Make Moves With Flex: Meet Sasha, Nic, and Livia
By Abby McIntosh + Emily Gaynor
The Milk Makeup world is big and wild and wonderful. Our community is everything to us — all that we do is inspired by them. They write sonnets and deliver pizzas and make music and go to class. They brush their teeth while they bleach their eyebrows and take care of their kids and wear some really crazy sh*t. They make the rules. They make the fun. They live their look. They push us forward.
We knew that it only made sense to call them up to help us launch Flex Foundation Stick, our new medium coverage, natural finish foundation. It has a super comfortable formula that covers, calms, and flexes without creasing or caking, and it comes in 36 shades with a balance of undertones. Basically, it allows you to keep making moves without worrying about the small stuff.
So to give Flex Foundation Stick a proper welcome, we held an open casting and called up some Milk Makeup Fam. 250 people came through, and we sat down with a few of them to talk about life, makeup, and all the other good stuff. We’re super excited for you to meet them and see them Flex. Here are Sasha, Nic, and Livia.
Milk Makeup: So can you tell us about yourself?
Sasha: I’m a student but also an artist in any aspect I would like to say. I also model, but I don’t like to call myself a model.
MMU: Where do you go to school
S: I’m currently in high school. But I’m graduating in a few weeks and going to college in California.
MMU: How do you flex your individuality?
S: It’s funny, I feel like when people see me, ‘cause I have very short hair — usually it’s bald but I’m trying to change it up a little bit— [they think] my haircut defines me. They’re like “Oh, you’re so bold with that haircut. Wow, you’re so confident with that haircut,” like you’re making a statement when, you know, it’s a haircut.
But I’m very different from other teenagers my age, [I flex] just even with my personality or the things that I do. I’m flexing my individuality with clothes or with my social media. I feel like I try to be as personable as possible but also show that you can relate to other people and still have your own sense of self.
MMU: What art are you interested in?
S: I’m in a band which is really fun. I consider music art. I’m going to school for film writing. I love to write, that’s like my number one passion. I choreograph at my school. I don’t really like to dance that much, so I just like to boss people around and tell them how to do it. I also like to make films and such, ‘cause I wanna do film writing but I’m not the best at editing and filming itself, so that’s why I like the behind the scenes aspect more. I like to make digital art but I don’t really like to show that to people. Sometimes I’ll spontaneously post it.
MMU: How do you treat social media as a way to flex?
S: When I first started using social media, I would post regular photos of myself and then I would post these 10 photo slides of just really funny things throughout the month. And I remember when I started growing on social media, I stopped doing that and I would delete the post because I’d be like, “Oh my god, these are so embarrassing. I can’t show this picture of me not looking perfect.” The more people that started following me, the more I started to become conscious of it and that’s when I felt like I wasn’t being my individual self. And I feel like social media has a lot to do with taking away people’s individuality.
I have another page where I just make little funny videos of my friends, or I give people advice, or on my real Instagram I always try to make a monthly post about a topic I feel is very important to myself. I just try to make sure that if I have a platform — it’s just pictures of myself, like I don’t f*ckin’ deserve it — that I try to use it in the best way. That’s really, really important to me, just educating people.
MMU: What’s your relationship to makeup and beauty?
S: I don’t wear makeup unless it’s today [on set], or mascara, or eyebrows. I cut my hair when I was 15 and I did it because my mom told me I couldn’t. I was going through a time in my life where I was trying to come to terms with being black in society and just dealing with ignorance and passive-aggressiveness. And one of the things I used to get a lot which I used to hate is, “You have really nice hair for a black girl.” I used to get that a crap ton. I hated the comments that were tied to my hair, but I [also] hated the fact that I liked it. Because even though it wasn’t a true compliment, just like any compliment during a time when you’re not your best self because of your insecurities, you’ll take anything. A big part of [cutting my hair] was that I wanted to be able to feel most comfortable with myself. There’s no hiding when you have no hair.
