Zerotohero Day 1: Passion, Makeup, and Empowerment

Hi and welcome to my blog!

I’m Sydney, freelance makeup artist and now beauty blogger. I studied makeup formally after I quit my first job. Through this blog, I hope to share with others my passion for and everything I know about beauty and makeup and maybe inspire others to pursue their passion, whatever it may be, but most especially for makeup artistry.
My passion for makeup started early on. Back in gradeschool, I remember putting on makeup on my lola (grandmother) every afternoon after school just because I liked to. She was always willing to be my victim then *hehehe*.  I remember using lipstick as blush and applied it to make something like a circle on her cheeks. Our helper then would see my made up lola and would tell me not to apply the blush that way. Haha. I didn’t know better then.

When high school came, I put makeup to school almost everyday. I experimented with different products that were lying around in the house. There were times when I’d put makeup on even if I was just going to stay home the whole day. And my mom would say, Wow, nakamakeup pa ah. I spent countless hours watching makeup tutorials, demonstrations, reviews, tips. Most of the time, I wouldn’t notice the time and just go on and on.

I became much busier in college but I didn’t stop spending time exploring makeup. I wore makeup regularly and tried different products. And on the less busy days, I studied everything makeup-related. :p

I eventually graduated from college cum laude with a degree in Management. The next obvious step was to apply for a job in a company and work, which I did. Makeup was put in the back burner. After all, I knew I liked makeup, but I never thought of making a career out of it. I did want to attend makeup lessons after I graduated for the fun of it, but I didn’t want my parents to pay for that after having put me through an expensive school in college. So right after I graduated, I worked as a Management Trainee. Basically, I was being trained to become one of the managers maybe in a year. Great start for my career, right? I had one problem though. I didn’t like what I was doing. Most of the time, we were actually not doing much. But then again, I was being given a good salary. That would have been really great, right? Getting paid a good salary while not doing much. Isn’t that everyone’s ideal situation?

When I was still in school, about to graduate, my boyfriend asked me a simple yet tough question: what do you really want to be? It’s a common question, yeah? People ask us this question even when we were toddlers. Some common answers from children are to be an astronaut, to be a doctor, to be a firefighter, to be teacher. But when he asked me, I had no answer. But I didn’t think about it too much then. When I was already working and I didn’t like what I was doing, I remembered this question. What do I really want to be? I thought and prayed long and hard about the question, and it was then that I realized that I wanted to be a makeup artist. It was then that I remembered how passionate I actually was for makeup. I remembered how I spent so many hours studying everything makeup-related and how, as a child, I actually spent afternoons making my lola up. I didn’t want to spend another day doing something that I was less than passionate about. I thought life is just too short to be spent that way. That was when I decided to resign from my job and study makeup formally.

Makeup has truly been my passion and it has actually helped me be secure in myself.

I started to have acne breakouts when I was in grade 5. I was nine. I felt quite bad about it, my schoolmates made fun of me because of it, and it was one of the reasons I wore makeup regularly then. I felt embarrassed because of the breakouts I had and I wanted to cover them up. But now, I can go out with the reddest face and still feel confident. What changed?

Now, don’t get me wrong, makeup, in itself, does not make me secure. It helped a lot, yes. But it’s not my security blanket. Sadly, I’ve seen a lot of people, including adults, who find their security in having makeup on, just like I did before. They are the ones who can’t go out or even see friends and relatives without makeup on. They are the ones who are afraid to take their makeup off except when at home. They are the ones who only feel beautiful and confident when they have their makeup on.

Once I joined a makeup workshop. Sitting beside me was a middle-aged woman. Before the whole workshop started, we were asked to remove our makeup if we were wearing any. The woman beside me resisted the request. She said she didn’t want to, or if it was really necessary, maybe she could do so later, right when the workshop is about to start so that the time she will have to endure having bare skin around everyone else. She even said that we might be unpleasantly surprised when she takes her makeup off. These weren’t her exact words but they were something to that effect. She was smiling and laughing while she talked but you could sense that she was really hesitant. Unfortunately, a lot of women are uncomfortable in their own skin and have sought refuge in makeup.

My view of makeup is different. I think it’s a great tool to enhance natural beauty and boost confidence, but it’s not something to hide under. Makeup can give anyone totally different looks. And this made me grasp in a deeper way that appearance is fleeting. I can look this way now and look totally different later. I can have big, round eyes today and have almond eyes tomorrow. I can look however I want with makeup. The way we look is definitely temporary. And understanding that has helped me embrace myself as I am. I am myself no matter how I may look. Yes, the way we look is a gift and is identified with us. But it is not nearly as important as who we are as a person. I better understood that the way we look, however it is, is beside the point. Makeup made me realize that in a more personal way.

Once, I came across an article that expressed a view that makeup was women’s warpaint. The writer repeatedly said in the article that she does not wear makeup for the benefit of others, that they would think she’s pretty, or anything like that. Makeup, according to her, has “never been about other people’s perception of [her].” It was for her. It was her way of “channeling her inner Amazon.” It was a confidence booster. [Read full article here.] And I think that’s a healthy way of viewing makeup. It’s a tool for enhancing what we naturally have, not a security blanket. I wouldn’t mind going out with a bare face because I think I’m beautiful as I am. But makeup is fancy. “Makeup is glam” as Judy from itsjudytime would say. It works the same way as power dressing. It makes us feel a little more assertive and commanding. It just makes us feel good about ourselves.

More than that, I think makeup empowers. As I’ve said, it’s a tool to enhance natural beauty. Some people use makeup so that others would look beyond their physical appearance and get to know them for who they are as a person. We can’t deny that perception rules in our society. People readily judge us based on the way we look. Although I am definitely not in favor of that way of thinking, sometimes, I do find myself judging others by their physical appearance as well, even if unconsciously. This is especially true in our era, when everything is photoshopped to ideals. I’ll give extreme examples to better illustrate my point. When we see strangers who have extensive skin discoloration or acute acne, our initial reaction would be that we don’t really want to be around them, if we were to be honest. At that point, we lose the chance to get to know this stranger. We’ve let his physical appearance define him for us. And that’s sad. To get past this prejudice and to give others the chance to get to know them more, some use makeup. In that way, they are able to show others who they truly are. They are given opportunities as readily as anyone else is with the help of a little makeup. They are treated the way they should be in the first place — normal people with some imperfections. See what I mean in the videos below:

With makeup, we would readily be friends with them. When we become friends with them, we would be more accepting of their imperfections. We probably wouldn’t even mind anymore. All because we’ve already known them for who they are as persons already. They’ve been empowered by makeup in an area of vulnerability.

Makeup has worked the same way for me. How about you? How has makeup empowered you?

Sydney

3 thoughts on “Zerotohero Day 1: Passion, Makeup, and Empowerment

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