I discovered a simple hack for getting the spookiest eyebrows

The other day I was browsing through Instagram when I came across my friend Chester Lockhart‘s Instagram stories.

For those who don’t know Chester, they’re an actor/entertainer/performer/singer aka ALL the things. In any case, in their stories, their brows were lifted, combed, perfectly in place. I’d tried lifting my eyebrows with made brow pomades from the likes of Anastasia of Beverly Hills (duh!) to NYX’s own Tinted Brow Mascara. Though I may have shaped and lifted them, no pomade was powerful enough to go against gravity. AKA by the time I left my home and got into a subway, they went back to their shapeless – albeit glossy – form.

And so I DMed Chester and asked them about their secret. “Gel and hairspray and a blowdryer.”

I don’t know why I was so taken aback by this. Obviously gel and hairspray and a blowdryer would certainly hold hair in place. But it was so genius in its ease that I decided to try it immediately. But instead of having to use a brow pencil, mascara, or anything else to fill, I went for mascara.

I was traveling last week to NYC and didn’t have enough room to pack everything in my kit and so out of practicality and desperation, I decided to lift my brows with a tube of Milk Makeup’s Kush Mascara. If it can lift my lashes certainly it’d be able to do the same with my eyebrows, I conjectured. What came next was a result so good, I needed to share with all of you.

All you need is mascara in your own shade – mine’s easy because they’re black – gel, and a blowdryer. The easy steps I’ve laid down for you below:

Spooky eyebrows

Spooky eyebrows (Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

1 Fill in and brush up

For some reason, mascara brushes and the formula are a lot more powerful than ANY eyebrow pomades I’ve used. It makes sense. Eyelashes need to stay curled for the entire day and so mascara formulas are usually stickier and heavier. Take the brush, fill in but brushing up and out. When you’ve filled in brush them way up.

2 Add gel or hairspray

Like Chester instructed, take just a pea-sized amount of gel or spray your fingers just a tiny bit and add to your brows. Then, take your mascara brush and brush up again.

3 Use a blowdryer

This isn’t mandatory, no. But it will ensure that your brows are in place before your leave your home. Set the blowdryer on medium and “cool” so you don’t 1) burn your face 2) break out into a sweat. Blow-dry up for 30 seconds. Voila! You’re done.

The result? I’ve never had better brows – and compliments – in my entire life. And it literally took less than a minute!

Beauty brands are the new magazines

It used to be that you needed a media outlet to tell your stories.

Whether it’s breaking a story, showcasing a founder’s background, or talking through products and ingredients, brands have long depended on traditional publishers to write their stories. But then came along a certain brand called Glossier that was able to merge editorial seamlessly with commerce. The brand’s DNA came from the uber-successful publication, Into the Gloss, which became the authority on all things beauty. The industry didn’t know it at the time, but this would become a pivotal moment in history where brands finally understood the power of storytelling and creating not only a customer base but a community.

SEE ALSO: GQ’s grooming director is also a beauty witch

It’s what beauty consumers now demand – that the products they love so much are open about what they believe in. Transparency then, is now the new currency and with beauty consumers now more educated than ever, they are even more curious about what goes on behind the scenes of the brands they purchase.

“When you spend hard-earned money, you might want to know what kind of a company you’re sending it to,” says Alyssa Shapiro, editorial and special projects director for Youth To The People’s brand new editorial arm. The Los Angeles-based brand recently launched its “Beautiful People” franchise, interviewing members of their community, as well as “Ask the Chemist” and “More Than Skin Deep,” with skincare experts. The brand’s also working on the second issue of their in-house magazine.

Speaking of which, is becoming more of the norm. Last year, Rudy’s, the national barbershop chain and product line, introduced its ‘Zine, filled with stories the brand stands behind. Milk Makeup has its own online magazine at Milk.xyz and VIBES a place that’s all about youth culture that fuels the brand’s inclusive mission. Then there are holistic brands like Miss Grass, all about merging cannabis content with commerce, educating customers all about CBD to THC. The brand considers itself a “hybridized editorial brand.”

Below, we spoke to the best brands who are utilizing editorial in smart, innovative ways, on the editors behind them.

Youth To The People

Alyssa Shapiro, Editorial + Special Projects Director 

Alyssa Shapiro

(Photo courtesy Alyssa Shapiro)

What were your past jobs?

