Sanjana Arefin

Tue Nov 23 2021 05:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

44523S A

I was miserable at Stony Brook. I was a premed student sacrificing my happiness, all to follow in the footsteps of my father, who immigrated to New York to pursue his career as a physician. To make matters more complicated, my late brother, Zayn, passed away shortly after birth. How could I not dedicate my future to my parents?

After struggling to find true contentment in the path I pursued for my parents, I decided to follow my heart. I had always been passionate about beauty. While skincare and cosmetics may sound menial, especially to the average brown parent, it’s important to emphasize the importance of self-care and the industry’s impact on society. I was determined to prove to my parents that I could be successful and respected without a medical degree.

I worked tirelessly to land a position at a renowned global beauty company, specializing in cosmetics, fragrance, and skincare. At thirty years old, I’m currently one of a handful of South Asians working in marketing at my company. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for the opportunity. Looking back, I can easily say that living for myself instead of my parents was the smartest decision I’ve made.

There is an undeniable lack of South Asian representation in the beauty field, which I want to help remedy as a beauty marketing professional. Growing up, my sister and I didn’t have any brown role models to look towards when flipping through pages of Cosmo magazine. I hope to change that. I want my nieces to feel loved and recognized when they scroll through social media, flip through TV channels, and watch fashion show runways. I’ll never forget hiring the first hijabi influencer for a luxury hair care brand. This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t recognized and fought to be in this space.

I hope to continue bringing awareness to my people through beauty. And I’m happy to report that I convinced my parents that performing surgery is not the only way to make a difference in the world.