PEACHES GELDOF TALKS BEAUTY
"Dita Von Teese is, in my opinion, the most iconic face of modern makeup."
The simple pleasures of applying makeup have always appealed to me. I experimented with different looks during my younger years. (Streaky orange foundation? Check. Blush applied so thickly that it looks like I've been in a nasty brawl? Check.) But lately, I've come to know what suits me and I stick with it: liquid eyeliner applied in a wing for a feline effect, reddish-brown shadow under my eyes (in my opinion, sometimes scary is good), bronzer to keep me from looking like I'm dying, a cream colored foundation for a flawless finish, and either a nude or classic, matte red lipstick. But in keeping with the beauty theme of this issue, I thought it would be fun to try out other people's iconic makeup looks to see the reactions I get.
This story was published on March 24, 2010.
As famous for bringing drag queen chic to the mainstream as he is for his music, Boy George is an obvious first choice for me. I apply several layers of thick, stick applicator foundation until it looks like my whole face has been airbrushed out. I follow with streaks of magenta blush and an insane amount of blue, green, and silver eye shadow. To top it all off, I pencil in my brows to look thick, black, and pointy. On the subway, a man recoils in shock, mouthing the words "Oh My God!" to his equally disturbed girlfriend. Above ground, I elicit calls of "tranny" and even "alien!" (Do aliens wear eye shadow?) When I reach the club where my friends are, they laugh and tell me to go wash it off because I look like a clown. All in all, the look is unsuccessful on a mere mortal like me. On George though, I can only describe it in one word: Fierce.
Next up is Twiggy, all spidery long lashes that make her peepers seem impossibly huge on that tiny, angular face. I pin my hair up so that it looks short, and after I use practically a whole tube of mascara, I throw on a black shift and spend the day vintage shopping. I get admiring glances from girls - one comes up to me and asks how I did my eyes - and lingering stares from older men, who are obviously remembering the girls they courted in the '60s. There's something intense yet innocent about this look, and it's this strange juxtaposition that makes me want to try it again.
My best friend suggests I do Marilyn Manson, and as much as I hate her for it, I agree that it would be hilarious. Every single person on the subway stares at me unashamedly, and I feel my face flushing under the layers of chalky white foundation. I get mildly scared when some kids start chasing me, yelling "Goths suck!" Stepping into a restaurant for a friend's birthday party with eyes peeking out from red liner, lips smudged with black lipstick, and sporting one white contact lens does not a good entrance make. "Peaches," says the birthday boy, "It looks like you finally achieved your dream of looking worse than usual. Is this a rent-a-goth surprise just for me?" Cue laughter. Epic fail, but still hilarious.
Dita Von Teese is, in my opinion, the most iconic face of modern makeup. The interesting thing about her classic, old Hollywood look is that it appears so simple, yet it takes forever to apply. After an hour and a half, I finally get that porcelain white complexion with apple cheeks, cat-shaped eyes courtesy of liquid liner, slightly arched brows, and the all-important rich red lips. Peaches Von Teese is in the building! I go to an art exhibit. Men open doors for me, and women treat me like an adult rather than a grubby teenager. My boyfriend, however, tells me I have far too much makeup on and that he prefers "the natural look."
For my last outing, I take a cue from Brigitte Bardot. Her killer combo of sooty eyes, barely there matte lips, and mane of teased blonde hair exudes both womanly sexuality and coquettishness. I go full stop and get whistles from construction workers on the street. I usually hide my sexuality behind grungy, oversize knits and ill-fitting Salvation Army granny dresses, but now it's brazenly out there for all to see.
There's something empowering about it, but there's also something unappealing about men staring at you like a piece of meat. My boyfriend loves it obviously, and my friends remark how after a week of appearing totally nuts, I look really well. (I didn't tell most of them about this article - it was more amusing that way.)
Overall, my experiments have been fun, but I'm going back to my usual style. It's sticking to what suits you best that makes you iconic, not hiding behind a mask.