My first job was very Devil Wears Prada; I was an assistant at Condé Nast to the Associate Publisher, Brand Development of Glamour, Details and W magazines, and I did everything for my boss. It was an all-consuming but invaluable experience, and I got thrown into a lot of cool projects, whether it was styling, production, editorial, or on-camera work. After that I worked as a styling assistant to Alex White, studio manager for The Sartorialist, a fashion editor, and then as a contributing writer for CR Fashion Book. When I moved to LA, I primarily consulted. And then I created One Joint With an interview series in which I get high with people like Fetty Wap and Kenny Scharf and ask them personal questions. Everyone thinks I must be a stoner, but I really only get high for work.

How is working for a brand so different from working in editorial?

Since my role encompasses special projects too, I do work on brand initiatives, i.e. producing our campaigns and producing a forthcoming event series at our LAHQ. When it comes to the editorial aspect of the job, it feels pretty similar to the magazine world I came from—coming up with an editorial calendar, assigning, editing, and writing stories. I assign stories in-house as well as to freelance writers.

YTTP

Why is it important for brands to have an editorial arm / voice?

YTTP’s editorial direction helps create a better sense of who we are as a brand. When you spend hard-earned money, you might want to know what kind of a company you’re sending it to. For YTTP, we believe in the integrity of ingredients and the health of skin, that being 100% vegan and cruelty-free is important for our products, and that we should care for the earth—we have one world to protect. YTTP is also a fun company to be a part of—Greg, one of our co-founders, is also a DJ, so showcasing creatives is important.

What makes your role so vital to your brand?

This is hard to answer—everything our team does is a collaboration. It’s a real community in here! How we are as a company mirrors how we aim to strengthen our community outside our office.

How do you make editorial work so that it’s not so branded (unless, of course, it truly is very branded!)

When it comes to skincare content, we’re working on stories that present researched information and first-hand experiences to the reader. YTTP has amazing resources within the company; our in-house chemist, Mercedes, is the one creating our proprietary superfood + pro-grade active formulas in our Transparent R+D Lab, and I get to pick her brain about all kinds of topics, like the best way to build collagen, even if you’re vegan, or the most effective forms of vitamin C. YTTP is a family company and is the third generation to create clean skincare, so the matriarchs of this family are an incredible resource as well—they’ve been living it, they know what’s up. Our editorial platform is here as an educational resource about skincare in general, and a place to further understand what YTTP stands for, even outside of skincare.

Finally, where is the brand going editorially? 

We recently launched our Beautiful People franchise, a multimedia interview series featuring members of our broader community who are doing amazing things across the board—in their creative pursuits, community, and through activism. Everyone is so inspiring. In October, we’re diving into skincare features with Ask the Chemist and More Than Skin Deep, which are a Q&A with our skincare experts, and researched, first-hand experiential stories about holistic wellness practices and how they affect the skin, respectively. We’re also working on the second edition of our in-house zine. (DM me for a copy if you missed the first one! That was really fun to put together.) There’s a lot more coming in the new year.

Miss Grass

Kate Miller and Anna Duckworth, co-founders

Miss Grass

(Kate Miller and Anna Duckworth Photo by Alex Harper)

 
Who are you and what do you do currently? AKA what’s your amazing job title?

From Anna Duckworth, co-founder and CCO: “Miss Grass is an online magazine and plant-based marketplace on a mission to make cannabis make sense, to eradicate the stigma, and make cannabis accessible.. My business partner Kate Miller and I are co-founders of Miss Grass. I serve as the brand’s Chief Content Officer, and Kate serves as CEO.”

What was your past jobs?

Kate Miller: Prior to Miss Grass, I enjoyed a decade-long career in entertainment where I worked alongside Ben Silverman (The Office, Ugly Betty) and most recently ran brand partnerships for Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video including Saturday Night Live and the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. I was inspired to start Miss Grass after my stint working at a dispensary in college. I saw firsthand how archaic the approach and mentality surrounding cannabis was, especially how it pertained to conscious consumption, and knew from there I wanted to change the narrative.

Anna Duckworth: “Prior to Miss Grass, I was the former head of content at cannabis brand dosist, managing editor at The Alpine Review Magazine, and co-founder of Buckslip. As a Canadian, weed was part of the fabric of my identity. But like most people, I could never find a consistent and repeatable experience which made it hard to fully drop into it—despite the fact that I wasn’t much of a drinker at all. It wasn’t until I moved to California and realized the level of sophistication around products here that I found my calling: I was going to show all my friends how to live better with weed.

Miss Grass

How is working for a brand so different from working in editorial? 