I literally did it myself in my bathroom. I had like a big afro and I just cut it all off. It looked terrible but I remember feeling the best I’d felt in so long. My mom came upstairs, told me it looked bad. But now I feel like I’m in such a secure place with myself that I feel like I can grow my hair back out again, so that’s what I’m doing now. Now hair has a totally different meaning to me than it did before. That’s really been the beauty of this whole year, just trying to figure myself out. I’ve been really isolating myself. Moving across the country [is] really reminding me that I need to be okay with being with myself ‘cause I’m gonna be by myself so much. Especially because I can’t come home as much and I have to kind of deal with it.
MMU: What’s your weirdest flex?
S: I think my weirdest flex is my tattoos. I like to flex my tattoos because a lot of people my age don’t have tattoos so they think it’s so crazy that I have so many.
MMU: How many do you have?
S: I have, like, 7.
MMU: What’s your next flex?
S: I’m in a band, it’s called Velvet Black, and we have been on a very large hiatus because all the other members are in college across the country, but everyone is officially back this week and we have our first show next weekend.
MMU: So will you keep it up when you are in school?
S: I really don’t think so ‘cause by that point they’ll be in their second year of college. One of them will be in their third. We all kind of have our own single things. Last summer ended with a bang. And also [I’m] just trying to work on my writing more. I feel like I’ve kind of been slacking on that.
Milk Makeup: Hi, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Nic: I’m Nic. I’m from Brooklyn, New York, and I’m 19 years old. I still have my house in Brooklyn where I grew up, but I’m primarily upstate in Red Hook, New York, ‘cause I go to Bard College.
MMU: And what do you do?
N: In school, one class is perfect for me. My classes are film classes so they’re usually four-hour classes. [I have] just one a day usually and I love that focused time to have the rest of the day to do what I want within the parameters of knowing what I have to do for schoolwork. I like to go into the woods like I went foraging with my friend Diego last week. The campus is so lush and beautiful that I like to be connected to it in that way.
MMU: Are you just getting into foraging?
N: Yeah. We were super nervous because we… didn’t wanna die [laughs]. But yeah, we found some edible mushrooms.
MMU: Did you cook them?
N: No. We just spaced out and they went bad but we’re gonna try again and make risotto.
MMU: So what about when you’re home?
N: Last summer I was working at a juice place, but when I’m not working, I like to go thrift shopping and kind of just lounge around. Similar to when I’m upstate, just let myself see what’s up. And also see friends. I’m not just antisocial in my own world.
MMU: How do you flex your individuality?
N: I think my classes have become a big root of where I find self-discovery. And then taking either a feeling that I had in class based on a reading or a response to a reading and just connecting that with my body and how I’m feeling internally. For me, the flex aspect is the presentation — how you take what you feel and express that. I try to ease up on myself and not feel like I have to match the feeling of intimacy or sensuality or whatever’s within my body with how I look, but finding some kind of allegiance to that. Or if I’m feeling super vulnerable but open, I flex through colors without being too out-there. In that moment I don’t want to be too loud, but I still want a sense of joy within my day.
Also seeing other people. I love when people respond to my clothing or things I’m wearing in the same way that I love responding to what other people are wearing.
MMU: what do you like to wear?
N: Definitely something either flowy on the top and structured on the bottom or structured on the top and flowy on the bottom. I love blazers. I love flare-y pants like this with a blazer on top or a button down shirt that has a linen type thing and then Carhartt jeans and having it be really bold. And then for my shoes it’s just random. Like, “I really wanna wear my Air Forces right now!” I wanna storm through campus.
MMU: What’s your weirdest flex?
N: Um…I’m repulsed by feet. I don’t even know if that’s a flex, but it’s weird and something my friends know about me so distinctly. I’ll literally step back away from you.
But I do love to flex new clothes. Anytime me and my friend Mia go thrift shopping in Hudson we do a little fashion show and then we’ll play dress up and go to the dining hall in a full fit, like blue pantsuit and just anything crazy.
MMU: And what’s your relationship with makeup and skincare?
N: I think of skincare as part of makeup and beauty because I love primers and stuff that gives you a really glossy kind of sheen look. I think of that as makeup for your skin. But I play around with lipstick sometimes and day-to-day I’ll do a little light red. I don’t wear any base makeup or foundation. Not to be on the nose, but I love the Milk Makeup Eye Pigment. It’s so thick and it dries on so well. I like to put on a little color sometimes or a little glitter, but that’s for a party or something. But for the day-to-day , I just like natural and glossy, lipgloss on my eyelids sometimes. That’s enough makeup for me. Just something that feels me and sexy.
