MUSE-WORTHY: D'Wu on Honoring Your Spirit & Trusting Your Journey
Written By: Brianna Arps
I grew up in the Midwest, St. Louis to be exact. It was real cool... I never had any complaints or qualms about my city. I actually adored and still do love all the things that make it unique — from our "country grammar" slang and our taste in food to our knack for winning (Go, Cardinals!) and our rich-rich history. STL is forever home.
However, as I got up in age, I realized time would require me to eventually venture out and explore new places better suited for what was once my #1 goal: Becoming a beauty editor at somebody's renowned national magazine.
Attending college at the University of Missouri — a.k.a Mizzou, home to the world's first and BEST Journalism School — seemed like the perfect stepping stone towards accomplishing my mission. It was there, on MU's campus, that I met another St. Louis native, Darion Jordan a.k.a D'Wu, who from day one empowered me to strut by faith and let God handle the rest!
Fabulous in every way possible, D'Wu is a creator/storyteller/wardrobe stylist whose life work is rooted in intentionally making space for big, Black, thick, queer and gender-bending folx across the globe. He's very much-so your digital bestie for all things fashion, affirmations and a good kiki, seriously!
Recently, I had a chance to catch up with him... Keep reading to learn more, including why he's a firm believer in trusting your journey, why self-care is really about honoring your spirit and why leaning into spaces you've always wanted to is your birthright. xXBA
MDX: Has "strut by faith" always been your personal motto? By the way, I've since adopted it as my own these days. It's a movement, literally and figuratively!
DJ: "Strutting by faith" is letting go of all inhibitions and ultimately trusting your journey. It's choosing to no longer wait for the "perfect" time or scenario and LIVING, because tomorrow isn't promised. It's when you choose JOY and to go HIGHER, because you know that deep down within there is so much more you have to give to this world. It's claiming VICTORY over your goals, your dreams and everything in between, because no matter what happens, you trust that you are ultimately covered. Strutting by faith is a reminder that your walk, your journey, your strut is preparation and reassurance that you are capable of all things.
"Trusting the journey" has always been my personal motto, what I live by and what grounds me. When I strut, I feel the most powerful. You'll often see me strutting to one of my favorite tunes (shout out to Miss Chloe - Body Do), via social media, making every aisle my runway. "Strutting by faith" stemmed from my personal motto, as I embraced my queerness and the journey ahead — no matter who tried to dim my light. When I strut, I'm reminded that I'm uniquely sculpted, sparkly AF and deserve to take up space in this world.
MDX: You're really walking the walk AND talking the talk! Does self-care play any role in that?
DJ: Self-care allows me time to recharge, create safe spaces and build community with like minded folx. Self-care is honoring my spirit, listening to my body and focusing less on always being booked and busy — even though we STAN securing the bag. This past year has involved me taking more staycation holidays, sleeping and creating breaks from social media. And moving my body daily, because it genuinely [feels] good.
I’d say that honoring my spirit has been one of my biggest blessings, because it has allowed me to spring forward and lean into spaces I've always wanted to. I was recently let go from my previous role, which at the time felt like quite the jab. After allowing myself time to process, I realized that not only was this a part of my journey — but it was actually the beginning of a new era.
You see, the universe has its way of directing you and showing you that you've always been destined for greatness no matter who tries to dim your light. I'd continuously push and delay my own personal dreams, because I was so committed to pouring into someone else's cup. It's those subtle reminders that come from places you least expect it, that remind you are exactly where you need to be.
[With that], I’m excited to announce that I've officially "entered the chat" and applied to be a part of the 2023 SEPHORA Squad. I want to continue creating in beauty, hair and skin, intentionally making space for big, Black, thick, queer and gender-bending creators/folx to be seen. And develop alongside other talented Squad members. I finally feel ready to go all the way in. Cheers to leaning into spaces we've always wanted to, closed and opened doors, and "strutting by faith" not by sight. I truly feel like a winner, because I finally bet on myself.
MDX: Amen to that! You have our full support. Is there anyone who empowers you to be better than yesterday?
DJ: The Original Sparkle Muva, a.k.a my mom, is my biggest cheerleader and pours into me like no other. Not only does she empower me to stand in my truth, but she fills my heart with JOY. She constantly reminds me of a LOVING embrace, giving me a LOVE that is immeasurable.
I had [an accident] back in February 2016, [and] I was unable to walk and do things on my own for about seven months. I remember waking up after being transported to the hospital, slightly unconscious, and seeing my mom right above me. She immediately asked the nurses for a washcloth to clean me off. Right before I went into surgery, she poured into me and reminded me that we'd get through this together. She said, "Your work here on earth isn't done. This will be a part of your testimony and I'll be here every step of the way!"
She put everything on hold to be sure that I had space to heal and surrounded me with so much love that allowed me to become the best version of myself. I laughed more times than I cried and truly became a better D’Wu because of her. With every move I've made and every step I've taken, she's never left my side.
MDX: I know we're both St. Louis natives who love our city! But where would you say is your favorite place to be these days?
DJ: Being home with my family is truly my favorite place to be. It's where I eat my favorite meals (Pirrone’s Pizza, veggie St. Pauls and STL fried rice, IYKYK), watch my favorite classics with my siblings (Goonies, Matilda, Beauty & The Beast, and B.A.P.S.), crowd around with my fam for karaoke (JHud Spotlight, a BOP) and thrift shop with my mom (Baby, we love a good DEAL!). Home is a reminder of the genuine love that surrounds me.
MDX: Everyone in your orbit considers you Worthy, because you are. But out of curiosity, when have you felt the most Worthy?
DJ: Stepping into my queerness has allowed me to not only feel the most worthy, but more powerful than I've ever felt. It's when I learned that beauty has no gender, no size and is a one-size fits all. It's when I no longer compromised my identity for anyone's comfortability and unapologetically lived in my truth.
Being OUT and PROUD has not always been the easiest. I'm not only reminded of how many people constantly reject US, but constantly reminded of how my queer and Black identity is rejected, erased and devalued. I promised myself that I'd love even harder, remember that my heart is LOVE and to always help others shine their light, so that they may too beam as bright as the sun.