This Is Us

Our eyes are tired of communicating, and our pixelated faces are so 2020

Photo: Amparo Torres O. / Flickr

I must admit something. I have Covid-19-inspired face lust.


Emerging like a fresh-faced phoenix from the burning shards of an autocracy and perching herself on the lectern of the White House Press Room, there Jen Psaki was — subtly blushed and freshly mascara’d. A whisper of a shimmer-shadow brushed on her lid, as though an angel had blown it there.


A Look at the Trump’s Administration’s Final Lewks

Brooklyn exploded when Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election. I was sitting on my stoop chatting with a good friend as a joyful yell leapt out a window near us. We jumped and yelled and headed to a corner where others we knew were also jumping and yelling.


a closer look and the debate lewks

The over-produced debates on high def TV’s are indelicate when it comes to faces. Onscreen, the candidates resemble a coked-up friend at 2am who is shouting, shimmying, and sweating at you. It’s all so fast and loud— especially at last night’s South Carolina debate, with everyone waving their hands like they’re out raving in 1997. Never in my life have I seen so much face-skin! The exact texture, so visible we can feel it. Every make-up decision is obvious, making every mistake glaring. Not a single eye-brow hair escapes the blinding truth of the cameras.

Do you feel guilty and petty for questioning appearances on TV? Do you yearn to speak to someone about it? It’s ok! The made-up faces of public figures tell us a lot. They’re not a characters on a television show- they’re self-chosen public figures who want to run our country, so everything they do broadcasts ‘This is meeeee!’


Let’s explore symbolism, parallels, and basic parts of speech, y’all!

Michelle Wolf didn’t shame Sarah Huckabee Sanders for her appearance. She told a joke addressing Sander’s hootenanny of lies to the White House Press Corp, while hypothesizing she uses the ash-of-her-lies to create a ‘perfect smokey eye’. Let’s break down the viability of looks-shaming here.


Everything is great so let’s get glam!

Courtesy of Munch and Fil Vocasek

Hey guys! It’s me. Thought I’d holler at y’all with some hot tips on how to achieve a sultry smokey eye, in case you’re feeling particularly femme fatale this season, or are in a hurry to achieve some beauty goals since it could be our final fall forever-ever. Nothing like the end-times to pull out all the stops! …


I first felt that I could be my own person when I realized I could put something bright on my lips. I was allowed in elementary school to wear lipstick when performing in plays or dance recitals, or I could ‘play’ if I asked properly, and would ask if I could wear the color up an down the block before removing it. I was a born bright-lip exhibitionist. I’d sneak into my mom’s make-up drawers and would slather colors on my face and lips until I felt satisfied. It took layers until I felt that click of satisfaction. When it was right, it was brain-buzzingly perfect.

Upon my entering 7th grade, I was told “You can pick ONE make-up product, and put it on here at home, and then that is it.” I decided on an Estee Lauder orang-ey pink and I put it on and on and on and on and until until it was probably a centimeter thick. When my ride picked me up for school, my friend’s mom said “Well, you sure have something on your lips.’ I proudly tossed my hair and responded, ‘YEAH I do.”


Do our current leaders trust makeup artists?

There’s a siren going off my head, growing louder by the day since the new administration took power. It blares as certain faces flash across the screen. I could be talking about so many things, but I’m currently talking about makeup. My brow furrows as I ponder how all of this has happened. Who is powdering these faces?

Maybe most of us are simply used to it now — but haven’t you once wondered: Why is Trump Orange? IS Steve Bannon actually OK, health-wise? Why does Stephen Miller look like he’s sweating under so much matte makeup? Who did Kellyanne Conway’s makeup today? She could look better! Is there anyone in the wings over there with some powder and a comb? The universe bellows back “I don’t think so”. It leads me to wonder if there’s something deeper going on? I ask this as a concerned citizen, emotional empath, and professional makeup artist.


how potions and beauty routines connect me to my roots

My great grandmother Nana wore Oil of Olay and smoked Menthol Kools. She was a warm, solitary woman with tight curls who sat in a faded green chair and told us stories about growing up poor during the depression. She made strawberry jam and crafted my cousin and I beloved dolls out of towels which we creatively called ‘towel-dolls’. What I remember the most is the scent of Olay with a gentle ‘cigarette smoke’ note.

It’s a poignant perfume, which is why I can’t use Oil of Olay to this day. That scent is tightly held in the corner of my brain reserved for memories of Nana. The descriptions of so many that I’ve loved begin with a scent, or a memory of how they groomed themselves. Our beauty potions and perfumes floating around like gentle ghost’s for those we’ve held close in life.


-fifteen years in, a guide to the banal, beautiful, and existential life of this new yorker

Squanting- Verb used to describe the runwalksquat with hand apologetically raised that people do when rushing to cross street against the light. Squanting is also a popular form of forward movement when rushing to an approaching train. It is important to note that squanting makes one move more slowly than when simply walking. ‘The lady squanted across 4th avenue, sheepishly hurrying to outpace the rapidly approaching bus’

Sarah Graalman

Makeup Artist. Writer. Dip-maker. www.sarahgraalman.com

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