Real conversations with women about the impact makeup has on their lives. Find out more here.
“When you’re out meeting new people it’s kind of fun to mess with them a little bit. What they perceive you as and then to act with that, or act against it, it’s kind of fun to play with, in the same way that it’s fun in dance too.”Caitlin
Could you tell me about your relationship with makeup?
I think I see makeup as part of a costume. My background is in dance and performance, ballet, modern, tap, jazz, musical theater, kind of everything.
So in that aspect, makeup was always seen as part of the costume.
You had your ballet makeup that had to look a certain way, you had specific makeup for a piece because you were trying to tell a certain story and that was part of the story.
I think I, in life, once I started wearing makeup outside of just theaters, kind of see it the same way. so if I’m getting dressed up to go out, it’s very much this idea of what character, what image do I want to put forward today, and then, okay, so what makeup goes with that?
And then I just think it’s fun too because today I just want to look sort of grungy, and how can I do that with makeup? Like really smudgy eyeliner or something, like pretending, playing with who you can be based on just how your face looks and then playing that up with your clothing or completely contrasting that with your clothing.
And especially when you’re out meeting new people it’s kind of fun to mess with them a little bit. What they perceive you as and then to act with that, or act against it, it’s kind of fun to play with, in the same way that it’s fun in dance too.
I did a piece recently about housewives, and we were these housewives who were going insane. But we had this perfect makeup, perfect hair, and it just contrasted with this just complete mental breakdown. But everything had to look perfect at the same time. So you had this very much aware of this sort of show that makeup can be and how it can sort of hide, like icing on a rotten cake, you can just kind of makeup over everything and make it look great. And then either sometimes the cracks show through and sometimes not.
Do you come up with proper characters for yourself when you go out?
I think it comes into play if I’m deciding what to wear. because if I just thought about what I want to wear I’d be in sweatpants all the time and that’s all I would wear ever. So if I want to look nice going out, I have to think okay, what kind of nice do I want to look like? Do I want to look vintage nice, or like modern nice, or whatever, and then playing the makeup along with that.
So it’s kind of creating this overall package, making everything match.
Or then say if you’re going out to a job interview or something like that, and you’re like “oh, I want to look sort of secretarial”, so I’m not going to have big wings or something. But then if you go to something else and you needed to look edgy, or you’re expected to be edgy, or to match that, with what you’re doing so I guess kind of sometimes.
Which is sometimes just fun to do. I’m going to be a rock-star today.
What do you think might be some of the downsides of that?
I think if you get too dependent on it.
Because I’ve totally known people who are, also people in performance, who became really reliant on having that cover all the time.
And then they think, suddenly, oh, I can’t go out of the house without makeup on because I’ve put forward this face so much that that’s the only thing people expect of me.
Even no matter what people actually say, people who just think other people have come to expect that of them, and then become sort of enslaved by it, maybe that’s too dramatic, but become dependent on that sort of crutch, of this is what I look like, and this is who I am because of what I look like, and I can’t break out of that thing.
Or people who maybe don’t realize that it’s a front that can come off, that it’s a mask that can go off and come on, that it’s not actually representative of what is going on behind the makeup, so, they say ‘oh, she always has perfect makeup, her life must perfect’ to not be able to disassociate the two of face makeup and what’s actually happening to somebody or what the actual personality is.
I know I myself have totally been like “oh, she’s always super made up, she must be super bitch, snob”, and then to find out, “oh, no, they’re actually really nice”. so yeah.
Makeup can really transform perceptions of people. What would you say to someone is kind of stuck in feeling like their makeup has become their identity?
I would say, go out where you don’t know somebody, without makeup, so you don’t have the expectation of other people’s expectations.
so, especially if you’re like moving to a new city of you’re starting a new school, to say, “oh I’m going to change up what I do. I’m not going to wear makeup for a day”.
Or, go out and just go to a new bar, a new restaurant, a new gym, like whatever, where you don’t know anybody in your kind of new persona and test it out. Or you can kind of ease into it with people you know and say oh, maybe today I won’t wear lipstick. Maybe today I won’t wear highlighter. Whatever. Ease into weaning yourself off of this makeup dependence.