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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sorry Alicia Keys, I'm not with you on this one!

Hi there,

Alicia Keys didn't wear make-up at a big event recently and the media is having a field day as a result. What do you think? I'm all for authenticity from the artists I admire but I don't actually need their stark reality. I've always thought the job description of a pop star was to be an exaggerated, perhaps more glamorous version of their real selves. After all, I don't want to listen to anyone sing about their grocery shopping or look like they're doing it! If Alicia wants to go out on a Sunday morning to pick up her sourdough, sans lipstick, then she should be allowed to do so without comment. But she is a card carrying member of the pop star elite and has always presented us with a full face of glamour so no wonder there is a media storm about her bare face at an awards ceremony. Ms Keys says that she has never felt more liberated and more 'herself' than without foundation and blush. If that's the case, then of course she should continue that way. But as far as the #nomakeup movement she has inspired - no thank you very much! 

The literal spotlight we put ourselves under as entertainers, whether it be a TV studio's lights or the LEDs on a stage, casts us in a severe and unrealistic glare. Even newsmen wear some pancake and powder to counteract the harshness, so there are practical reasons for make-up to start with. For me, make-up, like hair dye and costume, is an important part of a theatrical toolkit that helps spotlight our artistry. I'm not talking about plastic surgery or magazine airbrushing - those things are artifice, but for me, painting your face is art. I'm not a big fan of heavy make-up in the every day, but I love seeing my face metamorphose in the mirror while making up before a show. Coating my eyelashes makes my eyes look bigger and thus more expressive from a distance on stage under those bright lights.  If eyes are indeed windows of the soul then eye shadow is the window dressing that invites you in. 

Make-up is part of a showbusiness ritual I love, one that helps regular me transform to a more theatrical version of myself. And is it really a gender issue as the media is suggesting? Is there a social pressure for women to slather it on? Perhaps so, but I personally don't feel it. And I love a man in make-up too - black-lined eyes are a regular sight on a rock stage for both genders and even my young son likes wearing nail polish. Anyway, take away my kohl pencil and I'll challenge you to a duel. I have a mascara wand and I'm not afraid to use it! 
See you next time,