Being a cannabis brand, it’s our responsibility to educate consumers on the science, the history, the culture, and products. We believe in transparency and equipping our community with information so they can be conscious consumers in this industry. We do this through our education-led lifestyle content which adds context to our marketplace.

Why is it important for brands to have an editorial arm/voice?

We want our readers and consumers to feel safe and supported to explore cannabis. Cannabis is such a noisy space and there’s a real flurry of misinformation. Offering education-led content helps it all make sense, removes the barrier to entry, and takes out the intimidation.

What makes your role so vital to your brand?

When inspiration for Miss Grass first struck, it was about so much more than creating a better cannabis offering. We wanted to build a brand that authentically represented the modern woman. Our editorial is open and honest, our goal is to make weed more accessible. Our roles and company mission are to rewrite the pervasive and often shameful narrative around the plant. We help people discover products that meet the Miss Grass highest standard of excellence. We’re also building a community that welcomes and supports all. Through Miss Grass, we’re helping defy the antiquated stereotype of the ‘layabout stoner’ and build an educational resource for a huge and growing segment of women who want to enhance their lives in all sorts of ways through cannabis.

How do you make editorial work so that it’s not so branded (unless, of course, it truly is very branded!)

Our editorial work isn’t spammy or pushing to sell a product as the bottom line. We want to instill a new conversation, community, and culture for conscious cannabis consumerism. Our content helps inform, and equip readers with the resources they need to be educated consumers, and make their own purchase decisions. We help by curating a highly vetted marketplace of the highest quality products.

Finally, where is the brand going editorially?

As momentum around cannabis builds and recreational use takes effect across the U.S., we’re continuing to drive a more holistic and honest conversation about what it means to practice self-care, to live well, and to find a balance between the two. No subject matter is off limits, regardless of how controversial. In addition to general consumer cannabis education, we also have a responsibility to inform our readers on broader social equity issues like criminal justice reform and conscious consumerism.

Soko Glam’s The Klog

Sarah Ferguson, content manager

Sarah Ferguson

(Photo courtesy Sarah Ferguson)

What was your past jobs?
I started my career at Lucky magazine (RIP!) where I worked my way up to becoming a digital beauty editor. I was a beauty writer at dailymail.com in the US, have freelanced for several digital publications and have written branded an beauty content for Marie Claire, Elle, Allure, Teen Vogue and more.

How is working for a brand so different from working in editorial?
When you work for a brand there’s the added challenge of promoting and essentially selling products while maintaining journalistic integrity and the trust of the reader. It’s not that hard when you work for a brand that you really believe in though! I’ve been a fan of Soko Glam and the products it sells for almost as long as its been around. All of our writers are as well and I think that shows in the content we create on The Klog!

By working for a brand I’ve also had the chance to gain more marketing experience and exposure to areas of business – such as merchandising, customer service and supply chain – that I never would have had I stayed in editorial. I’ve definitely learned a lot!

Why is it important for brands to have an editorial arm / voice?
In this day and age, consumers want to connect to a brand on a personal level. They also like to make informed purchases, so education and transparency is key as well. A great way to do all of the above is through editorial content. On The Klog, customers can hear and learn directly from Charlotte and other Soko Glam employees which I think makes the company more accessible. And for the education portion, a lot of our story ideas come directly from the inquiries that Soko Glam gets in the company inbox or on social media. This shows our customers that we are really listening to them!

What makes your role so vital to your brand?
I think it’s important for our customers to know that at Soko Glam, we care about more than just selling products. We want to help customers on their skin care journeys, wherever they may be and with whatever products work for them, be that all Soko Glam products, no Soko Glam products, or a mix of Soko Glam, drugstore, and luxury products. The Klog is a great way to achieve this.

How do you make editorial work so that it’s not so branded?
It helps to believe in the brand and products you’re writing about. We do try to focus on education more then product pushing. You won’t really find an article on The Klog that doesn’t suggest at least one product, but the focus will be more on a certain ingredient or a product type in general, then it’s like,”Hey, by the way, here’s a product that could work for you.” And when we do reviews, we often ask people outside of the Soko Glam offices to do them.

We’re also not against mentioning products from outside brands, especially because we know that most people are not necessarily loyal to one brand or retailer. For example, we have a series where we’ll recommend the best K-beauty products from Soko Glam to use with buzzy new products from popular brands like The Ordinary, Glossier and Drunk Elephant.

