Ulta Beauty recently launched the MUSE 100, a celebration of 100 inspirational Black voices in and around beauty, from entrepreneurs and creators to visionary leaders, and more. These individuals are creating impact and driving change in the industry and beyond, to help make beauty in our world possible. Each MUSE honoree will be awarded a $10,000 grant to help accelerate their impact, totaling over a $1M commitment from Ulta Beauty.
The MUSE 100 honorees embody the commitment of Magnifying, Uplifting, Supporting, and Empowering Black voices – and, Anya Dillard is someone who totally reflects this commitment. She has been named an honoree of the Next Gen category, “the emerging young Black leaders shaking up our world.”
Anya is only 18-years-old but has already proved herself as an inspiring activist, philanthropist, content creator, and entrepreneur – among many other impressive titles. She says that she’s “ready to empower people to create real change in their own communities,” and has already started to help do so by becoming the founder of, “The Next Gen Come Up,” which is a nonprofit that encourages youth to get involved with activism, and community service.
We had the chance to sit down with Anya and learn about her thoughts on the power that Gen Z has, career aspirations, viral trends and so much more. Read below to hear what she had to say, and help us celebrate her as an honoree of MUSE 100!
Her Campus: Who are you and how would you describe yourself?
Anya Dillard: My name is Anya Dillard [and] I am an activist, social entrepreneur, content creator, and aspiring filmmaker. I am also the founder of “The Next Gen Come Up” – a nonprofit organization that encourages youth to pursue activism, get involved in community service and raise awareness through creating thought-provoking works of art.
Her Campus: What’s one thing the internet doesn’t know about you that you wish they did?
Anya: One thing the internet doesn’t know about me is that, on top of being an advocate and social entrepreneur, I am also an artist. Being raised in a family full of Black creatives exposed me to so many different avenues of self-expression, and whether it be through creating short films, painting, illustrating, or even writing poems and short stories, I have always loved creating art that not only reflects my experiences as a young Black woman, but that starts conversations and amplifies the narratives of people that society often overlooks.
Her Campus: How would you describe Gen Z in 3 words?
Anya: People often try to label Gen Z as reckless, confused, and irrational, but if I could describe Gen Z in 3 words, they would be radical, inclusive, and unapologetic. What makes Gen Zers so dope is that we have mastered the ability to lead with love. We have taken up the mantle of so many historical revolutionaries, become the pioneers of so many new-age social movements, and influenced the world to truly value allyship and intersectionality. We are the future, and we are making that the rest of the world knows it!
Her Campus: What online trend are you totally over and which is here to stay?
Anya: A trend that I would love to see go is the internet’s obsession with plastic surgery. As someone that has struggled with body image as a young girl, I think it’s so important for natural bodies to be honored and celebrated in the media so that more young girls grow up feeling beautiful in their own skin and not feeling as though they have to change themselves for anybody.
On a lighter note, an Internet “trend” that I know is here to stay is Black beauty gurus. I am obsessed with scrolling through Instagram and Tik Tok and seeing so many beautiful sisters rocking their natural hair, serving looks, and living their best, most luxurious lives cause that’s how it should always be.
Her Campus: What are you manifesting for the next stage of your career?
Anya: I’m so excited for what the future holds, and I am manifesting that in 4 years’ time, I will be the owner of an official 501(c)3, the founder of my own film and media production company, and the CEO of my very own innovative clothing brand. I’ve always wanted to become a serial entrepreneur and want to continue using my creativity to impact the world in as many ways as I can.
Her Campus: The Muse 100 mission is to amplify and uplift Black voices and individuals. How are you personally aligned with this mission?
Anya: Muse 100’s mission to amplify and uplift Black voices is one that I’ve strongly identified with my whole life. One of the main reasons I’m pursuing film and media studies now is because people often take for granted just how big an impact the media has on how we view ourselves and our capabilities as people of color. I feel that it was my duty, in part, as a creative change agent to help bridge that gap and create more projects that heighten the prevalence of empowering characters of color in the mainstream.
Here’s to Anya, and all of the other MUSE 100 HONOREES!
Click here to learn more about Anya and the other MUSE 100 honorees!
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