E : Emma Millett
A : Ashley
E: Tell me, do you wear makeup?
E: Okay, and how often?
A: um… it’s only a little bit every day, usually, or every other day, days that I’m working. Um, usually Monday through Friday and then for church.
E: Okay, and how much do you wear, typically?
A: Um, usually I’ll wear a little bit of concealer, and I’ll do some powder. Because I’m so fair anyways, I don’t really need much to cover anything up, and then I’ll do eyeshadow and mascara, and then I’ll use eyeshadow to pencil in eyebrows *laughs* since they’re so blonde.
E: Why do you wear makeup? What is your purpose in wearing makeup?
A: Um, well, I went to school to be a cosmetologist and makeup artist, so it’s become a part of who I am.
E: Aaah, yeah.
A: But, I think I like to accentuate my eyes, and so that’s the main reason that I do, because it’s fun to just dress up every now and then and do a little bit more for work, even though I work in the medical field. It’s usually the bear minimum, like mascara. I usually always “frame the windows”.
E: How do you feel when you aren’t wearing makeup? How often do you go in public without any makeup at all?
A: Um *laughs* usually if I’m going to the grocery store or anything, I really.. I should care, I just don’t. *laughs* If I’m going out in public, I would say more often, even after I’ve slept my makeup off, or washed it off at the end of the night, if I have to go somewhere I go somewhere. It really doesn’t bother me to be out in public without makeup on.
E: Why not?
A: Um… *pause* Because I… I don’t care. Well, I should. A [boss] once said, “Ladies, you need to paint the barn.”
A: *laughs* Yeah. So, usually, if you’re trying to attract somebody, you want to look your best, and it’s like you know what, most days I don’t really feel my best, so I don’t really care what’s going with this *motions to face*
E: So how did you feel when he said that?
A: I… I felt slightly offended, because I was like, “did you just compare us to heifers or something? Some kind of barn animal that we need to be putting effort into our makeup and everything like that?” And I looked back, and yes, you are representing yourself [and others], but at the same time, we are… I… I have naturally clear skin, I’m okay with sharing this, because there are so many other qualities I have that are not just my face. And so, that definitely made a difference in understanding where he was coming from.
E: Okay, I have a few questions in my head, let me just decide in what order I want to ask them…
A: Anything *laughs*
E: Okay, so, in your field, I would be curious to know if there’s a lot of women who struggle going without makeup.
A: Yes. There are some, especially since I am a cosmetologist, and on that side, I have seen people struggling to go without makeup, how they feel… they feel naked, in a way. But I also work in the medical field now, where it is a minimalist… It’s very much fresh-faced, pretty much just mascara, a little bit of blush or something, if they actually do wear makeup. So I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum, and I’ve seen that there’s a lot more, in the cosmetologist side, where people are always wanting to have something on their face, whenever they go in public, whenever they’re at work. Anything less and they’re like “are you okay? Are you sick today?” And it’s very funny.
E: Do you think that that is something that should be corrected in our society-
A: *interrupts* Yes!
E: Okay, explain.
A: Um, I think that there shouldn’t be that much pressure. Yes, you are learning your trade as a cosmetologist, and a makeup artist, and other things, and so you want to share your products because this is, yknow, “this is what I can do” or “If you want to look like this…” But you shouldn’t be the only one advertising. It should be in your portfolio. And so, having to constantly wear… you’re having to give up time to sleep – I love sleep – you have to get up extra early, doing your hair all the time, doing your makeup all the time. I know people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars going to places like Mac and Sephora. So yes I appreciate products and how they work, but at the same time, there is so much pressure to buy them and to say “Oh, I have all of this stuff.” I use the same like four products. Sometimes I’ll change out doing a different mascara depending on the look I’m going for, but it’s a lot different when you… I don’t even know. It makes a big difference that I switched fields.
E: Okay, so there are a lot of women who say they are honoring their womanhood or their feminity by wearing makeup. Do you agree or disagree? And why or why not?
A: Um, I think in a way, I do agree that yes, you can accentuate your femininity and still be beautiful and everything like that, but it shouldn’t be a requirement. Because there are some absolutely beautiful faces and beautiful women who don’t wear makeup that just are absolutely stunning, and I think naturally… and also we don’t know what kind of chemicals go into the products, and sometimes that creates more damage. And so, I think less is more. Because sometimes that can lead to other conditions on the body.
