Born and raised in Washington Heights, Queer LatinX Makeup Artist Sarah Hart fell in love with the craft after being forced to wear ugly theater makeup in a childhood play. Determined to make the “old grandma” character she was cast more her style, especially as a plus-size person, Sarah took it upon themself to recreate the look altogether.
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Against approval from the director, they quickly became a makeshift makeup artist for their fellow peers who wanted the same makeup Sarah applied to herself rather than the poorly done, ill-suited stage makeup cast members were forced to wear.
Curious about her inspirations, I sat down with them to get their take on everything from emerging beauty trends and predictions she sees popping up in the near future to how their sexuality and culture impact their work.
Who do you draw creativity from? Do you have any inspirations?
Lady Gaga. Although classic and cliché, she really is “that girl.” Looking back on it, she was doing the bleached brow in 2012. I remember at the time, a lot of people criticized her, but she was very ahead of her time.
A lot of Latinas, too! When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Shakira, JLo, and Selena. My Hispanic mom always had her makeup done, and looking at old photos, she was sporting brown liner for decades. Similarly, all my aunts in my family always had their makeup, hair, outfit, and perfume done at all times, which gave me a lot of inspiration as I grew older.
How does your culture play into your practice of makeup?
I’m Costa Rican and Dominican, and a lot of Dominican men are metrosexual, as it’s ingrained in the culture to always look good. You don’t leave your house without looking incredible. I saw that from an early age.
Traditionally, there is something spiritual about the process of getting ready. I think about the Indigenous people on my mother’s side as there are getting ready processes for whatever they are doing. I wonder if some of that is engrained in my DNA.
How does your queerness play into your practice of makeup?
I identify as a lesbian, and going into lesbian spaces, I am often the most done-up person, as I feel like it’s very much a thing for lesbians not to dress up. I find femmes or sapphic queerness is in the casualty of it all. I often feel a little out of place being so done up.
Before coming into my queerness, I was raised by queer men going out to gay male spaces, which is very different from sapphic spaces. It’s all parties, doing up and drag, which is how I started in the community and brought that into lesbian spaces. I think I play into hyper-femininity and being ironic with it; “This is what society wants,” so I’m going to do it to an insane level.