by Atiyyah Mayaleeke
“You used to be terrified of makeup.”
My sister likes to remind me of that fact any chance she can get. She's right though. I was very much the tomboy who refused to let even lipgloss near me. Now, I think I can safely say that creating makeup looks is my favorite thing to do and it's something I am very passionate and proud of. It is the thing I am most known for, especially at BU. It's funny to think about how things have changed but there is one thing I can say has remained the same- my love for art, creativity, and expression.
I have always been an art kid. I loved to draw and paint, cut and piece together all kinds of materials and present my projects to my mom, who now is always making sure I am being fairly compensated when I get brand opportunities. In middle school, I got into henna art, which progressed significantly in high school and is still a current passion and business of mine! In high school, I connected with an after-school art studio and got into screen printing and sewing. Other forms of art, like jewelry and pattern making, were always part of my creative art form. It really was only a matter of time before I found myself trying my hand at makeup as well.
Today, I like to consider myself a makeup enthusiast. I love the creativity and expression that goes into doing makeup whether that be intricate graphic liner looks or the perfect blend of browns for a classic nude. Being a black, dark-skinned, Muslim woman who wears the hijab, I did not see many instances of any of those identities let alone a combination of more than two of them in the beauty industry or in media. Only recently there has been a move towards more diversity and inclusivity with wider shade ranges and more models of different backgrounds but there is still much work to be done. Sharing my passion and art on social media has been a means of personal expression and community building. It also has made me very thankful for the small platforms I have managed to grow. As small as it may be, for many, I am one of the few sources of representation for people who look like me or relate to my identity. That is something that I am proud of.