Free.

The bare face goes far beyond #NoMakeup
Alicia Keys Image Courtesy: Fault Magazine
Christy Turlington Burns Image Courtesy: Valentino 2017 Spring Campaign

When Alicia Keys started her #NoMakeup movement, like many of you, I said finally, a famous woman standing up to false ideals of feminine beauty standards and the quest for eternal youth — someone in the limelight, unapologetically showing her un-made up face. Her message was unequivocal: “I’m not going to cover myself up anymore; not my face, not my feelings, not my dreams, not my pain. No more.”

YES. Could you high-five that woman any harder?

Lipstick, mascara, concealer — these are the enhancements that we think make us more valuable or wanted. It’s totally fun (I love make-up), but it’s also a crutch, something that let’s us obscure reality, or create an unhealthy hiding place. We’ve created lots of them:

Apologizing for no reason.
Deflecting compliments.
Being ashamed of our emotions.
Questioning our gut instincts.
Asking for less.
Botox.

When we get real with ourselves and others, by speaking or being the truth, drawing boundaries, trusting ourselves — confidence, and with it freedom — become real.

I love seeing advertisers like Valentino (Christy, above) celebrate a naked female face, because it’s really expressing much more than a fashionable aesthetic; it’s no handcuffs. No industry. No veil. No apologies.

Crutches aren’t the enemy.
It’s the false pretense that they determine our value, that is.

When we’re free, from whatever has us captive, it feels different. We can breathe, because we’re more fully expressed. We stand in our talents / scopes of work / leadership — not with indignation or self-righteousness, but with a quieter, more truthful strength that doesn’t need to be radicalized, to be real.