As a make-up artist I am very fortunate to work with a great many beautiful women. Over the last two decades I have met and provided make up services for some of the most talented and accomplished women in Canadian entertainment. My work has been seen on Louise Pitre, Anne-Marie MacDonald, Sarah Slean, Dawn Langstroth, Alyssa Palmer, Dione Taylor, Kimberly Seldon, Jean Stilwell, and Erica Ehm just to name a few. My products have also been worn by Susan Sarandon, Joan Collins, Catherine O'Hara, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, and Chantal Kreviazuk on different occasions.
And while all this may sound like name dropping (and I don't mean it to be) what I have learned from each of these women is that their definition of beauty is unique to each of them and never in relation to what other people think they should look like.
I have been so fortunate to learn how to define and redefine beauty by these very accomplished women.
As a new part of my writing I am going to be featuring a woman who has inspired me to redefine beauty, to re-evaluate what it means to be beautiful and in doing so I am hoping she too can inspire you.
Today I am featuring Karen Robinson.
While you may not know her name you have certainly seen her work. Karen is one of those actresses that everyone says "oh I just love her" but always seem to forget her full name. Perhaps after reading this that will all change.
Karen is a private Daniel Thompson Beauty client. I have created looks for her on several occasions and she is always a delight to work with.
What I have learned from Karen is that beauty is often very skewed to young, eurocentric, blonde women. Something I guess I always knew but didn't acknowledge. When I first worked with Karen she said to me immediately, "Don't try to make me look like those girl in the magazines." She wanted all of her features highlighted, accentuated and displayed. For Karen beauty was about stepping into her womanhood, her ethnicity and her own style. She defined her look and made products suit it, not the other way around. For me the lesson was that when a confident woman is in my presence all I have to do is show her what she is looking for, and accept that my opinion is actually of little interest to her. I liked it very much—it actually made my job very easy to do and the results we have achieved together have been amazing.
This particular confidence is seen in Karen's work and I highly suggest you see it—Karen has appeared in the TV shows Saving Hope, King, and Slings and Arrows (all available on iTunes) and was also seen in the movie Lars and the Real Girl with Ryan Gosling.
Of course she is also an accomplished theatre actress having won the NAACP award for her performance in Da Kink In My Hair.
Karen is proof that the conventional ideas of beauty, in show business, simply do not dicate someone's level of success—no matter how much the fashion and beauty industry try to tell us otherwise. Karen truly is an inspiration to young women everywhere, who simply do not fit into the blonde, blue eyed, beach bunny category.
If you really want to see Karen in her full glory you must see her in the play Entitlement now running at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto—seven performances only and tickets are only $15.
Part of the Summerworks
festival, this play elaborates on the complexity of educating young people in a world where everyone is convinced they are special, rare and of course entitled. I saw this show on opening night and, as an educator, I have to say it is well worth watching. Karen simply owns every scene in which she appears and her performance delicately displays the tightrope educators must walk everyday. Her deft handling of such complex issues as commerce, education, politics and being a woman in a position of power (all under the microscope of social media) is truly something to watch.
This really is a woman who knows what beautiful means—and for her it is not the standard aesthetic to which most young women aspire.