A Broadcaster Didn't Wear Makeup On-Air To Protest Beauty Standards & Her Story Is Going Viral
There have been multiple celebrities getting behind the no makeup movement, but what happens when a non-celebrity with a job steeped in beauty standards does it? Well, as Glamour found, Kamady Rudd, a newscaster in Michigan, didn't wear makeup on air for a week straight. And to her surprise, nothing major happened. She didn't lose her job or get hateful comments. In fact, she got compliments.
Everyone wears makeup for different reasons. For some people it eases their anxiety and for others it just makes them feel a bit more confident. But for some, it's a part of their job. As Rudd tells Glamour, "looking polished" is a major part of being a broadcaster.
"The work from your resumé reel will only be looked at if you make it through the first round, which is, Do they like what you look like?'" Rudd says. "I'm proud of the work that I've done thus far in my career. Nevertheless, I've still heard from potential bosses and agents that it doesn't matter, perception is everything. It has nothing to do with the quality of my work."
So she decided to do a little experiment. Or, as she calls it on Instagram, be the "guinea pig in [her] own experiment." She chose not to wear makeup for one week on-air and see what happened. To her surprise, it was positive experience.
Rudd tells Glamour that her day typically starts at 2:30 am every morning with an eight step makeup routine — foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, fake eyelashes, brow makeup, contour powder, blush, and lipstick. After reading this study by PLOS on how women's appearances affect their perceived competence, she decided to drop the entire routine. She told the publication that she was nervous at first.
"The first day I was a little nervous," she tells Glamour. "I even mentioned it to the comedians I was interviewing. They acted like they didn’t notice and it wasn’t brought up again."
But as the week went on, she realized that the fear was for no reason. No one really minded that she was on-air without makeup.
"Either people say they didn’t notice, or say they noticed but were able to acknowledge ‘Huh, she isn’t wearing makeup’ and move on," she says. "I think that says something really good about people."
Rudd's findings proved the acceptance and progressive attitude of workplace and those in her community. But Rudd understands her findings aren't universal because the industry is still steeped in sexist beauty expectations that impact women in broadcasting. She knows this because she's lived it.
"For one of my first TV jobs, I was required to cut my hair, dress a certain way, and wear a certain amount of makeup," she tells Glamour. "I realized that until I complied, I wasn’t going to get any airtime."
According to the Boston Globe, some newscasters are even encouraged to dress "sexy" to get air time.
Although she didn't alter what she wore during the course of her experiment, Rudd's no-makeup test showed that when you strip the makeup away, the great reporting is still there.
"I really wanted to prove to myself that I could cover a story with as much focus on the actual story as normal, without worrying about my appearance," she said. "I’m all for makeup, or no makeup. Whatever you want to wear is, and should always be, totally up to you."