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The Gift, Magic and Mystery of Waistbands


Sensual! Sexual! Feminine! Luxurious! Seductive! It’s the game of the mind. Prayers! Meaning! Spiritual! Purpose! Powerful! These are many of the feelings I get when I wear the customized gifted waist bead made by my dear friend Ama McKinley of ILium Wing, Waist Jewelry. She reminded me that “beauty is because of what’s inside, not the beauty itself”. Wearing waist beads evoke courage that rages from within. It’s in the way the hips sway, the flow of the beads when the body moves, and the secrets being held.

Ama McKinley

Ama lost a budding career in 2019 and was quickly caught up in the storm of COVID-19, as so many, in 2020. Some might think this was rock bottom for Ama but in 2019, she lost her father. Although things seemed gloomy for her, things quickly began to change for the better. She had created a piece for Bosom St. John [the former Global Chief Marketing Officer of Netflix] which was shared on social media. This ignited a spark that was within her, and her passion and courage returned. The positive reaction from social media gave her the boost she needed to step in her faith and launch Ilium Wing. Since then, things have taken a positive turn for Ama. She recently accepted a scholarship to study at the Gemological Institute of America where she hopes to expand her knowledge and expertise in traditional jewellery. In addition, pieces from her collection were featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest global hit film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

When asked about her brainchild, Ama said ILiumn Wing is a mind game. She explained that the premise of her collection is to remix and rethink one’s thoughts and perspective on oneself and the world at large. Her pieces of jewellery are personalized to each wearer, and they are intentional and thought-provoking. Her jewellery consists of 14k gold, natural gemstone beads [hand cut in India], diamonds and bones, paying homage to the early days of jewellery making. This ensures each piece created tells a story that matches the client’s temperament and character.

“So, yes… Sleep and wake up in diamonds. They decorate you, not the other way around. Waist beads are a ministry. They are prayers… that is why every gem has a meaning,” she explained further about her pieces.

As we take a step closer to our wonderful Virgin Islands shores, we look at a local waist bead designer that hopes to follow in the footsteps of Ama. Natasha Penn, affectionately called Nana, has been crafting waist beads in the BVI for many years through her company Iyahni. Nana sat down with BeYond BeauTi to tell us more about her journey, passion, and entanglement with her calling.

BB: Share with our readers who and what is Iyahni – Holistic Healing Jewlz.

NN: Iyahni is a creator to help others to tap into and know their spiritual selves better, even if it starts with one body of jewellery at a time. The wearing of body beads originated in Africa and is connected to our spiritual selves. So, my ideal clientele is kings and queens who have had a spiritual awakening or are on a spiritual journey.

BB: What lead you to your journey in Holistic Healing?

NN: I believe that this was something that has been inside of me from creation but the Highest usually puts you through something for you to see your purpose. I know we have the power to heal ourselves and everyone needs to know this.

BB: What is the significance or meaning behind your pieces and products?

NN: Healing! Whether it’s emotional, mental, physical or spiritual we can all be healed, and we are the ones to do it.

BB: How long have you been a holistic healer?

NN: I have been a healer for as long as I can remember but have been creating tangible pieces for 2 months shy of 3 years.

BB: What sort of products or services do you offer?

NN: I offer Crystal/Gemstone jewellery (Anklets, Bracelets, Waist beads, Wire Wrapped Crystal Pendants, Necklaces, Earrings, Nose cuffs, Rings et cetera.), Spiritual cleansing pieces, (Sage, Palo Santo, Incense, Florida water, Essential oil blends for positive mood/ energy).

BB: What is the premise of the products and services you offer?

NN: The premise of the products I offer is from a holistic approach, to bring balance and high vibrations to your overall well-being through thought and intentions.

BB: Focusing on waist beads, tell our readers what materials are used in your waist beads.

NN: Some of the materials are Strings (plastic, cotton/nylon, wire), Seed beads, Crystals, Gemstones, and Charms.

BB: What is your process for creating a piece for a client?

NN: For customized waist beads, I request the client’s waist measurement (measured at wherever you would like it to fall. i.e., stomach, hips, or thighs), colour preference, and a two-week time frame.

BB: Share with us what waist beads symbolize to you.
NN: To me, waist beads symbolize femininity and connection with one’s inner self.

BB: What are some of the benefits of wearing waist beads?

NN: Some benefits of wearing waist beads are awareness of waistline and body weight. They can serve as a waist trainer, (as a reminder to fix posture or simply breathe correctly.) They improve body image both physically and emotionally. They can consist of healing properties and are set with intentions to help the wearer achieve whatever they desire.

BB: What energy should your clients receive from you with each waist bead you created?

NN: My clients would receive the feeling of gratitude for already receiving whatever they desired by wearing it. Along with lots of excitement and appreciation.

BB: What are some of the myths about wearing waist beads?

NN: Some myths about wearing waist beads are you must be African to wear them. You must be skinny or have a flat stomach or they have an evil or religious meaning.

BB: What are some recommended ways to wear waist beads?

NN: I would say there are no recommended ways to wear waist beads. It is totally up to the wearer and the intention they initially set in it. It depends on if they want to wear them inside or outside of their clothes or if they want to wear them on their stomach, hips, or thighs, or they can choose to wear them only at nighttime while being intimate or maybe just during the day (at the beach, travelling or occasionally). There is no right or wrong way to wear them once it feels right to the wearer.

Waist beads date to ancient Kemet (Egypt) and were called girdles. They have long been an important part of many West African cultures, such as Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, and Liberia and are today part of many cultures across the world. There are many reasons and purposes in different cultures for wearing waist beads but in Africa, they symbolize femininity, attraction, and sexuality. Whatever the reason for wearing waist beads, wear them with joy, and embrace the energy they bring. Be free and Connect with your inner self! Ready for that customer piece? Both, talented and gifted designers await the opportunity to create that piece that is perfect, for you!

Connect with
Ama McKinley at ama@iliumwing.com
– www.ilumwing.com

Connect with Nana at 2844412156 (Phone and WhatsApp) – https://linktr.ee/holistichealingcenter – holistichealingjewlz

Email us at beyondbeautivi@gmail.com to be featured

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