Megan Thee Stallion Doesn’t Have to Glam Up to Look Amazing

Addressing the Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot backlash

Photo: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

No one can deny that Megan Thee Stallion is a hardworking artist. She continued to release content throughout the pandemic, and this past summer, she stirred the pot by co-releasing “WAP” with Cardi B; their record went platinum. With her beautiful curvy body and bold lyrics, the Houstonian rapper is a clear showstopper.

Fans can easily find photographs of the self-proclaimed “hot ebony” on social media and in any major search engine. Yet not everyone loves her newest photos. Her latest photo shoot in Harper’s Bazaar has some of her fans fuming. They insisted that Collier Schorr’s images missed the mark and failed to capture her in the best light. And while it’s essential to speak about how the White-dominated beauty industry mismanages Black models and actresses, this scenario does not apply for one key reason: Megan Thee Stallion took an active role in reviewing, editing, and approving the photos.

She apparently reviewed and helped edit the photos, Collier Schorr, the photographer who shot them, revealed not long after the images lit up social media. (Saad, 2021)

Here is the real problem at the heart of their critiques — Megan decided to go for a more natural look. And people using the terms “bland” or “washed out” either intentionally or unintentionally took some jabs at her makeup-free face. To be clear, Megan Thee Stallion does not need to glam up to look amazing.

One Twitter user wrote that the magazine should be “ashamed” for making “a young vibrant woman look all washed out” and accused the professional photographer of shooting images that were worse than selfies. Others called for Schorr to be fired. (Saad, 2021)

Calling someone’s look washed out is a jab at their natural beauty, not just the photographs at hand. However, Black women often catch that sort of critique when they opt out of traditional makeup routines. This standard is especially true for celebrities. For example, the paparazzi initially went wild for Alicia Keys’ makeup-free face. And while she did receive a lot of compliments, many speculated about her unconventional beauty routine.

“I realized I became addicted to it,” she explained. “I didn’t feel comfortable without it.” — Alicia Keys (Rekstis, 2020)

When Alicia Keys stopped wearing makeup in public, she broke her dependence on altering her appearance to appease others. And while I’m not suggesting that Megan Thee Stallion will stop wearing makeup altogether, Black women have every right to take a break from a full glamoured look. Even though many fans feel disappointed by the photos, it’s important to note that they honored her choices.

The rapper, 26, told Harper’s Bazaar that her confidence has developed over time, explaining: “I’m realizing that I don’t have to be in full glam every time you see me, because I’m just getting more comfortable with myself and more comfortable with my skin.” (Novak, 2021)

While Megan Thee Stallion glams up regularly, she developed the confidence necessary to accept herself in natural looks. Sometimes people struggle to see Black women as dynamic. The shock and awe from some of her fans show that society still places unrealistic expectations on Black women — namely that they maintain a carefully curated image round the clock.

Megan’s interview with writer Lauren Michele Jackson discussed the tension of being “the alter ego of the glossy star” and how the artist has been experimenting with a softer, more natural approach to her makeup: “Can’t nobody tell me how to be the hot hirl,” the rapper said. (Saad, 2021)

American society puts a lot of pressure on Black women to perform and look their best, but Megan’s ability to take ownership of what it means to be a hot girl shows strength and grace. Only we can define who we are and what it takes to look and feel our best.

Her look was not washed out — it was purposefully natural. This incident hit home for me because I refused to wear a full face of makeup for my wedding. Instead, I wore only lipstick, and even though many friends cautioned me against such a drastic step, I felt good about myself on that April day. In America, people get so used to seeing women wear makeup; they often think that women are unattractive without the glitz and glamour.

Because of the glam fans are used to seeing, Megan’s photo shoot in Harper’s Bazaar took many by surprise. While some appreciated seeing her show off a more natural, authentic look, others struggled to accept what they saw. Perhaps some of the critiques will die down now that it’s clear the hip-hop artist played a role in selecting these photos.

Tweet Credit Harper's Bazaar

“I know that I’m a person that everybody looks to, and they’re like, ‘Oh, Megan, she’s a confident woman. She’s so strong.’ But you have to go through things to become that person.” (Novak, 2021)

For Black women, feeling comfortable in their skin is a lifelong process, a relationship they continue to nurture. They have the right to determine which looks work for them. For Megan Thee Stallion, makeup is now optional, even in mainstream campaigns. And given that no one can tell her how to be a hot girl, fans may have to saddle up if they want to stay along for the ride. The Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot may not be the last time we see Megan Thee Stallion rocking a natural look. One thing is clear — she does not need a full glam-up to look amazing.

References:

Jackson, L. M. (2021, February 20). The importance of being Megan thee stallion. Retrieved February 21, 2021, from https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a35496164/megan-thee-stallion-march-2021-cover-story/

Novak, K. (2021, February 20). Megan thee STALLION DISCUSSES getting comfortable in her skin in fierce new pics. Retrieved February 21, 2021, from https://metro.co.uk/2021/02/19/megan-thee-stallion-discusses-getting-comfortable-in-her-own-skin-14114035/

Rekstis, E. (2020, November 11). Alicia keys on why she stopped wearing MAKEUP: ‘I became addicted to it’. Retrieved February 22, 2021, from https://www.usmagazine.com/stylish/news/alicia-keys-explains-why-she-stopped-wearing-makeup/

Saad, N. (2021, February 19). Megan thee STALLION FANS slam ‘bland’ magazine photoshoot that she helped edit. Retrieved February 21, 2021, from https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2021-02-19/megan-thee-stallion-fans-slam-bland-harpers-photo-shoot

Black Womanist — MS Psych 🎓 EIC of Cultured allisonthedailywriter.com Co-Founder of Writers and Editors of Color WEOC I 🤎 ☕️ https://ko-fi.com/allyfromnola

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