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Manicures Are Non-Essential But For Latinas, Acrylic Nails Have Always Been More Than A Luxury

For as long as I can remember, each and every time my mother has sat down at the table or leaned against our counter to sort through and clean her pinto beans, she has told me and my sisters the same story over and over again, almost as a ritual.

The story paints a picture of my adolescent mother, dark brown skin and darker hair, picking through the leftover beans her mother had already sorted through, trying to find the small beans that were split down the middle. 

She would take the halves she found, put craft glue on the ends, and press them onto whichever fingernail they fit best. When all 10 nails were dry, she would paint her new makeshift nail extensions with red polish and take on her day.

Like a church hymn I put no deliberate effort in memorizing, yet I know all the words to, I recall my mother’s voice saying “I wanted fake nails because they made me feel smart. I saw women speaking in both Spanish and their hands, and their long, colorful nails made them look sophisticated and intelligent to me. The nails were who I wanted to be.”

When the news hit of COVID-19 and the limitations on social life that would follow, both meme pages on social media and the Latinx women in my life poked fun at what would become of all the Latinxs who could no longer keep their nail appointments. As the severity of the coronavirus increased, nail products became less available on the shelves of my local drug stores. And while some people were stocking up on toilet paper, some were quietly making their way to the beauty aisles. 

When the women in my own life started their stockpiles of press-ons, my mother laughed behind a bowl of half cleaned pinto beans and said, “Everyone should just glue on beans like I did.”

This got me thinking; as the death toll rises and unemployment rates skyrocket, the things that society deems “non-essential,” such as nail services, are falling so far beyond the back-burner that they are seldom, if ever, being discussed. When lives are being lost, the grieving of a temporary naked nail isn’t worthy of being mentioned.

For Latinx women, acrylic nails have always been more than an ornament or a luxury.

@reynanoriega / Instagram

For centuries Latinx women have used nail art as an outlet for feminity, individuality, and self-care. Decorated nails serve as an extension of language and heritage. As my mother said, she saw the women who came before her speak with their hands, teaching the younger generations that there is power and intellect in femininity. For many Latinxs, that strength can often be tied to the nail. So what happens to Latinx women when that cultural ceremony is threatened? 

Nail appointments alone often serve as an escape from the daily life and struggles Latinx women face regularly.

@nailsby_jennn / Instagram

Half church, half therapy — the nail salon is a place for both communion and mental health. With the constant weight of responsibility Latinx’s face from both society and their own families weighing on them, the nail salon is one of the very few places women of all generations have used to carve out a space for personal care without judgment. 

Often mistaken as relics of self-sacrifice and duty, Latinx women have made a culture around using acrylic nails as a siren call to our refusal of being boxed in.

@yesikastarr / Instagram

If the world is going to tell us we can only be the homemakers, the child bearers, the caretakers, the cooks, the cleaners — then the middle finger we stick up at them should at least be decorated. 

But with COVID-19’s shelter-in-place having no end in sight, it’s safe to assume Latinxs all over the country are silently dealing with feelings of anxiety over their current loss of appendages. And while in no form do natural nails equate to human lives lost, there is still room in this conversation to acknowledge the validity in feelings of upset over sacred traditions being uprooted. 

While it’s seen as sacred for church congregations to gather in their vehicles in parking lots in efforts to recreate some semblance of a sanctuary, the longing for nail salons and their comforting familiarity in this time of complete distress can be seen as vain and frivolous.

@nailzbymarz / Instagram

That’s the thing about tradition. Unless you practice it, it’s nearly impossible to understand it. And for the majority of this country, it seems almost nonsensical to say that without two inches of painted plastic adhering to your nails, you feel as though it is more difficult to face the day. That without your bimonthly appointment for a fill, you can feel your confidence draining. It sounds absurd to someone who can’t grasp, that for Latinx women who are under even stronger pressures of taking care of families, depleting incomes, all while still facing prejudice within this system during this unprecedented time, we can’t help but feel that if we could only have our acrylic nails this would all feel more manageable. 

However, the spirit of my mother in her childhood still dances in my head. When she wasn’t of age to get professionally done acrylics yet, her glued on beans did not feel less like power to her. When she craved control over her womanhood and future as a Latinx, it was not the acrylic that gave her that affirmation, but rather her ingenuity and creativity of which always lied inside of her. 

