At university I had an old Body Shop mascara that crumbled down my face and a cherry flavoured lip gloss with bits of grit stuck in the rollerball. Makeup was for ‘other girls’. To add context, I wore 90s-grunge skirts to the floor, baggy jumpers and knee-length cardigans.
Then the Universe played a joke on me. I landed two weeks’ work experience at Cosmopolitan magazine alongside a team of impossibly glamorous women. My first job was to tidy a walk-in cupboard in the beauty department. My unkempt eyebrows disappeared beneath my undyed hairline…
I got a job and for three Cosmo years went to lipstick launches, wrote about contouring, tested fake tan and interviewed top makeup artists and models. I began to wear makeup of course – especially loads of cheek colour as per the trend. Once I went on GMTV (as a beauty ‘expert’ with Lorraine Kelly) and they plucked, powdered and painted me so much I was mortified. The Girls World hair didn’t help.
While I loved every minute of this close encounter with the beauty industry, putting on makeup always felt like a chore. When I went freelance, I only bothered when I was going ‘out out’.
Then I impulsively had a makeover in a department store with an assistant who – far from being plastered in every product on her counter – looked fresh-faced. She blended in a light foundation, dabbed away my under-eye shadows, added a bit of cheek colour and brightened up my eyes.
I looked good. And not just thanks to the makeup, but because wearing it gave me an ‘I feel good’ vibe. This act of self-care was external evidence of my readiness to be my best self. At last I was learning to override the lifelong voice of fear in my head whispering: ‘who does she think she is?’ It was time. I was daring to shine!
Most days you can hardly tell I’ve got on any make-up, although some evenings I go crazy and wear eyeliner. I’m not likely to make an eyebrow vlog anytime soon, but those 10 morning minutes in front of the mirror are a daily reminder to myself that I now have the courage to let my light shine.
Looking for ways to let your light shine brighter in your work? Join us at our 2-day, non-residential ‘Create a Sacred Living’ Retreat in May in Colchester…