Being Transformed Into Nicki Minaj Made Me Love Makeup

My makeup aesthetic has always veered somewhere between minimal and nonexistent — and the same goes for the rest of my beauty routine. The first time I got a manicure, I couldn't stand it and ripped the acrylics off the next day. And my hair? I’ve never had any desire to wear extensions, a wig, or a weave. I simply don’t like feeling things on my skin and head. It just doesn’t feel like me.
Now, I’ve dabbled with lip stains and eyeliner on nights I want to turn up, but never have I ever imagined that I’d get my hair and makeup done to the extent it was for the above video. But then again, I never thought anyone would ever ask me to transform into Nicki Minaj either.
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When Refiner29's video team asked me to play Minaj in an upcoming makeup-centric video, I did it because I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. It wasn't until after I’d realised what I had agreed to do did I really prepare for such a massive transformation. This meant moisturising my face and drinking a ton of water, the only two things I thought to do to prep. (Shows how much I know about beauty!)
When the transformation day came, I sat for hours getting my makeup done. To be honest, it was agony. I admit I was pessimistic, but after seeing my face with a think layer of foundation and concealer, it struck a nerve. To my surprise, I looked great! The blemishes on my face were reduced, hidden even. And while I never had a problem showing my bare face (I rock it every day), there was something refreshing about seeing myself like this. But a few hours into the shoot my hate for makeup reared its ugly head.
I never realised that simply sitting and getting your hair and makeup done could be so draining. It bothered me that I couldn’t touch my face without getting highlighter on my nails and fingers. The heaviness of the false lashes made me long to keep my eyes closed and the glue seeped into my eyes and started irritating my contacts. I could feel layers of cake on my face and I was not having it. When the end of the day finally came I washed my face to reveal a huge smile of relief. Finally, I thought.
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Then something funny happened. It turns out, the experience was incredibly illuminating. As much as I hate to admit it, since the shoot I have started wearing foundation and concealer — and just last week I started experimenting with eyeliner, eyeshadow, matte lip colour, and even a little contour.
After experiencing this transformation, I am not entirely closed-minded to the idea of wearing makeup. In fact, I kind of love it. Will you catch me wearing Barbie-pink lipstick à la Nicki anytime soon? Let’s not get carried away, but I am enjoying taking baby steps.
Asia Feliciano is a video intern in Refinery29's Los Angeles office.
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