Chimamanda Shares Her View on Beauty in Relation to Solving Problems


Chimamanda Adichie, African Award-winning writer, and Alumni of Prestigious Princeton University, shares her unwavering opinion about beauty.

In an interview shared online, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, who also just received an award from Barnard College, New York, talks about beauty and how she overcame the urge to make it the center of her life.

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According to Chimamanda Adichie, Beauty Does Not Solve Problems! In the interview, Ms. Adichie, as she prefers to be addressed as described her mother as a major influence in her life.

Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda Adichie

She also talked about how she embraced her beauty while growing up and how she stopped using makeup to enhance her beauty.

Read excerpts from the interview:

“From my childhood, my mother existed as this strong sense of beauty. I felt my mother was beautiful. I still think so. And she was very feminine. And that formed a great impression on me.

“And my mother had flawless skin and she would dress up and also had a personality. She is full of laughter and warmth. She has a sense of humor. Other children said to me, I wish your mother was my mother because she was “cool”.

“All of those contribute to me. So it was sort of inside and outside. I learnt that beauty doesn’t solve any problem and that it is a complicated thing.

“I have been a reader for as long as I have been a writer. Both came at the same time for me and I like certain types of writing. And it made me realize that people define beauty differently. But I find that I am drawn to my own definition of beauty.

“I am drawn to the beauty of sentences and drawn to how emotion is portrayed. I find melancholy very beautiful in literature, stories, songs even in people. Truth is I don’t always feel beautiful. When I was younger, I was a happy child, I was popular so I didn’t care much.

“But as I grew older I found it surprising when people say – you are beautiful. I’d be like – do you really think so? It matters more when it’s from people who I care about. One day I had my hair done and my father said you look beautiful when you do your hair like this. And I was surprised.

Chimamanda Adichie

“I like the idea of beauty but it’s not a central organizing principle in my life because I know that it is a dangerous thing for it to be. I went through a period when I wouldn’t want to go out unless I was wearing makeup.

“One day I realize that this is actually really horrible because it had become…. I don’t know, I felt uncomfortable, so I stopped. Now I go out the way I want to go out.

“People tend to think, that if a book supports your own prejudices, it’s great literature. It’s not. As a writer, you have to keep a distance to your subject. And in general, the definition of beauty in the western world is very narrow.”

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The prolific novelist has said it all – beauty is a thing of the mind. Although, the western world may have convinced most African ladies to think otherwise, Ms. Adichie knows her stand and appreciates her looks as African and natural as it is.