January Feature Interview: Kenny Screven

Kenny Screven is a small town boy from Delaware that has recently gained the confidence to wear makeup despite being a guy. However, he wasn’t always this confident, growing up in a really conservative town made it difficult for him to be himself.

Now he enjoys expressing himself through his passion for beauty. Although it has been a challenging journey, he wouldn’t trade it for the world. Everything he’s gone through has made him a stronger person today. Being disowned by his family for his lifestyle choices was probably the most terrifying thing he had to face. Going through that tough time allowed him to really connect with his supporters online. Without them, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

His main message is that anyone can be beautiful. Any shape, size color, skin or gender. Beauty is beauty and there shouldn’t be any boundaries. That’s why he hopes to add more diversity to the beauty community because he doesn’t think black boy beauty influencers are represented enough in this industry.

You can find out a bit more about Kenny at his Instagram page, along with tons of photos.

JRK: To begin, can you tell readers about who Kenny Screven is, where you are from and all that good background stuff?

KS: My name is Kenny Screven I was born in Chester Pennsylvania December 23rd, 1994. I moved to Delaware around the age of 7. I lived there my entire life until I went to college. I’m the oldest of three siblings. Two younger brothers (19,20) and a younger sister (8). I attended high school at Archmere Academy. Also known as the same high school Joe Biden went to growing up. For college, I attended Desales University majoring in Criminal Justice. Completely opposite of what I’m doing now with my life! There I learned my passion for makeup.

JRK: You find joy in expressing yourself through beauty. Can you tell us how that passion ignited?

KS: Well, I’ve always been into beauty/ fashion. I found fashion before beauty because at the time make up for men was not heard of. Initially, I started editing the pictures that I would take. Using apps like Facetune to make sure my skin looked perfect. Then one of my best friends said instead of editing my pictures so much, how about I start wearing makeup so I can look like a walking edit. It started off as a joke and then I started getting really into makeup. Starting off with just foundation and mascara. As time went by I found myself getting more obsessed with the idea of beauty. Then my makeup skills began to grow and so did my enjoyment for the art.

JRK: You have stated that the beauty industry can be racist and often times does not give black boys and males the opportunities that many others have. Can you explain that a bit more?

KS: From my personal experience within the beauty community, Brands usually seem less likely to work with an influencer of color. Which I find very discriminating. I’ve watched it happen first hand. Someone that I obviously have more engagement then will get picked before me when it comes to a Beauty campaign. If you look around, how many black men do you see in the Beauty industry? Exactly there’s only a handful. But I feel like the community is oversaturated with the “James Charles” & “James Warden” look-alikes. No offense to them, I’m just ready to see a boy of color being represented in the Beauty community. It’s unfortunate, I’ve never had anyone similar to me to look up to in the Beauty community. For example, whenever I look at makeup tutorials. There’s usually a person with a fair skin tone. Which obviously makes it harder for me to see which products work best for me.
I just want to inspire all races and people but it’s pretty difficult when you feel like there’s no hope for you. I feel overlooked a lot of the times.

JRK: How did you learn your beauty and makeup techniques?

KS: I started watching beauty gurus on YouTube like Jeffree Star and Gigi Gorgeous. Although it was quite difficult because they are A LOT lighter than me haha. So it was very difficult to find someone similar to my skin tone to learn from. But most of my talent comes from trial and error.

JRK: One of your YouTube videos talks about your coming out. Can you briefly tell us about your process of coming out?

KS: My process of coming out has been a long journey. I first came out my sophomore year in college. It was very difficult for me to come out to my family because they are very traditional. My friends were very supportive and helped me get comfortable in my own skin. Once I started getting into makeup, it was like I was coming out twice because my family was just very confused at what was going on. I went from a normal boy who played every sport to a boy very passionate about makeup. They just weren’t sure if I wanted to be a girl for a while or what! I don’t blame them though because it’s a lot to take in when your parents feel like they don’t know who you are anymore. Today, they still aren’t completely accepting. Like they will probably never meet my boyfriend but I think they’re finally starting to realize. This is ME and I don’t plan on changing for anyone. I think they came to terms with it because I stayed consistent with my passion for makeup and they’re starting to realize that it’s not necessarily a bad thing just out of the ordinary.

