Those of you who tuned in to NBC’s “The Voice” on Sunday night may have noticed something a little unusual: a celebrity, on network television, sans makeup.
Alicia Keys, one of Season 11’s judges/coaches, says she no longer wears makeup, a decision she described publicly in May: “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
Keys’s bare, freckled face has garnered some attention before Sunday’s one-hour preview of “The Voice,” Season 11. She was photographed on the red carpet of the BET Awards in June, when about 7 million viewers tuned into the show, which also featured Keys performing.
But now an even bigger audience will regularly see Keys’s makeup-free face on the NBC series, which drew just over 13 million viewers last season. Perhaps it’s fitting that Keys will be on a show premised on celebrity coaches choosing singers blindly so the decisions “are based solely on voice and not on looks.”
The process that led Keys to alter her public image came after years of fame and feeling insecure, as she wrote in Lena Dunham’s “Lenny Letter”:
I was finally uncovering just how much I censored myself, and it scared me. Who was I anyway? Did I even know HOW to be brutally honest anymore? Who I wanted to be?
I didn’t know the answers exactly, but I desperately wanted to.
In one song I wrote, called “When a Girl Can’t Be Herself,” it says,
In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don’t want to put on all that makeup / Who says I must conceal what I’m made of / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem
No disrespect to Maybelline, the word just worked after the maybe. But the truth is … I was really starting to feel like that — that, as I am, I was not good enough for the world to see.
This started manifesting on many levels, and it was not healthy.
Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn’t put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.
I found my way to meditation, and I started focusing on clarity and a deeper knowing of myself. I focused on cultivating strength and conviction and put a practice in place to learn more about the real me.
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SOURCE: The Washignton Post, Elahe Izadi