Finally, where is the brand going editorially?
We will definitely be doubling down even more on education. We redesigned the website in April 2018 which was a step in making it easier and faster for our audience to explore and find information that’s relevant to them and their personal skin concerns. I think we’ve already solidified our place as the premiere K-beauty editorial site on the web, and now we want to position ourselves as THE destination for all-things skincare for everyone from skincare newbies to the pros!

Milk Makeup

Emily Gaynor, editorial creative director

Emily Gaynor

(Photo courtesy Hannah Choi)

What were your past jobs?

I interned and worked at Condé Nast. I started as an intern at Teen Vogue when I was in college at NYU. Then I worked in beauty editorial at Glamour, Lucky, and then Teen Vogue again in print and digital before switching to the brand side.

How is working for a brand so different from working in editorial?

When I worked in editorial at magazines, I was constantly meeting with and writing about different brands while also keeping on the pulse of what was happening in the beauty world. That part is pretty similar to what I am doing now, but my focus is on Milk Makeup and how we relate to everything in that world. It’s important to know what’s going on in the industry, but I look at it through the lens of Milk Makeup and try to always think about our place in the bigger picture.

Why is it important for brands to have an editorial arm / voice?

It’s so important because people want more from the brands they love than just a product. Milk Makeup is incredibly culturally-driven. We were born at Milk, a fashion photography studio in downtown NY. There’s so much happening here and we’re so tied to our community that we want to be able to give them more. VIBES, our editorial platform, invites people to discover who we are beyond beauty: what we like to listen to, shop for, stand up for, learn about. It’s a space that provides context and allows our customers to get to know us in a more well-rounded way.

MILK VIBES

What makes your role so vital to your brand?

Editorial is crucial to Milk Makeup because it allows us to communicate what we want to the world. Visuals are also such a huge part of our brand, especially because we were inspired by and live at Milk Studios. The pairings of our visuals, language, and product need to always work in tandem. We want to make sure that everything aligns so that we are on the same page when telling a story, whether that be in a campaign, on the shelves at Sephora, on our website, or at an event.

How do you make editorial work so that it’s not so branded (unless, of course, it truly is very branded!)

For VIBES, our editorial platform, we like to make sure everything ladders back up to our brand DNA. If it doesn’t, it probably doesn’t make sense to be covered. But if it’s about our community, downtown NYC culture, good ingredients, beauty inspiration, and the creative universe, it’s something we feel makes sense to have live on Milkmakeup.com. The topics don’t necessarily have to be about a specific product or launch of ours, but they should feel like they’re in our wheelhouse. That way, everything isn’t always so branded. We, of course, love talking about what we’re doing and making, but we don’t exist in a vacuum and like to give cultural context where it makes sense.

Finally, where is the brand going editorially?

As we are growing internationally, it is important to adapt to our new audiences while staying true to our original Milk Makeup Fam. We are always thinking about how to reach new people and invite them into our community.

Why is everyone suddenly talking about gender?

Blur the Lines: Generation Gender

In partnership

Rayne is neither he nor she, but both he and she.

And everything in between.

When we met in January for a photoshoot for Milk Makeup’s Blur Stick, Rayne wore a fitted pastel pink tank, juxtaposed with black, ‘90s-style raver-like grommeted pants. Rayne towers over at 6-feet, with broad shoulders built over many years dedicated to dancing, but the 18-year-old’s voice comes out in barely a whisper. With long, wispy brown hair, a dewy, milky complexion and soft, almond eyes, not to mention poreless skin, the teen is gentle, meek. But in photos, Rayne is anything but. It’s evident that when in front of the camera, the Canadian’s entire aura becomes larger than life, outer-worldly, a perfect, beautiful storm.

“Some days I’ll go by my masculine energy, others are more soft and feminine.”

When it rains, it pours.

Today, Rayne is proud to consider Rayne’s own identity as being completely rinsed of a gender identity based on a rigid binary. Rayne is fluid. “I go by energies,” Rayne says. “It’s really about what I’m feeling that day. Some days I’ll go by my masculine energy, others are more soft and feminine.” It’s that same energy that attracts Rayne to others. And it doesn’t matter what gender they are: “I’m into both boys and girls and can fall in love with both.”

Of course, you don’t become your authentic self overnight. It certainly doesn’t come without growing pains. Living in a small, suburban town outside of Toronto, Rayne found that fitting in wasn’t so easy.

“I had thoughts of conforming and being like everyone else,” Rayne admits. Rayne was assigned male at birth and that would have been the path of least resistance. Sometimes, as Rayne put it, it’s easier being like everybody else. Being invisible. Fitting in. Not having a target on your back.

