If you look closely at most of my publicly available pictures, dawtah, you’ll see something funny. You’ll hardly see a picture of me where I have my face bare of makeup.
This is a Google search for images of me. There’s one picture of me with no makeup. One.
That’s funny because in real life I walk around about 80 per cent of the time precisely the opposite way. I almost never wear makeup. However, my public photos don’t reflect this because, by and large, I’ve insisted on being photographed only when I’m in full makeup. By “full” I mean foundation to finish, as it were: base, powder, brow liner, eye shadow, mascara, eye liner, blush, lip liner, lip colour—twenty minutes to half-an-hour of application of product that cost several hundred dollars just to look, in most cases, “natural”.
I’m a public figure and pictures are permanent. I thought it was a better idea to make myself look as polished as I could because you never know where those pictures might end up. My concern came not because I’m living the kind of life TMZ would care about; there has been a study that found people rate women’s competence on how much makeup they wear—none at all makes you look unprofessional, it seems. (But a makeup manufacturer sponsored the study so I wouldn’t trust its results completely.)
Of course, it’s ridiculous. Nobody tells a man he has to put on layers of talc, mica, metal oxides and wax on his face before he looks “presentable”. There’s an undeniable double standard and a kind of tyranny regarding women and make up. It’s presumed that women look better with makeup on than without—and who wouldn’t want to look her best? But now, dawtah, I’m questioning that. I have begun to allow myself to go barefaced to meetings and possible photo-ops. (I use “photo-op” to mean the kinds of events at which you think there’s a good chance you’ll be photographed). It’s less time consuming and I don’t have to worry if something is slipping or running or cracking or clumping. And also, I’ve finally come to a place where I can see myself and notice that I look okay without makeup. It’s not a face I should be ashamed to show the world.
Naked as I was born, I look beautiful. And you know what, dawtah? So do you.