April 25, 2018

What's Your Mirror Face?

Initimate moments with your reflection

Photo: Eva O’Leary/New York Magazine

Hello everyone. I am in New York Magazine shaving my eyebrows off. That is all.

Kidding! But not. For The Cut's Self/Reflection series I was asked to share what my getting ready routine was like. Not for the sake of dishing the hottest tips (though, mine is obviously shaving the your "under-brows" in between threadings), but to share what the intimate moment between a woman, her mirror, and what she hopes to look like is really like.

For the final article—see here—only a snippet of was used, but the full interview is below.


1. First thing you put on in the morning:
A silky honey + propolis serum (after washing with cold water).


2. Tip(s)/beauty hack(s):
Cold water washing in the morning, and washing every night. I refuse to fall asleep with makeup on. Also, overdoing night time moisturizer & serum combos, but skipping one night per week so my skin doesn't get too used to the formulas to where they no longer have an effect. I don't know if there's a real science behind this, but I'm convinced it works.


3. What is your most defining feature and how do you feel about it?
I don't think I have one. I want to say something poetic about my eyes, but honestly, I think I just like my particular combination of features. When I pick apart my face feature by feature, each one becomes somewhat grotesque to me. Like a disorganized puzzle.

"Looking in the mirror forces you to pause and go, 'Wow, I'm really here, and if I'm going to be here, I might as well do something about it. Turn it out.'"


4. What is your "signature" makeup look/something you wear every single day:
I always go for winged liner and full lashes. I've grown comfortable enough to skip a day of eyeliner, but when I do apply it, it's game over. The one skill I'm proud of is my ability to do an acceptable wing on a moving subway car in under 5 minutes.


5. How long do you think you spend looking in the mirror every day?
It's disgusting. I would say maybe an hour or two if you count using a front-facing iPhone camera. If a surface is slightly reflective, I'll steal a glimpse. Maybe it's not so disgusting, actually. I feel like everyone does that, especially people whose appearances have been made a topic of focus—women, and especially women of color. 


6. Do you have a mirror mantra, or something you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?
Probably some variation of "alright bitch, let's go." The meaning shifts depending on where I am mentally. Sometimes, it's a pat on the back like, "alright bitch, you did a good job on your face. Fab. Let's move on!" Other times it's a reminder that I need to not care about my face at all and get away from the mirror because there are more important things I need to take care of.


7. How does looking in the mirror make you feel?
It reminds me that I'm a person. I exist. I am flesh and blood matter. It's not really a thing to acknowledge you're living as you're living, you know? We're just a consciousness in a body, too busy going through life to always be aware of it. Looking in the mirror forces you to pause and go, "Wow, I'm really here, and if I'm going to be here, I might as well do something about it. Turn it out." 


8. Have you found that you are treated differently in public when you wear makeup?
I'd say so. It's not so much that I'm shunned for being a hideous beast or anything when I'm not wearing makeup—I'm just ignored. No one looks twice, which is nice sometimes. The gross catcalling decreases dramatically.

"If a surface is slightly reflective, I'll steal a glimpse. Maybe it's not so disgusting, actually. I feel like everyone does that, especially people whose appearances have been made a topic of focus—women, and especially women of color."


9. What age did you start wearing makeup - and why?
I started wearing makeup very young, maybe 8? But that was without permission. I always saw my mom using her Mary Kay and Avon kits to get ready and I would sneak after her and play with them. My first "liquid" eyeliner was mixing vaseline and a black cake eyeshadow she had. I thought I was so clever. I was given permission to wear makeup at about 12 or 13 though. I think she realized she couldn't stop what was already happening. She let me have one frosty pink lip gloss that I used as eyeshadow on my lids to get around her rules.


10. Do you have a physical insecurity (and when did you start feeling that way)?

Of course I have physical insecurities! Not too many regarding my face though, except now that I can see like "oh, shit, I'm actually getting old," I'm starting to feel a pressing urge to use every hydrating cream ever. Aging in your twenties usually comes from dehydration and general crappy lifestyle, I read. As for the rest of my body, I've always been bigger, curvier, whatever word applies to someone a size 14. I think I got into beauty for that reason. I couldn't do anything immediately about the fact that I was bigger, but with makeup, I could be instantly more, prettier. Then I started hearing "oh, you'd be so much prettier if you lost a few pounds," which I hated. Still hate.


11. Do you feel vulnerable without makeup?

Not really. I just feel plain without it. Somedays that's fine, but if I have a day where I really feel like, "hello world, see me!" and I don't have on makeup, it does make me feel a bit out of place. Like I'm yelling out into a crowd but no one is listening...because I don't have on lipstick.
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