I love glamming it up more than anyone I know. I’m even known for my bold necklaces and nails. But there’s nothing more important to me than being real, and that sometimes means going makeup-free. If I’m going to preach authenticity, then I’ve got to live it too. Imperfections and all.
Like everyone else, I have my fair share of insecurities. Going makeup-free is an apt metaphor for vulnerability. Makeup is a way, sometimes, to not only enhance one’s beauty – but mask our insecurities. And shedding that mask in the name of authenticity isn’t easy. It always feels easier to hide.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with cancer that I discovered a sense of strength that allowed me to be more open than I’d ever been before. Facing my own mortality forced me to confront the uncomfortable question:
“What am I afraid of?”
If I shared the scary stuff, the underbelly of my journey, I’d be putting myself out there in a major way. I was scared of not being accepted. I didn’t want people to see the real me, because what if they didn’t like that person?
So I flipped the question. I asked myself:
“What’s the best thing that could happen by sharing this story?”
The positives far outweighed the negatives. After all, everyone is seeking community and acceptance. How could we possibly find that without sharing some truth about ourselves first?
I began blogging. I started by writing a play-by-play of what was happening with my illness. Each day was a big question mark. I had no idea what was going to happen next. This was the most vulnerable I’ve ever been. It didn’t matter whether anyone read my content. It was liberating just to write about it.
The reaction I got from readers was unbelievable. The more vulnerable I became, the more positive responses and connections I received. I gave them something raw and real to relate to. My audience started to grow because I had struck a nerve.
I realized what an incredible opportunity my blog gave me. Not only was it therapeutic to write about this difficult time, but I now had a new way to engage and interact with my community.
Since then, I’ve gotten vulnerable online dozens of times over. It’s kind of my thing now. Leaning into vulnerability has allowed me to truly grow as a person. I’m more in tune with who I am; I’m more real. But more than that, I feel like I’ve bonded and connected with so many more people on a deeper level than I would have otherwise.
So how does this all tie back to not wearing makeup?
At the end of the day, it’s not really about the makeup. It’s about sharing more of my true self. And this can start with taking off the makeup.
Living in the era of social media, our feeds are all too often saturated with perfectly curated and edited versions of people’s lives. We’re given a sliver of the whole picture, distorting our perception of what’s really going on.
I’ve fallen victim to this myself, and it frustrates me when people have this one-sided image of me. They think the PR world is all glamour and exclusive parties. They don’t realize that behind the scenes is hours of hard work, stress, and chaos. Do I show it all? No – I need to get better at that.
Yet sometimes it feels really GOOD to get REAL on social media. To show your whole, natural self. And guess what? As scared and insecure as I felt about my first makeup-free selfie, the response I got was shocking to me. Many actually told me to stop wearing makeup completely!
While this doesn’t mean I’m going to spend 24/7 sans makeup — I do still love my eyeliner and lashes and my mom will never let me out the door without lipstick, after all — it really hit home that we live in a world where people are craving authenticity.
So my words of wisdom – don’t be afraid to take off that mask and release yourself from the pressure to be perfect once in a while. Then go ahead and share that on social…I’ll be your first comment, cheering you on.