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Make Me Over: The New Podcast Series Taking on Hollywood and Beauty

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As long as it’s been an institution, Hollywood has been inextricably linked to every facet of beauty: Creating it, capturing it, and putting forth unrealistic ideals of it.

Throughout the run of her cult-favorite Hollywood history podcast You Must Remember This, author and film scholar Karina Longworth has honed in on this complex, often fraught relationship, from the divisiveness of Raquel Welch’s pin-up frame amidst the second-wave feminism of the late ’60s to touching on the transformative, male-gaze-defying crops of Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda in the “Jean and Jane” series. Now, in a new eight-part companion series, entitled Make Me Over, Longworth is delving even deeper into the intersection of Hollywood and beauty, interrogating what it felt like to be the women at the center of these machines, promoting false ideals.

In each episode, Longworth passes the mic to a guest storyteller who narrates a new story that encompasses the theme, with subjects ranging from the body image hypocrisy of the 1960s rock scene to an African-American beauty icon who built a career after scandal. The premiere episode, which debuted this week, tells the story of silent film star Molly O’Day, who received Hollywood’s first highly-publicized weight loss surgery—one that a fan magazine deemed “dangerous… and all in vain.” As the podcast considers what led O’Day to go to such extreme lengths, and the consequences of the ill-fated procedure, the true story yields themes that aren’t exactly foreign to today’s pop culture landscape nearly a century later.

“I think it’s hard for a lot of people to have much empathy for actresses who feel that they have to go on extreme diets or use dangerous cosmetic products, or change something about the way they look in order to succeed,” explains Longworth. “After all, film and television are visual mediums, it only makes sense that you’d have to look good in order to participate in them at the highest level.”

Longworth points out that when movies became the dominant popular culture in the first decades of the 20th century, beauty ideals began to change dramatically. In turn, entire industries expanded in order to capitalize on Hollywood’s projected beauty ideals. And while Hollywood has made certain strides in diversity, inclusion, and its treatment of women (particularly on the heels of the MeToo movement), there’s hardly been a revolution. In fact, Longworth argues that in the age of social media, the unrealistic beauty standards propelled by all kinds of screens is even more detrimental.

“In the world we live in now, social media allows us to see images of people whose entire living is based on their looks—whether they are performers in conventional Hollywood productions or not—in a context in which we are told or made to think that what we are seeing is ‘real,’ or at least [we are] encouraged to ignore the many layers of mediation and manipulation of the image we’re looking at,” she explains. “This does an extreme version of what movies have been doing for over 100 years. It promotes a false ideal to people who do not, or should not, base their livelihoods on their looks, and it normalizes the idea that everyone should look the same and conform to the same ideals of ‘perfection.'” Make Me Over is entering the cultural conversation at a critical time. At its crux, it’s not just retrospective anthropology, it’s a series of cautionary tales.

That’s why, for Longworth, it was imperative to look at beauty in context—examining the different ways in which it has evolved and regressed from the 1920s through the early 2000s until today. With added perspective, it becomes clear: Women have been conditioned to feel perpetually less-than about their appearance, and the inclination to remedy it—whether subtly with makeup, or more dramatically by nipping, tucking, filling, or freezing—is only natural, on and off screen.

“It is extremely difficult to escape the pressure to ‘fix’ whatever we are made to feel is wrong with us,” she explains. “That is a problem that I don’t think has an easy solution, but I hope that Make Me Over presents about 80 years worth of history that will at least make people think about where that pressure comes from, and how the images we see gets translated into insecurities.”

Listen to the first episode of Make Me Over, below:



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Beauty

Thrive Causemetidcs’s Lip Liner Is My New Favorite — Editor Review

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Lip liner is a daily essential for me. The only time you’ll find me without one is if I’m wearing a certain type of lip gloss, or I’ve lost my pencil for the 324th time. (I now carry at least two lip liners in every purse I have for exactly this reason.) Being that I’m a devotee, trying the Thrive Causmetics Lip Filler Long Wearing + Plumping Lip Liner felt pretty on-brand for me.

While most lip liners can be used as a lipstick, this one is specifically formulated to do double duty. It comes in eight different shades: six neutrals, a red, and a pink shade. I tried Kackie, a mocha nude, and the bright pink shade called Valisia.

Courtesy of Gabi Thorne 

In my opinion, Kackie is more of a taupe than a rich chocolate, which worried me for a second. I’m not really a “nude” girl because the conventional one-shade-supposedly-fits-all shades always leave my lips looking ashy. Thankfully, when I put on Kackie, it blended seamlessly with the rest of my face. While I typically wouldn’t wear this on its own as I prefer deeper chocolate nudes, I combined it with a deep brown liner and a lip gloss and fell in love. Now, Kackie may be the third lip liner to stay in my purse.

Valisia is far from a nude as it’s a bright magenta. I’m no stranger to bright lipsticks and you’ll find me wearing nearly every color of the rainbow. While younger me thought I was going to be a mini Nicki Minaj with colored wigs and pink lipstick, pink is probably the one color I just don’t wear often. But, Valisia is making me rethink what’s in my lipstick collection.

girl with purple eyeshadow and pink lipstick

Courtesy of Gabi Thorne

The finish of this lip liner leans more matte but your lips aren’t left dry because the formula is full of moisturizing agents such as shea butter, jojoba oil, and meadowfoam oil. Since this is shaped like a liner but also usable as a lipstick, if you have lips that are larger than the average size, having to fill in with this pencil can be a bit annoying (or I’m just impatient). Thrive Causmetics’s Lip Filler Long Wearing + Plumping Lip Liner may just have shaken up my lipstick collection a bit.

You’ll find this lip liner in our April 2020 Allure Beauty Box.

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Has This Makeup Gone Bad?

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Real fam, do you know when to throw out your makeup products?

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Beauty

Fenty Beauty Cognac Candy Diamond Bomb Veil Review & Swatches

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Cognac Candy

Fenty Beauty Cognac Candy Diamond Bomb All-Over Diamond Veil ($38.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a medium, coppery-orange base with flecks of gold and copper sparkle throughout. It had sheer coverage, which could be built up to semi-sheer coverage at most, with a smooth, lightly emollient texture that felt like a cream-powder hybrid by touch in the pan but quickly turned to powder-like when it came into contact with my skin.

The product applied best with a denser brush (the brand recommended a body brush) or fingertips (my preferred application method). More feathery brushes didn’t pick up product as readily, likely due to the thin but smoother texture, so it didn’t give like a powder but didn’t have the slip of a true cream product. It applied evenly to bare skin as well as patted over liquid foundation when I used my fingertips. The majority of the sparkles stayed in place for a good eight-hour run, though there were a few stray sparkling bits and bobs elsewhere on my face.

Keep in mind, the product is aptly described as a “glittering veil,” which means it’s very, very sparkly and doesn’t produce a lot of color. Unlike the original How Many Carats, this does have a tinted base color, so it adds some warmth to bare skin, but it primarily added sparkle. It’s particularly twinkling and has the most oomph in sunlight; the brand’s other powder highlighters are more noticeable and versatile for different lighting conditions and the like, but the Diamond Bomb Veil really shines (ha) outdoors.



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