The first-ever Cheekbone Beauty Scholarship Fund
From transitioning into an entire line of vegan, sustainably sourced cosmetics to marking new milestones in amplifying our voices, without a doubt it's been a beautiful year. From launching SUSTAIN Eyes, Right the Story and our Sephora Canada partnership to name a few, Cheekbone Beauty has built giving into the foundation of its brand. With every purchase a gift is given to someone, Indigenous youth, a new tree, or supporting our communities. That way, everyone is part of the reciprocity.
This year also marked the launch of our first-ever Cheekbone Beauty Scholarship Fund. On a mission to empower our youth around the globe, we know that education is critical towards fostering a better future. In line with the initiative, we launched a limited-edition SUSTAIN Lipstick shade called ‘Close the Gap’, a powerful matte crème in vibrant orange. Handmade entirely in our Indigenous Beauty Innovation Lab, 100% of the profits from ‘Close the Gap’ would be allocated towards a deserving Canadian or U.S. post-secondary Indigenous student from any area of study doing great things for their communities and future. In response to the inequitable education funding for Indigenous youth, Cheekbone Beauty's mission was to provide the appropriate building blocks while bringing us a step closer in closing the education gap.
It's a pleasure to announce the recipient of our first-ever Cheekbone Beauty Scholarship Fund, Jodi Hancheroff! Jodi is a Woodland Cree woman from La Ronge, Saskatchewan who moved away from her home community for law school. Outside of her studies she loves to spend time outdoors (especially fishing and ski-dooing), and dreams to one day return home and serve her northern community by opening a private practice.
Our winner Jodi wears Complexion Pencil in Fair #3 and Deep #7, lengthening Mascara, Lip Pencil in True Red, Lipstick in Aki and Classics Palette.
Tell us about yourself!
I am a 23-year old Woodland Cree woman from La Ronge, Saskatchewan and a Lac La Ronge Indian Band member. I completed three years of an Indigenous Studies degree from my home community and then moved to Saskatoon for law school, where I am now in my third and final year. I am the President of the Indigenous Law Students’ Association for a second year in a row and am participating in various volunteer groups that advocate for Indigenous rights generally. I come from a community that is next to the lake, so aside from academics my passions include fishing, camping, ski-dooing, and anything outdoors!
What drew you to study law?
I have always done well in school, not necessarily because I am smart, but because I put in many hours to ensure that my work was well-done, and I had very privileged circumstances that have allowed me to succeed. I was always told that I was well-written and should become a lawyer, because I had the drive of a good student. This, and the fact that I always wanted to pursue advocacy work for the betterment of Indigenous communities like my own drove me to study law. As cliché as it might sound, I wanted to help people. I wanted to help people who shared a history with me, my family, and my community. I figured that a versatile degree such as a law degree could help me in achieving this.
Who has been a role model for you?
My role models have always been my parents. They have endlessly supported me regardless of the career path that I have chosen. I am so lucky and grateful to have that kind of unwavering love and support. My other role models are all of the Indigenous law students around me and those who came before me. It takes a lot of courage to be an Indigenous student in a colonial institution, and so the relatively small community of Indigenous law students have kept me grounded, provided so much support and inspiration. We all genuinely strive for each other’s success and we foster a culturally supportive environment. To name a few, my fellow third-year Indigenous law students JC Steele and Taylor Vodden have gotten me through so far, as well as Diana Janzen, an Indigenous prosecutor who has supported me from the beginning of my journey. The list goes on, I am very privileged to be surrounded by an incredible group of Indigenous role models.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
I am most proud of my advocacy work throughout my six years of post-secondary. I used to be described as the shy, quiet girl who was stuck in her shell. Since then, I have found my voice and I will continue to use it loudly and proudly as I advocate for what I believe is justice. One of my favourite moments was when I spoke on a panel and advocated for anti-racism training to become mandatory across all Canadian law schools. The audience was filled with individuals who had the opportunity to create real systemic changes. Another time I felt accomplished was when I called for the University of Saskatchewan College of Law to appoint an Indigenous student advisor so that our Indigenous law students had better support and resources provided in a safe space. That is in the works and I am excited for the next generation of Indigenous law students to benefit from this. I am also proud of the fundraising work done by the Indigenous Law Students’ Association. For example, we’ve fundraised money and awareness for residential school survivors, for the Save Rez Dogs group in Saskatoon, for the Mi’kmaq People who were fighting for self-determination rights, and the list goes on. However, out of everything that I have done, I never once stood alone. I cannot take the credit for any one of these ideas and I have so many amazing Indigenous friends, allies, and professors who have worked collaboratively on these causes. Although I am proud to have found my voice and taken part in speaking engagements, these other individuals deserve just as much, if not more, praise and acknowledgement.
