Beauty gurus give a glimpse into the idea of what it means to be beautiful
A pink base. Blend it out into an even magenta. . . Add an orange accent to the corner. Complete it with a classic cut crease with glitter. And just like that, Malissa Abraham (11) designed and submitted her look for her winter guard team. After her winter guard captains approved the makeup, she would show up to competitions early to help teammates that were not as confident with applying makeup.
Abraham not only does makeup for performances but also for her everyday life at school. She’d been playing around with makeup since she was about eight or nine, but she started wearing it more regularly in second semester of her sophomore year to boost her confidence at school.
“I don’t have any eyebrows, and it was one thing I didn’t particularly like about myself per se, and I thought ‘if I don’t like it, then why don’t I just fix it?’” says Abraham.
Confidence is a big advantage of wearing makeup. Fashionista Kitty Lai (11) decides to dress like the best version of herself every day instead of only dressing up for special occasions.
“There is one similarity between makeup and fashion: they both serve as armor. Armor in a dreary battleground where the monotony of routine turns. That’s why I don’t understand the logic of saving a special version of yourself for a special occasion, because, with the right version of yourself, every day would be a special occasion,” says Lai.
Wearing makeup is not a daily activity for most students at AHS. Occasional makeup wearer Ammu Mohan (10) enjoys the confidence of wearing makeup without making it part of her daily routine.
“For concerts, I’d use eyeliner and other products. It’s not for anybody else, it’s just ‘I like it, I wanna wear it.’ Generally, I don’t like looking at myself, but I like looking at myself when I’m wearing makeup,” says Mohan.
However, makeup serves other purposes. Alison Zhao (11) has been friends with Abraham since fourth grade and sees makeup as a way for her and Abraham to bond as friends.
“The guard competition would start at 1:30, so I would be at her house at like 12:30 and we’d do it for half an hour, and then we’d go to the competition together,” says Zhao.
Performances are not the only reason students at AHS start wearing makeup. Makeup enthusiast Helen Mei (10) had an influence in her life much earlier in her life.
“I saw [my mom] do her own makeup. She’s one of my role models, and makeup made her more confident,” says Mei.
For others, the way they were brought up brings a different result. Josha Mae Pacia (11) attributes her disinterest in makeup to her parents.
“I find that I felt better without makeup, it’s just sort of the way I was brought up. My mom enjoys having a natural face, so I guess those kind of beliefs were kind of put onto me,” says Pacia.
Makeup is only the tip of the iceberg. Artists such as Abraham see makeup as just another part of their daily routine, but other factors also affect students confidence, such as clothing and body shape.
This is true for both boys and girls. In a recent poll, the Eagle Era found that only 30% of boys reported that they felt handsome, while 33% of girls said that they felt beautiful. While discussions of self-esteem and beauty standards are mostly targeted towards girls, boys struggle with their image just as much as girls.
“In the more recent years, beauty standards for women have been a lot broader, but I see that for boys it’s not often talked about. For girls, you see shorted girls embraced, bigger girls embraced, but for guys, I think it’s still a lot more rigid. Like you have to be tall, slim, and have an athletic build,” says Abraham.
For many, gender isn’t the only factor that affects beauty standards at AHS. American’s AP culture also seeps into how students perceive their appearance.. Senior Joshua Wong explains how hard it is to feel confident at AHS.
“In this school, there seems to be this overhanging atmosphere of ‘what I’m doing isn’t good enough.’ Of course, this is most visible with tests and grades, but it seems like this carries over into our attire. For example, one could think they aren’t doing enough to be handsome or beautiful, so they create this world where they must be handsome or beautiful, a world where that is not their default,” says Wong.
Boys have gradually started tapping into what has been the source of confidence girls have been wearing for years: makeup. However, the stigma is still firmly against this growing trend, labeling all boys who take an interest in makeup or looks as gay, eradicating the perceived existence of straight boys who care about makeup and fashion. Makeup enthusiast Hyacinth Cajucom (10) has loved makeup since she was younger, but she realizes the guys around her did not have the opportunity to experiment with makeup.
“I think we’ve all heard the idea of the equality of all people, but I feel like [for beauty] that’s more towards women than men,” says Cajucom.
While there will not be equality in how we are perceived, we can achieve equality in how we choose to perceive ourselves and the people around us. Daniel Valenzuela (10) just dresses the way that makes him feel the most comfortable daily, even though people see him in a different light because of it. He also dresses up for spirit week and has learned not to care about the looks he gets.
“People who think they’re being judged on the way they look should focus more on the people they trust. If they’re telling you to change who you are entirely, those people aren’t your friends. They should be respectful of you because that’s why they’re your friends,” says Valenzuela.
Friends do have a lot of influence over each other. Kezia Skariah (12) doesn’t do her makeup, because she doesn’t find the motivation to and she doesn’t feel any pressure to.
“My friends never really cared [about makeup and fashion], so I never really cared,” says Skariah.
At the end of the day, the simplest way to define a word such as beautiful is to use an English dictionary. According to one of the most popular dictionaries, Dictionary.com, beautiful is defined as “excellent of its kind.” If you wear makeup, wear it confidently. If you don’t, the same applies. Hold your head high and be an excellent of your kind.
Picture caption: Malissa Abraham does the makeup of sophomore Valeria Sanchez Estrada. Rose Rudresh (9) describes her experience getting her makeup done by Abraham as “really cool! Before, I don’t think I’ve ever done eyeshadow with my crease because I didn’t know how, but Malissa showed me that there really was a way to do it, and it makes me feel kind of powerful.”