Pop Star Rosie Never, Ever Wears Makeup – Here’s Why

Regan Henderson

Rosie, a 24-year-old singer-songwriter, has built her career on her stripped-down sound – and her stripped-down approach to beauty. Her lyrics put her mental health journey on display, and she chooses not to wear makeup ever – for photo shoots, red carpets, or anything else. As part of PS’s Radical Honesty Issue, Rosie spoke to us about what going no makeup is really like. Read it all, in her own words, below.

When I was 16 or 17 and I was really beginning to think about my career long-term, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in music, and I was still figuring out how to do that. I knew I loved writing songs, and I knew I wanted to be an advocate and make the world a better place, and one of the ways I discovered to do that that was really authentic to me was being vulnerable and open – which means not only being vulnerable and open about mental health, but also vulnerable and open about my real face and my real body and my real skin. So I committed to that being part of the Rosie brand in 2018 or so.

“I can’t hide my mental health or the bags under my eyes. So I waver all the time in my confidence, but not my mission.”

I’ve never wavered in my decision to not wear makeup, but I’ve wavered in my confidence. There were days when it was way harder than I thought it’d be, and to this day – I’ve been doing it for four or five years – it wavers all the time. It’s not my belief in what I’m doing that wavers, it’s just my belief in myself and my own confidence, because there are days I wake up and I’m like, you gotta go do a shoot now. And I can’t hide my mental health or the bags under my eyes. So I waver all the time in my confidence, but not my mission.

As someone who got on social media when I was 13 – the day I got on, it just kind of ruined my self-confidence and my relationship to my body and my relationship to my face and my overall self-love and self-worth. As a 13-year-old, I didn’t know what was going on, but by 17 or 18 I could kind of conceptualize why. And I realized it was because A) everyone on my feed was wearing so much makeup, and B) they had so many filters. And that’s why, ultimately, I decided to go no filter and no makeup, because I struggled terribly when I got on social media. My relationship to my physical appearance just went down the drain.

If I had known that the reality is completely different – and I saw people posting what they actually look like when they wake up, or realistically what they actually eat – it would’ve helped me a lot. It’s about showing the young, malleable mind that it’s not real, it’s not reality, you don’t need to look like that.

I’ve also watched people’s responses drastically change since I started with no makeup. When I began, a lot of the sentiment around what I was doing was, “You’re never going to get signed if you look like that,” or “How are you supposed to be a pop star if you don’t look like a pop star?” I got a lot of pushback, and as my platform started to grow and I started to get more recognition for what I was doing, the narrative started to change. It was no longer, “How is she going to do it?” It was, “Oh, she’s doing it.”

Now, there’s no pushback from anyone. My entire team is so supportive of it and encourages it. And there are the messages I get in my DMs and the fans who come up to me who say, “You inspired me to go to my first day of high school wearing no makeup.”

I think something that has been a really big theme of my life and of this year has been exploring fear. And I think that really relates to this topic, because not wearing makeup or being a mental health advocate or being an artist – it’s really scary. That’s something I’ve been exploring; it’s actually what my new single, “Try Again,” is about. But it’s so important to recognize that every single person experiences fear. Every single person has something they’re afraid of, and in that way, we’re all experiencing this together. I just want to celebrate everyone who does what they do despite the fear.

– As told to Lena Felton

Lena Felton is the senior director of features and special content at POPSUGAR, where she oversees feature stories, special projects, and our identity content. Previously, she was an editor at The Washington Post, where she led a team covering issues of gender and identity.

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