Let Grace Gaustad Be Your Safe Space
The 19-year-old musician has navigated bullying, anxiety, depression, therapy, her sexuality, and more. She hopes her music can help you do the same.
Singer Grace Gaustad takes self-care seriously. Having navigated anxiety, depression, and therapy since she was young, she’s arguably more in tune with her emotions and her mental health than most people, and she’s learned the many forms self-care can take for her. “Self-care looks like validating my feelings, getting enough sleep at night, making sure I'm talking to the people I love, making sure I'm making time for myself and my own emotions and feelings,” she tells me over the phone. “I think we live in such a crazy, busy world that it's really easy to just go, go, go.” For this reason, Gaustad’s self-care practices include something as simple as a daily check-in with herself to identify how she’s feeling or a moment to herself as she does her skin care routine and gets ready for bed. When she’s really trying hard, that “check-in” might look like a full, five- to 10-minute meditation session.
“It's hard, and you've got to be kind of disciplined to [meditate regularly]. I'm not great at it, but I try to do it most days,” she says. “On the days I do meditate, I find that my head is so much clearer. I'm in just a better mood overall.”
Of course, Gaustad, 19, finds great emotional release and fulfillment in nurturing her creative outlets, too, the most obvious being her music. Gaustad’s musical childhood, filled with piano lessons and songwriting since age 6, preceded her first viral success: a cover of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” she posted on YouTube in 2016 that’s racked up several million views and counting. Since then, Gaustad has been on the up and up, and is currently riding the high of two successful releases — her first EP, Welcome to Jupiter 1.0, and her debut studio album, BLKBX: wht r u hding?
The latter project speaks largely to Gaustad’s own journey with her mental health and spawned The BLKBX Project, an online resource housing myriad resources for those dealing with bullying, trauma, and more. The song “Creature,” for example, recounts Gaustad’s experience being bullied for her sexuality in high school. “93 Days,” the music video for which stars Gaustad alongside actor Mariska Hargitay, extols the virtues of going to therapy. Digging even deeper, Gaustad also finds emotional release in the self-expression expression that comes with beauty. Working with celebrity makeup artist Jo Baker for the video, Gaustad was adamant about how her makeup would contribute to the song’s overall message.
“[For] a look in ‘93 Days,’ Jo and I designed this very soft, pastel eyeshadow look, but with this very sort of black, gritty eyeliner,” she says. “The soft pastel represents the healing that therapy promotes, and the gritty eyeliner represents how hard it is for us as human beings to really dig in and get those emotions out.”
After learning (and still navigating) how to nurture her own mental health, Gaustad is set on carving out a chill, accepting space for others to do the same. Ahead, in her own words, Gaustad shares a look at her own self-care routines, how beauty has impacted her self-esteem, and the major through-line fans will see in every one of her future projects.
Elite Daily: In addition to your music, how is beauty a therapeutic release for you?
Grace Gaustad: Beauty is a therapeutic release for me because it allows me to be someone that I'm not. It allows me to explore this fantasy aspect of the world. Some days, I wake up and maybe I don't love what I'm looking at in the mirror, but I can put on rainbow eyeshadow and I can do something crazy with my lips and I can put my hair up. And all of a sudden, it's almost like I've created a piece of art on myself. And I see beauty in art. I think that makeup, for me, has been a place where I've been able to gain a lot of self-esteem. It makes me feel really good about myself.
ED: When you’re doing a nighttime self-care routine or winding down for bed, do you prefer a long, drawn-out chill session? Or are you pretty quick-and-easy?
GG: I would say that I'm usually a quick and easy type of person, unless I've got a lot of makeup on or something like that. For the most part, my everyday routine is pretty simple, and I keep it that way because I work a lot, I'm busy, I want to get out the door, or I want to go to bed. I try to keep it as simple as possible.
ED: Walk me through what that simple routine looks like.
GG: First and foremost, I always wash my face with a super gentle cleanser of some kind. I've always been a big fan of CeraVe — that's one of my favorite brands. I just think they make great products, and for someone like me who has super sensitive skin, it works really well. Then, depending on if I'm having some breakouts, I'll use Neutrogena's acne pads. I've used those since I was in high school, and I still use them to this day. Then, I usually top it all off with a moisturizer. I'll either use Tatcha's Water Cream or CeraVe’s everyday SPF 15 moisturizer that I've sworn by for years now. I also have every flavor of chapstick ever created, and I have a bunch of lip masks, so I'll almost always put on a fun lip mask before I go to bed. My lips are very dry, so I keep them moisturized.
ED: Oh, I feel that. When you're doing your nighttime routine, which part feels the most relaxing to you and why?
GG: The most relaxing part would have to be washing my face. It's one of those things where I almost feel like I'm starting with a clean palette again. It allows me to start fresh. It allows me to go to bed feeling clean, feeling ready to tackle the next day. I think it's a little bit metaphorical for me in washing the good and bad away from the day, and it just allows me to not only clear my skin, but also to clear my mind.
ED: At night, post-skin care routine, what’s something you do to calm yourself and get ready for bed?
GG: When I get into bed, I almost am always cuddling with my dog. That's one of my favorite things to do before I go to sleep. It calms me down, and he's a sweetheart. My girlfriend and I talk every single night before bed and just unwind about our days and things like that, and I find that that really calms me down as well. Sometimes, if I'm ever feeling particularly amped up or like I can't relax, I'll take a bath, which I find really helps me and makes me sleepy enough to relax ... Then, [I just] put on a good show or movie in the background and let that put me to sleep.
ED: What’s your nighttime TV show right now?
GG: Oh my gosh, nothing good. I've been binge-watching 90 Day Fiancé.
ED: Oh, I love 90 Day Fiancé.
GG: I don't know why, but I'm going through all the old seasons right now. A couple months ago, I was watching The Queen’s Gambit for the second time. I love that series; it's just so good. I recently watched FBOY Island. It’s another one of these crazy reality shows, but they're so entertaining.
ED: If you could invite three celebrities over to join your nighttime chill session, who are you inviting and why?
GG: I would have to invite my three favorite female singers/icons. They're the people that I've looked up to for years. Lady Gaga would be the first one I’d invite. She's just phenomenal, and she's been my hero since I was a little girl. Taylor Swift would have to be in there as well. I think she's a phenomenal songwriter. Also, she's got some of the most beautiful skin in the entire world, so I would love to know what she's doing to achieve that. And lastly, Adele. She's a powerhouse and she's just one of my favorite artists.
ED: I think everybody would probably want to be at that chill session. You've released such successful music so far, and I feel like moving along quickly in your journey. What’s the message you want to get across to your fans in your next body of work?
GG: I actually just wrapped up writing and recording my second studio album. Even when we were filming BLKBX, I was still working quite a bit behind the scenes on future visions. Although the theme of the next album will be different from BLKBX — as I evolve as a person, the music evolves — what'll always stay true for me and my message is this idea that, for anyone who has ever felt different, for any reason, you are safe here. I have a very inclusive fanbase that I'm trying to grow right now, and I really feel strongly that there is nothing harder in this world than feeling sort of unaccepted and marginalized. I will always be that person to open my arms and invite all of the misfits in the world in with me, because that's who I am. I've never really fit into any particular mold, and I don't want any other kids to ever feel that way.