There are many reasons to love US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the work she does. But this week in particular has seen her embrace a refreshing - and somehow still a little radical - balance of politics and pleasure. Because - once more for the people in the back - intelligence and an appreciation of politics doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with fashion and lipstick too.
On Saturday, AOC shared a post about the importance of universal healthcare with Cardi B's 'Bodak Yellow' playing in the background (not 'WAP', although she did respond to Cardi B with a new interpretation of the acronym: Women Against Patriarchy).
Earlier in the week she was at the workroom of Latina designer Karen Perez and her brand Second Wind, sharing the visit on Instagram while wearing one of their masks and expressing once again why she doesn’t like the phrase ‘unskilled labour’.
On Tuesday she made a short but impactful appearance at the Democratic convention, seconding the nomination for Bernie Sanders and acknowledging his grassroots “movement that realises the unsustainable brutality of an economy that rewards explosive inequalities of wealth for the few at the expense of long-term stability for the many”.
The same night, she appeared in an Instagram Story on actor Tessa Thompson’s account, talking about democracy being about more than just voting. “We have to vote and. We need to vote and organise. We need to vote and uplift. We need to vote and educate. We need to vote and agitate.”
On Thursday, she gave a shoutout to Telfar Clemens, the designer who made their start in AOC’s Queens district and is known for the now iconic Shopping Bag.
And today, she features in a Vogue video sharing her skincare and red lip routine while discussing pink tax, self-expression, the outrageous act of self-esteem and being taken seriously while wearing glitter eyeshadow. It’s 18 minutes of joy, and the uplifting pandemic content we need. Here, a few of our favourite AOC gems from the video:
BEAUTY IS POLITICAL
“The reason why I think it’s so important to share these things is that first of all, femininity has power. And in politics, there is so much criticism and nitpicking about how women and femme people present ourselves. Just being a women is quite politicised here in Washington.”
“There’s this really false idea that if you care about makeup or if your interests are in beauty and fashion, that that’s somehow frivolous. But I actually think these are some of the most substantive decisions that we make and we make them every morning.”
THE OUTRAGEOUS ACT OF SELF-ESTEEM
“Our culture is so predicated on diminishing women, and preying on your self-esteem. It’s quite a radical act, and it’s almost like a mini protest, to love yourself in a society that’s always trying to tell you you’re not the right weight, you’re not the right colour, you’re not the right whatever it is. And when you stand up and say you know what, you don’t make that decision, I make that decision. It’s very powerful...but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.”
BEAUTY AS SELF-EXPRESSION
“I think that the queer community has really paved the way on this. The way that they use beauty as a form of self-expression, from drag Queens to non-binary people and how they choose to use beauty to express themselves, is a lesson to everybody.”
GLITTER ISN’T FRIVOLOUS
“I used to think that I would be taken less seriously. And as the youngest woman in Congress and as a woman of colour, it’s so hard to be taken seriously. It’s like any workplace where sometimes you feel like you have to jump up and down for anyone to listen. It’s just really difficult because some people are just born in bodies that are naturally taken more seriously. I used to think that glitter or shimmery eyeshadow wouldn’t help me out. People already try to diminish me and my voice as young and frivolous and unintelligent. And so first of all, I tried the shimmer and it looks fire, it looks good! It helps me feel better. So you know what? I was totally wrong.”
YOU’RE THE BOMB
“If I had to give one piece of advice, it is that the key to beauty is the inside job. The key to beauty is feeling beautiful and no amount of money or makeup can really compensate for loving yourself. And if you need a little boost or if you’re feeling particularly challenged that day, look in the mirror and say ‘I’m the bomb and I will make the world a better place in my own little pocket because that’s what I’m here to do’. You are a blessing to the world. Your talents are a blessing to the world - no matter who you are, there is something that you bring, and you need to know that. And that is the best beauty secret of all.”
(Oh and if you’re interested in her actual routine: she always starts with a toner, uses Vitamin C, sunscreen - “Don’t play games with sunscreen” - NARS tinted moisturiser or Estée Lauder Double Wear on days when she’s going to be taking lost of photos, and Fenty Beauty’s Match Stix. And Glossier Cloud Paint, of course.)