Tag Archives: make-up

S(M)onday Scraps 103


1. HISTORY: Imagine you’re 23 and you’re heading off to WWII as a nurse. What do you pack? Slate‘s new history blog has got you covered with a real recommended packing list. Don’t forget your homemade Kotex!

2. ELLEN: Ellen solves all problems. In this clip, she takes on Abercrombie and their whole “only skinny kids are cool” baloney.

3. ART: Like me, you probably assumed pin-up artistry was historically a male artform. Not so! Three of the most respected pin-up artists were women, who knew?

4. SPORTS: Remember Allyson Felix, the Olympic sprinter? What happens after you win gold and you’ve accomplished all your goals at 26? Grantland finds out.

5. EVEREST: Apparently, Mount Everest is overrun by inexperienced, poorly equipped climbers. National Geographic explores what it’s like to wait in line to hike the summit.

6. MAKE-UP: In this short Thought Catalog piece, Chelsea Fagan explains some of the complex rationales that inform female make-up habits. It’s not as simple, “I want to look hot.”

Related Post: Sunday 102 – Depression cartoons, GeoGuessr, war photos, etc.

Related Post: Sunday 101 – Lean In letters, Colbert’s homphobia song, American Girl evolution


Filed under Art, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sports

So What Do You Do Exactly? Hair Model Edition

grace hair 1When I was a kid my favorite part of getting my hair cut was paging through those big coffee table books of crazy hairstyles. Remember when those tiny rubberbanded twists were all the rage? I always wondered, who are these people that waltz around rocking these edgy bowl cuts or mint-green stripes? Welp, turns out, I know one of them! This is Grace, and for the latest edition of my jobs series, So What Do You Do Exactly?, she will tell us a little about being a hair model.

What’s your actual job title? This isn’t so much a real job as an adult “extracurricular activity” [ed. note: Grace has a “real” job too], but when get hired for things I am either a “demo model” or a “presentation model”.  I mostly fall in to the category of “creative cut and color”, which tends to mean asymmetrical or severe looking cuts and colors not commonly or naturally found in human hair.

What would your title be if it described what you actually do? I work on event-based contract for a major salon brand as a hair “demo model.” That means I get my hair cut and colored by creative directors of different salons (basically, the top stylists and colorists, who set the tone for the styles that are “in”).

I think the most accurate descriptor would probably be “living doll”– my head and hair tend to be an experiment ground for whichever instructor is playing around with it that day. They know I’m quite open so I’ve wound up with pretty much every hair cut or color you can imagine. For public events that aren’t just in the salon, there is a makeup artist and wardrobe situation going on too.

grace hair 6How on earth did you get into this line of work? Very simply: I got my hair cut one day, and one thing led to another! A friend in college turned me on to this website where you could sign up to get a free haircut from an “apprentice” at a salon who was auditioning to be a full stylist, and one day I went to quite a fancy salon for my free haircut and the head stylist asked me if I’d modeled before, and asked me back to model for an in-salon training they were going to be having.
From there, I wound up doing a photo shoot with the same salon (You know those big pictures of people’s heads and faces up in a lot of salons? I’m one of them!) and some work as a color model for another salon. This was back in 2010 and I’ve been working for them regularly ever since. As I understand it, I am desirable as a hair model because I amiable and willing to pull off very creative work– I have very thick, dark hair that grows in stick-straight, takes color well, and I like to keep my hair short. I can pretty easily wear the kinds of haircuts people want to see as an example of creative work but don’t want to wear themselves– super angular or asymmetrical looks and “circus colors” for the most part.
grace hair 4How many different haircuts have you had? Best? Worst?
I honestly can’t say how many different cuts I’ve had– in fact I’m pretty much sure I’ve only had the same haircut twice since I’ve started (this December and January actually, when a stylist I was modeling for was getting really in to classic cuts “invented” by Vidal Sassoon, and I had the right hair type to show one, the five-point cut.)
I think my favorite was a few days before I graduated from college– I did a show where the stylist asked me what my school color was (maroon!) and what color the gown was (black!) and gave me these amazing angular bangs that were dyed maroon and intentionally super awesome peeking out from under a graduation hat.
The good thing is there’s really no such thing as a bad haircut because the haircut I get on stage will often be completely different than the one I go home with– they let me know when they’re illustrating techniques that aren’t “wearable” (say, chin-length wispy sideburns or bangs that cover the eyes) and are totally not offended if I ask them to change the cut or adjust the color afterwards.
grace hair 3Do you get to go to hair shows like the ones Chris Rock featured in Good Hair?  I’ve actually never seen Good Hair! But, I do a show every year called America’s Beauty Show at the Chicago convention center that is huge and really over the top, where lots of different salons and brands from all over the US show their work. The group I work for tends to be one of the classier ones there– cut and color with makeup and wardrobe, but no wigs, extensions, etc– but you will see girls (and guys) working for other groups with big hair, huge added-in hairpieces, body paint, etc. Shows are actually the best, though, because you get paid the most for doing them– depending on the number of days you work it can be in the high hundreds of dollars.
Sidenote on the money thing since I know I would wonder if I were the one reading this: There is money in doing this, but it’s not a living wage. Sometimes you’re just getting the free haircut (which if you had to pay for it, would be a $200-300 experience, so that’s nice by itself), but for more public events you do get paid a base rate per day or per event; I used my modeling money to pay for my books while I was in school, so it was useful income but not life-sustaining.
grace hair 5What would we be surprised to know about the hair modeling industry? Most people who do hair modeling are not who you’d be looking at on the street thinking, “Wow, that girl must be a model.” Hair modeling tends to be a lot more forgiving in terms of height and body shape/size; I’m only about 5’6″ and I eat food regularly and with much gusto.
You do need to be able to walk in heels comfortably, but the “model walk” that’s actually desirable is not so much a strut and hip-swag as an “I am comfortable walking in heels and can go in a straight line”. While I’ve seen a lot of the traditional super tall skinny model-type at hair shows working for other companies, the group I work for especially tends to just pull people that have the look they’re going for when they come in for hair cuts (like I did) or by standing outside of art schools.
Related Post: So What Do You Do Exactly? Tween Lit Edition
Related Post: So What Do You Do Exactly? T-Shirt Edition


