To quote Kenneth Ellen Parcell, there are only two things that I love in this world: everybody and television.
Growing up, TV taught me all the important things, like how to be a good person and that teen pregnancy wasn’t for me. Since I have always been more into makeup than my sister and mom (who is more of a creams and treatments kind of lady), I often looked to my favorite TV shows to enlighten me on that, too.
Here are the “fictional” (they’re real to me; they live in my heart) TV characters that helped shape the way that I think about beauty.
I don’t know a single young woman my age who wasn't inspired by Lizzie McGuire. From pink streaks to high pigtail/bun creations to curled and crimped and pin-straight hair all at once, Lizzie revolutionized the way I thought about hair. And her outfits? If Lizzie wore a tie-dye midi skirt with a three-quarter blouse, I wanted to wear a tie-dye midi skirt with a three-quarter blouse. Her makeup was light and age-appropriate and, at that age, so was mine.
I remember watching the first season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and then going out in my yard and pretending to vanquish demons. Who didn’t, right? Not only was Buffy the quintessential girl power enforcer, she did it with frosted eye shadow. One day her hair was in ringlets (a total look du jour, darlings), the next her fringe was curled six inches off her forehead. And she mostly kicked vampire butt in short skirts and high boots.
Buffy was the first character that showed me you could be smoking hot and still a badass. Show creator Joss Whedon developed Buffy because he wanted to change the way people thought about the petite blonde girl who is always the first to be killed off in the horror movie, to “subvert that idea and create someone who was a hero.” Well, Joss, you showed me. Thank you.
I watched the first episode of Veronica Mars as a teen and I was hooked. I understood her style and her need to assert her dominance. I knew that she cut off her long, blonde hair because she was moving on; the world had made her hard (yet marshmallow-y inside, of course), and I did the same thing when, at 16, I had a rough patch at school and decided to stop being a soft, sensitive pushover all the time. The thing about Veronica, and the thing about me, is that we did it wearing pink lipgloss. Veronica taught me about the power of beauty as a reflection of what is going on inside, and that you can still be tough and smart with perfectly curled hair.
In all of my favorite TV shows about professional women, the level of respectability you could garner in your job was directly correlated to the amount of effort you put into your appearance. Then came Liz Lemon and the best show to ever air on our humble screens, 30 Rock.
Liz taught me that you can stay in on Friday nights, rock messy hair and "no time for makeup" looks to the office, and still be a boss B who's taken seriously by her coworkers. She also taught me to put potato chips in my sandwich. While I love a cat-eye and a strong lip, I won’t be defined by it, nor will I allow it to be expected of me in order to achieve success.
- Which TV characters have influenced your beauty game?
- What about them so enthralls you?
- Is crimped hair finally dead, or is it prime for a comeback?