Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: There’s this false idea that beauty & fashion are frivolous

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was featured in a Vogue video sharing her skin care and beauty secrets. She also talks about why she wears red lipstick. AOC says that femininity has power and that just being a woman in Congress is politicized.

She begins the video saying that she hasn’t been getting much sleep because she has been fighting in Congress to get people healthcare and making sure they are being taking care of in the pandemic. Then she applies Estee Lauder Micro Essence toner followed by vitamin C Serum, which is said to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Perhaps vitamin C Serum is the fountain of youth I have been looking for. I squealed when I saw her use Acure Radically Rejuvenating Whipped Night Cream as it is the moisturizer that I have been trying out recently. It doesn’t feel heavy nor leave a white residue on my skin. And last she slathers her face, ears, and neck with SPF because you know, despite popular belief, black and brown people STILL need to protect themselves from sunbeams folks. Below is what she had to say about beauty and fashion and expressing ones femininity.

“The reason why I think it’s so important to share these things is that, first of all, femininity has power, and in politics there is so much criticism and nitpicking about how women and femme people present ourselves,” she explains. “Just being a woman is quite politicized here in Washington…. There’s this really false idea that if you care about makeup or if your interests are in beauty and fashion, that that’s somehow frivolous. But I actually think these are some of the most substantive decisions that we make—and we make them every morning.”

For the congresswoman, it all starts with a simple but effective regimen. “I have not gotten much sleep last night at all,” she says. “Welcome to life in politics. We are trying to get people health care, making sure that they are taken care of in a pandemic, people are fighting too much, and so I have bags under my eyes.” She applies toner, vitamin C serum, a dollop of moisturizer, and a “generous” amount of SPF, rubbed onto her face—eyelids and ears included. PSA: “Don’t play games with sunscreen!”

[From Vogue]

As someone with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising, beauty and fashion are indeed powerful ways to express yourself. I love that she wears makeup and red lipstick in a place where women are expected to blend in and be taken seriously. What I didn’t know was that, generally, women who get glammed for work make higher salaries. Say what?!

Her makeup routine is quite simple. Since she has to travel to D.C. from NYC she says it can be quite taxing on her skin. She uses two different foundations, Nars tinted moisturizer and Estee Lauder’s long lasting Double Wear Finish. That’s something I also do. On my less glam days I like to use Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer because it is one of the only ones on the market that has a darker skin tone range. When I really want to get dolled up, I use Il Makiage foundation because it is light weight, but smooths out my skin and pores. She also uses one of my favorite products, Fenty Beauty contour stick, to lightly contour her face. She says she doesn’t contour her face to hide things, instead she contours to high light what is already there and I really like this stance. I feel make-up should enhance what we have not hide what we deem are our imperfections.

“Our culture is so predicated on diminishing women and preying on our self-esteem, and so it’s quite a radical act—and it’s almost like a mini protest—to love yourself in a society that’s always telling you you’re not the right weight, you’re not the right color, you’re not the right, you know, whatever it is,” she says. “When you stand up and say, ‘You know what? You don’t make that decision. I make that decision,’ it’s very powerful. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun,” she adds before picking up a color corrector and a tube of concealer, which she blends into her skin with her fingers. “I learned this on my own and, as a millennial, through YouTube as well,” she says with a laugh.

“I went from working in a restaurant to being on cable news all the time,” she recalls. “I initially really struggled with that. At a certain point, I just learned that you cannot get your feelings of beauty and confidence from anyone but yourself…. If I’m going to spend an hour in the morning doing my glam, it’s not going to be because I’m afraid of what some Republican photo is going to look like…. It’s because I feel like it,” she says with a smile. Here, she picks up Fenty Beauty’s Contour Stick, which she glides lightly down her cheekbones, over her forehead, and around her jawline. “I’m not trying to change my features or shape-shift—I’m just trying to accentuate my existing features,” she says as she adds a touch of the cream-to-powder pigment to her nose. “I’m not trying to make it look bigger. I’m not trying to make it look smaller.… I’m just trying to show people what I got.”

Her beauty pièce de résistance is her bold red lipstick. She says she has been wearing it for the last two years and that it helps her feel confident. Her go to is Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso, which she calls “indestructible.” I have to agree. I fell in love with wearing bold lips when I was a makeup artist and it definitely makes me feel powerful. I like to wear reds like Mac’s Ruby Woo or IMAN Luxury Moisturizing Lipstick, Iman Red. I also use fuschias like Mac’s Rebel or Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink City Edition in 120 Artist.

At the end she empowers us all by telling us we are the bomb. I absolutely love her spunk. I know it is hard to be the squeaky wheel or go against the grain when you are younger or the newbie on the scene. I just enjoyed watching this young woman who to me is the future of our country and the world, loving on herself and allowing herself to be feminine. The one thing that I hope to do in this life time is not only tap into the power that is the feminine for myself but also help others to discover it within themselves. And like I always say, sometimes a bit of red lipstick does the trick of making me feel like feminine badass in the moment.

Here’s the video:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  with her dog, Deco

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with her dog, Deco

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20 Responses to “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: There’s this false idea that beauty & fashion are frivolous”

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  1. Lucy says:

    EL’s Double Wear Finish is THE BUSINESS. Stays on all day, worth every cent. AOC looks lovely and what she says is 100% true. I’m trying to fight my own prejudices against beauty and physical care, and this video is definitely helping my case.

  2. molly says:

    AOC has made that red lip her calling card, but I think she’s absolutely stunning with no makeup and her natural face. She does it a lot on her instagram and when she’s off work. I know it’s easy for a 20 something with great skin to be confident enough to go sans makeup all the time, but I respect her a ton for that too.