But as time passed, Rayne felt that being boxed into the gender binary just didn’t feel right.

Rayne is one of the millions of Generation Z teens who are adopting these “new ideas” of identity while rejecting the traditional notions that a strict gender binary exists. Of course, as we know, these sentiments aren’t new at all. They’ve been a part of our culture as human beings for centuries. It’s just that now there are words to correctly verbalize one’s identity more precisely. 

“We are in a gender evolution, not a revolution.”

It’s one of the reasons why gender, as of late, has been at the tip of everyone’s tongue. One need only look at headlines to find that it’s hit fever pitch on the cultural barometer.

Teens These Days Are Queer AF, New Study Says,” a headline from Broadly reads.

Gen Z Sees Gender Differently,” another wrote.

Gen Z Rejects Gender Binary.”

At Harvard University, and on college campuses around the country, the term “ze” has become an additional pronoun for individuals who don’t fit the gender binary.  

Social media has been trailblazing this notion for years. It was Facebook, in fact, that began offering more than 50 terms for one’s gender identity in 2014.

“We are in a gender evolution, not a revolution,” explains Dr. SJ Miller, the deputy director of educational equity supports and services at NYU, to Very Good Light. “Young people are now coming into the world now with a full understanding of gender binaries. It’s a reason why we’re seeing more people finding that they’re genderless. People are finally starting to understand that this could be their true identities.”

Joel Baum, senior director for professional development at Gender Spectrum, says gender has bubbled up into the zeitgeist not because of young people, but because of older generations who “just don’t understand.”

“Notions of non-binary identity are part of the discourse for Generation Z,” he tells Very Good Light. “There’s a much greater comfort level with those with different gender and sexualities who aren’t in the typical boxes. To them, it’s like breathing air. It’s normal. Today, it’s not hard to talk about gender diversity and non-binary language. Most in this generation already understand it. It’s older generations, even millennials, who don’t get it. That’s our problem, not theirs.”

Being outside the gender binary may be a new concept here in the States, but in places throughout the world such as Samoa, Mexico, India, among others, a third gender has been embedded within their respective cultures from what seems like the beginning of time.

“These third gender males are treated like normal citizens,” says Paul Vasey, professor and board of governors research chair in psychology at the University of Lethbridge in Canada. Vasey has been studying third gendered people for years, like the fa’afafine in Samoa and the muxe in Oaxaca Mexico.

“In the market you’ll see men, women and muxe,” Vasey says to Very Good Light. “No one’s paying special attention to them and they’re treated as regular people that one would encounter anywhere in these communities. It’s how society was able to deal with these individuals who didn’t quite fit into one gender or another.”

Choosing to be agender or genderless is a true identity.

As Vasey explains it, many of these individuals in the Western culture would be considered gay, cis-gender men or transgender women. It’s just a matter of perception and how different societies box in those who aren’t part of a majority population. But whatever the sexuality, we need to understand that that’s different from gender identity.

“We need to know that sex is biological,” Vasey explains. “A person’s biological status are marked by chromosomes and their genitals and can be varyingly defined. Gender, on the other hand, is a system for categorizing things based on the masculine and feminine attributes.”

But being genderless or considering oneself to be agender does not equate to rejecting gender identity altogether. Choosing to be agender or genderless is a true identity, one that Baum says is equally as valid as considering oneself male or female. Being genderless doesn’t make one invisible.

“Gender does matter,” he says. “Gender identity plays a huge factor in all of our lives. There’s a huge implication spiritually, emotionally and practically.”

With President Trump withdrawing federal protections for transgender people, it’s essential that we understand the differences between sexuality and gender, while also becoming more sensitive to our peers. After all, it was last March, when the state legislature of North Carolina issued House Bill 2 (known as HB2 or the “bathroom bill“), requiring people use public restrooms that match the sex indicated on their birth certificates. Though President Obama created a federal directive to override it, President Trump reversed that decision, putting the bill back in place, making it a local/state-level issue once again. States like Texas are now trying to follow suit with their own version, called SB6.

Needless to say, the future generation, like Rayne, counts on a world that’s more inclusive, with compassion and understanding, to ensure they have all of the equal rights they deserve. 

“Gender does matter.”

