We’re all Jessica Rabbit now

“Most makeup tutorials begin with a splotchy, bepimpled human, with dark circles under their eyes and an uneven distribution of facial hair, who gradually transforms into a radiant glamazon. They offer an attraction beyond the uncanny possibilities of retouching, however. In 2015, the vlogger Nikkie de Jager became famous after her video “The Power of Makeup” went viral. “I feel like in a way, lately, it’s almost a crime to love doing your makeup”, explains de Jager at the start of the clip rather bombastically, proceeding to enumerate her flaws before covering them up on half of her face. The segment ends with the stunning contrast between a hyperfeminine movie star look on one side, and de Jager’s natural skin and hair on the other. It is the sight of a bare face, professionally lit, in high definition, unapologetically persisting even when the viewer expects enchantment, that turns out to be so striking.”

Times Literary Supplement, October 2020