Makeup is cool, but it was never really my thing. My idea of getting ready is some blush and a pair of falsies (if I’m getting really fancy). Oh, and my weave, of course. I never realized just how dependent I was on these external supplements we value as beauty. That was until, I covered a 2017 awards season red carpet at the FREAKING Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, mind you — surrounded by the biggest stars, hi Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone — wearing no makeup and completely natural hair.
Blame Instagram or the selfie generation, but we’ve become obsessed with how we look. So I went cold turkey, because I wanted to prove a point. I splashed some water in my hair, threw on chapstick, called it a day, and off I went. Once I got there, had to check in, face other reporters, and be surrounded by celebs?
I was shaking.
It was hard for me to even carry on a conversation. I never realized that my makeup and my extensions were also my armor and such a crucial vehicle to my self confidence. But I didn’t back down. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a reporter or celebrity go au naturel on the carpet, and I was sticking to my guns, as terrifying as it was. It took me about a dozen tries and poses to take a photo I was OK with. Turns out, even I am guilty of placing so much weight on these physical constructs, which is the exact point of #WeAreMore. Underneath our shell is so much richness on the inside. But why do we forget that?
Reporters called me “brave” and “ballsy.” Celebs put their two cents in, too. Viggo Mortensen called me “refreshingly real.” Amy Landecker said I looked “incredible,” and that people pay for the natural hair I have.
The compliments came in, but I was still ridden with anxious feelings of being exposed and raw.
Eventually, I fucking owned it. (As a woman who’s already confident, I admit, I’m surprised it took so long for me to. I guess that says something in itself. Damn you, Hollywood.) I couldn’t depend on my appearance anymore. A turning point came when I depended only on my brains, personality, curiosity, and thoughts. Usually looks and soul go hand-in-hand, but when you’re forced to only use the latter, it is as brilliant as it is empowering.
Next thing I knew, I was praying the biggest of celebs would approach me, so I could flaunt what I had done that day. Although I was out-of-sorts, uncomfortable, and never got to humble brag to Ryan Gosling about my bold move (dontchu worry, Eva), I succeeded in ways I never would’ve imagined. Getting dolled up makes me feel confident, and that’s OK. But all the mascara in the world doesn’t come close to the power inside me.
The next day, I got up and emerged into LA as a new woman with a fresh slate. I didn’t even think about putting on makeup or so much as brushing my hair. And you know what? I was psyched about it.
Join me and celebs in showing your worth. Post a photo with one word that truly defines who you are, use #WeAreMore, tag @strippingdowncelebs, and be heard.