As much as we love a dramatic contour, sometimes your nighttime beat doesn't translate to daytime chic -- especially when all you want is a comfortable, au natural look that showcases your natural shine. After all, with all these conversations happening about body positivity, loving the skin you're in and cute looks for women of all shapes and colors, it's nice when you find that holy grail of a product that matches, protects, mattes and lasts -- though that's admittedly easier said than done. NARS, however, has come up with a solution, and it's their new weightless Velvet Matte Skin Tint with SPF 30 line.
Delivering soft-focus, matte perfection that results in a shine-free, natural-looking finish in a range of 12 global shades (read: no more mixing and matching), it's as close to instant perfection in a bottle as you can get. As such we decided to put it to the test by shooting plus-size model Diana Veras, actress Taylor LaShae and DJ, artist and designer Vashtie Kola in nothing but the new skin tint -- to absolutely luminous results that brought the "being comfortable in your own skin" mantra to life for these ladies.
Why do you think it's important to be having this discussion right now, about being comfortable in your own skin and more body positive?
Diana Veras: It's really important to be comfortable in your own skin and when people do their makeup it [should be] enhancing what they already have. It's not like you're putting a fake face on. It's your face, whether you put eyeliner on it, contour or whatever you want. They're still your features, they're just enhanced, but [ultimately] it doesn't really matter I think, as long as you feel good in it. You're still in your skin.
Vashtie Kola: I think it's actually quite perfect timing -- Barbie just unveiled the new body types of their models, and I think that now in 2016, we're all accepting that there isn't one set body type for any shape. We're all different and right now we're embracing individuality, which is exciting.
Do you see yourself as helping in broadening the definitions of beauty in 2016?
VK: I hope so. I think that growing up I didn't see girls that represented me, or that I felt connected to, so I feel if I can be that face or that figure for another girl, or someone else, that's exciting.
Were there any particular experiences or people that prompted you to start thinking about embracing yourself and your body as you are?
DV: Well, mostly for me it was my friends. They wanted me to embrace myself because I used to be the hidden one, and I didn't want anyone to look at me. And I've always modeled, but I never really liked when people stared at me in public. I didn't like being out, but my friends really pushed me to experiment with myself, dress how I want to dress and do my makeup how I want to, and be myself completely, which is really cool.
VK: I think that for me it took going to the gym, and being able to feel like 'this is me being the best me that I can be,' you know? I'm definitely not those fit girls on Instagram, who take Soulcycle and pilates all day long, and they look obviously perfect because they don't work for a living. I just know my strengths and my weaknesses, and now I'm able to embrace what it is that I have and what I don't have. That just comes with age, I think.
Taylor LaShae: When I was younger, my mom put me through beauty pageants, so I felt like I had to obtain this certain level of perfect white teeth and perfect hair and curls and all this stuff. But when I hit 6th grade, [this all sort of changed]...My mom's always gone natural. She never wore any makeup and took me to Amsterdam and Paris and showed me what it was like to [embrace your body]. You know, in Europe nude women are everywhere, the billboards and everything, and I got to see these people. I was so shy I grew up in Houston, Texas where everything was so small. But once [I left my little box] and saw more nudity and stuff at such a young age, I was like "Ah!"
Yeah, there's something about embracing the beauty of the human body as it is.
TL: Yeah. I would say junior high was a turning point for me [for this kind of stuff]. I started wondering, "Why am I trying to fit in with these molded beauty pageant girls and models and stuff?".
DV: And it's been cool because you're given the opportunity now to represent those girls that don't see [bodies like theirs usually]. It's so cool to be comfortable in your own skin and be noticed and represent [something new].
Has social media helped you feel more comfortable in your skin?
VK: I think that social media is helping that now, because it's not necessarily specific people, but whether it's people I'm following or people who pop up on my popular page, I'm able to see women embracing who they really are, and what their bodies are, even if it's just waking up without makeup on.
