TikTok's “Indigenous Baddie” Wants Us to “Be Kinder and More Aware of Indigenous People”
Too often, the best beauty stories go Untold, solely based on a person’s skin colour, religion, gender expression, disability, or socioeconomic status. Here, we’re passing the mic to some of the most ambitious and talented voices in the industry, so they can share, in their own words, the remarkable story of how they came to be – and how they’re using beauty to change the world for the better. Up next: Michelle Chubb, the 24-year-old influencer behind the account Indigenous Baddie.
I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, but I’m Swampy Cree from Northern Manitoba. I’ve navigated through most of life not fully being myself. I always found myself an outcast because I grew up in the city and I felt like I couldn’t really express myself.
Growing up, not a lot of people knew about Natives; it wasn’t really taught in school, and I often felt misrepresented. People would call me Pocahontas, and I didn’t really like that because she’s the first missing and murdered Indigenous woman. I would also always have people asking me about my hair and asking to touch it.
Being able to express myself through beauty with my culture – that’s really powerful.
At first, it felt like a double life, because I would go from the city and then I would go to the reservation in the summertime and wintertime just to go visit my grandparents. I learned about my culture from them – they were the ones who really opened up my eyes to it and made me fall in love with it.
I kept it a secret, though, because I didn’t want people to tease me or look at me in a certain way. I was just trying to fit in when I was younger, and I thought if I brought that side of myself, I would be pushed away.
After high school, I went off track for a bit – I was trying to find myself, but I couldn’t. That’s when I got back into my culture, and I’m very grateful for that because it really helped me on my healing journey.
When I first started TikTok, there was a lot of misinformation going around about Natives, and I just wanted to fill in the gaps and tell the real story of Natives.
Being able to express myself through beauty with my culture – that’s really powerful. I don’t feel stuck anymore; I feel like I’m on the right path. I like to represent myself now [in] the way that I always wanted to. Like, our hair is a big part of our life journey – I was always told not to cut it, or only cut it on certain days. It’s a part of our identity; our hair is really sacred to us. Now, I just wanted to bring out my features more: I like to show off my hair a lot, my high cheekbones, my nose. I’m more comfortable.
When I first started TikTok, there was a lot of misinformation going around about Natives, and I just wanted to fill in the gaps and tell the real story of Natives. I remember this one comment that I got on one of my TikToks, saying: “I thought Natives were extinct?” That pushed me to want to educate others more.
My hope is that others will be kinder and more aware of Indigenous people. We all come from different cultures, we all have different colors of skin, different languages, different beliefs, and traditions that we follow. There’s not a certain Indigenous group of people.