I have a confession to make: I'm completely and utterly obsessed with the 21-year-old singer Halsey.
The blue hair, the pressing eyes, the haunting voice ... who the hell can blame me?
Now, I have another confession to make: I'm completely and utterly obsessed with MAC cosmetics.
The love for both the person and the product cuts deep into my SOUL. Sound dramatic? Yes, but MAC girls and Halsey fanatics tend to be wildly dramatic.
When I was a young kitten, my mother used to take me to the MAC store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. I would stare longingly at the pierced, contoured, bold-lipstick-wearing girls who worked there, my eyes wide with wonder, my heart full of awe. (I think there might have been a little sprinkling of early ~sexual attraction~ thrown into the mix, too). To little adolescent me, they embodied cool.
These girls didn't wear the boring uniforms my Upper East Side eyes had grown accustomed to. They didn't live in designer puffer vests and leggings and flat, boring-as-f*ck basic bitch boots. Nah, they had full sleeves of colorful tattoos. They had black hair, blue hair, silvery-blonde hair. Some of the chicks had short hair like "boys." Some of the boys had long hair like "girls." I began to see that gender was in the eye of the beholder.
And the makeup the MAC babes wore was less about covering up flaws and more about self-expression. And that was so goddamn beautiful and empowering to me. It was beauty redefined, and it stayed with me forever. I really do credit my love of alternative beauty to the badass men and women at the MAC counter in New York F*cking City.
I love Halsey for similar reasons. She's got the most classically beautiful face. She could comfortably sink into the "pretty girl" role and be just another pop sugar princess.
But that's not who she is. Halsey is authentic. She's true to herself. She cuts her hair short because she likes it that way. Sometimes she dyes it seafoam blue. Her fashion is more about art and less about wearing what's traditionally appealing. Like me, she identifies as queer. Her song "Gasoline" says it all:
Do the people whisper 'bout you on the train like me? Saying that you shouldn't waste your pretty face like me?
Yes, Halsey. They do, and they always have.
My entire life, people have said things to me like, "God you're such a pretty girl. Why would you pierce your nose and screw up your face?" Do you know how much cyber bullying I got for this pic? Between my dramatic brows and septum ring, I really pissed off the blogosphere for "ruining my pretty face." As if makeup and accessories exist only to make a girl pretty. GAG.
I don't think of myself as pretty, and I don't care for the term. I've seen enough "pretty" to last a lifetime. Show me something different, babe. And it's brands like MAC and people like Halsey who have helped me get to a place where I feel comfortable coming up with my own definition of beauty.
You know how I just said I don't care for "pretty" -- show me something new, pretty please? As a lifelong lipstick freak with an embarrassingly large collection, this color was something NEW. It's an emotional moody gray, with a soft blue undertone. It even embodies Halsey's song "colors," which happens to be my favorite song. I mean, look at these lyrics and tell me this color doesn't embody these words:
Everything is gray His hair, his smoke, his dreams And now he's so devoid of color He don't know what it means And he's blue And makes me blue
That lip color embodies exactly how I feel most of the time: Striking but strange. Moody but romantic. Sad but tough. Melancholy but hopeful. And to me, that's exactly what fashion and makeup are here to do. They are supposed to express how you feel to the outside world without needing to utter a single world.
On March 31, the Halsey lipstick went on sale online, and I paid $30 to overnight that exclusive lippy. This, my darlings, was a collector's item. And as a collector, I had to have it, and I had to have it ASAP. I got it April 1 and was already in love with the blue packaging. It looked like the f*cking ocean.
My heart fluttered as I ran to the mirror. As I adorned my lips in this grayish-blue color, I peered back at myself. At first it was a little jarring, as it's a color I've never worn before. But the longer I gazed at my reflection, the more I began to dig it. I felt like ME in the lipstick. Striking but strange. Moody but romantic. Sad but tough. Melancholy but hopeful.
I quickly posted a selfie and uploaded it to Instagram. I was curious about what everyone would think of my Halsey lippy. After all, it IS different, and fearful types tend to disregard anything outside the bleak norm.
But my friends, my readers and even my family members offered nothing but LOVE to the LIPSTICK. The response was unexpectedly enthusiastic. Which made me smile (as a perpetual pouter, that's no easy feat). It made me realize that while a grayish-blue lipstick might not be everyone's taste, it's my people's taste. And finally, after years of feeling like the outcast and queer fashion freakazoid, I've found my people.
Guess what? My amazing day only got sweeter when I saw this:
Yes, my girl Halsey liked the picture, too. And that, sweet kittens, was the sweetest bit of icing on the grayish-blue cake.
I'm going to rock this sh*t out of this lipstick. Because when it's on my lips, I'm proud to be a fabulously fashionable, queer-girl freakazoid. Because it allows me to connect with the other fabulously fashionable, queer-girl freakazoids.
Thank you, MAC, and thank you, Halsey. You give us fierce outcasts the strength to be our bad selves in an increasingly basic, overly safe world.