On an afternoon in January, Very Good Light and Milk Makeup brought seven young people together to ask them what gender means to them. Some say that gender doesn’t define them, while others said it’s everything to them. In this original Very Good Light and Milk Makeup project, these seven diverse individuals – some straight, some gay, some trans, some genderless – came together to talk about identity. From a video, photographs and interviews, they speak their own truths on their own gender identities. Here they are speaking in their own words on how they blur the lines.

In their own words …

Eric Stone Carson, 18

(Eric is using: Milk Makeup’s Hero Salve, concealer in tan, Blur stick on lips and face, lip + cheek in Rally on lips, Oil Lip Stain in Feelz; He is wearing an Urban Sophistication hoodie)

Being different in black culture isn’t a good thing. Growing up in Atlanta with three sisters, my family automatically thought I’d be gay. They didn’t want me to be. I’m a straight male but deep down inside I’ve always been like, anyone can be whoever they want to be.

But growing up in a black community meant you had to act a certain way. I tried to fit that norm. I was an athlete, I played basketball. All those kinds of stuff.  I tried hard to fit in. I dressed in preppy outfits, in polos, like everyone else at my suburban Atlanta high school. I thought that that’s what I was supposed to look like though inside that wasn’t how I wanted to dress. Deep down, I was scared with how people would look at me if I cared about fashion.

And maybe that is why I try to shy away from sports now that I’m in New York, because I felt like everybody was just so super hypermasculine and close-minded.

When it comes to my own identity, I’d say I’m a boy transitioning into a man. I feel that whatever it is, whatever your own identity, it’s just self expression. Coming to New York as a model opened up my eyes to how diverse the world is. It’s about not only accepting someone but embracing those who are different from you.

In New York City I’m now seeing a lot of people wearing clothes that I wanted to wear and they’re doing so bravely. There are guys who wear makeup. It shouldn’t matter what they wear on their bodies or their faces. People will always have their own opinions. If they’re judging someone else that’s because they’re going through some things. That’s on them. I want to continue being a straight ally to everyone else and hope that culture will continue to change.


Dagsen Steele Love, 16

(Dagsen is using: Concealer in Fair, Blue Oil in Ripe, Holographic stick in Supernova, Eye Pigment in After party, Lip + cheek in Rally, Blur stick; He is wearing a Colin LoCascio top)

Gender and sexuality are on a spectrum. They’re also useless.

I’d say that most of society wants to solve who you are and put you in a box. It all doesn’t matter. It doesn’t exist. They’re social constructs. You can be who you want to be. Like for me, I wear women’s clothes because they fit better. I think you can be a man, if you feel like a man. If you’re a man and you want to wear dresses, then that’s cool. Why can’t you be yourself?

When I was younger, I thought I was bisexual. Then, I realized that sexuality doesn’t really matter, either. I am more attracted to women, but i wouldn’t have any problem being attracted to a man if I really liked him.

Who I am made me stick out from the rest of my classmates in Phoenix, Arizona.

I was really insecure around the time when I was 14 and 15. I hated school. I had a lot of social anxieties and stuff. And I started being way more outgoing and talking to people and just made me realize that no one has to get you. Everyone who you think is judging you is dealing with their own issues. Or if they do judge you then they just hate themselves. Most people are like that. I enrolled in online classes because I couldn’t take school any more. Doing the homework and academics just wasn’t for me. I just didn’t care. I don’t think I’m a rebel, I’m just doing me.


Madeleine Vintback, 26

(Madeleine is using: Concealer in Medium, Blur stick, Hero Salve, Shadow Quad Day Goals, Eye Vinyl in Bridge, Lip color in Wifey, Eye Pigment in Hotel Lobby; She is wearing a jacket by BDG from Urban Outfitters and choker by Martine Ali Studio)

I’ve always loved to play around with my hair, makeup and clothes. It’s almost like a dress up game. I actually love to play the role of being super boyish or super feminine. Though that’s how I express myself, it’s not like everyone else gets it. There are people around me who get frustrated because they can’t place me.

I consider myself a woman, but one who can be masculine or feminine. Though, in my experience, if you are not feminine enough, that’s a threat too.  

As a model in Los Angeles I’m going against girls with the long, beautiful curls and waves. My hair is in a pixie cut. People scratch their heads because it’s not something that they’re used to, a woman who looks like a boy.

It’s interesting because in Sweden, where I’m from, it’s so much more progressive. There, lines are very, very blurred. First of all, men and women are very, very equal. The guys are the ones with the strollers now. The gender roles have changed. It’s interesting because when my Swedish guy friends come over to the states, they’re mistaken as gay. It’s because they’re so free and don’t have to discuss those things because it’s not an issue. They know they don’t have to be so hard or macho to be a man.

