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Vanessa Morgan has kept her hands pretty full over the past few years. Between starring as Toni Topaz on Riverdale and giving birth to her son, River, at the beginning of 2021, she was already juggling multiple jobs. But now, she’s also the face of, which aims to help people embrace their scars.
In giving birth to River, the actress had to have an emergency. To kick off her partnership with the brand, she got a tattoo that says “Kintsugi” next to her scar and broadcasted the process over Instagram live on July 20.
Kintsugi is a Japanese artform that involves repairing broken pieces of pottery with gold. "It's considered more beautiful for having been broken,” Vanessa tells WH. “I 'm just excited about this campaign and encouraging other people to share their real skin stories. I just hope it makes a difference.”
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Vanessa’s scar is special to her because it’s a reminder of her son and a happy day. “It's a scar that represents the gratitude I have for my body for being able to even do that.” With that, she hopes others can join her in loving their scars.
Ahead, find out all about the campaign, her favorite skincare products, and her motherhood journey so far.
AA: Can you tell us about your partnership with Gold Bond?
VM: This campaign is super special to me, obviously because it's sharing my scar story. What we're trying to do is encourage others to share on social media with the hashtag #MyScarStory. [Hopefully], we can bring greater awareness and encourage others to embrace their skin.
AA: We've come a long way with finally embracing C-section scars. Sports Illustrated recently featured their first cover model with a C-section scar.
VM: I saw that and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I loved seeing something that I could relate to and somebody just embracing it, ‘cause I never really hear people talking about it. And it's something that so many of us deal with—we have these scars and we should be proud.
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AA: How did you come to accept your C-section scar?
VM: At first, I was so focused on making sure my son was okay. A newborn and the pain of recovery…I didn't even really care to look at my scar, but once I took the bandages off, that's when I was like, ‘Oh!’ Like, ‘I hope that's not there forever.’ And then it got to the point where I was like, ‘Why do I care? That's beautiful.’ That scar represents that I brought my son into the world, that I carried a healthy baby for 10 months, that even though my birth story wasn't the story I wanted, it still ended with the same result, which was a healthy baby.
AA: What’s the significance of your new tattoo?
VM: I thought [kintsugi] was an absolutely great word to honor my scar, ‘cause I feel like I 'm more beautiful for having gone through that surgery, this experience, and giving birth to my son. I just resonated with the meaning of that word so much that I felt like putting that beside that, regardless of if the scar completely fades, it's there as my reminder of how much of a warrior I am.
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AA: What’s your skincare routine like?
VM:, I've been using on my body. I like the . I 'm one of those people that always has to be moisturized. And then after tattoos, I do use their healing ointment a couple times a day to keep my scar nice and moisturized as well so it doesn't fade.
As for my skin, my face, my favorites are, , and . I love the .
AA: How do you practice self-care?
VM: I prioritize that every night. I’m one of those people—I do face masks, like, four times a week. Moisturizing your body, using good products...doing face masks and, , lighting a candle, maybe having a little routine while you're doing your face mask. I find little things like that really help my day flow better.
AA: How do you balance self-care with having a child?
VM: It's so much harder than before. I would say the first eight months, I didn't even do my self-care routine that I would usually do—obviously still washing your face, putting cream on, but not to the extent that I would like. Now that he has a sleep schedule, that's changed. As soon as he goes to bed, I do my self-care routine. I think it's all about, for moms, just finding that window and then prioritizing yourself as well, instead of just only your child, because your happiness matters too.
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AA: What else have you learned in your first few months of being a mom?
VM: I learned how hard it is. That's something that isn't as talked about— I didn't really understand the extent of the sleepless nights, it's so hard. I followed a lot of mom blogs and mom accounts on Instagram, one that really hits home to me was the ones where—I was reading it at 3:00 a.m.—it's like, ‘You're not alone, Mama. There's other moms out there up at 3:00 AM with you.’ Because it's really hard when you're not sleeping and caring for a baby, and breastfeeding, I 'm still breastfeeding. I've been breastfeeding for almost 18 months now, so that's another added element on your body as well. But it's also so rewarding and that's why we keep doing it. There's nothing like it.
AA: Was it difficult to raise a newborn during a pandemic?
VM: Obviously, it wasn't ideal. Masks, I know that's probably hard for a kid with facial recognition. I feel like there's gonna be a lot of kids, who can know what someone's saying from their eyes. It's just been really nice now the world's opening up again and being able to take him to classes and activities. I think that was the hardest part—just the limitations of activities I could do.
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