My makeup skills are limited to eyeliner and maybe some lipstick, but some people really know how to knock this stuff out of the park. Euphoria, the latest HBO drama, has already made a name for itself by putting its cast in consistently intricate, provocative makeup looks. Even though I have no makeup talent or reason to glam out, I decided to try Euphoria-esque makeup for a week.
For reasons already mentioned, I forwent doing my own makeup; all of my looks were done by makeup artist and photographer extraordinaire, CAS junior Srishti Luthra. With multitudes of glittery and neon looks to choose from, we decided to ease into the week with a relatively tame look for Monday, inspired by main character Jules’ clouds. My outfit was also Jules-inspired so that I could really channel her vibe.
Monday was a really busy day with classes, errands, a rush event for my fraternity and the Elizabeth Warren rally — perfect for collecting tons of reactions to my look. Most were really positive and unexpected.
A stranger and her mother complimented me in the elevator of my apartment building and I overheard an NYU first-year gushing about my makeup to his friends at the rally before coming up to me and complimenting me directly. Though I kept forgetting I had clouds on my eyes, the makeup gave me an extra boost of confidence that I think people responded to. It was a great conversation starter at my rush event and I was way more outgoing and involved than I usually am.
No one in any of my classes or on campus assumed anything out of the ordinary, but I obviously encountered an uncomfortable amount of stares and double takes on the streets. I did get a couple of very pointed negative reactions as well — an employee at a WeWork where I was running an errand told me that I kind of scared him and my usually extremely supportive father thought this exercise was a “waste of [my] time.” I know haters gonna hate but et tu, Dad?
For Tuesday’s look, we tried to recreate Jules’ neon one but finding the right shades to exactly match the original was extremely difficult. After multiple Target and Duane Reade expeditions, we failed to find the matching shades so Srishti took some artistic license and did a glittery rendition of Jules’ look. This one got absolutely zero reactions because, honestly, it could have easily passed as me just deciding to be a little extra that day — something New Yorkers are very much used to.
I was obviously posting on social media more often and what surprised me was how many people didn’t know what Euphoria even was. I got so many questions asking what I was doing and “What even is Euphoria makeup?”
Wednesday was my favorite look of the week: Rue’s carnival clown eyes. It was definitely the most dark and intense look of the week but also the most empowering and fun to show off. The negative reactions were hilarious. I got so many disapproving looks from mothers with their children and a cop even lingered where we were taking pictures. At my rush event, no one questioned why I had such bold makeup on but just appreciated how cool I looked. My two favorite interactions of the day were with a baby in Washington Square Park who asked me what was on my face and to do it to her too, and a cashier who asked me if I “always cried beautiful tears of glitter.” Yes, sir, I sure do.
The last two days were Jules-inspired again: we replicated her hot pink punk rock look and the glittery dark blue one. Again, I matched my outfits to the character and the eye look, which was appreciated by people who actually recognized them from the show.
Personally, I found it a bit hectic fitting the long process of getting ready each day into my class schedule and having to remember not to touch my face, but it just made me appreciate the hard work and artistry of makeup enthusiasts all the more. All in all, this was an interesting social experiment — it just goes to show how people respond to the way you present yourself and the confidence with which you do so.
A version of this article appears in the Monday, Sep. 23, 2019, print edition. Email Ria Mittal at [email protected]