Too often, the best beauty stories go Untold, solely based on a person's skin color, religion, gender expression, disability, or socioeconomic status. Here, we're passing the mic to some of the most ambitious and talented voices in the industry, so they can share, in their own words, the remarkable story of how they came to be — and how they're using beauty to change the world for the better. Up next: Brooke Alexx, an Asian American singer-songwriter who recently collaborated with Fempower Beauty on a Mother's Day lipstick duo where 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Hate Is a Virus.
In March, I posted a TikTok video of this song I wrote called "Grace." It's about my mom, her name is Grace, and how growing up, I didn't feel super close with her and how I struggled with that. I realized later in life that it's because we're so similar — the song is about embracing and celebrating that a little.
I received a message from Fempower Beauty on Instagram saying that they'd heard the song on TikTok and loved it, and they wanted to send me and my mom some lipsticks. I looked into its website and Instagram and realized that the brand is so aligned with my own ideals. I wanted to work with them so I asked if they'd be interested in doing a collaboration for Mother's Day and they were super receptive right off the bat.
I helped choose the design for the packaging. We included the Japanese dragon, which is my mom's favorite animal, and also shows our Asian heritage. We decided on two lipstick colors. One is vibrant for me, the younger person, and one is more of a subtle pink for my mother. To have two different shades that pair well together but also are for unique different looks.
We actually started working on it the week the Atlanta spa shootings happened and that was really on my mind, so we decided to add the Stop Asian Hate emblem and find a nonprofit to donate to. We ended up deciding on Hate Is a Virus — 10 percent of the proceeds are going to them. It felt like fate. It was a great project where all of the pieces came together.
As I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate my Asian heritage so much more.
Growing up, because I'm half-Asian — my mom is Japanese and my dad is white — I struggled to determine my identity. On forms it asks for your ethnicity and I had to check one box or the other; I had to choose Asian or white. It definitely made me choose my white side growing up because I didn't want to be different from everyone else. That also came to light in my makeup and appearance. Asian people are known for having smaller eyes, but I remember at one point trying to put white eyeliner in my lower lash line to make my eyes look bigger because I didn't want to look as Asian. I remember people saying Oh, you look really Asian today, and I always took that as negative. As I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate my Asian heritage so much more. This collaboration is a nod to that.
My mom instilled a lot of confidence in me growing up, to the point where I don't feel like I need to wear makeup when I leave the house to feel confident. On the other hand, I also love to get dressed up, and putting on my makeup makes me feel empowered. I love that my mom instilled the confidence in me to do both.