American guys like straight guys here are so scared of being or acting gay because of American culture. To Swedish people it’s more open, it’s free. People don’t care so much about gender or who you’re dating. We’re fluid.


Marcelo Gutierrez, 22

(Marcelo is using: Sunshine Skin Tint, Shadow Quad Day Goals, Blur Stick, Lip + Cheek in Quickie, Matte Bronzer, Gel Brow, Shadow Liner in Moonlighter and Working Girl and Hero Salve; He is wearing a top by Slashed by Tia, choker by The IME label; hoodie by Urban Sophistication)

I’m a minority in a multitude of ways. I’m a refugee, an immigrant and gay. When I was younger, I didn’t consider gender. I didn’t know how different I was. I always played around as female characters but knew that I was genetically a boy.

Today, I identify as male but I am very in tune with what we call masculine and feminine attributes. But really, it makes me uncomfortable to even have to say “masculine” and “feminine.” What exactly do those words even mean?

To me, feminine characteristics are attributed to romance, vulnerability and emotion. I am someone who is very romantic. I write a lot. I am very emotional person and those are considered negative attributes in our society. For some reason, that goes back to sexism. In gay culture, it’s so “masc4masc.” When you’re any kind of  “feminine,” then that can be seen as a flaw. In its essence, that goes down to why something that is considered feminine is a flaw or unattractive.

Being emotional shouldn’t be considered feminine. That should just be considered human. When we distinguish characteristics of masculinity and femininity, that means that there is a priority of one or the other. It goes back to the fact that there’s only one race – the human race. There is no masculine, there is no feminine. There is only human. That’s means being layered, complex, individual. It’s made up of so many little things in so many variables. That’s beautiful.


Avie Acosta, 21

(Avie is using: Concealer in Fair, Hero Salve, Gel Brow, Blur Stick on lips and face, Gold Liquid Strobe, Eye Pigment in Hotel Lobby, Oil Lip Stain in Tude, Lip + cheek in Rally; She is wearing a dress by Urban Outfitters, Choker by The IME label, a jacket by Martine Ali Studio)

My brand is #unoffendable.

Growing up in Oklahoma I had a hard time with the concept of gender. I always played sports. I was a skateboarder. I roughhoused with football. But I also loved to wear skirts and dresses. I played with makeup and had my nails painted at sleepovers. Coming into my own later on as a woman, was an interesting experience in Oklahoma.

In retrospect, after all these years, I was fighting for myself a little too hard. I used to be a monster. I was this tough feminist girl that was like, “you respect me, refer to my gender correctly, etc.” But it got me absolutely nowhere. It was the most draining process to try to get people to understand you. 

It consumed my life where I couldn’t talk about anything but gender and social politics. It brought so much negativity. Gender was a roadblock, a barrier, and a hurdle that I had to overcome. Everyone is trying to figure out who they are and I think that this conversation sometimes comes off as abrasive. It’s one-sided. It’s like what I was a few years ago, repeating myself over and over again.

I get it. The binary is real. Our entire world is set up with a binary. We think in binary. So it’s not just gender. Every concept that has two extremes. That’s just how the world is set up and I feel like trying to go against that hasn’t worked in our favor. With those who don’t understand, we can’t continue preaching to them and meeting deaf ears. It’s not getting anywhere because there has to be a common ground. We need to have empathy.

I’ve come to a point in my own life that whatever someone says to me I’m not going to get offended. There’s negativity but I don’t have to partake. There’s real power to that. There’s real power when you don’t let it get to you.


Eddy LeRoy Jr., 18

(Eddy is using: Concealer in Deep, Blur Stick, Eye Vinyl in Tunnel, Liquid Strobe in Ultraviolet, Hero Salve; Eddy is wearing an Urban Outfitters top and a choker by Marine Ali Studio)

If we’re going to try to define manhood in a traditional sense with sports and all that, okay, I played sports, too. I ran track and played football in high school and I was better than everyone else. Why is it that society deems a man less than if he’s different? Or if he cries?

Growing up, I was never understood by my family. They used to blame my femininity on the saying, “oh, you were raised predominantly around females, that’s why you’re like that.” And I always felt like, why can’t I be on a spectrum? I can wake up and feel whatever I want want to feel. Maybe today I feel masculine and tomorrow it’s feminine. Why does it even matter?

