Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chrystèle Saint Louis Augustin Appreciation Post

To me, Chrystèle Saint Louis Augustin was THE model of the 90s in spite of the fact that she wasn’t a household name like Naomi or Iman. I still remember the first time I saw a photo of Chrystèle. I was in college so I had no money and once again found myself at the bookstore flipping through fashion magazines that I couldn’t afford to buy. She was in an ad for Ghost, a half body shot of Chrystèle against a dark background. Her fair skin was practically glowing but what stood out to me, and just about everyone else, was that magnificent hair. As flawlessly beautiful as she is, her natural hair made her something more than just a pretty face, it practically had its own personality. She would say in Vibe Magazine that when she first started doing runway shows people “wanted to touch me, and I'm, like, `Wow, it's just hair. Calm down!' " Her hair wasn’t an accessory or a fad, it just was. Reading her comment on how she thought “straight hair was really ugly [and] suits the white girls but…[not] my hair,” was downright revolutionary thinking for me. I’d struggled for years trying to keep my hair in check, which meant dousing it in lye every few weeks with awful results. Chrystèle became my role model and gave me the final dose of courage I needed to chop off every last bit of relaxer in my hair and start over. Looking at old pictures of her always brings back those memories and makes me smile. If I could get motivated enough to copy her ridiculously toned abs, I think it would elevate me to the superhero status.

Photo source: modeldatabase, TFS, CSLA Livejournal


CHIC NOIR said...

This chic is one of my favorites too. Karl Largerfield really backed her back in the day.

Kwana said...

I loved this post. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great post! To me Chrystèle is the perfect modern model,first because of her "funky" and amazing ethnicity, two she's so naturally beautiful and "fresh".
Thanks for this post again.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I loved that mini-dedication to natural hair and the courageous Chrystele. She was such an inspiration back in the day. I actually have an interesting story about that I would LOVE to share. After reading your post, I'm a bit more ashamed than when the actually incident took place. I graduated from NYU and presumably, she may have too because I saw her in making her way to class as I was. She was adorable! She was wearing horn-rimmed glasses and had her hair pulled back in a straightened bun. I asked her if she was indeed Chrystele and she confirmed. I uncompassionately(?) uttered that she looked rather "white". She commented inquisitively, "really?" I don't know why she didn't either cuss me out or punch me in the face cause I was surely out of order. I regretted it the moment I said it and wanted to apologize but I guess pride stood in my way. As I type this now I feel purported back to that time and the insensitivity of my behavior. I wish that I could still apologize. What stands out in my mind was the devastatingly sad look on her face. But then again, I was on some other mess back then, and I am not using that as an excuse. She is beautiful and was indeed one of my favorite models. I recently wondered what became of her and then I clicked on the link hoping to see something new. Last I saw of her she was still rocking the 'fro in a Sephora ad and that was some years ago.

scarlett said...

Had Chrystele never made the leap to her natural hair she would have just blended in with all the other models. But because she did have those stiking features and this beautiful blond afro she made people wonder and ask 'what is she?' I am a light skinned Haitian living in America with my natural, frizzy hair. People sometimes ask me if I'm mixed and I answer, no, I'm Haitian. My parents are Haitian, their parents were and so forth.
I love that Chrystele can represent women of colour in such a magnificent manner which tells the rest of the world, we come in different shades and we are all beautiful.
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