After being diagnosed with Lupus and Lupus Nephritis Stage III & V, Dana created Beneath Your Mask’s first product in 2012 on a quest to nourish, revitalize and heal the damage done to her skin and hair. Her diagnosis and journey of self-discovery inspired her to clean up her beauty routine and also encouraged her to work on herself mentally and spiritually. That is when she came to know true beauty.
We view you as an Indie-stry guru of your field, which means you've paved a way no one previously had, or you're paving a way much different than the rest. What is your path or your journey, and what does it represent?
My journey was discovering true beauty, and that is no longer external for me. I viewed beauty very differently before being diagnosed with Lupus, it was purely superficial and external. Now, I realize there’s beauty in the journey, the struggle, how we respond to things, how we serve and care for others, it comes from within and radiates outward.
Why did you decide to name your brand the name ‘Beneath Your Mask?’
The name Beneath Your Mask comes from the premise that you can’t truly be healed until you remove the mask you’re presenting to the world! Essentially, God can’t heal your representative. Prior to being diagnosed with Lupus, so much of my identity was tied to my career, my appearance, material things, etc. and I had to discover who I was without all of that.
How did your diagnosis of Lupus shift (or reinforce) your view on wellness and clean living?
I “thought” I lived a decent lifestyle before being diagnosed with Lupus, but when I truly learned about what I was putting in and on my body, I realized that wasn’t the case. I took my health for granted and didn’t prioritize and invest in my wellness before my diagnosis. I was forced into the shift, but wish I had the knowledge I have now my entire life. I encourage others to be proactive vs reactive with their health to avoid going through what I’ve gone through.
Traveling is incredibly important to you. How do you bring the wealth of knowledge of travel into your personal and professional lives?
Travel exposes me to different cultures, lifestyles, beauty rituals, and even ingredients used in our products. I am so enamored by learning about other cultures and respecting our differences. Personally, it’s a way for me to unwind, re-center, and detach from work, but what it’s done for me most is put my blessing ins perspective and reminds me not to take anything for granted.
What are your Top 5 Favorite Wellness products?
Bone Broth, our Heal Whipped Skin Soufflé, Probiotics, Spirulina, and Detox Baths
Was there a pivotal point in your life that changed the trajectory of your journey, or the path you thought you should be on?
I thought I would be running my own entertainment business management firm one day. That was my ultimate goal. My diagnosis completely changed my path, and I’m grateful for it.
What does empowerment mean to you?
Empowerment for me means to give support, encouragement and grace to grow and thrive whether it’s social, economic or professional.
How do you define wellness? What does your wellness practice look like?
Time and grace. Giving yourself time and showing yourself grace are areas that I continue to work on. Managing stress has always been difficult for me, so these are two areas that make a difference in my personal health and wellness.
Can you think of a challenging time in your life and share how you overcame it? When I first got sick, I was very much the “why me?” person. As I began to accept my journey, it became “well why not me and why someone else?” Does someone else deserve to have Lupus instead of me? NO. The realization that someone is praying for my problems while I’m praying for someone else’s helped me get out of a place of feeling sorry for myself because that mental space is not conducive to healing. The reality is we’re all going through something. God gave me the path that is for me.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Slow down enough to enjoy the special moments, celebrate your wins and cherish moments with friends and family because tomorrow is not promised. Don’t be so focused on the next thing that you aren’t living in the moment.
What’s your mantra you’d like to share with others?
There’s beauty on the other side of all of our journeys even if we can’t see it or understand it at the moment.