What is your favourite Cheekbone Beauty product?
My current favourite Cheekbone Beauty product is the SUSTAIN Lipstick in shade Aki. It is a beautiful holiday red that compliments my skin tone nicely. Lipstick is my favourite makeup item, so I would also say that the SUSTAIN Liquid Lipstick in the shade Ashley is my favourite every-day shade that stays on for hours. I can put it on in the morning before class and by the end of the day, I will still have a pigmented, bold lip!
How will the Cheekbone Beauty Scholarship Fund help you reach your goals?
Currently, my only source of income is through band funding with the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. Although they have graciously funded me for the past six years of university, I am not employed. Law school carries a heavy work load and with the volunteer commitments that I have made, my spare time is precious. I have worked part-time in the past alongside law school, but it is too taxing, and I find that if I’m not careful, it takes away from my studies. Therefore, the Cheekbone Beauty Scholarship Fund and other such scholarships greatly alleviate the financial stress that comes with post-secondary. It will allow me to focus on my studies and volunteerism without worrying about the financial barriers. I am humbled to be afforded such a privilege.
What are your plans after you graduate from your program?
I will be articling with the MLT Aikins law firm in Saskatoon – a law firm that has a wide range of business practices. I chose to work with this firm specifically because of their work in Indigenous law. I wanted to work somewhere that was doing meaningful and contributory work with Indigenous nations in terms of advancing self-determination, economic development, advocating for Indigenous rights, etc. I hope to practice this type of law for several years with the firm and explore other potential areas of interest. My life-long dream has always been to return back to my northern community to open a private practice where I can serve my own First Nation in different areas of the law. I hope to have an office on the reserve land where I can provide services to my clientele on a tax-free basis. I would be able to employ Indigenous youth as administrative staff and recruit more Indigenous Peoples to the legal field. I am also holding Diana Janzen to her promise of being my future business partner in this venture.
What is one piece of advice you can give to other students who are interested in law?
I would strongly urge them to come to law school! The profession is lacking meaningful Indigenous representation in nearly every field of law. A law degree is so versatile, and you can practice so many different types of law – business law, human rights, environmental law, criminal law, you can even become a professor if you so choose. It would be important to caution that university, especially law school, is a very difficult space to navigate for Indigenous People. We are the minorities in a system that was built by predominantly white men for a white society. You may question why you are working so hard to uphold a colonial institution. However, it is important to remember who you are doing the work for. The Cree word for lawyer is opīkiskwistamākiw, meaning “a person who speaks on behalf of others”. It is hard to have a loud voice; we have been silenced by the “justice” system for so long that sometimes we might need someone to speak on our behalf. We have to reclaim a sense of justice and obtaining a law degree can help us with this. The field of law needs more Indigenous representation, we can become Indigenous lawyers and succeed by our own definitions. Never be afraid to reach out if you need help, you’ll find that we’re a welcoming community always willing to help.
Cheers to changing lives, one lipstick at a time. Thanks to the tremendous love from our community, together we raised $2,500 in support of Jodi’s future. Going forward, we look forward to launching our second Cheekbone Beauty Scholarship Fund in June of 2022. Congratulations Jodi, we wish you the best in your final year and future endeavors!
Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken, sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever.
The team at Cheekbone Beauty