Jessica Roach is a strong proponent of using makeup creatively as a form of self expression. Impeccably dressed and well-composed, with her jeaned legs crossed neatly and her hands balanced in her lap, Roach described her personal take on makeup.
While some people see makeup as a way of compensating for a lack of confidence or an attempt to draw attention, students like Roach embody this movement towards the acceptance of makeup as an art form.
During my discussion with Roach, I received a lesson I never expected: Jessica, or Jess—anything but Jessie, she specified—surprised me by explaining that originally, makeup was used in Asia by men for ceremonial purposes.
Today, the use of makeup is obviously much different.
Roach says that makeup trends change based on the season. This moment, given the falling leaves, gloomy skies, and pumpkins lining our doorsteps, the big thing is a balance of fall lips and winged eyeliner.
What interested me in our discussion, however, were not necessarily the specifics of makeup, but rather Roach’s opinion on makeup as a whole.
“I feel like an artist,” she boldly declared, flicking a loose strand of caramel-colored hair from her face with one long, polished nail. “I just love doing it.”
Roach sees the application of makeup as a form of expression, and more deeply as a form of art, which is evident in her perfectly accentuated eyebrows.
“It allows you to be you,” she summarized before delving into the consequences of wearing makeup—and there have been plenty of critics.
Recalling a walk through the hallways of the school, Roach says, “Someone said something so rude, like, ‘Oh my god, look at that girl. It’s so unattractive that she’s wearing all that makeup.’”
She adds: “People will say, ‘She wears way too much makeup; she must be so ugly.’”
Despite the comments, Roach confirms that she doesn’t feel threatened or pressured to wear less makeup, because her choice to do so is based purely on personal desire and preference rather than on the hope for approval.
“Everyone thinks that you have to wear makeup to look pretty or make boys like you or to feel good about yourself, but that’s not at all what it’s about for me,” she explains.
In fact, makeup for Roach is like a hobby, pastime, or maybe even a reason to get up in the morning. While other Bozeman kids might not have the dedication to put on makeup every morning or find it pointless to do so; just like students who are involved in sports, Roach finds putting on makeup fulfilling.
“Besides, I’m not athletic anyways,” she confesses with a chuckle.
Phoebe Jacques, a cross-country runner, testifies to the fact that as an athlete, it can be pointless to wear makeup or just a waste of time.
“I don’t wear it, but I think it’s cool if other people do. It just takes a lot of time to buy and put on and I don’t like working out in makeup,” Jacques explains.
Although as a die-hard makeup fanatic, Roach may be a clear contrast to Jacques and many others at BHS, she is not blind to the benefits of going makeup-free.:
“It just makes you feel pretty, but that’s not to say that you can’t feel pretty without makeup,” she says.
“I think that everyone is naturally beautiful without makeup. Makeup is more to enhance one’s natural beauty,” she adds with a sincere smile.
In spite of the common belief that wearing makeup makes her “fake,” Roach says that it’s important for people to make their own decisions.
“If you feel pressured to wear makeup to look like people around you, that’s ridiculous, and if you don’t really want to wear makeup, then don’t,” Roach said.