Saturday, 5 November 2016

Why I adore the makeup free Alicia Keys - #InCommon #Inspiration #NoMakeup Campaign


Growing up as a young singer/songwriter and music lover, I myself always had a huge respect and admiration for Alicia Keys. She is really one of the only artists that I can truly say, hand on heart, that I was a true FAN of, in the real sense of the word FAN! I mean I have loved many an artist while coming up, but my love for Alicia Keys topped them all! From the moment I first laid eyes on this absolute Goddess in cornrows, sitting at a piano, hitting notes that pierced the soul and walking through the streets of New York with a realness and purity intertwined; that I had never yet seen from any artist - I was hooked! Something about this artist just resonated with me on a higher level than most ever would.

 I remember when my good friend Vanessa, knowing my love for Alicia at the time, decided to surprise me by taking me down to a live outdoor show that Miss Keys did in London, around the time of the Wimbledon tennis tournaments some years ago. I had no idea what or who would be coming out on stage but when Alicia Keys appeared on the stage, speaking in her low toned New York accent and sat down at the piano to sing, I can tell you I had to search for my breath to contain my excitement knowing that I was witnessing such a Goddess in the flesh, live, right before me. I was blown away and engrossed from start to finish.

Watching Alicia Keys from afar as a young artist at the age of 15/16 years, she taught me that there was a real importance to being a strong writer in order to capture the hearts and minds of your audience, alongside a stage presence that made sure they could feel and believe every word and every note delivered. Her music told me not to be scared to produce a sound or a message that resonated my inner-self and to just be FREE with my music. I always felt like she was just who she was and unapologetic about it and I believe that this was what made myself and others admire her so much as an artist. People loved Alicia for being Alicia and not for anything false or pre-meditated, it just wasn't there.


Fast forward to 2016 and after taking us all on such a great journey with her music, Alicia Keys is on a journey of her own. A make-up free, show who you are and be free as you are journey. You see all the time we were watching her and seeing her as perfect Alicia Keys herself was stuck in the same trap that we all are in this industry (and most industries) - trying to be the best and to look the best to keep up appearances and avoid being judged. Keys mentioned in recent interviews that she got to the point where she couldn't go out of the house without wearing makeup, worried that someone may take a picture of her not looking her best and then post it for all to see. Within an essay written by the 15 Grammy Award Winning songstress in May this year called "It's Time to Uncover" for Lean Dunham's Lenny Letters, Keys wrote that she no longer wanted to 'feel forced to wear makeup anymore' and remarked that she actually feels empowered to go fresh faced and finds it to be 'really empowering' and 'really freeing' to go makeup free. 

As to why Keys started the campaign, Girl Talk HQ reported it was 'after realising that she had become part of a trend that perpetuated the beauty standards and waking up to the fact that she no longer wanted to be a pawn'. Needless to say Alicia Keys' #NoMakeup campaign went viral! 

Once again, to see her just come out and do what she wanted to do, right in the spotlight, in front of millions of people, within a society that DOES now see it as the 'norm' to wear makeup daily and create the 'perfect' societal image, I just find her all the more brave and incredible.


Now me personally, I have been told by many people that I look younger and fresher without makeup and indeed my partner tells me this every morning before I reach for my foundation! I am also aware, not least from seeing my own friends, family and acquaintances in their own chilled out makeup free beauty; we really do not need it like we seem to think we do, we give makeup way too much power, but it obvious why we have the belief  that we have to wear makeup and certain clothing and have a certain body etc in order to be worth looking at. I need not explain in details right now why we feel this way - just look at what the media and society force down our throats daily and tell us that we NEED - that's another blog post right there... 

Back to relating to Alicia's story, I can cast my own mind back to when I first started wearing makeup. I didn't need to start wearing makeup by any means. I have clear skin, even toned and no blemishes. So why the foundation? Also 'had' really good healthy eyelashes, so why the mascara? To be honest I didn't have an evil conscious pressure pushing me to wear makeup. Not a conscious one I say. I just did what was being done looking back, without any worry or stress, it just looked nice and to my taste so I just tried it on myself, liked the look of it and carried on! I was definitely already happy with my natural face when this all started; which I think is the thing to note; see at first I didn't ever see makeup as a way to cover anything up at all. However, gradually, over time, as I continued to use makeup on my face and started to get used to what I was seeing in the mirror with the makeup on, I started to see it as a necessity, not so happy with what I was seeing when I took it off. That's definitely psychological. This transition of how I was seeing myself happened without me really noticing at all. I really feel like I just woke up one day and didn't like the original as well as the advanced copy. I was now so used to the look that I had created with makeup, that nothing less would be sufficient enough to go outside with! Yes, meaning my own natural face was suddenly not enough, although I never felt it or said it as harshly as that! I never felt unhappy with my face, only that I needed 'a little something extra on' before I went out of the house...just like Alicia mentioned. 

I know for many people out there this issue is even deeper and a lot more extreme, with some moving forward to cosmetic surgery and more to 'fix' what they once may have seen as being fine, or in some cases a face they never liked. It makes me wonder how anyone who has this kind of  insecurity can cope with being a Celebrity! Even without the fame and the paparazzi all over the place it is difficult to manage this, so imagine then the pressures on someone who is constantly in the public eye like Alicia Keys, who also used to suffer from spots and skin breakouts.

For me wearing makeup never started off as a pressure, not consciously, it was actually more of a girly hobby, but over time I started to feel dependant on makeup for my daily public presentation. The worst thing is I didn't really ever notice myself getting so caught up in it at all, but I did get caught up didn't I!  I AM CAUGHT UP! More upsetting is the fact that this acknowledgement of the problem isn't enough today to make me throw away every cosmetic that I own and stop all this fuss by tomorrow! So why did I allow it? Why did you? There are a million reasons surrounding us. We didn't decide alone! So what to do now? Well, I will leave that as food for thought as I cannot promise (at all) that I will have wet wiped away my additional face by the end of this article, never to re-apply it again onto my already beautiful one beneath! 

Credit where it is due to Alicia Keys for making me stop and ask myself these questions and to encourage you to ask the same. Alicia Keys is an artist that makes you feel, she is an artist that makes you question, she is an artist that loves to be an artist, forever creating, re-creating and evolving. So take this moment to work out what all of this means to you!

Below is a great short interview with Alicia Keys from SBTV, revealing more about her current music, her make-up free journey and how freeing and liberating this movement has been for her personally and the impacts that such a journey can have. Be Inspired ladies! I know I am!


Article by She Inspired Her Founder - Crystal King UK  @CrystalTheKing
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