Even identifying as strictly male isn’t completely me, to be honest. I usually don’t even think to define myself because I’m everything in between. Which why I look up to David Bowie. He was so ambiguous  and did whatever he wanted. He wore makeup. He wore women’s clothing. He just lived. It’s mind-boggling that we still haven’t come to a point where we can accept that others, too, can be just like Bowie.


Rayne Nadurata, 18

(Rayne is using: Blur Stick, Concealer in Medium Tan, Hero Salve, Highlighter, Lip + Cheek in Swish, Lip color in Freshhh, oil lip Stain in Tude; Rain is wear a vintage necklace and top)

I’m definitely more fluid and I can embody both ends of the spectrum. I  like to dabble with both genders but I’m more comfortable in my feminine side because it’s more expressive and open. In terms of labeling, I don’t care about labels. Whatever you call me, you can call me.

For me, being fluid means that I’m also sexually fluid. I can be attracted to anyone. I don’t think in binaries or sexualities. Instead, I think in energies. There are strong energies present in everyone. Both energies, masculine and feminine are found in everyone. When I think of masculinity I think of aggression, strength and dominance. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that just because you’re submissive you’re more female. You can be a strong, dominant female. And femininity can still be strong as well. Some days I’m vibing my feminine side and in those days I’d expect to be called ‘she’ or a ‘her.’ Today, I’m just Rayne. I’m neutral in my body. I feel comfortable.

I went to the men’s washroom last night, and everyone looked at me. It’s kind of a compliment, though. Guys always think that there’s a girl in there. People think that I’m a chick with a purse because I always have a purse. There are benefits to then going into a women’s washroom because guys bathrooms are filthy. Sometimes though, there will be security guards who tell me I can’t go into the women’s washroom. They think that me being in there makes me a sexual pervert.

In a lot of ways I think it’s because masculinity has become so toxic. I want to crush it at times. It’s designed for men to be “men,” which makes them so self-conscious. I think straight cisgender guys are the most insecure people. They have to be boxed into a single definition and can’t stray from the norm or what they’re attracted to. They can’t express themselves in a different manner. That to me, is so sad. In the future, I want to be a voice for the queer community. I want to make everyone feel comfortable. I want to make a change. It’s coming soon.


Credits.

Director: Georgie Greville DP: Roland Lazarte Photographer: Jai Odell (Trouble Management) Art Director: Elena Miska Makeup: Alicia Marie Campbell (See Management) Hair: Niko Weddle Stylist: Bianca Arielle Bailey Producers: Riley Carithers, Roxanne Doucet

Milk Makeup’s Glitter Stick gets you Pride-ready in literal ~seconds~

It’s no secret that we love Milk Makeup here at Very Good Light.

In fact, we did an entire series about identity with the brand not too long ago to show how Generation Z is blurring the lines between sexuality and gender. So when we were sent the brand’s newest product to test, we were delighted to know that it not only looks amazing but it does good at the same time.

The product is called the Glitter Stick, a name that is short, concise and gets down to what it is. And it’s a limited-edition product that’s in partnership with NYC’s The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center). Half of the proceeds from all sales of the Glitter Stick go to the non-profit, which helps to empower people from all walks of life. Full disclosure: when I was an editor at Mashable, I worked with The Center on a story on transgender teens who came out to the world for the first time. From personal experience I feel The Center really is a place that’s not only magical, but completely important to helping disenfranchised people from all walks of life find empowerment.

Which completely encapsulates what the Glitter Stick is all about. It’s a buildable stick that places rainbow-hued specks that shimmer beautifully on on all skin tones. It goes on pretty subtly but totally buildable if you want that “going to a rave like a Babadook getting Babashook by your own Babalewk,” look.

The Glitter Stick comes in a cake batter-like color and ~actually~ smells like cake batter, though we don’t know if that was intentional or not. Either way, it’s completely delicious. The sweet smell comes from its natural ingredients including mango butter, coconut oil and avocado oil.

Though Milk is known for their smooth sticks, this one feels a little crumbly, much like stale cake without icing. It’s a little gritty, though it does smoothen when you’re blending. You can swipe it on your eyelids, face and body, wherever you need to sparkle and shine, while blending in with your fingertips. The product, like all others in the line up, is cruelty and gluten free as well as vegan.

via GIPHY

The product retails for $30 and is on sale today for a limited run, only. AKA get this ASAP before your next Pride parade, party or your own personal in-home solo rave (which we’ll be doing!)

Buy Milk Makeup’s Glitter Stick here for $30.