Gabriella Evans is a current MS in Professional Writing (MSPW) student at NYU School of Professional Studies. As a new business owner, Gabriella founded JustCleanStyle to address health-related topics and matters of social justice in the beauty industry.
Q: You recently started your own company - JustCleanStyle! Can you talk about the company and how it began?
I started JustCleanStyle to help others understand the science behind clean beauty. Although the company is new, my journey with clean beauty began in 2014 when I embraced my natural curls. As a woman of color there weren’t many options for managing my mixed hair texture, and my curls weren’t always welcomed.
Straightening my hair was damaging it, so I started my “natural hair journey,” and spent a lot of time researching the ingredients in my products. The more I researched, the more I wanted to share everything I learned. Beauty regulations in the US haven’t been updated since 1938, and I want the site to be a resource for finding healthier options. It’s unnecessary for people to spend money on products that don’t align with their needs due to lack of awareness. With JustCleanStyle, I'm able to present facts so people can choose products that work for them.
Q: What are your goals for JustCleanStyle and beyond?
Beauty standards that exclude people based on race and gender is a social justice issue I am interested in addressing with JustCleanStyle. Matters of inclusion, or lack thereof, are what lead me to straighten my hair in the first place. I want people to feel beautiful, embrace their diversity, and have access to healthier beauty products.
When I come across products and I don’t see my skin tone represented, I wonder how many people like me have to imagine what a product will look like on them. How many people can’t buy the clean products they want because the shade range doesn’t suit their needs? Moments like these are a reminder that there is still a lot of progress to be made.
Q: In what ways are you using your MSPW course work within JustCleanStyle?
In the spring of 2021, I took Steven Goss’ Principles of Information Architecture course. His class helped me gain the skills I needed to intentionally build a digital space for myself, not only to write but to also design a space to support my writing. This is a very powerful realization for a writer.
The MSPW program provides writers with the tools necessary to craft powerful and meaningful messages. I’ve realized the importance of allowing my writing to evolve and seeing mistakes as opportunities for growth. This also applies to the spaces supporting my writing and the invisible structures that allow readers to navigate efficiently. These structures will evolve and grow over time, just as my writing will change as I continue to learn in the MSPW program.
Q: Any MSPW shout-outs?
I can’t express how much I value my professors in the MSPW program.
Dr. Katherine Newhouse’s course, Principles of Professional Writing, has forever changed the way I think about drafting and vulnerability in writing. Dr. Steven Goss’ and Dr. Emily Wells’ design courses helped me shift my thinking about building digital spaces. Megan Diamondstein’s Writing for Digital Spaces course helped me gain the confidence to write in different digital genres.
This semester, Susan Davies’ grant writing course is an amazing opportunity to learn how to fundraise and help support institutions that are working toward more inclusive environments. Dr. Kristine Rodriguez Kerr’s Business and Organizational Writing course is helping me develop my voice as a business writer and connect with different audiences. Jessica Copen’s Writing for Science and the Environment course is showing me creative ways to approach environmental issues, and I couldn’t be more excited to apply those principles to addressing beauty products and sustainability.
To learn more about the MS in Professional Writing program at NYU School of Professional Studies, visit sps.nyu.edu/mspw