In my search for my answers on the research and hard work put into FENTY BEAUTY products, I found an interview with one of the two Latin@ makeup artists in the company.
The link to the interview is: https://www.popsugar.com/latina/Priscilla-Ono-Fenty-Beauty-Makeup-Artist-Interview-45233497/amp
I, like Priscilla, grew up in Los Angeles as well. I know exactly where Plaza Mexico is where she use to do make overs for $20. Heck, one of my family members could have gone to her for various family occasions or a photo shoot that needs good make up skills!
But the reason this article moved me because her experience being a Latina makeup artist in the industry really resonated with my own experience as a Latina in what they call “white collar jobs.” I mentioned in a previous post the scrutiny women of color workers go through in high-end boutiques/stores from both staff and customers. There has been research done on both how stereotypes and unconscious bias affect how people interact, including bias based on race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and disability. Priscilla brings up how she felt disrespected at the beginning by individuals in the industry due to her race (and probably gender and class as well, but that is my own argument, not hers). This is part of our every day experiences everywhere we go, but, most especially, in places where money speaks basically.
As a side note, I have talked about my positive experience at ULTA previously in my blog, but I have yet to mention how I actually dislike going to ULTA in the predominantly white and middle class town I currently reside in. If I am not dressed in my blazer for work, I promise you I will not get the help I am looking for. Unless the worker knows me, they will look past me. I hate that feeling. I especially hate it when I am standing there looking at the same wall for over ten minutes and the worker in that area just keeps walking past me but never pausing to ask if I need help. And if the ignorance is strong, they will side eye me as they “stock” or “clean” their designated area.
My strategy? I downloaded the ULTA app and buy online. The problem? For make up and anything for self care, I would like to have the opportunity to sample it. I would also like the opportunity to ask a human being if they have any other suggestion versus reading all the reviews in hopes of making the right decision for which product to purchase next. And although I do this prior to going to any store, I do not want it to be my only option.
Secondly, make up is so tricky! I would much rather see it on, in-person, before buying it and testing at home. But, I am now forced to pay the bill and then return the item if I am not happy at the store or via the post office.
Lastly, it reminds me that I need to grow thicker skin and, sometimes, that just is not enough. I say this because sometimes you are just tired of it and do not have the emotional strength to handle it. On those days, I tell myself I will never go back, but I eventually do… because I hate being forced to shop online only.
Honestly, it affects me because makeup is something I enjoy and get what Priscilla found at a very early age, “me time.” When this type of experience happens, it reminds me of all the ways in which, in my life, I have been judged for my skin color and I was treated differently for it. Like Priscilla, my family also told me that as a Latina and dark skinned woman, I would have to work harder than others to prove my worth. Luckily, like Priscilla, I am in my 30s and have learned that letting my work speak for itself is the best option one can take.
When I was younger, I would start all kinds of unnecessary arguments with people for their bias and the unjust treatment I was receiving. Overtime, I realized it was more damaging for me internally than any impact I thought I was causing to the other person. Eventually, I decided that if I am in a place feeling uncomfortable for these particular reasons, then I shall leave (if I can because sometimes my job doesn’t allow for that). And if I cannot leave, I do my best to stay focused on what my goal is for that day. Honestly, it helps to think about my family and the hard work they are doing at the same time for only a portion of my pay. That motivates me and gives me the privilege to help them when I get paid.
I also want to be clear that I love what I do. Like Priscilla, the passion for what I am doing surpasses any doubt people have of me. I get the opportunity to work with the next generation and I love that I interaction. I also get to share knowledge with them and the public that is meaningful for me and, in the bigger picture, life changing for others. There is a writer named bell hooks whose writing changed me deeply in my early 20s and made me question my career choice. I had to make decisions that, like for Priscilla, my family would not understand. I too was expected to be a lawyer or doctor and as an only child, the eggs were definitely all in my basket. But, they see now the impact my career choice has on people that look like us and they love and respect it… now.
All this to say, the experience of women of color in the make up industry, whether you are a famous make up artist or a regular person like me buying make up, gets complicated and entangled in politics, societal issues, racism, classism, and all kind of other issues that is just not there for white women in the make up world. And, of course, this is our experience beyond the make up world as well. Every day we have to decide how to handle these every day interactions with power/oppression.
For this reason, I would like to make the argument that FENTY BEAUTY plays a larger role in the make up industry than just giving women of color a make up line that works for us, it is also giving the opportunity for women of color to make a career in the make up world in an environment where you feel seen, heard, and appreciated. Rihanna is making money moves and she is doing it with women that look like us right next to her. That is still a radical move in the make up industry in 2019. As Pricilla points out, Rihanna is pushing a very disconnected make up industry to it’s own products. Rihanna is pushing the make up industry to work harder and to realize women of color ARE great customers and will pay for a make up line that values their needs. Lessons are being learned at a global level and Rihanna is setting the bar high for sure!
Here’s an article that shares a similar point of view:
That is why I am on this FENTY BEAUTY experience for the next few months and hopefully, until I die! (I make no exxageration!)
Here’s another Latina’s review of Fenty and detailed descriptions of ALL her products!
And with that, I remind you to … KEEP MAKING ART!!!!!!!!! ♡♡♡