Celebrities Without Makeup: Genuine or PR Stunt?

Posted by Kait Bolongaro & filed under Pop Culture.

Esther Frid holds "El Atardecer de la Vida," a book she wrote about the stories of seven senior Latin American women living in Canada

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Last week, Rihanna published a photo of herself on Twitter. Known for her wild style and edgy wardrobe, the Barbadian singer looked surprisingly demure without makeup and her hair braided into pigtails. The image already has 73,000 likes. Is it another way a celebrity is trying to prove that they are just like us, or is this a publicity stunt?

This isn’t the first time Rihanna has published a photo of herself sans maquillage. Nor is she the only star publicizing their natural looks: Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato and Kim Kardashian have jumped on the bandwagon in the last few months. Even Nicole Polizzi, aka Snooki of Jersey Shore, posted a photo of herself last week with the caption: “My clean canvas before getting artistic”. She hardly looks like her famous twin; there was no big hair or orange bronzer in sight.

Starlets are usually prepared for photos by a team of makeup artists, hair specialists and wardrobe stylists. Their undone faces are hidden from the public. In 2010, Katy Perry freaked out at then-husband Russell Brand for posting a photo of her without makeup. Why the sudden change of heart?

This trend may seem like a backlash against the intense handling of someone’s image, it is more likely another tactic to garner even more fame. Celebrities are very conscious of their images and every photo leaked to the public has a purpose behind it. It is not only the star who makes money off their image; behind every celebrity is a host of people profiting from their success.

While I may be skeptical of this new campaign, it does seem as though the Hollywood landscape is changing. Gone are the days of a distant celebrity god; young people want 24/7 access to their favourite public personas and social media plays a large part in this new brand of marketing. I do applaud these celebrities for being more honest with the public; however, it seems fake if it is only to increase their Twitter following.

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Kait Bolongaro loves to write about cultures and how people occupy them. She is a Masters student studying Journalism and Media Across Cultures in Denmark. She is a freelance journalist and photographer who is addicted to travelling and developing new stories. To follow her on her journeys, check out her website or follow her on twitter.

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