strike a pose – my makeup obsession

my name is shanti and i am a makeup addict. this is my story. 

my makeup obsession started in 1981, i was 13 yo. and was already considered by covenant house (NYC) to be a chronic runaway.  bound and determined to be loved, beautiful and accepted, i was on a mission and would not be stopped.

i had practically lived in high end stores as a child, and knew them well. i had always gazed longingly at the makeup counters, wanting to play, touch and experiment with the myriad of colors, textures, and scents, but no one was interested in indulging a little girl’s desire and whimsy.

Image result for makeup counters at macy's 34street in the 80's

as a runaway, it seemed as though i was able to satisfy my every curiosity, and so i trepidatiously crept up to the makeup counter at saks fifth avenue, go big or go home, and began playing, experimenting. creating an image i was not ashamed to look at.

an opportunity to not be average, not be plain, not be the girl next door. i wanted to stand out, be extraordinary. makeup allowed me to transform into whomever i wanted to be.   

eyeliner made my eyes look like molten honey, lipstick enhanced my pout.

did you really think ducklips were new?

mascara made my eyelashes so long they touched my eyebrows. 

i had no idea i would be able to alter my appearance.  whoooo knew? ummm maybelline and max factor for sure, then lancome, clinique, borghese, elizabeth arden, etc. you get the point.

i made it a point to stop in macy’s, orbachs, and a&s whenever i could to apply makeup and spritz myself liberally with opium. yea i had exotic tastes even then. 

no sephora (GASP) imagine a world SANS sephora

i could change every HATEFUL thing about me, everything i had been told was ugly or not normal.  i could transform myself into whomever I wanted. 

since it was the 80’s of course it was madonna and lisa lisa, pfft, the freestyle swing was heavily in effect and i with all the fearlessness of youth embraced every nuance of it, club hopping after i got my first job working in the world trade center for manufacturers hanover trust bank. 

i was bad shit

i really was. lol i had the audacity to back it up, except i was never really and fully myself.  there were aspects of me shining through in bits and pieces sporadically but never for any length of time.

i wanted to fit in.  to belong.  to be ‘home’ in my skin.

yea that didn’t fully happen for a long time, and now my makeup accentuates. there is no longer a need to change who i am.


there is limitless potential when i sit down with my toys. there are a million ways to express what i’m feeling.  it doesn’t matter than you don’t understand that i pick my color lipstick by what i choose to convey of my mood. 


you may not know that i have a get shit done oh yes, i reembody the bronx when i’m about to get shit done.  wing eyeliner and dark-lined lips, very subtle on the cheeks. hair curly and wild.


when you see me looking ala bad ass from the grand concourse, you know i mean business.

if you don’t take the time to ask, most women have stories behind their love of makeup.  it’s how i suppose most men would feel about home depot, yea that’s how we feel about sephora. cept to hell with those prices.

now comfortable with my reflection, no need to duckface anymore although i must admit it’s a hard habit to break. i’m exploring sincere accentuation but make no mistake my makeup addiction is going strong, and to be honest, i feel no need to rid myself of this expressive pleasure. 

so yea, that’s my story. 


Published by: Shanti Shaharazade

Told to write it all down, I do, finally. It took me from 1991 to now, to surrender to Universe/God/dess (insert name of choice) and to embrace this path with my soul wide open. I love sharing all of my journey with young people to demonstrate that it is possible to choose the light constantly even when face to face with your own darkness. I've used a variety of tools to shed ego's protective barriers like onion layers. I am determined to share the journey, tools and encouragement, being the change I want in the world. If something resonates, touches you, please share, it could do the same for another. Also feel free to share your thoughts, opinions or to voice your disagreement, all points of view are welcome and appreciated, at worst we can agree to disagree. Thank you for stopping by!!! Sat Nam

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