Tika Simone: Creator of The Known Unknown platform

"This year I decided to shave my hair off completely. It was really liberating because I'd been wearing weaves for so long that I forgot what my face looked like."

I wanted to participate in this shoot because I feel it’s important, as a staple of the Toronto music scene, to allow people to understand that I’m very much in love with my body. It’s taken me a long time to get to this place, but I think it’s really important – especially for children and youth – to see different body types. 

When I was doing MTV about eight years ago, I got messages all the time from little girls saying they’d never seen anyone who looks like me on television, that I exuded such confidence. They really appreciated that and wanted to see more of it.

I didn’t always love myself or love my body. This year I decided to shave my hair off completely. It was really liberating because I’d been wearing weaves for so long that I actually forgot what my face looks like. It was pretty insane I felt like I didn’t know who I was any more. When I shaved it off, I was reminded. It was really scary for a while, weird and hard, but I couldn’t hide from myself any more. I had to look and I forced myself to love myself again. It feels fucking great. 

Because I’m an independent creative artist, it’s easier for me to manoeuvre around industry standards about how a person should look. There’s always pressure, but I feel that it always comes back to your own foundation. Taking time to take care of my own foundation this year was important, so it will be a different scenario when I step back into the music industry because I’m so secure.

I take extremely good care of myself, whether eating the things I enjoy or working out. I’m very active. As long as you’re healthy, body type really shouldn’t matter. I don’t have anything to worry about: no illnesses, no problems, no diseases. I’m very thankful because a lot of people half my size have so many problems. I try to do my best to maintain what I do have. 

I think I have great legs. I love my legs because, although I’m a heavy-set girl, I don’t have heavy-set legs. I’m very pleased with them- they carry me everywhere and they look a little athletic. 


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