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F The Patriarchy: Makeup and Feminism with Alicia McDonald

A fulltime student, employee, and girly bad ass. Alicia McDonald is someone that I’ve known for a very long time and I have always admired her effortless ability to rock bright blue eyebrows, any color wig you can think of, or just a simple natural look. She’s been in the makeup game for a few years now, going from a MAC girl, to a freelance makeup artist, and now working for Dior. Not only that, but she’s a woman who supports women. So I had to sit down with her to talk about the business of makeup and, of course, feminism.

M: First, for those who don’t know, what do you do?

A: I work for Dior. I go into stores like Sephora and Nordstrom and train their employees on our makeup. I’m not selling the makeup, I’m getting people who work at these stores excited about it. I love to see these employees light up and see the twinkle in their eye, just the way I lit up when I first got started in cosmetics. I also coordinate Dior events with these stores, so I get to travel all around the Midwest and parts of the South for them. If you see a Dior event at Sephora, that’s me.

M: How did you get started in the world of cosmetics?

A: I was going to Aveda Institute to do hair when I was 18 and I ended up dropping out after 2 months. I ended up just spending all of my financial aid on clothes and MAC. I was literally in the MAC store every day buying makeup. Eventually the store manager handed me an application and told me it was about time I apply. I had no idea I was going to get into this, it just happened like that. Eventually, I always thought I would want to be in corporate cosmetics, but the job I have now with Dior is truly my dream job. I’m constantly meeting new people, but also getting the chance to connect with them on a deeper level.

M: Do you have any rules when it comes to cosmetics?

A: Personally, I firmly believe that there are no rules. Build a makeup and skincare regimen around your lifestyle, don’t make your life revolve around makeup. A lot of people look to YouTube gurus for their makeup routine, which can be helpful, but it’s not realistic. A lot of people don’t have that kind of time. Be true to you and your life.

M: What are your go-to makeup products?

A: Dior’s Lip Maximizer and Airflash Foundation. If you want a natural look, mist that foundation and you’re done. I won’t lie, I’m much more of a skin care person. When I don’t work, I put on like 10 different skin care products and then I’m out the door. Also, Cover FX has great products and it’s a very underrated brand. It blows my mind that people don’t use it more.

M: I’ve seen you put together some LOOKS. What is the wildest and most creative make-up look you’ve done?

A: When I lived in Seattle, there was an androgyny MAC collection that came out, so for a week I dressed as a boy. It wasn’t super wild, but people really thought I was a boy and it made me feel good. I felt really confident. I felt like Charlotte from Sex in the City [laughs]. Also, when I bleached my eyebrows. I bleached them when I was 18, so before everyone else was doing it and they turned yellow. I felt like Eminem and Lil Kim’s child.

M: I really wanted to get together with you because I’ve always known you as someone who gives no fucks and is a strong feminist. How did you come into this position?

A: Growing up in Northern Minnesota, there were obvious gender roles that were created. In high school, I remember a girl wanted to join the football team and it became such a big deal at our school. She never got on the team, and I just remember thinking that wasn’t politically correct. It wasn’t until years after moving to Minneapolis that I got an idea of what feminism is. It’s community, sisterhood, and the willingness to see the other side. It’s crucial that we respect each other. I want women to be for women. I want the matriarchy to take over the patriarchy. We are mother nature and we are based in roots. I don’t think women realize how much power they have. I want women to maintain the bravery we have right now and take over the world.

I’m trying to figure out how to inspire communities more. This summer I’m joining women’s activist projects to bring women together and not just have a facade. I actually want to portray myself as a feminist in the real world and not just through a Facebook post.

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Also, anyone can be a person who doesn’t give a fuck. You have to really love yourself, though, and that can be hard. Sometimes I don’t love myself, but that’s what being human is. You’re not always going to love yourself but having that core sense of self really helps. I can truly tell you that when you start loving yourself, good things will happen to you.

M: How do you combat people judging you for your makeup, the way you dress, and being a feminist.

A: I do get a lot of judgment placed on me, and that can be hurtful. I’ve just learned to be positive, man. You can be dolled up one day and then the next you can be in sweats. You can be both things, but people want to see you the way they want to see you.

M: Do you have any other drops of wisdom you want to add?

A: I guess something I want to say is that what you put out on social media, that’s how people see you. It may help you or it may hurt you, and I can speak from personal experience.

Follow Alicia on Instagram @badkitty_meow for all the feminism, wigs, and makeup you never knew you needed.

Photos taken by Logan Ahern (@loganahern on Instagram) 

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