To be white, or straight, or male, or middle class is to be simultaneously ubiquitious and invisible. You’re everywhere you look, you’re the standard against which everyone else is measured. You’re like water, like air. People will tell you they went to see a “woman doctor” or they will say they went to see “the doctor.” People will tell you they have a “gay colleague” or they’ll tell you about a colleague. A white person will be happy to tell you about a “Black friend,” but when that same person simply mentions a “friend,” everyone will assume the person is white. Any college course that doesn’t have the word “woman” or “gay” or “minority” in its title is a course about men, heterosexuals, and white people. But we call those courses “literature,” “history” or “political science.”
This invisibility is political."
“Do what you love” disguises the fact that being able to choose a career primarily for personal reward is a privilege, a sign of socioeconomic class. Even if a self-employed graphic designer had parents who could pay for art school and co-sign a lease for a slick Brooklyn apartment, she can bestow DWYL as career advice upon those covetous of her success.
If we believe that working as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or a museum publicist or a think-tank acolyte is essential to being true to ourselves, what do we believe about the inner lives and hopes of those who clean hotel rooms and stock shelves at big-box stores? The answer is: nothing."
You’ve said in the past that you find it hard to relate to the modern idea of beauty – for example, what you might see on the cover of Sports Illustrated – how do you maintain a sense of authenticity in a world that rewards a different beauty ideal?
I think it’s important for us to remember that there is no true standard of beauty, apart from the little things that make us healthy. There are certain hallmarks of beauty that we know to be true, but I’m really interested in the kinds that make us different from each other – I really like to embrace and encourage that.
My beauty and glamour idols are usually of the created kin. That’s one of the reasons I love old Hollywood and I love that whole era, because it wasn’t about natural beauty, it was about the creation of beauty and the art of creating glamour. That’s what I preach because I can relate to it and understand it. It’s always given me hope that I could do it too.
When I see someone who’s naturally perfect in every single way, with no makeup and no styling or anything - like the images I see on a Sports Illustrated swim suit cover or when I look at a supermodel – I know I can’t create that. That’s one of the reason I wear red lipstick. I love glamour, I love creating mystique: it’s something really exciting I think any woman achieve."