Alicia Keys in the Spotlight

During the red carpet event at the VMA’s on August 28, Alicia Keys shocked many viewers as she posed on the red carpet with her new look—a fresh, glowing face of…no makeup?! That’s right, Alicia Keys has gone au-naturale, and this really isn’t news. Back in May, Alicia Keys showed up to a photoshoot for Vanity Fair with her natural bare face and pulled back hair fresh from the gym, only for photographer Paola Kudacki to exclaim, “I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too!” Since then, Keys has received so much support and personal confidence that she has decided to go #nomakeup for the time being. According to her personal essay written for Lenny Letter on May 31, "I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing." Alicia Keys, we hear you loud and clear.

Not every fan is into Keys’s new look, as she received a lot of backlash after her no-makeup appearance at the VMA’s. But Keys isn’t letting a few misogynistic people who clearly aren’t her true fans get into her head. Keys is not only inspiring herself to sport the natural beauty she was born with, but many other girls (and boys!) who are in awe of her newfound confidence without makeup. And yes, it’s harder for some people than others, considering Keys’s flawless complexion and fabulous bone structure, but I think that’s exactly the point she is trying to make. We are all so unique and every single difference is what makes each individual beautiful. Being raw and real with a bare face can be an extremely difficult task for many people, especially those of us who struggle with acne, scars, etc., or even those who simply love makeup for the artform it is. However, that’s the exact same aspect that’s so rewarding about a movement like this—risking your comfort turns to unbreakable confidence when embracing all the natural beauty that makes you, you! And like Alicia Keys said, allowing your face to remain exposed can help to expose other parts of yourself that the world should know about. Dreams, struggles, and growth should never be hidden away!

And going makeup-free is more than a confidence boost, it can actually be a social statement that points out the gender binary our society mindlessly conforms to. I support the notion that females should never be expected to wear makeup in public, just as I support the notion that men should never be expected not to. If I choose not to wear mascara today, that’s my choice—and if a guy chooses to layer on a bit of foundation, that’s his choice. Who’s to say our choices are wrong? Keys isn’t asking the public for feedback on her choices, she is taking a stand for what she believes in regardless of popular public opinion. Way to go, girl.

So the next time you curse at the mirror for all of the acne across your cheeks or the spread of dark hairs that seem to pop up overnight, think about what it means to accept yourself as you are. Makeup should never be used as a way to “cover” up the parts of yourself that society considers a flaw, but to show some love to the unique features you love the most. When you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, it might be a good time to ask, “What would Alicia Keys do?”


Photo and quote courtesy of Lenny Letter.