and Danessa Myricks Beauty makeup.
Victoriah Bech: So, do you have a morning routine?
Kaori Nik: A hundred percent. I read that the most successful people have strong morning routines. I decided to implement mine with eight to ten steps that I follow.
I wake up between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. I start my day with 16 ounces of celery juice, which is like a natural diuretic and detox for your body. I let that do its work for about 30 minutes while I journal and meditate. After that, I do my smoothie, which has blueberries and bananas (both frozen) with cashew milk, chia seeds, and then all of my supplements like my Black Seed Oil, Irish Sea Moss: all the things that are going to help build my immunity. Then I work out, shower, cook and call my mom!
Victoriah Bech: What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Kaori Nik: I like the energy that I bring to a room when I work with women. I think my work with women is not just about making them look beautiful on-screen and on set. It’s also about enhancing their confidence and empowering them with education— whether that’d be on the beauty side or on the spiritual side. I feel like when I connect with my clients, it’s really more than just what we’re doing on the surface. That’s probably my favorite quality about me personally and in my workspace—that I’m devoted.
Victoriah Bech: With everything going on in the world right now, the Black Lives Matter movement and being anti-racist, how can we support Black individuals?
Kaori Nik: Thank you so much for asking that question. We really appreciate it when people just ask those questions. Standing up in all your spaces is important. That’s the message that I would leave. If you are in a room full of people and someone says something racist or that there’s some injustice that’s happening on any level, speak up in that moment. That is how you can help us—by not being silent and complacent with the things that you see happening around you—because it happens around us all the time.
We all need people to speak up, because there are not many people that haven’t benefited off of our influence. So, if you’ve benefited off of our influence, it is the right thing to do to speak up when you see Black people in an unfair situation. I think the education part is just as important as speaking up and understanding that the things that you use, things that you say, the places that you go, how Black people have had an influence, and how it really does make sense for everyone to be speaking up in these spaces.
Read more about Vegan Leaders here.