Madrona Redhawk is doing just fine in quarantine, thanks. As a self-proclaimed homebody who finds endless inspiration in her family junk drawer, the 18-year-old makeup enthusiast and model is, in fact, thriving.
Although resistant to box herself in the beauty realm, Redhawk is unquestionably an artist. Her canvas of choice, her face, rarely changes, framed by plucked eyebrows and perpetually windswept shocks of platinum hair. Her medium, for the most part, is not unlike that of a makeup artist’s lipstick stash or a painter’s water-based palette. Her toolkit, on the other hand, is where things get intoxicatingly bizarre. At first glance, the teenager’s Instagram feed peppers Picasso-adjacent makeup masterpieces in between rows of bare-faced stills. But one quick scroll reveals an addicting string of bite-sized clips in which Redhawk transforms her face with a ceiling fan, a power drill, or an old DVD player (to name a few).
Like many hormone-thrown middle schoolers, it was acne that first drove Redhawk to the makeup drawer. Although the teen’s coming-of-age was in the throes of 2010’s contour-mania, boredom and blossoming imagination pushed Redhawk towards abstract and surrealist alternatives. Inspired by the elaborate adornments of her native Shawnee tribe, Redhawk’s looks grew increasingly performative (and decreasingly definable) and she soon began posting videos of her unconventional application on Instagram.
Her deadpan performances and seemingly endless creativity have since garnered 100,000 followers—all eagerly awaiting her next primary-hued contour or blush courtesy of a bike tire. Armed with a near-complete Backstreet Boys discography and an unforeseen amount of free time, Redhawk’s curtain is only beginning to rise. In quarantine, the burgeoning Las Vegas-based artist created a week’s worth of mind-bending makeup looks for CR, showing that even when stuck in the same place, we still have the power to evolve into something new. Here, Redhawk speaks about about comparison, transformation, and never ever making a plan.
Do you identify as more of a makeup artist or performance artist—or neither?
“I don’t think I’d call myself a makeup artist. I guess “makeup enthusiast” would be the right word. I’m more of a performance artist, but I do other art that I don’t post on Instagram. I just consider myself an artist in general. I dabble in a lot of stuff, I do paper mache and I draw a lot.”
What inspires the looks you share on Instagram?
“Definitely color. Whenever I do makeup I sit down and think, ‘What color do I want to do?’ I never ever plan any makeup or video. If I plan stuff it just gets so stagnant. I need to get an idea and do it right then. So I sit down, I think of what color, and then I think of what I want to do first. I usually start with my nose, I’ll either do this insanely thin, straight nose—basically a caricature of contoured noses—or I’ll do another version, like a wavy nose. I’m not the type of person who will go surf for inspiration. I, for the most part, don’t like doing looks that are directly inspired by something. Every single thing everybody sees in their entire life changes the synapses in their brain and changes how they see, so everything I’ve ever seen has inspired my makeup in a way.”
How has your inspiration changed since being quarantined, since you’re pretty much only in your house?
“I’ve always been a homebody, so I feel like it’s less hard on me than other people. I do miss going out, but it could be so much worse. I’m definitely listening to different music now, because I’m digging through my parents’ CDs. Since quarantine started, I’ve finally been able to sit down and watch movies—I watched Sin City for the first time like a week ago. I wouldn’t say that I watch a great movie and do a specific makeup look that I see in it, but watching a great movie is so inspiring on its own.”
How does the creativity of your own makeup affect your confidence or the way you present yourself to others?
“Instagram has definitely boosted my confidence a lot. I don’t edit my photos ever. When I started posting videos, because the camera is flipped, I started seeing my face as everyone else does. Before that happened, anytime I’d see my face flipped I’d be like, ‘I’m so ugly, that’s how everyone sees me?’ and now I’m like ‘Yeah, that’s me. That’s what I look like.’ I used to go to public high school with very intense makeup, and I definitely got made of, and that made me feel confident, too. I’m very comfortable with my face. I don’t think I’m, like, a goddess, but I don’t think I’m ugly. I’ve always considered myself pretty strong-willed. Yeah, there’s people who are thinner or more beautiful or whatever on Instagram, but that’s okay, I have other things to offer the world.”
Does wearing a surreal makeup look make you feel more like yourself, or like a different version of yourself?
“It definitely makes me feel like a badass. When I have a really crazy makeup look on, I can’t stop looking at myself in the mirror, like ‘I look so good!’ I can enjoy that without feeling self conscious when I take it off, which I think is good. Because who wouldn’t enjoy a glammed up version of yourself? But that doesn’t mean that without the glam makeup it’s any worse. I can go out in public with my Instagram looks and be fine, but I’m deadly shy. So makeup definitely makes me feel more assertive, like ‘I’m here, and I’m allowed to be here.'”
Makeup is sometimes referred to as transformative in a negative way—like when women are criticized for wearing too much—do you think using makeup as transformation could ever be negative?
“I don’t think transformative could be bad. If you saw a picture of me with my makeup on and then without, it’s so different, but who cares? Everyone does everything to look better, what’s wrong with [that]? Not even ‘better,’ just a more polished version of yourself. We dress in nice clothes to look more polished, so what’s the problem with makeup? You can make yourself look different, but that’s not deceptive. Nobody’s trying to deceive people with makeup, that’s just not what it’s about. That’s a very ’50s idea.”
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createdAt:Thu, 23 Apr 2020 19:22:25 +0000