I’ve always had a somewhat complicated relationship with Snow White. It all started when I was just a baby, and my grandmother gave me a cassette tape of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White. According to family lore, one night, before I’d really started speaking in full sentences, my parents and I were driving home. All was quiet in the car, and then suddenly, from the backseat, my parents heard the whisper of a demand: “Bring me her heart in a silver box.”
They probably lay awake that night wondering if they’d birthed the devil’s spawn (who’s kidding, they still do). Nonetheless, my feud with Ms. White didn’t stop there. As a little girl I had very fair, Irish skin, and my dark hair was cut in a bob, so people would often say to me, “Look at you, little miss Snow White!” The thing was, I always thought Snow White was kind of a dull princess, and I didn’t like her lame dress or her haircut. There was only one princess for me: Jasmine. Her complexion was a sumptuous caramel brown; she a long sexy ponytail, and she wore belly shirts.
These general aesthetic tastes lasted for much of my young life. Despite my mother’s lamentations, I dreamed of banishing my fair skin forever, and basking ever golder (I believed that surely the sun would have a change of heart on my skin’s proclivity to bask ever redder). There was just something so much wilder and more alluring about being tan.
You probably know where this is going at this point, and I know it’s embarrassing how unfashionably late I am to this party. But sadly, it’s really only been this year that I truly started to accept my special melanin deficiencies. Perhaps I’ve finally lived in New York long enough that the college beach bum I used to be seems very far away. Perhaps skin au naturale—or at least, the illusion of it— is finally making an authentic dent in popular culture’s perception of beauty. Perhaps I’ve finally accepted what genetics tossed my way, or maybe I’ve just gotten too simultaneously busy and lazy to care. Maybe I stopped hoping that people would see me as “wild and alluring;” there are a few other adjectives I’d rather claim. Regardless, I’ve gradually stopped thinking about bronzers, or tasteful self-tanners, or stressing over how much better I look with a “sun kissed glow.” I’ve accepted my pasty Irish skin and vowed to be a more grateful custodian of the wrapping paper in which I was handed to the world.
And so, all of that brings me to my current obsession—a product that, for a long time, I believed just didn’t work for me: red lipstick. Specifically, Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Pur Couture Satin Radiance, which lasts forever, and can be worn glam heavy or dabbed light. It’s wonderful. But I know, right! What was wrong with me? A red lip on fair skin is powerful, and present, and doesn’t say, “oh I just rolled off my surfboard (or magic carpet?) like this!” It cares, and that feels grown up. So I guess that’s what all of this is about, in the end: growing up, and growing into yourself, even if you end up being Snow White, the dullest princess.
Image Credit: instagram.com