cleopatra | nateishamonique

Was Cleopatra the First Powerful Woman of Colour? | NATEISHAMONIQUE

Female empowerment has been on the rise lately, and it’s indeed an incredible thing to see. Granted, there are a lot of things society must improve in terms of gender equality, such as the alarming pay gap, which was ‘The Gender Pay Gap’ post. Still, private businesses, political movements, and new laws are all making way for a new kind of culture that recognises women’s rights and potential.

When focusing on female empowerment, it helps to explore the roots of women’s rise to power. History has taught us that there has always been a leadership and opportunity gap when it comes to the sexes. But notable women from as far back as ancient civilisations have made names for themselves, so much so that they are still revered up to this day. The Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra is certainly one of them.

cleopatra | nateishamonique

Female Power

Cleopatra achieved a lot during her lifetime, which sparked significant research into the former ruler over years in an effort to understand more about her. Naturally, this exploration includes her origins. The Thought Company dug deeper into her ancestry and roots, trying to look for answers about the queen’s race. Various studies have alluded to her being a woman of color, but there is simply not enough evidence. Similarly, no one can say for sure that she was white either. These findings, or lack thereof, only prove that no matter what race Cleopatra descended from, her rise to power in a time where men had the upper hand was truly admirable. It made her a pioneer that women of all races can look up to.

Up to this day, she is seen as a symbol of power and great leadership. Egypt prospered under her rule, and though there are many allegations that point to her sexuality as the only reason her influence was so great, that is not the case. Cleopatra was intelligent, as shown by her capability to lead a mighty kingdom. Her strategies were a major reason why Egypt remained united despite trying times. Besides that, she was also a diplomat, naval commander, linguist, and medical author.

cleopatra | nateishamonique

Timeless Beauty

Aside from her wisdom in ruling, Cleopatra was also heralded as someone who possessed great beauty. In fact, a lot of her skincare routines have been documented, published, and even passed on today! Stylecraze shared some of her beauty secrets, which included:

• Using sea salt to exfoliate her skin to keep it young
• Bathing in milk to keep her body feeling smooth
• Applying honey on her face as a face mask to keep wrinkles at bay
• Using rosewater to banish acne
• Applying kohl on her eyes for her signature smokey eye look and to keep it safe from infections

It’s truly amazing that Cleopatra was able to take care of her body using natural ways, seeing as back then, she didn’t have a wide array of beauty products like people have today. ‘Hello Hydration’ touched on how important it is to evaluate your skincare products during the turn of a new season, which the Queen knew to take into consideration long before beauty blogs existed. There’s something so admirable about a lady who is all-powerful and also knows how to take care of herself, and the ancient Egyptian ruler was definitely both of those things.

Undying Influence

Even now, millennia later, Cleopatra’s success continues to reign supreme. Perhaps her most famous depiction is the 1963 film Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor, but she has been portrayed by over 50 actresses in the film industry. This actually makes her the most played female character in pop culture history, which is an impressive achievement in itself.

Whether in movies, games, or television shows, her character always possessed beauty and brains – qualities that are highly sought after. Her achievements go hand in hand with her natural beauty, which built Cleopatra’s desirable image in the eyes of the public. It eventually became the most iconic thing about the Queen of the Nile. Slingo’s Cleopatra slots game features the pharaoh covered in gold and with her notorious cat-eye, which brings the essence of the iconic ruler to life. These design elements not only allow audiences to see and experience Egypt during the time of her rule, but how the late queen upheld herself with such grace and poise while doing so. It’s no wonder Cleopatra is still one of the best examples to empower women even to this day.

With all of the amazing things she has contributed in politics, beauty, and pop culture, the mark she left on global culture and history can really never go away. No matter her race, this is a success all women should celebrate.

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Nateisha

Fashion Journalist Graduate with published work and musings around social commentary, fashion and beauty.

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