During this pandemic era where we are learning how to live a life we have never known, questioning our own future as Latinxs, all while teaching our own hands how to move without the acrylic extensions of our identity, we should remind ourselves as my mother reminded me that the acrylic may be the tool, but the hands that hold them were always the makers. The nail does not make the woman. Just as my mother always taught me, the woman makes the nail.

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Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

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Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

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It’s 2021 and the Met Gala is back this year – after being canceled in 2020 thanks to a pandemic – with superstar poet Amanda Gorman being eyed to host the fashion event of the year. Given the 23-year-old’s show-stopping performance at the inauguration, the theme fittingly will be a celebration of America and American designers.

The Met Gala will return in 2021 with a very special guest as host.

Vogue’s “Oscars of Fashion” famously takes place on the first Monday of May. However, this year it’s been pushed back to September 13, in hopes that life will have returned to something closer to normal by then.

Epic poet Amanda Gorman is reportedly in talks to co-host the event alongside Tom Ford, who is the academy’s president. The breakout star of President Biden’s inauguration, Gorman is on the cover of the magazine’s May issue and the subject of a relentlessly glowing profile inside.

The black-tie gala, which raises funds for Met’s Costume Institute, is normally fashion’s biggest night and sees guests from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B to Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and even Maluma.

The event was canceled in 2020 thanks to a global pandemic.

The world’s most glamorous party was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, which was (and still is) raging the planet at the time. There was a virtual event in place of the 2020 event, with celebs like Julia Roberts, Priyanka Chopra and Amanda Seyfried showing off their looks from home and stars like Mindy Kaling and Adam Rippon taking part in the #MetGalaChallenge, recreating looks from past years.

This year’s event will draw inspiration from all things USA.

The theme of this year’s Met Gala has not been announced, but Page Six says the night will be devoted to honoring America and American designers, following the 18-month-long COVID crisis in this country.

Recent past themes for the event have included “Camp: Notes on Fashion” (2019), “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” (2018), and “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between (2017). And don’t forget 2016, when Zayn Malik wore robot-arms to Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.

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Madonna’s Daughter Lourdes Embraces Natural Body Hair In Beautiful Selfie With Mom

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Madonna’s Daughter Lourdes Embraces Natural Body Hair In Beautiful Selfie With Mom

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Grooming habits should be a matter of personal choice, but thanks to generations of the patriarchy telling women how they should look, what they should wear, and how they should take care of their bodies, that isn’t always the case. Thankfully, more and more brave women are embracing their natural beauty and that includes their own body hair.

Lourdes Leon showing off her natural arm pit hair is the normalization of body hair we all need.

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A post shared by Madonna (@madonna)

Whether it’s on the red carpet or in a photo with her mom, Madonna, Lourdes Leon has a relationship with her body hair we can all admire. For instance, he two posed for a rare selfie on April 10, and Leon’s natural look moved us another step closer to normalizing visible body hair.

The sweet image is captioned: “Like Pieces of your Heart Walking around outside of you #lola.”

‘Lola’ is the nickname of Madonna’s eldest child, whom she shares with Cuban personal trainer-actor Carlos Leon.

The fashion icon’s post has received more than 440,000 ‘likes’ with many fans praising her daughter’s decision to embrace her natural body hair – with comments including “two beautiful, strong women” and “beautiful mother with her gorgeous daughter.”

Leon has never been shy about embracing her natural beauty.

Her mother has pushed beauty boundaries for decades, so it makes sense the 24-year-old model would choose to do the same. In November 2018, Lourdes generated headlines when she showed off her unshaved armpits and legs on the red carpet at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Gala, just weeks after she turned heads for the same reason on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.

Earlier this year, in February, she also showed off a glimpse of armpit hair in a new fashion campaign for Marc Jacobs. 

It seems that Lourdes may even have been inspired by her famous mom when it comes to ditching the razor. Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar in 2010, the singer said: “Going to high school, I saw how popular girls had to behave to get the boys. I knew I couldn’t fit into that.

“So I decided to do the opposite. I refused to wear makeup, to have a hairstyle. I refused to shave. I had hairy armpits.”

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