Complex’s James Sanders Learned to Love Himself in Spite of the Taunts

In the third installment for the 'Beauty Beyond The Surface' series, Complex's news editor James Sanders speaks candidly about the cruelty he experienced.

For James Sanders, his first introduction to beauty came by way of his grandmother. Sanders can vividly remember the smell of his grandmother’s perfume and pork bacon frying on the stove, filling the air as she adorned herself for Sunday service. 

“Taking time, making sure that she looked her best because she was going, as she would say, to the house of the Lord,” James recalls.

In the third installment of Complex and Sephora’s Beauty Beyond the Surface video series, viewers meet James, news editor for Complex and celebrity stylist. In the video, James shows off his big personality and his undeniable style, but like many of us, he also had to overcome insecurities. Growing up in the Black church, James said judgment from fellow parishioners was abundant. However, one person helped plant the seed of insecurity inside him.

“My voice didn’t mature for years,” James says. “There was one person in particular, my pastor’s daughter, and she really would take me to task on my voice. She began to make comments about my lips as well for being kind of girlish and girly.”

James was young and impressionable when this all happened, but the taunts left him resenting his own lips. Watch the video above to see what empowering words his grandmother gave him, which helped him to be confident in every part of himself.

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