Why I Write About Beauty

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My perfume shelf, circa 2009

What did you want to be when you were a kid? I wanted to be a teacher for awhile, then a dancer for some time, and then it was around high school I decided nothing was more glorious than being a magazine writer or editor. This was back in the glory days of the magazine industry, before flashy bloggers commanded dollars for sponsored posts and unique visits determined success. I realize this makes me sound old, but perhaps I am, so hold the door open for me, thanks.

Anyway, in college, around the same time Facebook was invented and I had gained more than my share of the Freshman 15 and wasn’t the most confident I had ever been, I spent a semester in the city interning at ELLEgirl. Here was a magazine I worshipped, perhaps my favorite magazine of all time and one that is unfortunately no longer in existence, though there might still a Korean version? We shared a floor with ELLE, but the editors at ELLEgirl were cut from a different, quirkier cloth. Without droning on about it, it was the semester I learned to like myself more, when I realized what personal style meant to me (this was during the time when Uggs, blowouts, and flared Hard Tail leggings reigned supreme on college campuses), and when I knew that I wanted to work in magazines forever.

The beauty editors, who were both very tall and very cool, shared an office and when they would get too many products in, they would have me bring buckets and buckets of said makeup into the closet to sort. And it was heaven. Being a 20-year-old in a magazine beauty closet is not a thing to take for granted. I could have spent hours in there, placing new lipsticks and perfumes and mascaras on their respective shelves, asking the editors why one was better than another, being allowed to take some things home. Basically never wanting to go back upstate to college.

And I was also starting to understand something that I had intrinsically known all along– that, unlike clothes, beauty had the capability to make people feel better about themselves, not worse. A gloss wouldn’t make you feel too fat or too skinny, a mascara wouldn’t make you compare yourself to the girl down the hall, and even if you didn’t like makeup at all, there’s a good moisturizer to cure your dry skin. Here was a world, despite some advertising that unfortunately might indicate otherwise, intended to make women feel better about their looks: swipe on this red lipstick, feel more vixen-y tonight. Want to get a smokey eye? Read this guide (nowadays, ok, watch a Youtube video) and you can achieve it pretty easily. It’s inclusionary in a way I never found fashion to be. And I thought that was so nice, I wanted to be a part of that.

More than a decade later, C and I work in media, but not in beauty writing, so this blog has become our little outlet to share our makeup experiences with the world. I hope it inspires someone, somewhere, to go out and try a new blush, for someone to splurge on herself, or for someone to laugh at how ridiculous everyday life is, and yet the perfect lipstick can make the day better, for even a minute.

~J

 

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