MMU: What’s your next flex?
N: One of my professors told me at the end of this semester, she said, “You need to find your radical subjectivity.” I think that’s something that’s stuck with me. And that in and of itself is a flex. It really is finding a point where my clothes, my morals, and my way of understanding gender, race, ableism, all of the phobias, and all of the things that I’ve internalized and am trying to rid myself of and reimagine, all of that coming together. It doesn’t have to have an end goal, but something that feels more comfortable.
MMU: Anything else you want people to know?
N: I’m a dancer. I danced when I was pretty young with a company called Streb that did, like, extreme gymnastics, like rigs and flying and trampolines and stuff. But once I was in high school, I went towards modern and contemporary. I knew I didn’t want to major in it in college, but I took a dance class, loved it, and continued dancing every semester in someone’s piece. With choreography, at the same time as you very deeply know the movement, there’s the possibility of something happening, so you kind of have to be on your toes while being very grounded in movement. I think it’s made me kind of hyper-aware of how close I am to people or how other people are receiving me.
Milk Makeup: Wanna tell us a bit about yourself?
Livia: I study neuroscience but I was pushed into writing because I worked at VFiles for a little while and I had to write my own skits at VFiles. From there I started doing a lot more writing just for myself.
Basically I’m interested in neuroscience and how it affects emotions, so I study emotions, but with an advertising lens. That’s why I do modeling. I, like, don’t really wanna be a model, but I love it.
MMU: How did you get into it?
L: I was working at Brandy Melville from [the ages of] 13 to 18.
MMU: Are you from New York?
L: I’m from Brooklyn. I lived in Fort Greene for a while. I went to Brooklyn Tech. I live in Crown Heights right now. That neighborhood has gone crazy, right? Like, it’s gentrified. I left for one year and…. Every time I come back — because I’m in college at Sarah Lawrence in Yonkers now, so I’m not there all the time — the change is even more rapid.
MMU: Will you come back to New York when you’re done?
L: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
MMU: That’s kinda nice to be a little bit away.
L: It’s a little bit out which is nice because I feel like my brain was definitely getting… like, born and raised here. I also feel like New York makes you kind of superficial sometimes. I was definitely getting that superficial vibe. It’s nice to step away for a second.
MMU: How do you flex your individuality?
L: You should have seen my nails before. They were popping before. The place I got my nails done, you’re about to go off. I always do individuality with hair, with nails. I like creating illusions in my images to the point where it f*cks with the perception. I’m really interested in how color plays together and what it implies.
MMU: Is that how you think about getting ready?
L: I do a lot based on other people’s perception because that’s what I want to learn and I think that everything that I’m doing now is observation-based.
MMU: Have you found that people react to your different looks?
L: Oh yeah. I’m interested in illusions. My whole fashion — like my nails are an illusion. Flexing myself is having people wonder, “Oh, why is that like that?”
MMU: Do you have a weird flex?
L: This is gonna sound weird, but I flex the most through my social skills. Bringing people together is my flex. I’m not even trying to gas myself up, but I’m so good at communicating with other people. I feel like it’s also to understand how other people are perceived. It helps me to see what they’re thinking and what they’re most likely understanding based on not only Western society but intersectionality.
MMU: What do you want to do next?
L: I want to do advertising. And I want to do advertising for brands like this where I can help the color scheme of things, help with the visual and sensory perceptions. Once I feel like I’m more settled there and have a name for myself there, I wanna move to more humanitarian work because yes, you can do it with product, but you can [also] do it with positive messaging, like LGBTQ rights, black rights, abortion rights, women’s rights especially.
MMU: What are you doing this summer?
L: I have no idea. I was gonna go to Paris this summer, but it’s so expensive. I hope I get a lot of work. This summer, I’m able to really focus on myself and be the purest me I can be and try to re-figure myself out. The breath of fresh air that I got from being upstate is unlike any other.