People 11 March 2017
Ally and Taylor Frankel's brand Nudestix has taken the beauty market to task in the past year with its minimalist beauty aesthetic and easy application. The indie sensation has become a hit with the millennial generation rising up against make-up heavy faces and SWAAY talked to Taylor about leading the way forward with their minimalist movement.
“We do not aspire to look perfect and flawless - we just want to look like ourselves - but also, we just want something quick and easy, and to embrace our natural beauty"
The girls' mom left her high profile job back in 2011 so she could devote more time to her children's upbringing - an Eat, Pray, Love moment Taylor calls it, and with that she had more time to spend watching the girls, listening and observing their habits. Before long, the girls and their morning routine would come to resemble a family business opportunity the likes of which the billion dollar cosmetics industry has never seen.
In an era of youtubers and make-up tutorials, the girls made a break from the discerningly heavy and obvious make-up trends of old and saw a white space in the market for a more minimal, toned down look. Instead of trying to emulate beauty bloggers and celebrities, Ally and Taylor encourage you to look like yourself. And they're now attributed to one of the biggest trends of late - the stick and its multi-form, multi-use, hassle-free application.
The girls "multitasking lives" demanded a product that merely accentuated their best features rather than sculpting their entire face. There simply wasn't the time anymore for something extraneous. They aren't #MUAs nor do they profess to be; they're the everygirl, working to produce a line for girls like them to use quickly and efficiently everyday - and the stick form does this. Neutral shades are the girls go to and the sticks can thus become multipurpose - for your eye, lip and cheek.
"We're not make-up artists"
"The beauty industry talks a lot about perfection, flawlessness and make up artistry, 'full face' - and it totally turned us off"
Enter Nudestix - the make up brand for the millennial minimalist.
Sisters Ally(17) and Taylor(20) represent a youthful ignorance toward the by-gone age of Sex in the City whereby their mother and her peers would lather on make up and pour over their imperfections for superfluous amounts of time with brushes and creams before deeming themselves ready for the day ahead. Their Nudestix campaign 'Go Nude but Luminous' attests to a generation who care about their appearance but refuse to spend the amount of hours previous generations have spent layering on le macquiallage. "It was about enhancing what we already had" says Taylor. Having become a bit peeved at how the cosmetic industry was talking to women - instructing them on the heavy amounts of make-up it's deemed necessary to wear in our airbrushed world - the girls and their mother decided a neutral and minimalist approach was the future. “Even though there were all these beauty products out there," Taylor remonstrates, “they weren't talking to us about beauty the way we wanted to be talked to."
Their mother, Jenny Frankel, was mixer and make-up extraordinaire(the woman who brought you M.A.C's lipglass) before taking time off from her prolific career in cosmetics to focus on her daughters' upbringing - “our mom has been in the beauty industry for twenty years," Taylor laughs, “she co-created her own beauty brand while my sister and I were both in diapers." And so the story goes that when the girls grew up and start acquiring their own sense of style and makeup routines, Jenny recognized the difference in her daughters' routine versus her own, and saw an opening in the market for the busy millennials, and thereafter, Nudestix was found.
The girls and their mother have worked tirelessly to produce products that represent a new age of Make-up and a new trend that has very quickly caught on. It has become a niche in a market that almost demands superfluity - purple eyeshadows; sculpted faces; burlesque lips. "We like to think about make-up in a way a lot of people aren't talking about it," Taylor posits - "which is, you don't need to wear a full face. You can wear a little bit in strategic places to accentuate your features."
"We're your everyday girls - we're students, we're working"
Having rose quickly to fame because of their appearance on QVC, where they were allowed the run of the show - from curating to producing, you can now find the product pretty much everywhere - most notably on the shelves in Sephora. The brand 'for millennials, by millennials' is seriously hot stuff and was included in my round-up email last week from the make-up retailer. The girls have certainly started a trend, with many other makeup lines now adding multi-use pencils to their product lists.
"It's a trend now which is awesome," Taylor recognizes in her competition, "but for us, it was really about creating a product that was multi-use." The simplification of the beauty process and the accentuation of natural beauty having been their aim from the beginning its only natural that the brand has become such a success. We recently got to try the matte lip pencil and the highlighter, and as busy women constantly running around the city - these pencils are the very best product for the woman with little to no time. If these teens don't scream aspirational goals - I don't know who does.
"We want people to be able to say - these girls, they're your girls next door, if they can do it, so can we"
5 Min Read
Elizabeth Warren majorly called out "arrogant billionaire" Michael Bloomberg for his history of silencing women through NDAs and closed-door settlement negotiations. Sound familiar? Probably because we already have a president like that. At this point, Bloomberg may just spend the remainder of his (hopefully) ill-fated presidential campaign roasting on a spit over a fire sparked by the righteous anger of women. A lesser punishment than he deserves, if you ask me.
