Operation Asian Cover Up


Today our Parent Bloggers Network pals are running a blog blast in conjunction with Harper Collins’s release of Nadine Haobsh’s Beauty Confidential (check back next week for my review). If you’re a blogger willing to post today about your biggest beauty blunder, you’ll be eligible to win Haobsh’s list of 12 beauty editor must haves! Click here for details on how to participate. And read on to learn about my biggest beauty blunder, Operation Asian Cover Up:
It wasn’t easy growing up in a predominantly Caucasian community where the few Asians in town (myself included) all could be found at orchestra practice. Insecure and eager to dissociate myself from my high achieving, obedient minority cohort, I intentionally underperformed in the classroom, flirted with police run-ins with friends, and committed beauty blunders to the nth degree in a poorly conceived (and, well, impossible to execute) attempt to cover up the fact that I was Asian.

Among the worst offenses in my blunderous operation:

  • Short of a perm, I did everything possible to turn my straight hair curly, including traditional rollers, bendable hot sticks, curling irons, crimping, and sleeping on a head laden with braids. I used a lot of hairspray to defy the natural gravitational properties of my heavy, straight hair.

  • Nothing seemed more American than a frosty turquoise eye shadow palette and matching eyeliner from CVS (and nothing could have looked worse!). My mom freaked when she saw this (ill applied) look and wouldn’t let me out the door until I washed it off. The makeup came with me to school and was applied as soon as I got there.

  • None of the other Asian kids wore nail polish so I doused my nails with bright, glittery polish. This attempt was short-lived. My dad had a fit when he saw my fingers and served up punishment in the form of sitting in a corner and chipping and scraping the polish off with my own offensive fingernails.

    As irony had it, I started dating a dude I met at summer music camp during this time. Rigorous rehearsal time prevented primping at camp, and when camp was over and rehearsals resumed in Boston, my beau was befuddled by my cover up tactics, asking where the natural girl he fell for at camp went. I persisted though, and the relationship ended shortly thereafter. At the time, I was mystified as to why we broke up, but years removed, I realized that his response was natural. As natural, in fact, as the palette of products I now use to enhance – not mask – my features.