What Alicia Keys going makeup free meant to me

It’s been months since Alicia Keys shocked the entertainment world by going makeup free. In a Hollywood Reporter article, she mentioned the judging of women and their appearances, and societal pressures as the reason. When I first read the article, I wondered if she was helping or hurting women by taking such a strong stance against makeup…but then it all became clear.

Be honest, how many of you would go makeup free on the red carpet? The majority of us would hit the red carpet SLAYEDDDDD! I, personally, have never been on a red carpet but society tells me that I need to look a certain way even to step foot on one. But why? We all know those celebrity images we gawk at are examples of false perfection, and we’ve been conditioned to desire this manipulation. We’ve been conditioned to believe that the bags under our eyes and skin blemishes mean we are less than perfect. Unattractive. BASIC. Let’s face it–perfection sells and we’ve all been drinking the Kool-Aid.

For Keys, a realization came while she was preparing for her upcoming album. “I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked,” said Keys.

Her response hit home for me because at the age of 22, I moved back to Cleveland and my “perfect” skin was stricken with adult acne (it’s something in the Cleveland water!). I tried everything and spent thousands of dollars on dermatologists and skin care systems that weren’t effective. I even remember a time when I was talking to a woman and in the middle of our conversation, she stopped and said, “Oh that reminds me, I need to get my son some Proactiv…” What! Did my face remind you of this?!?! Needless to say, I was extremely insecure about my skin. About a year later, I revealed my struggle to a friend and she stared at me in disbelief and said, “Nic, you are the most confident woman I know!” Her kind words let me know that I was more than just my skin. What a blessing it is to have real, genuine women in your life 🙂

Now, I know some of you are reading this thinking, “I don’t care what you or Alicia Keys says, it’s none of your business if I wear makeup or not!” This is quite true, and I am not against makeup but what do you tell the little girl who has a skin condition she can’t control who thinks she has to hide her blemishes to be pretty? You see, if we as women keep contributing to this web of lies, it keeps growing but together we have the power to take a stand.

We all have insecurities–that’s part of being human, but hiding them doesn’t do us or anybody else any good. I am sure it was difficult for Alicia Keys at first, but now other celebrities are following suit. Be free. Be confident. Be authentically YOU!

What insecurities have you struggled with? Comment below.

2 Comments on What Alicia Keys going makeup free meant to me

  1. Thank you for addressing this issue. As a quite mature woman, this has been an issue in my life for many years. Self esteem is a big problem in our society and especially with women of color. We got to buy the most expensive outfits, handbags and the list goes on. Now I have to admit, I also did it all. But something deep inside me was still not satisfied with my appearance. I had a surgery many years ago the changed my hormone balance and condition this caused my hair to thin out. What an emotional rolling coaster I became. Keep in mind this took me years to realized my hair doesn’t define who I am. Just a couple of weeks ago, I looked in the mirror and finally released the words that I trapped myself with doesn’t describe me. I had Danielle cut my hair and I never felt so free to me. I am Fearfully and wonderfully made. Yes, I made put a wig back on every now and then, but I know who I am! Beautiful with or without Hair or Makeup! Just sayin!!!

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