And on the red carpet and MTV award, and for photo shoots for fashion magazines soul diva Alicia Keyes prefers to receive the same, without makeup. 15-time Grammy award winner and mother of two sons wrote a sincere and honest essay on why she stopped wearing makeup. It is in front of you.
— Remember that time when we struggled trying to be perfect, tried to like? I remember when it started? In second grade you came to school with loose curly hair, because my mom said so beautifully, “friends”, when I saw you, I almost burst out laughing. Then you took a comb and tried to gather lush curls to the tight ponytail at the light. You tried to “tame” their individuality to be closer to what others consider perfection.
So, do you remember the time when we struggled trying to be perfect, tried to like? And do you remember when it started? In high school — then have all the “pretty” girls used lipstick, mascara and eyeliner. Some did it so skillfully that they cannot be distinguished from models that you have seen in magazines. Next to them it made you uncomfortable. You feel invisible. You were invisible.
At that moment, some part within you surrendered and admitted: if you want to fit in, if you want to be considered beautiful, you need a mask — it will make you a little closer to the ideal.
I remember a time when it became known. Oh, my God! Everyone had an opinion on my account. “It is too rough”, “she behaves like a guy, so she’s a lesbian, she should be more feminine”. But the point is that I’m from new York and everyone I knew behaved that way.
On the streets of new York you have to be tough. You have to be rude. You need to show others that you’re not afraid to fight.
But the scene is not the streets of new York. It is a cruel and biased world of entertainment, and this world has been my most difficult challenge in life. He turned me into a chameleon. I was constantly changing, but never been myself. I have changed, so they took me.
Before you start working on a new album, I made a list of things that annoy me. One of the points was the fact that women are trying to impress a certain image to which they must conform. They have to be thin, sexy, desirable and just perfect. Seriously? No strength to put up with the endless brainwashing and this endless trial. And you still not tired of the stereotypes that propagate and cultivate the media? And you don’t get tired of that and now have a normal clothing size is normal? It needs to be smaller. It should always be less. And you are tired of the imposed idea that to be sexy means to be naked?
This frustrates and pisses me off.
It so happened that for the album I wrote a lot of songs about the masks we wear every day. The mask is a metaphor. It means an escape from themselves, trying to get away from its essence.
I really needed these songs because I felt unprotected and insecure. Now, when I think about how much I censored myself, I get scared. Who I really was? What I really wanted to be? I didn’t know the answer, but it does not hurt me to strive to be someone else.
The song Girl Can’t Be Herself from the new album have lines: “in the Morning when I Wake up, I think: what if I don’t want to put all this makeup? Who said that I should hide the fact of what is done. Maybe this whole Maybelline only hides my self-esteem?”.
I have nothing against Maybelline in this case is a collective image, plus the name of the company is combined with the previous word maybe (maybe). However, these lines very well convey what I felt. It feels like I’m not good enough to be perceived in this world. Every time leaving the house without makeup, I was worried — what if someone wants to take a picture with me? What if he wants somewhere to publish this photo? All these superficial, but real fears swirled in my head. And they all, one way or another, were connected with it, think about my surrounding.
And then I found my way of meditation — I started to focus on himself and on a deeper understanding of their essence. I wanted to know the “real” Alisha — cultivate the strength and confidence to no longer be afraid to be yourself. I promised that from now on I will otherwise relate to the appearance and allow your true self to Express itself.
After the Girl Can’t Be Herself time passed, I plunged into the process of creating music and not so often thought about this problem. But as it turned out, it will not go away. And when I come to my first photo shoot in support of the new album, she immediately made itself felt.
I came to the Studio straight from the gym, my head was a shawl, and the lovely Paola Kudacki said, “I should take a picture of you right now and it is so! Your music is real, it is raw, and these photos should be the same!”. I was shocked and immediately started to get nervous. I was not myself. I felt uncomfortable. On my face was not an ounce of makeup, and I had a sweatshirt! No, I didn’t plan like this to be photographed. I had planned like this to quickly get to the Studio and already in place to prepare. I hope I asked her: “what’s That? I want to be real, but it was, in my opinion, too much — too real”. Yes, that’s right. Behind me was the usual white background, between me and the photographer was invisible but very strong bond. I, Paola, my handkerchief, and the magic around us — everything was in motion. And I swear, never before have I felt stronger, more confident, free and beautiful than then.
I felt strong because my desire, my idea and my goal was realized. I wanted to listen to him to destroy those walls, who for years was built around. I wanted to be whole, wanted to be strong, wanted to be myself. I don’t know how it works, but the universe heard what I promised myself. Or maybe I finally listened to the Universe. Anyway, since I started my #nomakeup-life. After our Paola photo came out as an illustration of the single In Common, my message found a response in the face of hundreds of women who have published their #nomakeup selfies in response to the real and raw me.
And I hope it is a revolution. Because I don’t want to hide anymore. I don’t want to hide neither your face nor your mind, nor your soul, nor your thoughts, nor my dreams, neither his fight nor his emotional growth. Nothing.