Filed under Art, Chicago

Model Behavior and a Train of Thought

MODEL-MORPHOSIS - T Magazine Blog - NYTimes.com

Model Hannah Gaby Odiele for Marc Jacobs

Confession: There are few things I find more engrossing than model “before and afters.” There’s a whole genre of this stuff, with variations like “Celebrities without makeup!” and “They have cellulite too!” and “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” and I can’t pull my eyes away.

The example above is from the New York Times Magazine in a series called Model-Morphosis (It’s interactive! Yippee!) but here are a few other examples from the blog I Waste So Much Time

Supermodels without makeup.-2

Supermodels without makeup.-1

Supermodels without makeup.I think the word “engrossed” is the right one. It’s not “fun” per se, to sit and parse the appearances of beautiful people looking less beautiful, but I do find it some twisted combination of mesmerizing, fascinating, horrifying, reassuring, and enlightening. I see pictures like this and in quick succession I think:

a) Wow, she is not attractive

b) That was mean. Stop judging.

c) But like, really, that is all make-up and hair and lighting and photoshop…

d) Maybe I could look like that with make-up and hair and lighting and photoshop?

e) Hold up. Why do I want to look like that?

f) This is fucked. Why is our standard of beauty so far outside the spectrum of what actual humans look like?

g) I want no part of this.

h) Except… look how much bigger her eyes looked like when they added mascara…

i) Maybe I should invest in some good mascara

j) But why are big eyes a good thing? What’s wrong with the size of my eyes?


l) Except not as perfect as they are… with make-up and big hair and lighting and photoshop…

m) But if people don’t know about the make-up and hair and lighting and photoshop…

n) Then they just think that these women are abnormally beautiful,

o) Which they are not, because they are just normal looking humans.

p) What does it mean if we think these women are normal?

q) It means we start doing things like shaving our jaw bones

r) and getting eyelash extensions

s) and injecting collagen into our lips.

t) That shit is scary.

u) So…maybe it’s okay if everyone knows that this not what they really look like?

v) So… maybe these “before and afters” are actually kind of an educational tool?

w) We should teach media literacy in schools. There should be warning labels on magazine covers.

x) I hope I don’t have daughters

y) That’s a really sad thing to say.

z) I hate everyone and we are doomed.

Related Post: Average-sized fitness models. Who knew?

Related Post: How old is she really? Underage models.


Filed under Advertising, Body Image, Gender, Media

It’s telling that they call it “cover-up”

This week at Role/Reboot I wrote about my relationship with make-up. The inspiration for this piece was some combination of Caitlin Moran, Leighton Meester, Hillary Clinton, Toddlers in Tiaras, Sephora, and those annoying Latisse ads.

In How to Be a Woman, Moran wrote:

“I love drag and make-up and reinvention and wigs and make-believe and inventing yourself from the floor up, as many times as you need to. Every day, if you want.  At the very end of all this arguing, women should be allowed to look how they damn well please. The patriarchy can get OFF my face and tits.” 

Gah, she is just the best. And then, Gossip Girl actress Leighton Meester was recently quoted in Cosmo saying, “I don’t care if there are a million photos of me with no makeup. I love being able to walk down the street without it. We should promote women not having to wear makeup, or at least feel we can go out without it.”

I couldn’t agree with her more, but the language of her statement makes it clear that the default position is to be plastered in cosmetics, and that “being able” to go without it is somehow a bold statement. It seems to me that face-painting would be the unusual case, not our baseline for leaving the house, but I think I’m deluding myself (at least, for celebrities).