DV: Yeah, seeing women on social media...I'm not ashamed of my belly anymore. I'm not ashamed of anything that pertains to my body anymore, as opposed to before where I didn't see any representation. On social media you scroll and you see real people...I'm so for social media, because there are girls like me who get the same amount of likes as a skinny model that is on the runway, walking these haute couture shows….People need to see real, and social media is real. It's not censored at all.
What was it like to shoot in only the NARS tinted moisturizer? Did you feel completely nude?
DV: Yeah, I mean at first I was really intimidated just because who isn't [nervous] naked in front of people? But I kind of absorbed it and took it in and I went, "Ok this is cool." I felt completely nude, but it wasn't a vulnerable [feeling]. The photographer made me feel really comfortable and everyone made sure that I knew that I looked good. And I was like, "Ok I look fine. I feel ok."
VK: I get sent product all of the timeBut this product, I feel the quality is just so beautiful. It doesn't feel like I'm packing on something heavy, or full of ingredients that I don't want on my skin. I'm very particular about what goes on my skin, and I would prefer to not have anything go on my skin, but I actually wore it last night and it just felt so soft and so gentle.
[That said] the whole concept of the shoot is scary. You know it's funny, I freaked out last night, I told my assistant, "I don't know if I want to do this."...My body is not a perfect body by any means, but I think that this is a way to share...so [other girls] don't have to feel bad that they don't do a squat challenge, you know? So I hope that this is a liberating moment, as much as it can be for me at least.
Yeah, and this whole line in general is really about giving women of color some much needed options when it comes to natural looks and blendable skin colors. What do you guys think about this sort of diversification? It's pretty overdue.
DV: It needs to happen. It needs to happen because it's not fair that we have 20 shades of pale skin and there are no shades of darker skin. My friends have to struggle and mix foundations. I'm glad that the makeup industry is taking a leap towards diversifying….There aren't two shades of black. There just isn't.
TL: I'll come from a naive perspective where I didn't notice that -- and that's not ok...I couldn't imagine going to a store...and not being able to find my color. I would freak out. That's not fair for anybody else, at all. That's crazy -- why not??
So do you have any advice for younger girls who are trying to be comfortable in their own skin?
VK: Yeah, I would say the pro with social media is that you are able to see all different kinds of people, but the con is that the people who are probably the most popular on social media are girls who seem to have a perfect life, or perfect body. And we're human, we're all comparing ourselves to someone else, all of us, even me, even probably the most famous girls you can think of. But just to be aware that we're all insecure, and we're all worried about how we look or how we're coming across, and that what I've found over the years is that the absolute most attractive thing is confidence, and I think it's absolutely something that we overlook. Anyone can be beautiful, anyone can put a filter on, anyone can put on tons of makeup. I mean you've seen the contouring videos, a completely unattractive man can become the lookalike of a beautiful girl. So I think that it's all about confidence and knowing what you believe your flaws to be, and your strengths to be, and just playing into both of those.
DV: I feel it all starts within yourself and you just have to want to be better. It starts with you and embracing every single part of yourself even the parts that you don't like. Even though tough love is a very long journey and I'm only twenty but I know I still have a long way to go and there's so many parts of myself that I have to learn to love. Not just physically but mentally. Emotionally there are so many parts of me that I'm just getting to know and it all comes together. Self-love is important. It'll show on the outside once you're getting yourself together. And you'll stop comparing yourself once you start getting yourself together. You know what I mean? Once you stop comparing yourself to others, you start seeing the beauty within yourself and start seeing the beauty within other women.
Are there any women that you look up to and admire, in the sense that they've embraced themselves wholeheartedly?
VK: I've always loved Patti Smith, because I think that she's someone who as a powerful woman, who is in music and art and culture, just never changed her style. She was very much no makeup, just pretty masculine, and embraced that, but wasn't less of a woman for it, or less of a beautiful individual. I think that the women who are honest about who they are, whether that's sharing that they're insecure about their flaws, or that it's that they just don't care they have flaws, I think that that's always inspiring.
TL: Baddie Winkle. Baddie Winkle's the fucking bomb. If she could pull off stuff like [what she wears, you can too]. I like the message she is sending out…[she's embracing] not just different body types, but different ages as well.