What’s your full name?
Blaise Dara Johanna Alert Duggan
How old are you?
Where were you born/brought up?
What do you do for a living?
Office manager/ Aspiring Actress/ Makeup Blogger.
What’s your ethnicity?
South American(Guyanese) & Irish.
How did your mum and dad meet?
In Kilburn in the 90's at a squat rave I believe.
How old were you when you became conscious that people saw you differently? What impact did that have on you?
I was in primary school and we were playing Spice Girls and I was only allowed to play Scary Spice because it didn’t make sense. It was such a poignant moment for me.
Did you want to change your appearance when you were a child?
I wanted straighter hair, mine is naturally straighter than most mixed raced girls but still I stupidly wanted dead straight hair as all the films I grew up on people had long beautiful straight hair. I thank my mum for not letting me relax it, do anything damaging to it, I absolutely love my curly hair now I wish it was curlier!
Describe your most memorable moments when you were made aware of being mixed race.
I have a few : In school when a group of boys were describing their perfect girlfriend she was white, long blonde hair and I was neither of those things and could never, yeah sure I could dye my hair but I'd still be mixed raced. I kind of realised then, I was one of the only mixed raced girls in the class and whenever we played boyfriends and girlfriends I was always paired up with someone who had skin like me, there was no option of having a boyfriend from a different race it just wasn’t a thing, I thought it was weird .The most painful one for me was when a boy flat out told me he didn’t like girls that weren’t white…that stung.
Do you feel your parents prepared you for life as a mixed race person?
Although I knew from young I was different to most of my class, I never felt bad for it due to the fact my mum taught me what was inside was important. I am so grateful she taught me about my black South American side and white Irish side equally; I am so strong and confident in my race due to her. At the end of the day I'm human and we all bleed blood, I could never treat someone a certain way by their skin colour, but sadly other people do.
What ignorant comments have you heard about being mixed-race that really rile you?
"No where are you originally from" " A black person like you" " How can you be Irish" “Lighty” I mean wtf is that, why am I being called a “lighty” by knuckle dragging males?
What do you wish people who aren’t mixed-race understood?
It's sometimes hard for myself personally because if I act a certain way it's my "black side" or it's my "white side". Stop making me feel like I have to pick! I am half white, half black and before that I am human.
Do you think mixed race people/families are well represented in the media?
I think we are seeing more of it now where as before I can’t remember seeing much on the TV about mixing of races.
Back in the late 19th century/early 20th century being mixed race held a stigma, as it was clear proof of interracial relations which was seen as an affront to society’s morals. Do you think it’s easier nowadays to be mixed race or is it more that racism has become subtler?
Hmm this is a hard one, racism most definitely still exists which blows my mind…we are in 2017 for god sake! My partner is white and we still get people staring at us at times, however it’s easier for sure now than it was before to be mixed race and mixed raced and dating someone who is not. The stuff my mum and grandma went through is just heart breaking, I don’t understand their struggle and I feel like it would be selfish for me to say I do. I am thankful for women like them who paved the path for women like me today.
Is being mixed race a burden or a blessing for you?
I absolutely love the fact I have two beautiful cultures I am made up of, it’s amazing to have that, so I am truly blessed.
Have you felt a struggle with your identity? If so, how did you deal with it and if you are now at peace with who you are, how did you come to a place of self-acceptance?
Yeah I am completely at peace with myself, however when I was young I struggled as I was sometimes made to feel like I had to be either or, I couldn’t be both. I have had black people call me “Lighty” and White people call me “Black”. I know it sounds stupid but I don’t see in race (if that makes sense) I see good people and bad people, that’s it.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stop trying to be anyone else but you, you are enough.
Is there anything more you would like to say?
Skin colour defines nothing.