At last night's Democratic debate, Michael Bloomberg could barely stammer out an answer to a question on whether or not he would release any of his former accusers from their nondisclosure agreements. His unsatisfactory response was basically a halting list of what he has done for certain nondescript women in his time at City Hall and within his own company.
But that certainly wasn't enough for Elizabeth Warren, nor should it be, who perfectly rephrased his defense as, "I've been nice to some women." Michael Bloomberg is basically that weird, problematic Uncle that claims he can't be racist, "Because I have a Black friend." In a society where power is almost always in the hands of straight, white, cisgendered, men being "nice" to a lucky few is in no way a defense for benefiting from and building upon the systematic silencing of all marginalized communities, let alone women. Stop and frisk, anybody?
Here is a brief clip of the Warren v. Bloomberg exchange, which I highly recommend. It is absolutely (and hilariously) savage.
But let's talk about the deeper issues at hand here (other than Warren being an eloquent badass).
Michael Bloomberg has been sued multiple times, yet each time he was able to snake his way out of the problem with the help of his greatest and only superpower: cold, hard cash. Each time these allegations have come up, in Warren's words, he throws "a chunk of money at the table" and "forces the woman to wear a muzzle for the rest of her life."
As reported by Claire Lampen of The Cut, here are just a few of his prior indiscretions.
- Pregnancy discrimination—Bloomberg reportedly told a former employee of his to "kill it," in reference to her developing fetus.
- Sexual harassment—You could literally write a book on this subject (someone did), but for the sake of brevity...
"I'd like to do that piece of meat" - Michael Bloomberg in reference to various women at his company.
- Undermining #MeToo—Not only did he defend the accused, but he went on the disparage accusers every step of the way.
- Defaming transgender people—Though he claims to support trans rights, he has also been qupted multiple times as referring to trans women as "some guy wearing a dress."
Yeah... That's not a winning formula for me, Mike.
Furthermore, Warren points out the simple fact that if, as Bloomberg claims, these instances were simply big misunderstandings (He was just joking around!) then why go to all the trouble to cover them up? Does Michael Bloomberg think women can't take a joke? Or can we only surmise that the truth of these events are far darker and dirtier than we could even imagine?
Certain commentators have called Elizabeth Warren's debate presence "agressive," especially in regards to this instance but also continually throughout her entire campaign. If asking poignant questions to known abusers who are seeking to further their own political power is considered "aggressive," then I am here for it. Bring on the aggressive women, please and thank you.
Calling a woman aggressive for being confidant and direct is a gendered complaint. You don't see anyone whining that Bernie is "aggressive" when he goes off on a screaming tangent. Also, have you seen our president? He's basically the poster boy for political temper tantrums. But still, it's Warren that is deemed "aggressive," for honing in on the exact issues that need to be considered in this upcoming election.
This type of derisory label is another aspect of how our society silences women—much like Bloomberg and his NDAs. Because "silencing" is more than just putting a "muzzle" on someone. It's refusing to listen to a person's cries for help. It's disregarding what a woman has to say, because she's too "aggressive." It's taking away someone's power by refusing to truly hear their side of the story. Because if you aren't listening, responding, or even just respecting someone's words, they may well have said nothing at all.
"Silence is the ocean of the unsaid, the unspeakable, the repressed, the erased, the unheard." - Renecca Solnit
Nondiscolusure agreements are a legal gag for people who have experienced harassment and abuse at the hands of those above them.
Gretchen Carlson, possibly the most famous person subject to an NDA, is one of these people. Her story is so well-known that it has even been immortalized on film, in 2019's Bombshell. Yet she is still forced to maintain her silence. She cannot tell her side of the story even when Hollywood can. She was cajoled into her current position after facing harassment in her workplace. She didn't have the power then to do more than accept her fate. And now, she doesn't have the power to tell her story.
She was, and still is being, silenced.
After her experiences, Carlson was moved to fight for all women to have the power over their truths. In a recent op-ed for the New York Times she declared: "I want my voice back. I want it back for me, and for all those silenced by forced arbitration and NDAs."
Carlson may still be tied to her NDA, but there are those who go a different route. Celeste Headlee, who wrote an op-ed on SWAAY about her experience, chose to break her nondisclosure agreement. Though doing so undoubtedly opened her up to numerous legal ramifications, she knew that she could no longer "sign away [her] right to justice."
Because that is what an NDA is all about, signing away a person's right to justice. Their story is their justice. Their NDA is a lock and key. Headlee may have broken through that lock, but she must face the consequences.
Neither Carlson nor Headlee are any less brave for how they have handled their journeys. They are both actively working to shift the cultural and political norms that led them here, and their work will, with hope and time, lead to real change. But they are just two drops in an ocean of women who are held hostage by their nondisclosure agreements, by men like Michael Bloomberg, and by a society that would rather silence them than let truth and justice be had.