Makeup allows me to be the most genuine version of myself

Compilation of images featuring Jamie Windust - one in makeup, the other without makeup

Clothes are one thing, but makeup is something that can really change and alter the way in which we navigate our spaces, and how we feel inside them (Picture: Matty Parks/ Eivind Hansen)

We each have an individual aesthetic. Whether that be solely unique and bespoke, or similar to others in certain ways, we all have our own way that we decide, every day, to present ourselves to the world.

Clothes are one thing, but makeup is something that can really change and alter the way in which we navigate our spaces, and how we feel inside them.

This is my love letter to makeup, and all that it’s done for me, and all that it will continue to do for me.

I remember the first time that I decided to wear makeup. Like most people, it came from a place of insecurity. I wanted to cover up, hide, and appear more conventionally beautiful.

As a teenager I had problematic skin and working in a department store meant that I had access to a plethora of products that could make me feel more myself. More confident.

This stepping stone into the world of transformation coincided with my queer identity coming to fruition and I was able to quickly realise that makeup had the ability to do the opposite of what the beauty industry has been telling us for years.

Instead of it being a tool to cover up and hide, it quickly became a place for me to transform and become more myself.

Fast forward to now, and I sit here in 30 inches of foundation, a casual slick of blush all the way around the contours of my head, a Black Swan-esque blue ombre eye, and too many particles of glitter on my eyelids to count. And I love that.

Makeup has become a way for me to express not just my gender identity, but all the other parts of me that are worthwhile and important.

It allows me to feel confident in spaces, consequently meaning that I can acquiesce the other parts of my personality that allow people to get to know me. This is especially felt in queer spaces as we come together and celebrate each other’s individuality and beauty.

Despite this, it is also one of the biggest challenges for people to look past when getting to know me. In my opinion, this is due to the fact that we’re told that makeup is something that we use to cover up and hide.

Jaime Windust profile photo
Makeup has become a way for me to express not just my gender identity, but all the other parts of me that are worthwhile and important (Picture: Jamie Windust)

People don’t seem to be able to look past the artistry on my face and it stops them in their tracks. My relationship with it is so intense because it’s my favourite part of myself, but it’s also the most prominent reason that I received public prejudice.

It’s ‘intimidating’. It’s ‘too much’. It’s ‘unnecessary’. It’s ‘bizarre’. And what I’ve learnt from that reaction is that you can never be too much.

When you live in a world that doesn’t listen to you and marginalises your existence and look until it’s ‘profitable’, you can never be too much. Ever.

For queer people, and especially trans and non-binary people, our aesthetics and public visualisation is an act of political disruption.

We exist in a world where we are told not to, or where we are made to feel like we shouldn’t exist, hence why our aesthetics are so important.

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