And then there’s Hillary, who is just the biggest BAMF around. Her quote, my favorite, is in my essay:

Related Post: That time I went to Sephora

Related Post: Katie Makkai’s “Pretty”

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Filed under Advertising, Body Image, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Republished!

Sunday Scraps 67

1. TELEVISION: Someone took the time to make a Lego-animated recap of The Wire. It’s disconcertinly accurate, down to McNulty’s boozing and Lester’s dollhouses (via The Atlantic Wire).

2. NAMES: File this under things “Things I Worry About A Lot.” NPR investigates what happens when hyphen-girl meets hyphen boy and they try to name their offspring.

3. CRIME: Great, complex New York Times Magazine essay on the fate of Greg Ousley, who killed his parents at age fourteen, was tried as an adult, and is now a “model” prisoner.

4. BOOKS: Do you like books? Do you like the history of books? How about the history of the deckle edge (that rough, uneven way that some printers style book pages)? Then this piece from The Millions is for you.

5. BEAUTY: Just a little reminder that we could all be supermodels if we had the resources, and cheekbones. Or, at bare minimum, supermodels are really just very tall normal people when you take off the make-up.

6. TECH: TimesCast interviews Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, about her new project, Pinwheel.

Related Post: Sunday 66: Library propaganda, Nancy Pelosi, dying languages, etc.

Related Post: Sunday 65: Nicki Minaj, Margaret Atwood on Twitter, lady scientists.


Filed under Art, Body Image, Books, Hollywood, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People

Advice from a Make Up Artist

Jeanine Lobell and Family, from Into the Gloss

Now that I have mad crazy cosmetics skillz, or at least some real cosmetics with which to practice, I was doubly, triply, fascinated by this account of the rise of make-up brand Stila. This interview at Into the Gloss with founder Jeanine Lobell reads like a first person play-by-play of the company. I would not normally find cream blush vs. powder to be so engaging, but Lobell’s twisty turny winding road of a career path is pretty captivating.

I love stories about how people got where they are, the zanier and more unlikely the better. You meet the right person, ask the right question, show up at a particular time and place and BOOM, life change. Those stories are the best.

Lobell’s is vaguely like that, but she also gives some really good advice that’s applicable way beyond the make-up world:

People always think, ‘If I could only get an agent,’ and it’s like, an agent can only do so much for you. It’s really up to you. I think that the first time is luck, the second time is you. You know, you get lucky and are asked to do a job—somebody drops out, somebody is sick, somebody isn’t available, they’re in the right mood to try somebody new, whatever. But ultimately, you have to show up and blow it out, you know? I do what is expected, and then some.

Related Post: Great advice from Whitney Johnson on girl talk vs. shop talk at the office

Related Post: Great advice from Mika Brzezinski on getting paid what you’re worth.


Filed under Body Image, Hollywood

Make-up Scavenger

Ha. As if.

I’m a make-up scavenger. My “collection,” if you can call it that, includes several tubes of chapstick wrapped with promo copy of local banks and fundraisers, a few Clinique relics that came with my mother’s kits ten years ago, the vestiges of several Halloween costumes, and a few hand-me-downs from better equipped friends. I don’t think I own a single item that I picked up in a store, decided I wanted, and purchased. Not even nail polish.

I feel like I missed out on some essential pieces of girl-knowledge, the ability to choose a palette of shadows, to know what an eye primer is, to discern quality from junk. Then I get irritated with myself for attributing too much weight to what is, essentially, a super heteronormative view point in which women are supposed to pay big bucks to make themselves look pretty for the benefit of men. That’s not a tradition I really want to be a part of, nor an industry to which I really want to give my dollars. Except when I do.

This weekend I spent more money on make-up in one fell swoop than I have in the last five years combined. By American beauty-spending standards, I’m still in the “mere pennies” category, but it felt like a lot in the moment. I was with a friend, in a Georgetown Sephora, and I was suddenly possessed by the desire to have more at my disposal than cast-offs.

It felt like a change, like a step closer to grown-up land. I’m not just a scavenger of make-up. I approach most commodities that way, furniture, food, clothing, books. Probably half of what I own was owned by someone else first. Sometimes I go to work without packing lunch, assuming I’ll find a leftover bagel from a breakfast event, or the remains of a fruit salad. Part of it is certainly frugality, but part of it is also this inability to recognize that I’m at a stage in my life where I can by new things, where the $6 saved by the stale bagel isn’t going to break the bank. I haven’t full transitioned.

So my make-up purchase this weekend felt like a step towards the adult mentality of investment (in self, in professionalism, in quality), instead of my typical scanvenger mindset. In that sense, I’m pretty pleased. But it also felt a bit like a resigned sigh, like an acknowledgment that part and parcel of being a professional, adult woman is some sort of proficiency with face-paint.

Related Post: I don’t know how to shop anymore.

Related Post: Too pretty for math? It’s math!


Filed under Body Image, Gender