If you’ve been noticing Alicia Keys has been looking more natural lately, there’s a reason: she’s attempting to make it more acceptable for a woman’s natural beauty to shine.
In an open essay in the feminist newsletter Lenny Letter, the Grammy winner opened up about without much makeup lately. She says she wants to shatter society’s beauty standards placed on women and let her true self shine through.
She discloses how she went from the harsh streets of NYC’s “Hell’s Kitchen”, to being scrutinized when she entered the entertainment industry.
“In the streets of New York you had to be tough, you HAD to be hard, people needed to know that you weren’t scared to fight! But this wasn’t the streets of New York. This was the harsh, judgmental world of entertainment and my biggest test yet. I started, more than ever, to become a chameleon. Never fully being who I was, but constantly changing so all the “they’s” would accept me.”
She revealed that as she began to work on her new album, she began to think more and more about society’s harsh beauty standard placed on women.
“Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. 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. All of it is so frustrating and so freakin’ impossible. I realized that during this process, I wrote a lot of songs about masks filled with metaphors about hiding. I needed these songs because I was really feeling those insecurities.”
Keys then said she took up meditation to get to know herself on a deeper level, and a fateful photo shoot for her new album (above) solidified her inner convictions. She realized the universe heard her thoughts.
“It wasn’t until I walked into one of my first shoots for my new album recently that the issue was front and center again,” she wrote. “I’d just come from the gym, had a scarf under my baseball cap, and the beautiful photographer Paola (never met a Paola I didn’t like) said, “I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too!”
“I felt powerful because my initial intentions realized themselves. My desire to listen to myself, to tear down the walls I built over all those years, to be full of purpose, and to be myself! The universe was listening to those things I’d promised myself, or maybe I was just finally listening to the universe, but however it goes, that’s how this whole #nomakeup thing began. Once the photo I took with Paola came out as the artwork for my new song “In Common,” it was that truth that resonated with others who posted #nomakeup selfies in response to this real and raw me.”
Inspirational! If someone in the spotlight as much as Alicia Keys can free herself from makeup the confines of makeup and the insecurities that come with it, can us regular, non-famous women do the same?
Read Alicia’s entire essay HERE.