E: Do do you think it’s destructive or beneficial to a woman’s self esteem to wear makeup every single day?
A: *pauses* I think it is destructive, because once they finally go without, it’s kinda like… like those who have looked a certain way meeting somebody, dating, getting married, and then it’s like “oh my gosh”. They finally figure out the routine they have to go through, I know several people who have gone through that and they’re like “who are you?” So being able to see that, yknow, they have a two hour routine every morning to tease their hair, and do their makeup, I think that’s taking away from… because, without that, it’s like, you’re putting on your armor and everything, and that’s what you’re doing, but then you take it all off and it’s like… “That’s not the real me.” I, personally, that’s how I used to be, having to wear all the makeup all the time and caking it on their and making sure every blemish was covered, but I started not wearing as much foundation and I noticed it was clearer. I didn’t feel has heavy and my skin could breathe a little bit more, and I started to appreciate more of my freckles and all of that that has come with years of being outside, and how fair the skin is, and I could see the lines of life. You know? I do appreciate that more than just always trying to fill it and always be plastic, in a way. It’s not that it’s not real, but it feels like there’s so much work that goes into it, that there had to be a better way. There is a lack of authenticity. Yes, you can accentuate and everything, but creating an entirely new look every day is very much… it’s not being true to yourself.
E: So what would you say to a woman who says that that is being true to herself? If a woman said “I feel like I’m most myself when I have full contour?”
A: Then you rock that. If that is how you feel the most you, then that is fantastic. Like, if you are feeling that confidence and everything all the time, then awesome.
E: What if she doesn’t feel that way without it? If she feels insecure without the contour, but comes to you and tells you, “I feel the most myself when I wear contour”, would you say the same thing? Would you be concerned?
A: *long pause* I don’t know if I would be fully concerned or think “oh my gosh, you’re going down a terrible path.”… Honestly, I know, having to do that all the time *laughs* it’s so much work . Even just watching the tutorials is exhausting. But, giving them a challenge to possibly experiment and say “well what if you tried it a couple times this way” or “try to go maybe one day a week, start with one day a week of not doing it” and just decrease it little by little and see how you feel.
E: So, when you were wearing full makeup every day, the longer you went wearing full makeup every day, how did it change how you felt about your barenaked face?
A: I used to have the eyelash extensions, the full everything, I still do the strips every now and then. But, I think, in that time of life, [looking in the mirror without anything on], this was actually an eye opener for me. I did feel naked, at the time, but one of my nieces pointed up at a picture on the wall and said “that’s Ashley”. And I said “Who are you talking about?” She was talking about my great grandma. My great-grandma, I looked exactly like her. This was my grandma’s mom. Face and everything, I was like *gasp*. I had never noticed it before, and I had always wondered where did I get some of my facial structures and everything, but clean-faced, I looked exactly like my grandma. And so that was very eye opening. She had no makeup on, this was from the early 1900’s, just standing there in her beautiful dress, she didn’t have any makeup on, and wasn’t smiling or anything, but she did have a light in her eyes. And I thought, “Okay. Why did I think that I wasn’t beautiful without… this is what makes me me.” I started to see myself as she was seen, and how my niece recognized that at two years old, that was eye opening. And that was six years ago. And so that has been a long trip since then. And that was when I was in the middle of cosmetology school.
E: If someone was to approach you and say “We are going to redefine beauty. And you get to do it.” No matter what you say beauty is, the world will then universally accept that as beautiful, no questions asked.
E: How would you define beauty?
A: Ooooh. *pauses* I would have everybody smile *laughs* Honestly, that’s what I would do I would have everybody laugh, because that is what radiates the beauty. It’s not just what you put on your face, because that is the best thing you can have on your face. It doesn’t matter what else you cake on there, but happiness, you know, laughing and everything like that. I think that would be my true definition. Pure joy. Start the day laughing, take ten minutes and just laugh. Just smile no matter what. Those are the best lines on the faces. I wish I had more!
E: So as someone in the professional field of beauty, your official opinions of lines and wrinkles is…?
A: Yes! I think it’s beautiful. I love those. Especially these right here around the eyes, I wish I had more! I’m only 33, I can have more. *laughs* Someday when I grow up. But that is truly… lines are beautiful.