JRK: One of the worst fears many kids have when they decide to come out sometimes, is the reaction from their parents and family. Yours disowned you. How did you react to that? How did you cope with it?

Honestly, I wasn’t shocked. Growing up I knew that it was frowned upon by my family. Which made it more difficult to come out. I planned on never coming out and just living a lie. That’s how afraid I was to come out to my family. But living a lie can become tiresome and you won’t ever be truly happy. Once I realized that I came out and didn’t look back. Initially, parents believe it’s a phase but if you stand your ground. They’ll see that it’s not just a phase and it’s actually just a little piece of who you are. My brother & FRIENDS gave me the support I needed to rise above the hate. If it weren’t for my close friend group, I would not be near as confident as I am today!

JRK: Were you bullied at all after you came out?

KS: No! Surprisingly everyone in college was very supportive. I personally they loved and respected me more because I was willing to be myself. All my straight male friends always had my back. They assured me that if I ever had any issues with anyone that tried bullying me, they would back me up. Feeling that love and support meant the absolute world to me. Especially since before coming out, I was afraid that all my guy friends would stop talking to me. But now I know that is just a stereotype straight men have because I received nothing but love. If it wasn’t for them I would not be so comfortable in my own skin. My girlfriends all loved me even more after coming out. They all claimed that they already knew and they were just waiting for me to come out at my own time.

JRK: What are some of your favorite YouTube videos that you have done? I know you have done many but can you narrow it down to your favorites?

KS: Hmmm… my favorite YouTube video would have to be my “24 hours in Walmart challenge with my best friend Gabi. She is also a popular YouTuber who also enjoys all the glam things in life. This challenge was very hard to do but somehow we managed to pull it off! Next, I would have to say my closet tour! I loved this one because it’s where I spend most of my time and it’s filled with all things fabulous. It’s literally the boy version of a Barbie closet!

JRK: What and who inspires and empowers you?

KS: I’m mostly empowered by helping boys like me get the representation deserved in the beauty community. I see so many talented boys of color doing makeup and there are not many role models for them to look up to. I want to change this because I believe beauty comes in all colors, shapes, sizes, and genders. There should be no limits. I’m really inspired by Jeffree star and his rag to riches story. He’s always been a huge role model for me because he always stayed true to himself. He’s one of the first boys I noticed that wore makeup. Gigi gorgeous also inspires me a lot. She’s come out three different times online (Gay, transgender, lesbian). Throughout all of that, she’s always remained herself and relatable. I can’t imagine coming out three different times on the internet. I’ve met Gigi a few times and she is the most humble and down the earth person! We’re actually friends now and I couldn’t be happier!

JRK: What advice can you give to other young boys and men that may be experiencing what you have gone through?

KS: Never give up! Even though boys of color’s inclusion in the beauty community isn’t prominent. Everything takes time and eventually all your hard work will pay off! It’s all the small steps that count. Just remember it’s not where you start it’s how you finish!

JRK: What is next for Kenny Screven?

KS: I’m really excited for 2019! This is going to be my year! Firstly, I want to get more involved with lgbt youth. I’m even thinking about doing another reality show. I live for reality tv and honestly, I think it’s my calling in life. Which would be perfect because then I’ll be able to show representation for beauty boys of color. I plan on uploading more YouTube videos about my journey and to continue perfecting my makeup stills

JRK: Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to leave Diversity Rules readers?

KS: Diversity and inclusion are extremely important in today’s society. There are people from all different walks of life, making us all special and unique. And remember just because things don’t seem ordinary does not mean it’s wrong. Ultimately; live your life and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. At the end of the day, your happiness should come before anything else. I tell everyone this I don’t want to be 70 years old upset about all the chances I didn’t take! I would rather do what I want now and live doing the things that make me happy, so I have no life regrets!

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