“Makeup is to enhance your beauty and it is a personal choice.”
The Internet, more specifically social media, is a place where people can reflect who they are on the inside.
Positive people tend to radiate positivity by the messages they put out into the world. The opposite is also true. Anyone of us has the power to help or to hurt, build or destroy, to encourage or to discourage.
Back on January 21st, 2016, Elmont native, Stacy Vanessa Pierre-Louis, had plans to celebrate her 23rd birthday with friends. She reached out to celebrity makeup artist, Theresa Francine, to give her exactly the look she was going for.
“I was going out that night because my birthday was the following day,” said the Gotham Avenue and Elmont Memorial High School Class of 2011 graduate. “With my birthday being the next day…I thought it would be great to get glammed up.”
What happened next, Stacy says she could not predict. The photo of her transformation went viral.
“I was shocked,” Stacy said.
Once an innocent recognition of Theresa Francine’s cosmetic work, Stacy’s photo became the subject of thousands of comments and opinions, many of which were extremely negative.
We got in touch with Stacy, in an exclusive interview, to hear her side of the story:
What do you remember happening once the photo hit the Internet?
I was shocked. I was out and enjoying my night with friends. A few people started texting me about the picture but I didn’t realize my picture was viral at this point or even a discussion. It wasn’t until I got home that I actually sat down and looked at the comments and the amount of likes, shares and retweets. It was over 100 thousand.
You addressed bullies & negative people in your video — Why do you think they said the things they said?
I think the comments came from a place of ignorance. I say ignorance and not stupidity because I think it was a lack of knowledge. Makeup is to enhance your natural beauty and it is a personal choice. There are various techniques that girls use when applying their makeup but it is not to deceive anyone. We put on our makeup (or don’t) for us. It’s a form of expression.
The second part of it is I think that it’s very easy to make fun of someone when you don’t know them, but I’m a real person and I think people forget that. People think it’s funny to make harsh comments or repost a picture of a stranger but it’s not funny and it’s actually against the law. Above all, I strongly believe that when people say hurtful things about others it comes from a place of their own insecurities. Everyone has something that they are not fully confident about, or that they are working on, and everyone has a different way of dealing with their issues. Some choose to cyber-bully, while others choose personal growth.
What has the response to the video been like?
It was well received. I got an outpour of support from so many people and it’s encouraging. Of course, there were still some people who had negative things to say, or felt that I was making a fuss about nothing, but those people were small in number. Overall, it makes me want to continue to be a voice for the voiceless and share my story.
Have you received any support from the Elmont community?
YES! Elmont is a community that really supports one another. We have so many movers and shakers in this town, and I think we all rally for each other, in triumphs and in difficulties. ELMONT REALLY HAD MY BACK ON THIS ONE! Thank you Elmont, you are appreciated.
So far what would you say has been the most surprising aspect of this experience?
I never expected that a simple before and after picture would become such a big deal. But it was great to see all the support I got from people around the world. Major publications such as Good Morning America even reached out to me.
Talk about the inspiration for and response to #BeautyOverBullying:
I honestly just woke up with the urge to say something. I wanted to do a video response and I asked all my friends and family if it was something that I should go through with. Everyone said that I shouldn’t even gratify the negativity with a response, but after I outlined my message everyone was behind it. My best friends, Brenda and Chazara, suggested that I come up with a hashtag and have girls take make-up-less selfies. I thought of the name of the campaign. All my friends said they would participate in it and it just took off from there.
What’s next for you? And/or what is your hope for the next generation?
I think my career will definitely reflect what I have already started. I’m not sure where I will end up but I know I will be a position to make a difference. I studied Broadcast Journalism in college so, hopefully, the big screen is next for me, but we shall see. As for this generation, my hope is that we can use social media in a positive way. I love social media but the world is so much bigger than Facebook and Instagram. I think we all have the opportunity to create, grow, and empower, and we should take full advantage of our opportunities. Social media can be a great starting point, but at some point, we need to reach beyond our phones and try to do something that will be meaningful to the world. This generation is filled with talent and potential.
We certainly wish to thank Elmont native, Stacy Pierre-Louis, for her courage and inspiration throughout this entire experience! Kudos, also, to the countless women who have joined Stacy in the #BeautyOverBullying movement, embracing who they are, no matter what they choose to look like! Thanks for using your platforms to promote positivity.
We salute you!