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Rebecca Santiago | Is So Vain

So, beauty

Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 02:02


Introductions, or re-introductions, if you’re a regular reader: I’m Rebecca, a senior who likes women’s magazines and beauty products and many un-Tufts-y things of the like. I was the editor-in-chief of this esteemed publication last semester. Highlights of my reign included popularizing the phrase “It’s whatever” among my impressionable sophomore editors and attempting and failing to run an editorial on Lady Gaga. Some of you sent me angry emails. Incidentally, free drinks are a nice way to apologize.

In a particularly despotic mood last December, I announced to my Arts editor that I was planning to write a beauty column — and do little else — this spring. (Managerial tips for attention lovers: flounce into your office with a dramatic proclamation and proceed to lou-u-udly slurp a stupid iced drink from Brown & Brew, glowering, until someone responds to you. Best if wearing real or fake fur.) She graciously agreed, probably not realizing that it’s really hard to cover beauty without photos or other illustrations. 

But, yeah, I’m going to try to do this anyway, if mostly to stay involved in the paper without doing much work. I mean, the alternative is plunging back into the basement under Brown and Brew to ... edit. You know what makes your skin look like crap? Editing on a computer screen under fluorescent lighting in a freaking basement without sleeping for four months. Professional beauty advice, mmhm!

Lest my tone, personality or burgeoning unibrow throw you off, I do have some credentials. I’ve spent the past few years interning at women’s magazines, and I’ve picked up a thing or two along the way. By “picked up a thing or two,” I mean “lurked in front of the freebies table everywhere I worked, because it’s not like magazine interns get paid much, if at all, you know.” Consequently, I’ve carted home bagfuls of beauty swag. Plus, I spend, like, two paychecks every time I go to Sephora.

Why beauty? In my opinion, serious topics have a major presence in our campus dialogue, and receive their due coverage in this paper and in other campus publications. That is very, very important, and one of the best parts about going to this school. I think it’s extremely cool that a lot of you are going to get out there and save the world after you graduate, or possibly even before.

As for me? I’m probably not going to do that. My New Year’s resolution was to save up for a keratin treatment. But I feel like I must not be the only person at Tufts who would like for their skin not to scab off in gross flakes all the livelong New England winter. Maybe others would also like to look deceptively put-together after pulling an all-nighter in Tisch, or to smell exactly like clean laundry even though they’re re-wearing the same shirt for the third time because it’s so hard to do laundry.

You can be smart and care about looking good, and you can think about vanity in a smart way, too. The intersection of makeup and feminism and the role beauty products play in gender performance would make for very valid Ex College classes. On the practical side, maybe you just want to look super employable before a job interview. 

Oh, also, this column is for guys, too. All three of you who have read to this second-to-last paragraph. Hi!

Anyway, indulge me in this and, in return, I will try to write a fun, not boring, not reductive, extremely practical beauty column for you. Email or tweet at me with your pressing beauty questions. If you owe me an apology, gin-and-tonics are my favorite. Until next week!



Rebecca Santiago is a senior majoring in English. She can be reached at or on Twitter at @rebsanti.

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