I Dream of Ruby Woo: A Love Affair in Red

If I asked you to name an artist who you admired, how likely would you be to name someone like Jeffree Star or Priscilla Ono? Would you even consider naming yourself?

There’s a tendency to restrict our view of art to certain mediums; we classify art as the songs that we hear on the radio or paintings that we see hanging in art galleries. Yet in reality, art can exist almost anywhere. You might even wear it everyday. Makeup is one of the most deeply personal forms of self-expression that exists, and it is living art that can be made and remade constantly. It is a uniquely bold way to define our identity in a world that often seeks to define it for us.

Image source: Pexels

Makeup has the ability to empower and embolden. In high school, I had a tendency to second-guess myself, whether I was giving a class presentation or sitting down for a college interview. I would shy away from dramatic looks and dramatic actions. Now, red lipstick is one of my personal favorite weapons in a world where it is easy to get lost in the steam. Here’s why.

Red is a color that demands confidence. It’s not a look that allows you blend into the crowd; it demands to be noticed and acknowledged. The first few times I wore red lipstick, I felt that there was a flashing sign on my face yelling, “Hello world! Here I am.” By wearing it, you’re telling the world that you are not afraid to be seen.

More than that, red lipstick makes me feel more connected to the generations of strong women who are unafraid to make their voices heard. Red is timeless. Frida Kahlo wore a bold red lip, as did Cleopatra and Marilyn Monroe. I am only the next participant in a demonstration of beauty and rebellion that has already existed for thousands of years.

Image source: Pexels

Red is a representation of passion and cheerfulness, love and ferocity. I contain all of these things, and lipstick makes me feel as if I am projecting these things into the world around me. It reminds me that I was put in this world to be an active — rather than passive — participant. Change only starts when you have the courage and self-assurance to make it happen — after all, if you won’t fight for yourself, who else will? 

So I encourage you all to pick a favorite red, whether it’s Ruby Woo by MAC (my own go-to) or Dragon Girl by Nars. Don't be afraid to live vibrantly, and to show it off for the world to see.