    • Snazzy says:

      The red lipstick really does give you a confidence boost. I used to wear it all the time in my last job – it was my sword and shield. I worked with a bunch of sexist pigs and the lipstick really frightened them, it was pretty amazing how powerful a red lip can be. Even Mr Snazzy hates it but I don’t take his opinion I to account – I know when I needy battle armour. He will just have to deal

  3. JanetDR says:

    I used to feel kind of embarrassed about the amount of time I spent on clothes, earrings, makeup* although I enjoyed making those decisions. Then an artist friend said that the most creative thing she did daily was get dressed and she loved to see how I put myself together and that changed my thoughts! I now see the process more as self care.
    * My mother grew up during the depression and felt caring about these things was frivolous, and I’m sure that was the source of my feelings initially. Later in her life she acknowledged that she may have made a choice not to care because nothing was available to her anyway.

    • Esmom says:

      I am pretty low key when it comes to fashion and makeup but I absolutely love it from a “spectator sport” perspective. So much artistry to admire. I’m too distracted to pay much attention now but I used to just love to read Vogue and see what people were wearing/creating. I love when people express themselves with fashion and makeup, I find it endlessly pleasing and not frivolous at all.

  4. emmy says:

    Great skin. A combo of Retinol, niacinamide, vit C and sunscreen have absolutely transformed my skin. Get on it if your skin can take it.

    I’ve been using less and less foundation as I move past my mid-30s but I have never gone to the office without makeup. It’s a morning ritual, it means it’s a work day, and yeah, I just look fresher. If that’s vanity, I’m okay with that.

    Body care is about taking a little time to do something nice for yourself. And skin health is important.

    • Anony83 says:

      I just ordered the Vitamin C and the Night Cream! I haven’t been wearing make-up lately (even before the pandemic) but I’ve finally reached the age (in my late thirties) where I feel like I really need to start taking better care of my skin. I’ve been using moisturizer and SPF but I really need some stuff for evening out my skin and making it smoother and softer so we’ll see how they work! They weren’t too expensive so what’s the worse that can happen?

  5. Kealeen says:

    Ugh, my Bernie issues aside, she’s the best. Love the shout-outs for Estée Lauder! I worked for them in my 20s, and I still use a lot of their products. The EL micro essence is THE JAM. As far as Vitamin C serum, I’d recommend Ole Henriksen or Peter Thomas Roth.

  6. MarcelMarcel says:

    I love how she used this video to expand on feminism and reclaiming makeup as a tool of power.
    Oya, have you read Your Beauty Mark by Dita Von Teese and Rose Apodaca? It’s the best beauty book I’ve read since I discovered my sisters Kevin Aucoin as a kid.
    I’ve been trying to discover a new Holy Grail lipstick since I quit on KVD’s Nosferatu. (Her racism is completely unchecked). Does anyone know any good cruelty free liquid lipsticks? I like Tarte but they tend to be $$$ in Australia.

    • Oya says:

      Try Colourpop Cosmetics. They have great liquid lipstick and matte lippie sticks and they are cruelty free.

  7. Sunnee says:

    I love her. She’s so thoughtful with her words, inclusive AND uplifting. She’s my daughter from another mother. Lol

  8. Blairski says:

    Thanks for this write-up Oya! Love having your voice here.

  9. NJ says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter here. I’ve used Estee Lauder products for years and loved it but I recently found out the family heir and board member is a Trump supporter- I will not be buying any more products from Estee Lauder and any of its affiliated companies

  10. Sarah says:

    I’m now 41 and about a year ago I started paying way more attention to what’s now out there in skincare and instead of just day/night/eye cream I’m learning about and using a combinations of vitamin C, retoniods (I think, the better version of retinol), hyaluronic acid, and caffeine serum to try and help with the puffiness under my eyes (thank you turning 40). I haven’t seen a dramatic difference but my skin is looking healthy and I haven’t had one breakout since we’ve been in lockdown which given my diet and stress levels is a miracle.

    Oh and this year I also started wearing sunscreen every day, even if I’m not going outside. I got a a caudalie face one (spf30 for regular days, spf 50 if I’m going to be outside in the sun). Still no breakouts which is a very pleasant surprise. I’ve always been fairly obsessive about sunscreen but not every single day like this.

  11. kimberlu says:

    felt like reading this was a waste and she a waste with it….disappointed in her

  12. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    Politicians are celebrities, like actors, or newscasters, etc. So especially for the female ones, their appeal to the public (and therefore their likelihood of success) depends in large part on being attractive. She can say she is doing it solely for herself and not anyone else, but I think that is a case of living in denial. Society is very misogynistic and professional females MUST be attractive to have the best chances of succeeding. If she does not realize that, I would say she is naive at best. She sounds like every other female celebrity who thinks “being attractive” = “feminism,” when in reality, it is “required to be attractive” = “misogyny.”

  13. Meg says:

    I always feel too chicken to wear intense lip colors honestly.
    I love AOC and we have to fight to ensure badass women are our future. Neo Nazis are in the rise-no joke

  14. Dani says:

    Dang.. Smart as hell AND beauty tips? Awesome. I need a new routine!

  15. Daphne says:

    I love the CeraVe vitamin c serum. It isn’t oily and is a great primer. I put it under my spf moisturizer and then apply makeup if I want to that day. It feels like a soft barrier for my skin to the sun and dust in Denver. For $20 it’s such a good value compared to say, skinceuticals. If I want more moisture some days, I use the biossance vitamin c and rose oil.

  16. Natchan says:

    I’ve been using the same Biore sunscreen for several years and love it. Before I found this brand, I’d been searching for a while for a sunscreen that was at least 50 SPF and didn’t leave my skin feeling greasy. I’ve always liked Japanese skincare and cosmetic brands, so I don’t know why I didn’t think to check out this sunscreen earlier. Biore also makes a makeup removal oil that is awesome.