NYUnique: Kaitlyn Le on Playing With Makeup
Meet Kaitlyn Le, makeup guru. In this interview, we’ll be taking to Kaitlyn about her creative journey in the makeup world. Kaitlyn, can you tell us about yourself?
Hi! Yes! Well first of all, I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a guru. I would say I am more of an enthusiast. I am from the Bay Area and am currently a senior at NYU in Global Liberal Studies. Makeup is a medium I’ve learned to use to express myself and relieve stress. I love that with makeup you can create so many different looks and transform yourself into anything you want. Also, it’s all temporary so everything comes off at the end of the day.
Are there influencers who have inspired you on your journey? Where else do you get your inspiration from?
Instagrammers like @meicrosoft, @laur_elyse and @mariasgoldenmakeup are some that come to mind first. They are all so incredibly talented and come up with amazing and creative looks. Of course, there are many other people that I follow, but I draw inspiration from a number of places. If it’s not from another makeup enthusiasts, it’s usually from other types of artists or images that I find online. I am really interested in art history and for a while last year, I went through an impressionism phase. Anything with vivid colors and visuals usually inspires me.
Tell us about the cosmetic item that you can't live without.
Right now, I have really been loving the Milk Makeup Kush Brow Gel. I use the tinted one in “Grind” just to brush through my brows in the mornings since I don’t usually wake up early enough to do a full face of makeup. Also, Aquaphor is a life-saver for chapped lips. I have a bottle in every bag, especially now that it's getting colder outside.
What does beauty mean to you?
I think beauty can mean so many things and can be found in so many different places. I think a person is beautiful when they are really confident in themselves and their identity or when they are trying their best to get to that point. For me, beauty isn’t based on makeup. But like I said, it can be found in many different places. There’s beauty in nature, family, friends and the connections we have with other people. It’s everywhere.
There are countless makeup influencers on social media. Exposure to immaculate images make us feel increasingly self-conscious and feel less confident in our own skin. What's your view on this? In what ways does makeup empower you?
It’s really important to me that I follow people who inspire me rather than out of jealousy or malicious intent. If I see an account on my feed that gives off negative thoughts, whether it be about myself or towards them, I just unfollow them..
Since social media is such a huge part of our daily lives, I agree that it’s hard to have constant exposure to these images. It’s important to remind yourself that most, if not all, of those pictures are edited in some way. Maybe invest some of the time spent scrolling down your feed into yourself instead. Wear something that you feel confident in, try adding some color to your look, work on something that you love and surround yourself with people who love and support you. I believe that working on yourself first and foremost is so important so that you don’t project unresolved feelings onto others in the form of jealousy or hate.
As for makeup, it empowers me because it’s my favorite form of art. It’s just fun and something I really enjoy doing. I love colors, being able to put those colors on my face and playing with different shapes and shadows and techniques. Anyone can do it; it just takes a 8. Don’t take it too seriously, it really is just makeup. It washes off and you can start all over again whenever you want.
Interviewee: Kaitlyn Le
Interviewer: Lei Jin
Photography: Joy Donaldson