Yesterday I did something very, very out of character for me. I let someone put a bunch of makeup on me and then take pictures! I know, so crazy.
First of all, I don’t like taking pictures. (If you have ever done jiu jitsu with me, you know this). Especially digital pictures (which are the only kind of pictures anyone takes of me). There is no worse self-consciousness than posing for a picture, trying not to make a weird face, then having the photographer check the picture and tell me to stop making that weird face.
But as I get ready to do some presentations and readings, I realized that I need some decent publicity photos. The photo I usually use is one I took with my computer, sitting at a coffee shop grading essays.
For the conference I just went to, Michelle and I wanted to include pictures with our email addresses at the end of our presentation. She had a lovely professional photo of herself smiling at a literary event, wearing her signature red lipstick and dark eyeshadow.
I had…the coffee-shop selfie.
“You can’t put those two pictures next to each other,” Michelle said. “You’re not even smiling.”
We found another photo where I was smiling, from her birthday party a few years ago. But compared to her photo, mine still looked faded and unprofessional.
That brings up another issue: makeup. I am not a big makeup wearer. I use some tinted moisturizer and lip gloss; that’s about it. I think it is quite lovely on other people, but I just don’t need to look that pretty on a daily basis. But for my grown-up-professional-teacher/writer photos, I would need to wear, as my favorite song of 2015 puts it, “just a touch of makeup, some natural looking makeup.”
Luckily, my friend and former student, Claire Nobles, is a badass makeup artist and amateur photographer. So I hired her to put actual makeup on me. This included such extremely bizarre substances as foundation, blush, MASCARA (aka eyelash tar). It actually all felt very good, except the mascara which I have officially decided is yucky (but looks good in pictures). The nicest part was the foundation, because Claire applies it with an airbrush, which feels like a cool fan blowing on your face. I liked how the blush looked, which I didn’t expect. She did it so it didn’t look like blush, but just like my cheeks were naturally a bit red.
We took the photos in the Oakland Rose Garden, which is one of my favorite places in Oakland and the world. I’ll have the pictures in a week or so, after Claire processes them, but here is a sneak preview.
Also I love this song so much: