Sister Series: Hanging with the Lopes Sisters

I remember the exact moment I met Teylor Lopes, her fiery personality, beautiful smile, and warm energy reminded me of home and my childhood friends. We instantly connected and became friends. She may not know it, but she was actually the first person I asked to join our sisterhood and to be in our very first campaign shoot. She had told me she had a sister (who is just as beautiful and warm) and our vision of a sister shoot was born. We laughed, shared a few beers, and talked about the bond of sisterhood, self love and the importance of diversity in the media. We live in a world that is forever changing with individuals who walk different paths and have had different life experiences. It is not just important to share the stories of these individuals, it is needed. With our Sister Series, we hope to show you individuals you can relate to and see yourselves in. 

What is one of your favorite memories you have together from your childhood?

Alaina: Growing up with a sister so close in age is amazing. You have an automatic best friend to go through life with. I think back to all the fun we would have together playing dolls, dress up, the various imaginary games we created, and family vacations; those are my favorite memories. 

Teylor: A few of my favorite childhood memories is us dressing up, having pretend concerts thinking we were our very own popstar group, family vacations, and countless basketball games we’d cheer our little hearts out.



What is one of your favorite things to do together?

Alaina: Drink wine and gossip. LOL. Seriously, as we’ve gotten older, our favorites things to do together have shifted. Now, we often like to talk about important world and life topics over a decadent glass of wine. It’s important to me that we talk about everything, I want her to know my views on topics and what I’m dealing with in life and vice versa. We also love a good beach/pool day with some BBQ in the mix, and fun game nights with friends.

Teylor: I wouldn’t say we have just one specific favorite thing to do together. Anytime we get together we make the most out of it. I’ve learned to enjoy every time spent with your loved ones cause you never know if it’d be your last. We for sure drink lots of wine together and gossip, however, if I had to pick and choose, I’d say one of my favorite things to do with my sister is BBQ/getting down in the kitchen and eating good. We both can cook up some mean meals.

What is one of the things that inspire you most about one another?

Alaina: I love my sister’s confidence and personality. To know Teylor is to love Teylor I always say. She is sassy, comedic, strong, and best yet: the life of the party. She always has a good attitude and makes every occasion a fun one. She was the one that helped me break out of my hard shell when we first moved to Santa Barbara. I credit her with a lot of my best times because she really levels everything up when you’re with her.

Teylor: Alaina inspires me to push myself harder every day. Watching her set goals, work hard at them, and accomplish them has influenced me to emulate her positive attitude and persistent drive in achieving my own goals. She also helped me see the natural beauty that I was ignoring, specifically with my hair. 

What is something (physical or not) that you love about yourself?

Alaina: I love, love my hair. I have been natural for a couple of years now and it was the best decision I could have ever made. I was killing my hair all through middle school, high school, and early ’20s. When I noticed how lifeless my hair was becoming and tired of wearing it the same way all the time, I decided to make a change. I have not used heat (consistently) or relaxer on my head for three years! It’s been a love/hate relationship and a huge adjustment, but I have really grown to love the natural look and love even more how much healthier my hair is. My hair is much more versatile now than ever before.

Teylor: I would have to agree with Alaina and say my hair as well. She was the main reason behind doing my big chop back in January 2019, pushing me to love my natural tresses for what they are. I was always so self-conscious about my natural hair. Growing I was always told that having an Afro wasn’t “professional”. I used to feel bad about something so natural to me. Straight hair and extensions are what I saw as beautiful because of that, that’s how I wanted others to see me. Thanks to Alaina’s influence and knowledge about our curly hair I have become to love & embrace my curls. My Afro is my crown and I get to wear it every day like the queen I am. 

What's something you do to combat moments of self-doubt or insecurity?

Alaina: To be honest, this is something I’m still dealing with today because I have never been truly confident in myself. But I try to exercise, eat healthy, drink water, and give myself pep-talks now whenever I am feeling such feelings. What I feed my body also helps to feed my mind, so when I’m practicing health, I think healthier and feel healthier and happier. The pep-talks are more of speaking positive affirmations to myself in the mirror, with a smile, to help boost my confidence and alter my negative thinking and bring myself back to a happy state.

Teylor: I try to remind myself that God made me in his image and that we were not all created to look the same. I like to read and/or recite positive affirmations to help break the patterns of negativity that come to my mind when I do start feeling insecure. I also like using exercise as an outlet for me to release stress and feel better about myself. I love hanging out at the beach whether I’m playing paddleball, soaking up the sun’s rays, or just watching the waves crash. I just LOVE being at the beach, it gives me a sense of relief as I am so fortunate to be living in beautiful Santa Barbara.

Growing up in such a media-focused culture as we did, who were some of your role models? Who did you look up to?

Alaina: I really loved women who strutted their stuff and were bossy. I’ve always loved Beyoncé and I think looked up to her most growing up. I fell in love with Destiny’s Child, listened to all their songs, would go to as many concerts as I could convince my mom to take us to, and watched all their music videos. I have followed Beyoncé ever since and still admire her versatility, strength, and voice as an artist and a woman. She really stands up for the younger crowd and empowering women, especially within the colored community, and it’s beautiful for her to give back in that way.

Teylor: Tyra Banks was a huge influence on me during my teenage years!!! Watching her grow with her modeling career and her successful show “America’s next top model” I learned more about confidence from her than I would from anyone else I followed. She was a big advocate for body positivity back then and she taught me how to “smile”.

How does it make you feel when you see someone in the media, fashion industry, or swimwear industry who you can relate too, whether it's skin color or body? 

Alaina: It really does hit home for me and makes me love my body more. When I was growing up, the women they portrayed as “ideal” and “beautiful” did not look like me one bit. So, I grew up not loving my body, skin, or hair. Now I see curvier women, with curly or afro hair, and all beautiful shades, and it really shows how the industry is shaping to normalize different skin colors, body types, and hairstyles. They are even normalizing conditions like vitiligo and giving these girls the platform every one of us rightfully deserves. I am so in love with how the industry has embraced differences because people really needed to break from the mentality that only certain skin colors and body types are considered beautiful.

Teylor: I believe representation is huge. I appreciate how women of minority races are becoming more included in the media and fashion industry. It sends a message that everyone from all backgrounds/races has a spot in this world and a different story to tell. It makes me feel comfortable about myself and our community seeing someone who I can relate to looking like me be set as an example of beauty or being beautiful. It made me be more open-minded about how people would start to view beauty as a whole and not confined to one body type or skin color etc. 

All women deserve to be seen, heard, and to have their stories told, but not all have the opportunity to do so. Therefore, the representation of all types of women is extremely valuable. As women living in America, a country with so many different cultures, backgrounds, and life experiences, how do you see representation and inclusion evolving?

Alaina: I see indefinite strides in representation and inclusion of women; within the economy, cultures, politics, entertainment, etc. More women are holding higher positions and getting higher pay in jobs than ever before. More women are becoming the face of advertisements, starting empowering movements, and building successful businesses than ever before. More women are being heard, appreciated, and respected when it comes to their minds. The women before us fought tirelessly to give women today the platform and opportunities that are now present for us, and we will continue the fight to pave the way for the women of the younger generation. Our past, present, and future successes show we are too diligent and determined for less than what we deserve.

Teylor: I see it evolving exponentially. It’s truly amazing to see how far we have come to see women being represented more in media.