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Indya Moore Used to Think “Beauty Was a Bad Thing”

"I really struggled with the idea of beauty and feeling beautiful..."

On Beauty
Indya Moore Used to Think “Beauty Was a Bad Thing”
Photos: Courtesy of YSL Beauty
Welcome to On Beauty, a series where we take a deep-dive look into one person's relationship to beauty, how that relationship has transformed over the years, and how they experience being seen. This week, we're talking to actress, model, and YSL beauty influencer Indya Moore. Ahead, Moore explains why she used to have a tense relationship with makeup, how her ideas around beauty have evolved, and more.

I think my definition of beauty growing up was probably more traditional and tied to how you show up, what you’re wearing, and how you look. It was also rooted in how I felt, too. It didn’t matter what other people thought was or wasn’t pretty. Beauty was really about how confident I felt and how I looked in jeans or how my makeup looked. It was really about what I looked like walking into a room and how I made other people feel [while they were] looking at me.

I feel like I definitely had a narrow understanding of beauty and the older I got, the more thoughtful I became. I used to think beauty was a bad thing because it seemed to be a thing that society centered [around] certain people, and not everybody got to experience it in the same way. I started to loathe when people thought I was beautiful, and I would be like, ‘Everybody’s beautiful, everybody’s beautiful.’ And [I was like] that during my late teens and early twenties. I really struggled with the idea of beauty and feeling beautiful because I wanted to solve everything that was going on [in the world] around me. And I didn’t necessarily do that in a way that served me well. I was really hard on myself. I guess with time, especially now, I feel more relaxed about it. I feel more open to being seen as beautiful, and I feel more open to calling myself beautiful. It feels healthier to me now. Life is [about] change and time changes your beauty and I want to be able to adapt to that and be open to [this] evolution.

My relationship with makeup has never been good. I always felt makeup was really hard to take off and also hard to put on. It was really difficult to find makeup that worked for me because I always felt like it over accentuated my features. What I love about YSL as a [makeup] brand is that it’s very easy to apply, easy to wear, and [the products] give me a refreshed and natural look. [My relationship to makeup became less antagonistic] when I started intensive therapy for my CPTSD and depression. I started to feel more comfortable and relaxed around trying things that I thought I didn’t like. I just felt like, ‘Well, I’m open. I also never really felt beautiful with makeup until now, really. I think it’s a combination of my therapeutic work and YSL’s beauty line. It’s just easy to access. You don’t get confused trying to figure out what to put on.

[Growing up] I really loved Imaan Hamman. I loved seeing Lena Bloom. Lena Bloom was one of my first beauty idols. I always saw myself in her. There was one day where someone randomly tagged us in a [social media] post and the very next day we bumped into each other on the train. And Lena, as a woman, also as a trans person, has always been so outspoken and stood in her beauty and that’s really inspired me. Laverne Cox, as well. Laverne Cox was one of the people who made me feel really, really comfortable and good about celebrating myself.

Part of the series:

On Beauty

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