The 15-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter on the #NoMakeup message
With countless YouTube makeup tutorials and endless options of celebrity makeup lines, it’s almost shocking to hear that Alicia Keys is embracing the #nomakeup movement. Keys penned a deeply personal essay for Lenny, Lena Dunham’s newsletter, in which she talks about her frustrations with the pressure on women to look perfect and desirable at all times.
“One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women,” she wrote. “The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked.”
These irritations led the musical icon to embrace the #nomakeup movement. The hashtag has more than 12 million photos on Instagram. I remember bloggers promoting their makeup-free selfies last year, but Keys’ endorsement is huge. A celebrity walking the red carpet and showing girls and women of all ages that it’s perfectly fine to be who you are without 15 different products just for you face is pretty monumental.
And the singer-songwriter is taking her pledge to some important places, namely, magazines women read and performances her fans attend. In a recent spread for Fault Magazine, Keys’ mischievous grin is matched with her makeup-free face and natural hair. “I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt,” the songstress said of the first shoot she did without makeup. In a world where most photographers use Photoshop and the rest of us have makeup apps and filters to use for our selfies, these images are powerful and motivational. As are her words.
A photo posted by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on
“In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don’t want to put on all that makeup / Who says I must conceal what I’m made of / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem,” are lines from her new song, “When a Girl Can’t Be Herself.” Keys goes on to explain the moving message saying, “No disrespect to Maybelline, the word just worked after the maybe. But the truth is…I was really starting to feel like that — that, as I am, I was not good enough for the world to see.” It’s easy to forget that wildly successful artists can feel just as beat up as the rest of us.
There’s pressure on women to feel perfect, and there’s even more on celebrities to appear flawless at all times. Keys’ actions have already prompted more girls to share #nomakeup selfies, and there’s no doubt that her commitment will inspire countless women. Who wouldn’t want to be part of such a positive project? “I hope to God it’s a revolution. ‘Cause I don’t want to cover up anymore,” she explained. “Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”